Published on 28th February 2018
by Linsey Rendell

There’s a spot east of the city where days are spent unhurried by the seaside, where kitchens thrive on quality local produce and wine producers are making some of the state’s best. In partnership with Destination Gippsland, here’s our guide on where to eat, drink and stay in East Gippsland.

From the pastoral plains of dairy country and mountains, to long stretches of undisturbed coastline and lake systems, East Gippsland is home to a bounty of idyllic terrain. Having survived the devastating bushfires of 2019-2020, the region welcomes the return of intrepid hikers and casual day-trekkers alike.

Red-gum forest, tea-tree scrub, fern-laden rainforest and coastal heathland are still flourishing in this easternmost corner of the state, and support a lot of native wildlife. A web of caves resides underground, and lakes offer fishing, diving, swimming and kayaking year round. With much of the region pure national park – the Snowy River, Errinundra and Croajingolong – there are hundreds of short, day and week-long trails to discover.

This lush environment attracted winegrowers and vegetable farmers lured by the prime conditions, mild climate and reliable rainfall. Chefs, brewers and baristas followed. Then there’s the seafood – fresh off the boat.

East Gippsland’s jumping-off point is 3.5 hours along the M1, before the A1 curves all the way to the New South Wales border. Here’s our guide to what to eat, drink, do and where to stay in the region.

Welcome to East Gippsland

EAT

East Gippsland is a veritable food bowl and has inspired top Melbourne chefs to break from the city’s shackles and set up shop at the source of quality ingredients.

The Long Paddock

Cafe

A produce-driven home-style cafe run by fine-dining pros.

Albert & Co

Restaurant

Vibrant breakfasts and Five Senses Coffee with water views.

The Main Hotel

Bar

Gastropub fare and craft beers at the oldest watering hole in Bairnsdale.

DO

This expansive region is a nature-chaser’s paradise, lush with native flora and fauna and undisturbed land, sea and riverscapes.

Croajingolong National Park

The name Croajingolong is from the Krauatungalung dialect of the Gunaikurnai nation; galung means “belonging to” and kraua means “east”. The expansive (218,330-acre) park features eucalyptus forest, rainforest, heathland, granite outcrops, pristine lakes and beaches and was declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1977. While areas of Croajingolong National Park are still closed after the bushfires, there’s plenty to explore. Travel by canoe, kayak or boat to Tamboon Inlet – a plum fishing spot – and bunk down for the night at Peachtree Creek Campground. The next day, you can explore the Point Hicks Lightstation. For an experience even more wild and remote, the Gabo Island Lighthouse Reserve is home to seabirds including penguins, and there are rock pools, ruins, an old cemetery, a radar station and the lighthouse itself to roam around.

STAY

Heritage sleeping quarters and sweeping vistas abound in this undulating pocket of Victoria.

The Riversleigh

Accommodation

Victorian-era lodgings with modern-day perks.

Itinerary

A Road Trip Through East Gippsland

It’s easy to forget yourself when surrounded by nature so lush, but in East Gippsland there’s also a significant amount of impeccable food and wine to consume. Sleep in, pace yourself, and stroll the scenery in-between.