...experience the ambience!
There are seven tourist trails designed to help you get the most of you Gippsland touring experience.
Gippsland Gourmet Country
Walhalla & Mountain Rivers Trail
Gippsland Heritage Trail
Grand Ridge Road
Wildlife Coast Nature Trail
High Country Adventure
Information shelters on each trail will provide you with additional information. Look for then signs and visit the shelters here indicated on the maps. You can obtain the relevant brochures from accredited Visitor Information Centres in Traralgon, Korumburra and Phillip Island, as well as selected information outlets in smaller centres.
GIPPSLAND GOURMET COUNTRY
One hour eats of Melbourne, Gippsland Gourmet Country takes in lush green pastures, rolling hills and State Forests. Enjoy wineries, farm gate sales, arts, crafts galleries and antiques. Experience relaxing peace, tranquility and true contry hospitality.
WALHALLA & MOUNTAIN RIVERS TRAIL
MOE TO TRARALGON, VIA ERICA, RAWSON, WALHALLA AND TYERS.
APPROX. DISTANCE – 80 KM
APPROX. DRIVING TIME – 1.8 HOURS, ALL SEALED ROADS.
This drive takes you through mountain country stepped in history and provides some of Victoria’s most spectacular scenery.
Commence your journey by visiting Moe, where a visit to Gippsland Heritage Park will provide you with an insight to the region’s history. The information centre located within the park can advise you on attractions in and around Moe.
From Moe, follow the Walhalla and Mountain Rivers signs that will take you to Walhalla via Erica (35km). The roads in the Walhalla and Mountain Rivers Region are windy and require patience. The Moe to Erica road slice through the Moondarra State Park, which is an attractive eucalypt forest and woodland of banksia and heath. Picnic facilities are provided at Moondarra Reservoir on the northwest edge of Tyers State Park. The ‘Gateway to the Mountain Rivers Region’ Erica is home to 150 people. A general store, tearooms and nursery cater for visitors. The community proudly showcases its timber heritage at the bushman’s display located within the hotel/motel and is worth visiting.
A further 4 km north is Rawson, a town established for the Thomson Dam construction workers, which is now a modern, mountain retreat. Its role today is as a base for nature appreciation, horse riding, fishing and bushwalking, especially exploration of the Nordic trails around Mt St Gwinear. Located around what is believed to be a crater lake, Rawson also features numerous picnic spots in untouched surroundings, cottage gardens, tearooms and nurseries for visitor enjoyment.
Just south of Rawson, turn left to the historic township of Walhalla (11km). Nestled in striking mountain landscape, Walhalla has much to offer. It is Gippsland’s most evocative and loved historic town. The deep, steep sided and mysterious valley in which it lies is home to only 23 permanent residents, who are custodians of the history and memories of what was one of
Australia’s richest gold towns. For more than 80 years Walhalla was virtually frozen in time. Electricity was only connected in 1998 after nearly a century of neglect and many of its buildings are now undergoing careful restoration.
It’s best to park your car, then stroll the meandering main street alongside Stringers Creek to properly absorb the heritage, beauty and peace of the near idyllic historic township.
The bakery is the town’s oldest surviving building, but the museum, Spetts Cottage, the rotunda, Mechanics’ Institute, fire station, cricket ground and Windsor House also provide stirring reminders of its golden years. Take a trip on the Goldfields Railway and experience living history down the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine.
Retrace your steps, rejoin the main road and head south towards Tyers and Traralgon (47km). En route you pass through the Boola Boola Forest. Stop at Tyers lookout, which affords panoramic views of the Latrobe Valley.
Your drive ends in Traralgon, where wide boulevards and attractive streets and parks await. Sample superb cuisine, excellent shopping and accommodation.
GIPPSLAND GRAND RIDGE ROAD
APPROX. DISTANCE: 134KM.
APPROX. DRIVE TIME 5-6 HOURS, SEALED AND UNSEALED ROADS.
Gippsland’s Grand Ridge Road is one of the great tourist drives of Victoria. For 134km it snakes its way along the ridge of the Strzelecki Ranges, providing striking views across emerald farmland to the Latrobe Valley in the north and to Bass Strait in the south. For much of the journey the motorist is engulfed within a forest of ferns and under towering trees, to regularly emerge into the sunlight to absorb yet another sweeping valley view – even better than the last.
The natural splendour of the route is seen it’s best in the Tarra Bulga National Park, famous for its dense mountain gullies, its suspension bridge and wildlife which includes the elusive lyrebird.
The Grand Ridge Road can be reached either via Warragul, Morwell or Traralgon from the Princess Freeway or via Yarram, Foster, Korumburra, Mirboo North or Leongatha from the South Gippsland Highway in the south. It is about a 20-30 minute drive to the road from these towns.
Once you leave the high-speed highways, the roads in the Strzelecki Ranges are windy and require patience. The Grand Ridge Road is unsealed for the majority of its 134km length, but it is well maintained in most areas. The road carries some log truck traffic and care needs to be exercised to avoid native birds and animals. Allow 5-6 hours to comfortably enjoy its full length, although it can be undertaken in shorter sections.
For example, from Traralgon, follow the signs directing you to Tarra Bulga National Park (33km) where you will be entranced by the moist, lush fern gullies, beautiful tree ferns, towering mountain ash and the famous suspension bridge. Encompassing 1580 hectares of superb temperate rainforest, the Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Good BBQ facilities and beautiful picnic areas are to be found within the park or alternatively you can enjoy a Devonshire tea or meal at the local guesthouse and tearooms. There are also a number of excellent walking tracks to suit all ages. The Rainforest Interpretation Centre at Balook is open during weekends and holidays to provide excellent interpretation of the Park through displays and audio-visual material.
From Tarra Bulga follow the Grand Ridge Road (70km) until you reach the ‘capital’ of this drive, Mirboo North. This is the only major town on the road and marks the approximate half way point of the 134km route. The town sits high in the Strzelecki Ranges, boasting stunning panoramic views across lush valleys in most directions. In Mirboo North colourful murals depicting the history of the town adorn shop sides. Call in to the Grand Ridge Brewery and sample some of Gippsland’s finest beers and ales. The Mirboo North-Boolarra Rail Trail is rich in historical significance and natural beauty and is well worth the walk. The trail wends its way along the picturesque Little Morwell River valley, commencing at the Brewery and finishing at the historic ‘Old Pub’ (1884) in Boolarra.
It is worth the short detour off the Grand Ridge Road to enjoy the Park’s excellent walking trails and exceptional views across the Valley to the Baw Baw Plateau.
At the end of the Grand Ridge Road turn right to Warragul where there are delightful tearooms in picturesque surroundings.
APPROX. DISTANCE – 80 MINUTES, ALL SEALED ROADS.
Valley has one of the world’s largest coal deposits. Here you will encounter a very powerful tourism experience.
Undertake your own unique tour of this Power Trail, simply by following the signed route (98). This touring route is on well made fully constructed roads. Along your journey, stop by Energy Brix Australia, which is the country’s largest co-generation manufacturing complex producing both electricity and brown coal briquettes.
Make your way around the regions five power stations, each a hive of activity, with their own special piece of history. Yallourn is the site of Victoria’s first permanent power station, established in 1924. The 1450MW Yallourn ‘W’ Power Station, with an adjacent open cut mine was the first station to be privatised. Yallourn Energy is currently developing the new Maryvale coalfield, to ensure supply of coal for the next 30 years.
Jeeralang Power Station is powered by gas turbine engines and operates on natural gas. Nearby is the old Gas and Fuel plant, complete with ‘gasometer’ storage tank; a reminder of days before natural gas.
The Hazelwood Power Station uses the unique Hazelwood Cooling Pond, which is extremely popular for water sport activities. Because of its warm temperature, it can be used all year round for swimming and boating.
Loy Yang Power’s Loy Yang ‘A’ is the State’s largest power generator. It entered into commercial production progressively between July 1984 and December 1988 and employs approximately 550 people.
Loy Yang ‘B’ Power Station is owned and operated by Edison Mission and attainted potential maximum generation capacity in December 1996. It utilises coal from the adjacent Loy Yang Power mine.
The lookouts along the trail at Yallourn and Miners Rest give an initial impression of the awesome open cut mines, power generating plants and massive earth moving equipment; however, guided tours provide Victoria’s best industrial tourism experience.
The fascinating technical and social history associated with the State’s power industry is part of the interactive and audio-visual displays and tours available at the industry’s major information and interpretation centre, Power Works.
Power Works offers escorted tours of the mine by day and at night. The tours include close inspection of the enormous machinery used to work the open cut and take you to the mines and power stations of Hazelwood, Yallourn or Loy Yang. The night time dining tours (group bookings only) are particularly memorable for the spectacular lighting of the mines and power generating plants. Make sure you visit the café and gift shop and wander through the industrial displays in the landscaped grounds before leaving.
For those interested in the innovative research and development to reduce emissions and costs fro brown coal generation, utilising Australian-owned technology, HRL Technology has developed a pilot plant on Tramway Road Morwell.
This trail is an awesome experience of industrial tourism and is one you should not miss when travelling in this region.
WILDLIFE COAST NATURE TRAIL
OVER 300KM OF NATURE’S SPLENDOUR.
The coastal route between Sale and Phillip Island is truly unique part of our land. Located at the most southerly point on the Australian mainland, its combination of wild oceans, dunes, inter-tidal mudflats, mangroves, rainforest and visitor with possibly the most diverse nature based touring experience in the country.
It encompasses five national and coastal parks of major significance, including Wilsons Promontory and the Lakes National Park. In between there are numerous other reserves to provide a constant source of fascination and pleasure for the visitor, especially those interested in wildlife.
Almost the entire route is on well maintained, sealed roads, although there are many opportunities to safely venture off the beaten track on a discovery all of your own. For most of the journey you will feel that it’s just you and the elements, yet the comfort of a good bed and a hearty country meal is never too far away.
The wildlife Coast tourist drive can be reached via Warragul or Traralgon or Sale on the Princes Freeway or via the Bass and South Gippsland Highway.
On travelling along the Wildlife Coast from Phillip Island, you will be able to experience the Island’s unique and exciting wildlife up close by visiting the Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Centre, Seal Rocks and historical Churchill Island. Travelling along the coast you can venture off and take the Cape Liptrap Trail (84km), this route provides distant views of the peaks of Wilson's Promontory for much of the journey. It skirts the beautiful beach expanse of Waratah Bay before culminating at the Cape Liptrap Coastal Park and Lighthouse. Tarwin Lower is the gateway to Venus Bay, where kangaroos graze in their natural habitats and provides access to the sheltered waters of Anderson
Inlet. Between Venus Bay and Cape Liptrap the coast varies between attractive cliff of dune limestone to broad sandy beaches, backed by tall dunes.
Further along the route will find you at the ‘Prom" – Victoria’s best-loved National Park.
White, sandy beaches encircle the landmass, with offshore islands punctuating the sea vistas. A network of short to long walking tracks extend principally from Tidal River (where accommodation, camping and supplies are available) and lead to secluded coves, beaches and outlooks which are not to be missed. The walk to the summit of Mt Oberon provides fine views in most directions, while the 40km trek to the lighthouse is among the higher endurance walks.
Continuing along the coast until you reach the small town of Port Albert and localities such as Robertson's Beach, Mann’s Beach and McLoughlin’s Beach, you can observe the maze of small and large islands which make up the eastern end of Corner Inlet.
Driving further along the coast will enable you to travel alongside the splendour of the Gippsland Lakes system or the pristine expanse of the Ninety Mile Beach. Bird like is prolific throughout the coastal parks. Major access points for visitors to the southern edge of these two parks are Seaspray, Golden Beach, Seacombe and Loch Sport. Management tracks also provide ready access for walkers to some of the more secluded areas. Safe swimming is available at various sites along the sheltered lakeshore.
If possible, take your time to drive this tourist route, or promise yourself to return soon to discover all that it has to offer.