One of the great things about living in Gippsland is that you can go swimming anywhere from the mountains to the sea. Being such a big area as Gippsland is, most parts will have their own little swimming holes that are popular with locals and others who have discovered these gems. Today I am going to introduce you to two of my favourite freshwater swimming holes in Gippsland. Surprisingly enough they are both located in Briagolong just out of Maffra. Even more surprising is that they are located on the same creek just a few kilometers from each other.
Briagolong is located 20 kilometres from Maffra and 270 kilometres east of Melbourne. Briagolong is more of a village than a town. 1 pub, bakery, cafe, shop and an art gallery make up Briagolong. This small town has a rather eclectic feel about it. The community is based around the local pub. The pub is popular with travellers heading into the high country especially towards Dargo. Expect to see cowboy hats, check shirts and RM Williams stickers adorning the utes parked outside.
These 2 great freshwater swimming spots in Braigolong are known as the Quarries Reserve and the Blue Pools Reserve. They are both located on the Freestone Creek in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. The Freestone Creek runs off Lees Creek in the mountains and meets up with the Avon River near Stratford.
The Quarries Reserve Briagolong
The Quarries Reserve is located 2.6km from Briagolong on the Freestone Creek Road. You wind your way down into the Quarries on a sealed road with speed humps. What opens up before your eyes is a bush setting with giant gum trees rising up, birds chirping and the sounds of the creek running. The Quarries reserve is wedged between the elevated road and the Freestone Creek.
The Reserve is split into 2 sections. At one end is a shed with fireplaces and a playground for the kids. The shed has a picnic table inside for limited seating. At the other end of the reserve is the camping area. This area has a few firepits, picnic table and an exposed shelter to sit and eat under. There are toilets available on site with cold showers.
Access to the Freestone Creek is available all along the reserve. The main swimming area is located near the shed and the playground area. Here you will find a nice water hole with clear running water. Camping at the Quarries reserve is $10 a night payable at the local store in Briagolong. One thing you must remember is that the Reserve is a carry in, carry out park. what you take in you must take out with you. Talk about a budget family getaway for a few nights!
The Blue Pools Briagolong
The Blue Pools Briagolong is also located on Free Stone Creek Road. It is a bit further along from the Quarries at around 8.5km from Briagolong. The Blue Pools consists of two separate car parks, free camping area and the Blue Pools swimming hole. Get all your camping gear HERE
The Blue Pools is a popular free canoeing Gippsland site. You will find plenty of space, picnic tables, fire pits and 1 toilet. Yes, just 1 single cubicle for use. The campground is dirty and dusty just to be warned with very little grass and again it is a carry in, carry out site.
The Briagolong Blue Pools swimming area is large much larger than the Quarries. As a kid, we used to enjoy jumping off the high rocks into the water at the gorge of the Blue Pools. It used to seem so high with the water so far away. In reality, the jump was about 3.5 meters. The kids of today have taken to using ropes to swing of the trees into the water. The Blue Pools is like a bay of sorts. There is a semi-circle of sand and rocks that ring the water with a tiny creek flowing to the side as the hills rise directly up creating a gorge
The water at Blue Pools gets deep very quick. So be a good swimmer or be prepared at the least. There are some amazing bush walks that start off from the car park. The Bluff walk is short but leads off on a steep rise to the top of the gorge. The Peregrine Lookout is a little more serious. The circuit from Blue Pool to the Peregrine lookout takes about an hour return. The lookout is aptly names after the Peregrine Falcon. The Falcon nests nearby from September to December each year
Insiders Tip: On the road between the Quarries and the Blue Pools is another swimming spot. It is virtually unknown to many. There is no facilities, there is no car park. Its called the Blue Mark. You may see a faint blue circle on a tree and dirt shoulder on the side of the road. There is a narrow bush track that winds its way down the hill to the Blue Mark. The Blue Mark is another quality swimming spot on the Freestone Creek
Looking for something to do this weekend? If the weather is hot get in the car and visit these two great Gippsland Freshwater swimming spots.
For many people visiting Gippsland in summer means only one thing, time to hit the beaches! Gippsland is blessed with some great beaches and none are more popular than the 90 Mile Beach. It’s fine white sand, blue waters and sand dunes as far as the eye can see, make it the place to have a swim on a hot day and Lakes Entrance is the capital of the 90 Mile Beach. Tourists flock in their droves to visit Lakes Entrance in the warmer months of the year to enjoy a piece of that beach to themselves. The Lakes Entrance caravan parks, hotels and motels fill up fast. Here we are going to look at 5 popular things to do in Lakes Entrance.
Things to do in Lakes Entrance – The Entrance Walk
Head across the footbridge towards the 90-Mile Beach and you will come across the sign for The Entrance Walk. A 5 kilometre, 2-hour return walk along either the beach, the foreshore or through the sand dunes will take you to the entrance. The Entrance is where the waters of Bass Straight / The 90 Mile beach meet the Gippsland Lakes. At the Entrance, you may see seals, dolphins and even Whales swimming by at certain times of the year. The walk is pretty easy and certainly picturesque. Wear some comfortable and easily removable shoes such as Skechers. Allow 3 hours for plenty of stops and exploring along the Lakes Entrance Beach.
Swimming at the Lakes Entrance Beaches
You will find lifesavers patrolling the beaches during the warmer months especially at the main surf beach over the footbridge and at Eastern Beach. You will often find a sandbar at the Lakes Entrance beaches and the water can be quite shallow as little as 20 meters or so out from the shore. This is good but it can also mean there are strong waves that break close to shore that you will need to get through. Just be careful if you are not an experienced beach swimmer or just head straight to the beaches that are patrolled to be safe. You will find lots of people and families swimming at the beach so have fun and enjoy the waves. Make sure you slip, slop and slap on the sunscreen, hat and rash vest for sun protection.
Lakes Entrance also has an indoor aquatic centre if the ocean is not your thing. The aquatic centre sometimes has blow up play equipment for the kids to have fun with.
Gippsland things to do – Mini Golf at Lakes Entrance
What else is there to do in Lakes Entrance with kids? Play a round of mini golf! These days Lakes Entrance has quite a few options for mini golf. At last count, there were 4 different mini golf courses to play. You will find 3 in the main street of Lakes Entrance and the other course is located towards Eastern Beach. This course also has the ever-popular pit trampolines that both kids and adults enjoy. Mini golf has been a mainstay of fun and family entertainment in Lakes Entrance for generations.
BBQ or Picnic
Lakes Entrance has many places to have a bbq or picnic. When you first enter Lakes Entrance just over the bridge on the North Arm you will find the latest BBQ area just off the roundabout. This area on the waterside has undercover bbq’s and seating. The playground includes climbing frames, swings and even a basketball half court. The electric BBQ’s are free. If you forget anything Aldi Lakes Entrance is straight over the road.
At Eastern Beach Lakes Entrance you will find 4 BBQ’s with picnic tables and play equipment. The BBQ’s are free and electric with some of the play equipment under shade sails. The Lakes Entrance beach is just 100 meters away with a walk over the sand dunes.
Public toilets at the North Arm BBQ area are 200 meters away near the boat ramp.
Public toilets at Eastern Beach Lakes Entrance bbq area are located adjacent to the area. Don’t forget to bring the BBQ equipment!
Lakes Entrance Fishing
Fishing in Lakes Entrance is very popular and Lakes Entrance fishing comes in 3 different forms. You can fish off the Lakes Entrance Beach, you can fish off the Lakes Entrance wharves and you can fish in the Gippsland Lakes by boat. The easiest places to access the beach at Lakes Entrance for fishing is Eastern Beach car park number 2. In the middle of town and the north arm, you will find over a dozen wharves or jetties to cast a line off. This is great if you are a newbie fisherman or have kids in tow. The Gippsland Lakes can be accessed with a fishing charter out of Lakes Entrance. The putt putt boats are also available to be hired in the North Arm that will get you out on the water.
It is a requirement that you have a fishing licence if you do plan on going for a fish. There are also strict catch measurements on certain fish and limits of how many you can take home with you.
The putt putt boats don’t require you to have a boat license, so its a great chance for families to go boating without buying a boat. You can order your fishing eqipment before you arrive and pick it up at BCF in Bairnsdale on the way.
Lakes Entrance Accommodation
Esplanade Spa and Resort:
This 4.5-star property offers 134 elegantly designed rooms. This property features 1,2 and 3 bedroom apartments. Located at the junction of Cunningham Arm and the North Arm means there is water on both sides of the property
The facilities at this amazing Lakes Entrance accommodation property include.
This Lakes Entrance accommodation property has a choice of cabins and villas to stay in. The Tourist Park also features spots for tents and caravans. Located on the North Arm close to the water for fishing and boating. Walking distance to nearby shops such as Woolworths
For all your accommodation needs please check out Booking.com
Places to Eat. Lakes Entrance Restaurants
Lakes Entrance RSL
The RSL has a menu made up of both Chinese and Australian cuisine. The bistro seats 180 people, it is open 7 days a week for both lunch and dinner. You will find gaming machines as well as a TAB inside. Like most RSL clubs from time to time you will find live entertainment happening.
Location: 221 Esplanade, Lakes Entrance VIC 3909
The Ferryman Cafe is a great Lakes Entrance restaurant for seafood, The Ferryman Cafe is a floating restaurant built on an old barge that is mored near the post office jetty on the Esplanade. The Ferrymen as mentioned is known for its modern Australian menu featuring delightful fresh local seafood,
How to Get To Lakes Entrance
Lakes Entrance is located on the Princes Highway in East Gippsland. Travelling from Melbourne to Lakes Entrance via the highway you will cover a distance of 330 kilometres and take you around 3.5 hours to reach. There are many attractions to see when coming from Melbourne to Lakes Entrance, so plan ahead and take your time. Arriving from the opposite direction you will find Lakes Entrance 2.5 hours from the New South Wales border.
The public transport system (V/Line in rural Victoria) runs trains to Bairnsdale daily, where you can transfer to a bus that will take you to Lakes Entrance
We hope you enjoyed this article from Travels in Gippsland. We have 2 more things to do in Gippsland articles for you to read below. Just click the image to be taken to the article.
Phillip Island is in far south Gippsland, about as far as Gippsland stretches. Phillip Island would be the most popular of Gippsland tourist attractions. Phillips Islands close proximity to Melbourne allows it to draw bug crowds all year around. The Koala Conservation Centre is one of the best things to do in Phillip Island. Now, who does not like a koala! The Phillip Island Koala Conservation Centre is located on 6 acres of bushland in the middle of Phillip Island.
Phillip Island Wildlife Park – Koalas
You enter this venue through the gift shop, cafe information centre. Staff will happily give you any information you need about the park and tips for seeing the Koalas. There is a great information section inside the centre. You should spend the first 10-20 minutes of reading and be learning about the koalas’ habitat, what they eat, how long they sleep and much more.
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. Just walking the boardwalks is a great experience it is like your walking through the treetops.
The treetop boardwalks help bring you into close proximity with the koala. We were amazed that you could see the Koalas so up close and personal. Because Koalas sleep for up to 20 hours a day it can be hard to spot them from a distance.
We spotted about 6 at close range some even only a few feet away from us. You could just about reach out and touch them, BUT that’s a no don’t ever touch native animals. Down on the ground away from the koalas, you will also be able to spot 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. Let’s be honest who does not love Koalas! You may never get this close to a koala again. The Phillip Island Conservation Park can put you an arm’s length away.
Phillip Island Koala Conservation Center Opening Hours
– 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 Accommodation
For our Phillip Island accommodation, we stayed at the Ramada Resort Phillip Island. The self-contained cabins were roomy and comfortable with all the modern cons. The resort has features such as a pool, games room, restaurant and much more. You will find a great review of the Ramada Resort from Wyld Family Travel on their 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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