Just behind the brand new new Port of Sale facility in Sale Gippsland, you will find a delightful piece of history moored at the dock waiting to take you on a magnificent journey down the Thomson River. The Rubeena will take you back in time as you glide through the water on your Port of Sale Heritage cruise down towards the Sale swing bridge.
This local treasure, The Rubeena, started its life at a time when WW1 was in full swing. Imagine what it would have been like to be a part of the era and riding The Rubeena as a life line to your home or to your business in the Gippsland area. You can do that as you sit and listen to the history this magnificent boat has seen.
The Heritage Cruise has quickly become a brilliant Sale tourist attraction and is something that can be enjoyed by the whole family throughout the year. The Rubeena and the Port of Sale Heritage Cruises are one of the only heritage river cruise companies that I know of in this area.
As we approached The Rubeena, the skipper Alan was on board waiting for passengers to arrive for the 10 am river cruise from the Port of Sale. Alan really resembled a skipper in his vest with his grey hair and Captains hat. Alan joyfully welcomed us on board his fine vessel.
The Rubeena has been plying its trade of ferrying passengers constantly in the Gippsland area since 1912. The Rubeena has spent most of its life on the Gippsland Lakes in Lakes Entrance and Lake Tyers area before making the Port of Sale its home a few years ago now. Once I found a seat and got comfortable we were ready to experience one of the finest heritage boats in the district!
Chatting to Alan we discovered that Alan has spent most of his life in Sale and has a keen interest in local history. Alan was the town engineer in Sale Victoria for many years until the mid-1990s. I really liked chatting to Alan, it is like one of those experiences where your grandfather tells you stories of days gone by.
The Rubeena and the Pirt of Sale’s History
Alan told us about the boat, its history and the Port of Sale. The Port of Sale was man-made Gippsland Port to allow access from the region to Melbourne by water. Rivers were diverted, the soil was moved, swampland was reclaimed and bridges were built. At this stage in the 1880s, there was no train access between Gippsland and Melbourne. The Port of Sale helped open up Gippsland to the rest of Victoria.
The Rubeena cruises down the Thomson River at 5 knots an hour, a nice steady pace that allows you to take in your surroundings. The banks of the Thomson River are filled with river gums, natives and sacred Aboriginal trees. Alan happily points out local wildlife such as Whistling Kites, Pelicans, Sea Eagles and Kingfishers just to name of few.
Koala’s everywhere on the Port of Sale Heritage Cruise
For me, the real highlight was the Koala’s, Yes, Koala’s sitting high in their gum trees on the banks eating leaves and sleeping. No matter how many times you see this iconic Australian animal it is always an amazing experience.
In its natural habitat, the small grey bears are hard to spot in the big leafy gum trees. Alan told me he tries to come down to the river every day even if he has no passengers just to keep track of where the koalas are so he can point them out to passengers.
I was really impressed by Alan’s dedication as I didn’t realise we had so many Koalas in this area. As you can probably understand koalas are a highlight for Australian’s let alone, foreigners that the Port of Sale Heritage Cruise’s regularly has on board. Alan slows the boat so you can take pictures of the koala’s and I must admit I happily snapped away!
See the Heritage Listed Sale Swing Bridge
The sacred Aboriginal trees still bear the scars of the Gunaikurnai tribe. The Gunaikurnai people are the Traditional Owners of the Gippsland Region. The Gunaikurnai people, removed lengths of bark from a tree for use to make bark canoes, shields, infant carriers, bowls and gunyahs (bark huts). As you approach the Heritage-listed Swing Bridge you will see a sculpture celebrating the creation story of Borun the Pelican & Tuk the Musk Duck.
‘A long time ago the first people were animals and the first Gunaikurnai Man was Borun (a Pelican) Borun came a long, long way from the hills, looking for a place to live, carrying a bark canoe on his head. He’s walking, walking and he hears tapping! Looks here, looks there, nothing! Where’s the tap, tap coming from? He comes to a river puts down the canoe and what’s inside? Tuk (a Musk duck). Borun sees Tuk, likes Tuk and they start the Gunaikurnai people.’
A truly unique bridge seen on Port of Sale Heritage Cruises
The Sale Swing Bridge remains only one of 6 ever built in Australia and one of 105 ever built worldwide. The Sale Swing Bridge was able to pivot, allowing boats to pass the bridge before returning to its original position for horse-drawn traffic and later cars to cross over it. The swing bridge still opens to this day a few times a year letting boats in and out.
The Sale Swing Bridge played an important role in the development of Gippsland ports and was not closed to traffic until 2003. As much surveying of the surrounding area’s the best access to Gippsland was from the sea. This was by either through Port Albert, south of Sale, through the Gippsland Lakes or any other of the Gippsland ports.
Because of this Sale, Victoria became the transport hub of the Gippsland area. The construction of a direct land link to Melbourne by road or rail was stalled by the wetlands north of Western Port Bay.
When the railway was completed it competed for business with the Port of Sale for several decades. Like all things sooner or later the faster option always wins. The speed of the railway and later the roads eventually forced the closure of the Port of Sale in 1938.
Watch our short Video of Sale Swing Bridge
A kilometre past the Sale Swing Bridge this heritage cruise line turns around near the environmentally significant Heart morass reserve. This is a local wetlands area that has a large range of native wildlife and is a great area for birdwatching.
We made our way back up the Thomson River. Alan has a number of books and photo’s onboard the boat for you to have a look at. These books are all about local history and many feature pictures from early last century.
Back past the bridge, back past the koala’s, back past the spot where the mighty Macalister River meets the Thomson and back to port at The Port of Sale. As far as heritage river cruises go The Port of Sale Heritage Cruise is unique in the Gippsland area being the only river cruise companies running tours at this end of the Gippsland Lakes.
I for one very much enjoyed our 2-hours on the Port of Sale Heritage Cruise. It is a must for locals and visitors as it is one of the top things to do in Sale. The boat is sheltered by the banks of the river from the wind and blinds on the boat can be shut to keep the rain out.
This is a good all-weather experience I can not say enough good things about Captain Alan. His knowledge is second to none when it comes to the Port of Sale and this section of the Thomson River. It makes the cruise just so much better when you have a local let you in on all the secrets of where we live!
Daily Departures: 10 am and 2 pm
Cruise Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $20 adults
$15 Children (under 15 years of age)
$80 Family of 5
We hope you take time to explore the newly developed Port of Sale precinct. You will find a new building featuring the Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale Visitor Information Centre, The Wedge Performing Arts Centre plus food and drinks options.
Please find 2 more articles from Travels in Gippsland below for your reading enjoyment. Just click on the description to read.
Of all the destinations one can visit in this big land of ours my kids would readily say ‘Let’s go to Phillip Island’. It is world-renowned for its natural beauty, rugged coastlines and native animals.
People flock to Phillip Island Australia, it is one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations in Victoria. So, what to do on Phillip Island you may ask? Phillip Island Nature Parks 4 park pass will provide you with all the sights you need to see on your trip to the Island.
The 4 park pass gets you into the big 4 attractions including:
The Penguin Parade
The Koala Conservation Reserve
The Arctic Centre
Churchill Island Heritage Farm
Not only do you get to see the sights but buying a pass also means you are helping to preserve this special place because Phillip Island Nature Parks is, in fact, a Conservation Organisation, that just happens to find it’s environmental, educational and research activities by operating these eco-tourism attractions.
In addition to operating these attractions, Phillip Island Nature Parks manages over 1,800 hectares of Crown Land which includes coastal reserves, woodlands and internationally recognised wetlands and perform habitat protection, restoration and revegetation.
Phillip Island Nature Parks has also been responsible for the longest ongoing seabird study in the world. The revenue generated by the amazing ecotourism activities is invested in vital conservation, research and education programs. This will mean future generations will get to experience the magic that is Phillip Island.
The island is connected to the mainland by a 640-metre long bridge
Phillip Island currently attracts some 3.5 million visitors each year
The permanent population is a little over 7,000 people
Phillip Island is home to a round of the Moto GP world championships
The main township is Cowes
The Penguin Parade – Phillip Island 4 Park Pass
The one thing Phillip Island is most famous for is its Penguins. This attraction alone draws hundreds of thousands of international and local tourists every year.
The Phillip Island penguins parade happens every evening around dusk when these amazing little creatures make their journey from the water of the Southern Ocean to their nests on the grounds around the shoreline of the island. We had an amazing experience watching the penguins come in.
Your first sighting of these cute little animals will be of them coming through the waves. They then disappear into the sand and you become much like a little kid on Christmas Day waiting for Santa.
The anticipation builds as you see the first few little penguins waddle over the top of the dunes. A trickle becomes a flood as Fairy Penguins keep coming in waves.
We were in the Penguins Plus section. The Penguins Plus section allows you to be even closer to the beach to watch these amazing little creatures on their return home.
The penguins actually walk straight towards the platform you sit on, they walk underneath and around you. The night we were on the fairy penguins Phillip Island over 600 penguins came in and all four of us were completely mesmerised by these amazing little creatures.
Essential information for the Fairy Penguins Phillip Island parade:
Phillip Island penguins time is at dusk
Arrive at least an hour before the sun goes down
If coming in the cooler months bring warm clothes and blankets
No photos are allowed
Download the penguin’s app
The Arctic Journey – Phillip Island 4 Park Pass
The Arctic Journey Phillip Island is about, dare I say…all things arctic! Australia has a long history of arctic exploration. You head into the Lab where there is a ton of learning opportunities through sight and sound activities. The Lab will give you a chance to feel how cold the artic is in the freezing room and this section was very popular with the kids.
They can get to see the massive size of the Great Southern Whales and be amazed at what they are able to do. The kids will be a given an activity booklet that they will need to fill in by finding the answers in the Lab. You will see the primitive exploration gear that the pioneering explorers had to take to the artic in years gone by.
The sounds of this artic animals will fill your ears, the unusual but beautiful sounds the whales make is mesmerizing. You will get to see how hot your body is compared to the Emperor Penguin through thermal imaging.
The sight and sounds auditorium where amazing huge screens displaying video images of the wildlife and rugged landscape of the artic.
This immersion experience was mind-blowing. Imagine an auditorium full of changing images catching your eye in every direction while the soundtrack of the arctic dances in your ears.
We were able to sit and just take it all in. For the kids, there was a virtual reality technology that allows them to be seen on a floating piece of ice with whales and penguins swimming around them.
The Arctic Journey is located at the Nobbies beach on Phillip Island. There is a cafe with an amazing view out over the coastline. There is walking platforms and boardwalks outside for you to experience the natural beauty and rugged coastline of this area as well.
The Arctic Journey at the Nobbies closes approximately 2 hours before sunset each day, and the Nobbies Centre itself closes approximately 1 hour before sunset each day to protect the native wildlife.
Summer: 10 am – approx. 7 pm (Opening at 2 pm on Christmas Day)
Autumn: 10 am – approx. 4pm
Winter: 10 am – approx. 3pm
Spring: 10 am – approx. 5pm
Where to stay at Phillip Island
Ramada Resort Phillip Island should be your first choice on Phillip Island. The Ramada Resort features Eco units for singles, couples and families. The resort facilities include restaurants, pools, gym, games rooms, bar, playgrounds and BBQs. Ramada is an all in one experience. The Ramada is centrally located to all Phillip Island attractions.
Phillip Island has accommodation types for all people. You can find hotels, caravans, hostels and resorts. The interactive map below can help you pick your Phillip Island accommodation
Koala Conservation Centre – Phillip Island 4 Park Pass
The Koala Conservation Centre is located on 6 acres of bushland in the middle of Phillip Island. You enter this venue through the gift shop, cafe information centre. You should spend the first 10-20 minutes reading and learning about the kolas before heading outside.
Outside you will find 2 treetop boardwalks. The Tree Top Koala Boardwalk is an 800-meter loop and the Tree Top Woodland boardwalk is 600 meters long. We were amazed that you could see the Koalas so up close and personal. Koalas sleep for up to 20 hours a day. We spotted about 6 at close range some even only a few feet away from us.
Look out for wallabies, echidnas and colourful native birds that also live on the reserve. For those of you that don’t know a wallaby is a smaller version of a Kangaroo. Wallabies are everywhere at the Koala Park Phillip Island. This is a must-see for anyone wanting to see the native Australian animals.
– 10 am to 5 pm daily (First Sunday in April to first Saturday in October)
– 10 am to 5:30 pm daily (February 1 to first Saturday in April and first Sunday in October to Christmas Day)
– 10 am to 6 pm (Boxing Day to end of January)
– 2 pm to 5:30 pm (Christmas Day) * Please note: last access to Koala viewing boardwalks is 15 minutes before closing time
Phillip Island: 4 Parks Pass and Ultimate Penguin Tour
Experience the top 4 attractions of Phillip Island with one flexible pass Join a ranger on a small group eco tour at sunset Visit a secluded beach away from the main parade grounds and see the birds in their natural habitat Watch sheep shearing and other farming activities at Churchill Island Heritage Farm Marvel at Antarctic wildlife in the multimedia displays at the Nobbies Centre
Get the latest prices and information and booking details right here!
Churchill Island Heritage Farm – Phillip Island 4 Park Pass
Churchill Island Heritage Farm is as it says is a little island just off Phillip Island. Churchill Island is accessible by a little bridge across the small waterway.
Churchill Island is the site of the first European agricultural pursuits in Victoria and since the 1850s this 57-hectare island has been continuously farmed. In 1872, Samuel Amess, former Mayor of Melbourne, purchased the island for both holiday and farming use.
He transformed the island by building a homestead and outbuildings. Today Churchill Island Heritage Farm has been kept in its original state for visitors to see how life was in 1800’s. Today you can go through the homestead and see the furniture and decorations from the 1850’s.
Daily farming activities:
1.00-1.45pm wagon rides (weekends, school and public holidays only – weather permitting)
2.10pm cow milking
2.30pm sheep shearing
2.45pm whip cracking
3.05pm working dogs
3.20pm sheep shearing
The baby animal farm was popular with the kids. They were able to pat the goats and sheep. You even had a chance to line up and milk a cow the old-fashioned way.
For most kids, I am sure they think milk just comes out of a bottle. The looks of sheer horror and curiosity as they are told to pull the cow’s teet is something to behold.
Smiles frowns and bemusement all around. Churchill Island Heritage Farm is a chance to step back in time and see how life was in the early years of Australia.
I think for kids of today’s technological society having to milk cows and farm is something totally foreign to them. Churchill Island Heritage Farm also holds a famous farmers market once a month.
How much is a Phillip Island 4 park pass?
These prices are from Get you guide and you can book them here now!
*They are correct as of March 2019.
What does the pass get me?
Entry to all the above Phillip Island attractions we have reviewed.
A seat in the premium penguins plus viewing area for a closer look at them.
An easy way to see all of the best attractions in Phillip Island
*You must book your Penguin Parade viewing date but you are able to use your entry tickets to visit the Koala Conservation Centre, Churchill Island Heritage Farm and the Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies Centre once within 6 months of your Penguin Parade visit.
Where is Phillip Island?
Phillip Island is located 90 minutes drive from Melbourne. Book your rental car today
The nearest international airport is Tullamarine Melbourne International Airport.
There are few different options on getting from Melbourne to Phillip Island.
V-line operates a bus to Phillip Island’s main town, Cowes, from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne city. The trip will take you around 3 hours.
*You will need to make your way to Phillip Island and around the Island yourself. The Melbourne to Phillip Island bus does not drop off at the Penguins and the bus does not return after the Penguin Parade is finished.
Take the Monash Freeway (M1) to the Cranbourne exit, where you will turn into the South Gippsland Highway (M420). Follow this route to the Bass Highway (A420), through Grantville and Bass, then onto the Phillip Island Road (B420) to San Remo, over the bridge onto Phillip Island.
There are a few tour operators that will take you to Phillip Island from Melbourne. Here are a few:
The natural beauty and Australian wildlife experience you will find on Phillip Island is second to none. What to do in Phillip Island look no further than the 4 Park Pass.
The 4 Park Pass will entertain and inform you. Let’s be honest Fairy Penguins are Koalas are awesome. Do yourself a favour get to Phillip Island for a day, weekend or a week and you won’t be disappointed. Another great Gippsland attraction waiting for you to visit.
On any visit to Gippsland, you will find so many things to do and amazing free things to do in Gippsland are located all over the region. Gippsland free things are found in forests, art galleries, national parks and so much more.
We have put together a list of some of the great free things to do in Gippsland for you to do when you visit Gippsland. Activities that are located in East Gippsland, South Gippsland, Central Gippsland and West Gippsland. Gippsland tourism attractions are just waiting for you.
Tarra Bulga National Park
Located in the Tarra Vally south-east of Traralgon and close to Yarram is the Tarra Bulga National Park. The highlight of the park for us is an easy walk to Corrigan’s bridge. The bridge seems to float over the canopy of stunning, green, lush rain forest below. Bring some snags for a BBQ in the car park where hotplates and picnic tables are available.
*Watch out for the very friendly rosellas and magpies that will come in for your leftovers!There is also a little museum on-site to have a look in if you have time
How to getto Tarra Bulga in Gippsland
Make your way to the park from the Princes Highway at Traralgon by following the Traralgon Creek Road to Balook. Alternatively, follow the Tarra Valley Road from Yarram.
Looking for somewhere to stay near Tarra Bulga search >>here <<
Gippsland is home to some world-class mountain bike tracks. The terrain and wide-open spaces of Gippsland lend itself to some of the best mountain biking in the country. Mountain biking in Gippsland can be an amazing day at many different locations. You can find Gippsland Mountain bike tracks at
Blores Hill Mountain Bike Park
Mount Hotham to Dinner Plain Mountain Bike trail
Tyres Junction Railtrail
Nowa Nowa Mountain Bike Park
Mount Baw Baw Mountain bike trails
Walhalla Gold Fields Mountain bike trail
Gippsland Lakes Discovery Cycling Trail
Erica Mountain Bike Path
Raymond Island on the Gippsland Lakes is home to a large native koala population. The Raymond Island Koala trail gives you a chance to see the iconic Koala in the wild. The trail takes you through the bush and town streets where you will find koala’s eating eucalyptus leaves and sleeping. The trail has signposts directing you where to go.
How to get to Raymond Island
Catch the Raymond Island ferry. This makes Raymond Island accessible by foot or bicycle (for free) or by car (for a small fee) The Raymond Island ferry operates on a regular basis from Paynesville. The ferry takes under 5 minutes from Paynesville to reach Raymond Island. To get to Paynesville turn off the Princes Highway at Bairnsdale
Located in the Colquhoun State Forest between Lakes Entrance and Nowa Nowa is a relic from the past. The huge trestle bridge that the now long-defunct train from Bairnsdale to Orbost used to pass over still stands mighty in the bush that surrounds it. At 247m long and 20m high, it is the largest standing bridge of its kind in the State of Victoria and is listed on the Register of Historic Sites. Today the East Gippsland rail trail between Bruthern and Nowa Nowa passes by the bridge.
*Take your time there and have a bbq. While you are unable to gain access to the brigade you are able to get close enough to get pictures and see the bush around it.
How to get to Stony Creek Trestle Bridge
Turn at the signpost is on the Princes Highway between Lakes Entrance and Nowa Nowa (about 5km from Nowa Nowa). After you turn off from the Princes Highway there is about a 3km drive into the bush to the bridge.
Lakes Entrance is where the sea meets the Lakes. In order to walk to the entrance, you must first cross the footbridge to the 90-mile beach which is located on the main street of Lakes Entrance. The entrance is located 2.3 km from the footbridge once you cross it. You can choose to walk along the 90-mile beach, the lakes or through the designated trails. Expect to take 3 hours return for this journey.
*If you are lucky you might just see some dolphins at the entrance or some seals sunning on the rocks. Please also take water and anything else you will need as there are no shops along the way.
How to get to lakes Entrance
Lakes Entrance lies 330 kilometres east of Melbourne on the Princes Highway
Search accommodation option in Lakes Entrance here!
Kernott Lake Morwell
Kernot Lake is located in the middle of Morwell. You will have to turn off the Princess Highway to find it. Kernot Lake is regularly stocked with fish and has free BBQs and picnic seats surrounding the lake for you to use. The lake also has an open-air museum, The Gippsland Heritage Walk. The Gippsland Heritage Walk takes you around the lake and explains the history of Gippsland for you. The Gippsland Heritage Walk is not to be missed as far as combining a little learning with fun things to do in your Latrobe Valley holidays such as fishing.
How to get to Kernot Lake
Turn left off the Princes Highway to Monash Way, just after the train overpass turns right and you will be in the Kernot Hall car park.
Coal Creek in Korumburra is a great day out for the whole family. I can’t believe a place like this has free entry and it is so family-friendly too. Coal Creek Community Park and Museum is home to around 30,000 objects ranging from trains to thimbles.
Each piece is important as it helps to tell us the story of life in South Gippsland during the pioneer times. You can take a picnic and enjoy it in the pioneer setting of Coal Creek. You can catch a small train ride and look in the shops, you can grab a coffee or just stroll around the heritage park. Coal Creek is an amazing day out in Gippsland and is a must-see when visiting Gippsland.
How to get to Coal Creek
Coal Creek is located on the South Gippsland Highway in Korumburra
Located in a tall native forest is the amazing Noojee Trestle Bridge. It is the tallest surviving wooden trestle bridge in Victoria (beating Stony Creek Trestle Bridge by 1 meter in height) The Noojee Trestle Bridge also marks the starting point for walks and cycling along the Gippsland Rain Trail.
This makes the Noojee Trestle Bridge a very popular spot for day-trippers to the Gippsland region. The Noojee Trestle Bridge Rail Trail is a short bike trail that meanders through the forest for three kilometres along a smooth dirt and gravel track. The Noojee Trestle Bridge Walk is six kilometres return, taking around two hours to complete. The Noojee Trestle bridge is one of the best Gippsland tourist attractions.
How to get to Noojee Trestle Bridge
Coming from Melbourne, head east on the Princes Freeway (M1), coming from Sale head west. Take a left at the Drouin exit and follow the signs towards Noojee. The road will eventually lead to a right turn onto Mount Baw Baw Tourist Rd and once you pass the Alpine Trout Farm, keep a lookout for the Trestle Bridge on your right 1km or so up the road.
Mirboo North is one of those charming little Gippsland towns and it is home to the starting point of the Grand Ridge Rail Trail. Starting in Mirboo North right behind the Grand Ridge Brewery the rail trail runs to Boolara. The great thing about this section of the Gippsland Rail Trail is that 95% of the trail is downhill which is great for kids experiencing the rail trail. The trail stretches for 13 kilometres through the Strzelecki Ranges following the old Mirboo North – Morwell Rail line. This is a great ride for families and it snakes its way through the forest. There are rest areas and information signs talking about the history of the area along the rail trail.
*At the end of that section in Boolara is a little park with toilets and a couple of cafe’s to get a drink or something to eat.
How to get to Mirboo North
Mirboo North is located 156 kilometres south-east of Melbourne. It is accessible by road from either the South Gippsland Highway via Leongatha and onto the Strzelecki Highway, or the Princes Highway with access from Trafalgar or Morwell.
The long Jetty has recently had a multi-million dollar makeover to make it functional again. Stretching an amazing 850 meters into the water towards Snake Island it makes for a unique walk for the family. The long Jetty was once used for cargo and servicing the offshore oils rigs before a fire damaged it.
With its overhaul, it can be used again by recreational fishermen. The finished jetty has been built to the requirements for safety with a handrail on the sides, public lighting, water supply and a fire service. The jetty also features fishing stations, artefacts and interpretive signage which makes it a great day trip destination in Gippsland.
Where is Port Welshpool?
Port Welshpool can be accessed off the South Gippsland Highway at Toora. Coming from Melbourne take the South Gippsland highway out of Cranbourne or coming from the east turn off at Sale and take the South Gippsland Highway
The Agnes Falls are located down South Gippsland way just outside of Toora. Agnes Falls is a classic waterfall that cascades over a series of rocks culminating in a 59-metre drop. It is best viewed after periods of heavy rain when the falls and surrounding rock pools are at their best. Agness Falls is the highest single span waterfall in Victoria. You will find picnic tables and toilet facilities near the car park
Where is Agnes Falls?
Agnes Falls Scenic Reserve is situated 196km southeast of Melbourne or 110 Kilometers south of Sale. Agnes Falls is easily reached from the South Gippsland Highway at Toora by following Silcocks Hill Road.
These days there is not much left of the Trinculo that run ashore on the 90 Mile Beach between Seaspray and Golden Beach on the 6th of September 1879. The Trinculo was built in 1758 in Bristol, England. It was on a journey from Albany, Western Australia to Newcastle, New South Wales.
Where is the Trinculo Wreck?
The Trinculo shipwreck is on Shoreline Drive around 6 km from Golden Beach or 20 km from Seaspray. Golden Beach can be reached from the South Gippsland Highway just out of Sale
At the Buchan Caves Reserve in East Gippsland, you will find an amazing freshwater pool. What makes this pool so special is that the water that fills the pool runs straight out of a cave that is no more than a few meters away. The water is always crystal clear and cold.
When I say cold I mean very cold, some of the iciest water I have ever come across. It is a great place for a bbq or picnic on a hot summers day, then cool off in the pool for the afternoon.
Where is Buchan Caves?
Buchan Caves is 4.5 hours east of Melbourne, 55 Minutes from Bairnsdale and 45 minutes from Lakes Entrance. Coming from Melbourne turn off at Bairnsdale towards Bruthen. Coming from Lakes Entrance turn off at Nowa Nowa towards Bruthen
Located in the recently opened Port of Sale Building in one of the biggest Gippsland towns, Sale Victoria. The Gippsland Art Gallery has a permanent collection on display for viewing by everyone. You will also find a rolling exhibition on show there throughout the year.
At the time of writing the Gallery was featuring 2 exhibitions called “Grand Country” and “Space”. The Gippsland Art Gallery overlooks the Port of Sale which holds a local market on the 3rd Sunday of every month.
Where is the Gippsland Art Gallery?
The Gippsland Art Gallery is on the Princess Highway in Sale.
Tucked away from sight in far East Gippsland, Australia is a relic of a forgotten time. A time when trains traversed the nation moving people and goods across this huge land that we live in. Twenty kilometres east of Lakes Entrance on the Princess Highway you may notice a sign that says “Historic Trestle Bridge”.
Three Kilometres of unsealed gravel road takes you deep into the Colquhoun State Forest. Here you will find one of the most unique Gippsland tourist attractions, The Stony Creek Trestle Bridge. The Stony Creek Trestle Bridge was built in the early part of the 20th century in 1916.
The bridge was constructed when the existing rail line from Melbourne to Bairnsdale extended to Orbost. This 97km Bairnsdale to Orbost extension made its way through the rugged terrain of East Gippsland.
This section of railway was to have been the most difficult rail project undertaken in Victoria due to the surrounding dense bushland. The wooden trestle bridge serviced the line for over 60 years until damaged by bushfire in 1980. The bridge was repaired and the services resumed.
Stony Creek Trestle Bridge is a Hidden Gem
Due to high infrastructure costs and low passenger numbers, the last train crossed the bridge in 1988. At 247 meters long and 20 meters high, it is the largest standing wooden trestle bridge of its kind in the State of Victoria. The bridge is listed on the Register of Historic Sites.
Get a tent today for your Gippsland camping experience
Building materials for the bridge included red ironbark and grey box timber. Stony Creek Trestle Bridge is a prime example of early engineering. Using skills and practises that utilised the resources and materials found on the site.
Things to do in Gippsland – Visit Stony Creek Bridge
You will find viewing platforms at either end of the wooden trestle bridge. You can also walk down and view the trestle bridge from underneath. The view from underneath gives you the sense of the scale and height of this relic of yesteryear.
You cannot walk on the wooden trestle bridge anymore as its top decking is in a state of disrepair and there are no guard rails on the sides. The top deck is actually fenced off to stop people getting out onto the bridge.
These days Rail Trails Victoria has the popular East Gippsland Rail Trail go right past the bridge on its Bairnsdale – Orbost rail-trail. This section of the Rail Trails Victoria section from Bruthen to Nowa Nowa is 30 kilometres long and passes the Stony Creek Trestle Bridge 5 kilometres from the finish
There is car parking available at either end of this amazing Gippsland tourist attraction. Toilets are on-site and there is a picnic table located just off to the side of the car park.
The Stony Creek Trestle Bridge is one of those finds that only happen when you take the chance to turn off the highway, to ask yourself why don’t we follow that little sign on the side of the road? Gippsland is full of little treasures like this waiting to be discovered by you!
We really enjoyed wandering around under and around the Stony Creek Trestle Bridge, it is definitely one of the places to visit in Gippsland. We plan on heading back out there for a bbq in the summer months.
There was so much to see out at the wooden trestle bridge and the wildlife out there was everywhere. There was no noise except for the calls of the birds and it was so peaceful. This is another good reason to visit Gippsland
Gippsland National Parks are many and varied and they are some of the best Victorian National Parks. The Gippsland region of Victoria in Australia is our home. The Gippsland Coast stretches from just east of Melbourne to the New South Wales border.
Gippsland is broken up into four sections East, West, South and Central Gippsland. Gippsland’s natural features are diverse from rugged mountains to rolling plains, rainforests, deserted coastlines, alpine regions to thousand-year-old forests.
We have spent great times camping, bushwalking, fishing and going to the Gippsland beaches with our kids and enjoying some of the best Victorian National Parks that are right on our doorstep!
It’s a great place to raise a family with so many outdoor activities available to participate in. Being such a big area National Parks are plenty. Gippsland is home to over 15 Victorian National Parks.
Many of these National Parks are popular with locals, day-trippers and international tourists who hire campervans in Australia for their trips. Here we talk our 6 of the best Victorian National Parks in Gippsland.
Gippsland National Parks – Wilsons Promontory National Park
The Prom as it’s affectionately known to Victorians is one of the most popular National Parks in the state. The Prom encompasses the southernmost tip of Australia. The Prom is renowned for its spectacular scenery of native flora, rain forests, and huge granite peaks that rise from the landscape.
Bushwalking is popular with many day treks and overnight walks possible. The trek to The Wilson Promontory Lighthouse is the most popular. The lighthouse sits on a rocky peninsula that stretches out into the wild waters of Bass Strait.
The waters around the prom are alive with a huge variety of marine life with everything from whales to seals. Whales pass the Prom each year on their migration routes. Fishing and camping are popular options for many visitors to the Prom.
Wilsons Prom accommodation consists of many self-contained campsites such as Yanakee, Shallow Inlet, Sandy Point and Tidal River for you to stay at.
If you can’t get Wilsons prom accommodation some of these will be the best places to stay near Wilsons Prom. If you are looking at camping at Wilsons prom you are best to get in quick as places fill up fast. Most of these parks are within a stone’s throw from the water and have access to some of the best Gippsland beaches.
Gippsland National Parks – Buchan Caves National park
The Buchan Caves are located on the outskirts of the town they are named after, Buchan. The Buchan Caves reserve consists of a campground, camp kitchen, swimming pool, shop and a national park information centre. There are 2 caves available in the Buchan caves reserve for visitors to tour through.
The Royal Cave and the Fairy Cave are the caves located on the Buchan Caves Reserve. The caves were formed over many millenniums by underground rivers cutting through the limestone.
The formation of the stalactites which are the feature of the caves is created by water seeping through the ground into the caves over millions of years.
Wildlife is aplenty in the reserve. If you camp at the Buchan Caves reserve you are likely to encounter kangaroo’s hopping around, koala’s in the tree’s and possums trying to raid your food supply at night! The pool at Buchan Caves is the coldest pool I have ever been in.
The water comes straight out of an underground cave. The pool is famous, you can ask anyone about Buchan Caves and sooner or later the conversation will get around to how cold the pool is. Bushwalking tracks are popular for short hikes.
Gippsland National Parks – The Alpine National Park
The Alpine National Park is the largest of all the Victorian National Parks. This park joins up with national parks located in New South Wales and The Australian Capital Territory.
These joined parks across three states work to protect most of the Australian Alps. The Alpine National Park encompasses 10 of the 11 highest mountains in Victoria. The park is renowned for diverse mountain landscapes, wild rivers, untouched forests giant exposed escarpments on open plains.
A popular way to experience the park is to drive the renowned Great Alpine Road which winds itself through the highest altitude roads in the state offering uncompromising panoramic views of the Victorian Alps. Winter Ski resorts such as Mt Hotham, Dinner Plain fall in the Gippsland region of the park.
These resort towns offer downhill, cross country skiing and snowboarding for all skill levels. In the summer months, these small towns become a mecca for bushwalking, mountain biking and fly fishing enthusiasts.
Gippsland National Parks – Cape Conron National Park
Cape Conron National Park is located in far East Gippsland near the township of Marlo. The Conron National Park is one of the most remote and wild sections of the Victorian coastline. Untouched and rugged are words that come to mind when describing this part of the coast. The park features the self-guide Cape Conron nature trail for the hikers.
Rock pooling swimming and fishing are popular activities for day-trippers and campers in the park. Scuba diving and snorkelling are recommended at the west cape beach and salmon rocks. This area is inhabited by seals and a wide variety of sea life that thrive in the bull kelp forests that reside under the water. Camping and bbq-ing are available at Cape Conron.
Gippsland National Parks – Mitchel River National Park
The Mitchel River National Park has impressive wilderness and river sceneries. The Mitchell River cuts its way through deep and remote gorges in this park. The river meanders through some of the unique flora and fauna in the state some of which is indigenous to this area only.
The best way to see the Mitchel River National Park is via white water rafting where you can experience the tranquil water and demanding rapids that characterise the Mitchel River.
It’s recommended that only experienced rafters take the river on (tours are available for the novices). Numerous walking tracks are situated throughout the Mitchel River National Park that takes you through forests of wattle tree and moss-covered rain forests.
Fishing for trout in remote area’s of the river is popular. Hunters stalk deer during the season while campers enjoy the tranquillity of the area. The Den of Nargun can be visited which is associated with the home of a beast in Aboriginal culture.
Gippsland National Parks – Tarra Bulga National Park
Tarra Bulga is a jointly managed National Park in Gippsland. The land where the Tarra Bulga National Park is located was once the land of the native aboriginal Gunaikurnai people.
Parks Victoria and the Gunaikurnai people oversee the care and maintenance of the Tarra Bulga National Park which recognises that the Gunaikurnai are connected to the land and speak for the land. Many easy bush walks are available at the Tarra Bulga National Park to suit all fitness levels. We choose to walk to the magnificent Corrigan’s Bridge.
The walk to the bridge is slightly downhill through a canopy of mountain ash trees that are hundred’s of years old, with their huge trunks and ferns as high as double story houses.
Corrigan’s Bridge is an amazing sight as it comes into view seemingly floating in mid-air amongst the forest. The walk back out from Corrigan’s bridge takes you through Fern Gully where giant ferns surround you in all directions and small streams flow through valley floor seemingly emerging from nowhere.
Tarra Bulga has a visitors centre and a bbq and picnic ground for you to enjoy. You will come up close to the many birds that live in the Tarra Bulga National Park while having a picnic.
Gippsland National Parks are plenty and out there waiting for you to explore. Visit Gippsland today. We hoped you enjoyed this article, you can find more of the best of Gippsland on our attractions page
Please find 2 more articles from Travels in Gippsland below for your reading enjoyment. Just click on the description to read.
About the Author
Mark has grown up and lived in the Gippsland area all his life. “I think I know a thing or 2 about Gippsland”. When Mark is not working he is out exploring the best of Gippsland with his wife and kids
Today we feature a guest post from renowned East Gippsland photographer Judy Blion. Judy lives and works on the Gippsland Lakes. I asked Judy to tell us about some great spots to take photos in East Gippsland. For all, you photography buff out there, take note as Judy lists some great Photography locations in Gippsland
RED BLUFF BEACH, LAKE TYERS
Red Bluff beach is located at the end of Red Bluff Road, Lake Tyers. It is a well-known surfing beach for the locals when the waves are up, and has an amazing and beautiful rocky headland. Sunrise is magical at this location, best photographed when at low tide, as the rocks covered in green moss light up when the sun hits the horizon.
BANCROFT BAY – METUNG
As you drive along the Metung Road, you will pass a beautiful boardwalk, numerous jetties, and the beautiful waters of Bancroft Bay. Its a favourite spot of mine to photograph, especially during sunrise when the waters can light up in various shades of oranges, reds and pinks.
BUCHAN & BUCHAN VALLEY
A beautiful spot to travel to is the town of Buchan, in East Gippsland. Every year on Easter Sunday a rodeo is held. For anyone wanting to get some amazing action shots, this is the place to go. It is a fun-filled day for the whole family.
The Old Buchan Road takes you on a drive above the township of Buchan and overlooks a beautiful vista below. A favourite time to photograph this area is very early on a foggy morning, as the fog looks like a blanket of cloud covering the town below. Landscape photographers will love this area.
NUNGURNER JETTY – NUNGURNER
Nungurner Jetty is a beautiful spot, located down the Nungurner Jetty Road in Nungurner. Beautiful boats can often be moored on the jetties, and make for some beautiful photography. Always a popular spot for fishing, and it is not uncommon to see the Burrunan Dolphins swimming past. Sunrise during the summer months can be magical.
So many places to photograph in the town of Lakes Entrance. From the many jetties along the Cunninghame Arm with fishing trawlers to the beautiful waters of Ninety Mile Beach. Bullock Island is another magical spot, drop in a fishing line, sit and enjoy the vast variety of bird life, and if you’re lucky you will see the local Burrunan Dolphins which are often seen as they travel between the Gippsland Lakes and the ocean.
Sunrises during the winter months are better along the North Arm, while in the summer months the sun lights up the Cunninghame Arm. Sunset photography can be taken from the many viewing areas along the road in and out of Lakes Entrance. Two favourite spots of mine are Jemmy’s Point Lookout or Kalimna, both overlook the entrance as well as a large area of the Gippsland Lakes below.
Salmon Rock at Cape Conran is a stunning rocky beach area with a jetty, and boat ramp, and is known to produce some brilliant sunset photography over the summer months. You can climb over the large rocks, find yourself a nice spot to photograph from, even find some stunning rock pools with reflections. If you have a Neutral Density Filter to block out light for your lens, the photos are endless with slowing down movement in the waves. Lots of bird life can also be found in the bush areas adjoining the beach.
The town of Mallacoota is beautiful all year round, but one of my favourite places to photograph would have to be Bastian Point. A nice wide angle lens will see you capture some beautiful rock formations, tidal movement, and rock pools. The jetties along the foreshore camping area are also well photographed during sunrise/sunsets. The Croajingalong National Park also offers many walking tracks, with lots of local wildlife to be found along the way.
This beautiful river between Swan Reach & Metung has some stunning trees along the water’s edge that make for great sunset photography all year round. The reflections in the water are magical. If you drive to the very end of the river where it meets Lake King you will find well known and well photographed old dead tree lies at the very end of the river.
MITCHELL RIVER SILT JETTIES
There is a lookout at the very start of the Silt Jetties which overlooks the entire area, showing the enormity of these long silt jetties. Access is from Eagle Point via a car where you can drive to the very end of the headland. Both sunrise and sunsets can produce some fantastic colours.
STONEY CREEK TRESTLE BRIDGE & COSTICKS WEIR
Located just out of Nowa Nowa, there is the stunning old Stoney Creek Trestle Bridge. Great for photography up above or even below in some areas. You can no longer walk across it for safety reasons but still makes for some great photography. Drive a little further down the road and you will find Costicks Weir. After some rain, you can see water trickling over the top, and foaming at the bottom.
I hope this article inspires you to visit Gippsland. There are many more Gippsland destinations for photographers out there waiting to be visited. Why not plan a weekend in Gippsland. I would like to thank Judy for contributing to the Travels in Gippsland website.
Travels in Gippsland wants to take you on a journey through this amazing region. We will be highlighting the very best Gippsland has to offer. You will see towns to visit, places to swim and fish, museums, camping, food and drink. We will give you a reason to visit Gippsland today
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