Sunday, 24 June 2012

East Gippsland

From the extensive Gippsland Lake system, beautiful beaches, National Parks and limestone caves the East Gippsland area can be enjoyed by a wide range of tourists.


Metung is a small village on the Gippsland Lakes and is a haven for those who love fishing or boating. 

Sometimes called the Riviera of the Lakes there is a range of quality accommodation to choose from.   We loved the look of Edgewater Terraces and McMillans as they are both located overlooking the lake and short walk to the yacht club or nearby restaurants.

The natural environment around Metung attracts a range of amazing bird life and fish as well as other native animals.   

Legend Rock

Metung also has cultural significance for the traditional owners the Gunaikurni as Legend Rock is located in the shallow waters beside the town.  Legend Rock is part of the Bataluk Cultural Trail which was been developed to introduce peoople to the Gunaikurni history and culture.

Nyerimilang Heritage Park

Nyerimilang Homestead

Nyerimilang Heritage Park was purchased by the Victorian Government in 1976 to display the history of the Gippsland Lakes area. A range of displays are located inside the homestead and the extensive gardens showcase the natural resources surrounding the house.  

Views of the lake from Nyerimilang Homestead

There are a range of short walks from 10 minutes to 30 minutes, a small shop run by volunteers, a picnic area including a children's playground and BBQ. 

Gardens surrounding the homestead

The gardens are well kept and have stunning views of the Gippsland Lakes which adjoin the property.

For a full history of the area see Nyerimilang - Tranquility on the chain of the Lakes

Lakes Entrance

Lakes Entrance is a larger town situated on Gippsland Lakes and 90 mile beach. Renowned for its beautiful seafood the area is popular for fishing, boating and swimming.

There are 3 beaches; Main Beach and Eastern Beach which are both popular with families as they're patrolled beaches, Lake Tyers Beach extends from Lake Bunga and is a challenging beach popular for surfing and body boarding.

Accommodation choices range from hotels, motels, caravan and camping grounds, to bed and breakfasts, backpackers and cottages. Lakes Entrance Accommodation.

Popular activities include fishing, swimming, surfing, kite flying or you can charter a range of boats, join a fishing tour or just eat at one of the boats now converted to restaurants. 

East Gippsland Rail Trail

The East Gippsland Rail Trail stretches 94 kilometres through a variety of forest and farmland. Along the way you'll see a range of trestle bridges, railway cuttings and embankments and the occasional glimpse of the Gippsland Lakes. The area is also rich in wildlife, birdlife and beautiful banksias.

Stony Creek Trestle Bridge

Buchan Caves

Buchan is located in Snowy River country and famous for its limestone caves. The Buchan Caves are a honeycomb of caves with beautiful limestone formations. Stalactites formed from the roof, and stalagmites build from the ground are both found throughout the caves.

Buchan at sunset

Cave tours of Royal Cave and Fairy Cave are run a number of times a day by Park Rangers. Tour costs are $15 for adults and $8.70 for a children or $41.50 for a family of 4.

Kangaroos enjoying afternoon tea at Buchan Caves Reserve

The Reserve has a picnic ground, caravan and camp ground and a wilderness retreat. All accommodation must be booked via Parks Victoria

Cape Conran Coastal Park

Cape Conran Coastal Park is located near Marlo and has heathlands, wild ocean beaches and banksia woodlands brimming with nectar-feeding birds. When we visited the area had been extensively damaged by recent storms.

East Cape Conran 

East Cape has a range of camping grounds and a lovely picnic area with tables and a BBQ. There are a range of walks including a Koorie board-walk. East Cape was previously a meeting place for the Gunaikurnai who would meet with the Bidawal and Monero people.

Salmon Rocks

At West Cape we found Salmon Rocks and shell middens which are mounds of left over shells where the Gunaikurnai sat and ate seafood for thousands of years. 

Shell Middens

For more information on the Cape Conran Coastal Park 

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Bondi to Bronte Beach

Said to be one of Australia's most famous beaches Bondi has gained further fame through the TV show Bondi Rescue which showcases the amazing work of the Bondi lifeguards. 

A view of the beach from the main road

The Lifeguard's station

The beach stretches for around a kilometre and has an average water temperature of 21 degrees celsius in the summer and is popular with surfers and swimmers alike. The beach is patrolled by the Bondi Surf Club which is recognised as the oldest surf lifesaving club in the world. Established in 1907 the club introduced surf lifesaving to Australia and is also said to have pioneered the famous surf reel and line. 

Swimmers are advised to swim between the flags as there are a number of rips operating along the beach which change and move constantly.  The most famous rip is called "Backpackers Express" or the "Bondi Tram" or the "Bronte Express" because if you're caught in the rip you could end up in nearby Bronte.  This is why the Bondi Lifesavers are so busy rescuing an average 2500 people each year. About 85% of those rescued are tourists for more information on beach safety.

The walk from Bondi to Bronte beach is a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of this area and and explore why so many people call Bondi home or are attracted to visiting the area.  The walk is 1.5 kilometres in length and a pretty easy walk taking around 20 - 30 minutes.

At the southern end of Bondi Beach is the Bondi Icebergers Club which began 50 years ago when a group of enthusiasts met near the Bondi baths to indulge in swimming during the cold winter months. The club grew from those early beginnings and now has a pool, gym and bistro. 

Bondi Icebergers Club at the southern end of Bondi Beach

Next we came across Tamarama Beach a popular little inlet with a park at the back of the beach. There was a small cafe and lots of people enjoying a lovely sunny autum morning.

Tamarama Beach

 Despite its size the beach still has a surf life saving club staffed by volunteers on summer weekends who no doubt are also kept busy due to a tricky rip. So like all Australian beaches its recommended that you swim betweent the flags.

Continuing on the walk we climb back to the cliffs surrounding the beach and head towards Bronte Beach.

Overlooking Tamarama Beach from the walk towards Bronte Beach

Bronte Beach

The first view of Bronte Beach showed a lovely stretch of beach with parklands behind and the cliffs of the headland to the south.  At the base of the cliffs sits an ocean fed pool which is popular with locals if the number of swimmers are any indication.

The south headland also shapes Bronte's waves which break over rocks which mean the surf is more appropriate for experienced surfers.

Pool at Bronte

The beach is patrolled by the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club  who are the birthplace of surf lifesaving  in Australia having been formed in 1903. 

Bronte Park is well maintained and popular with tourists and families. There are a number of BBQ huts and a minature railway which was popular with children. On the streets surrounding the beach are lots of cafes and restaurants. 

You can also catch the local bus back to Bondi Junction and head back into the city if you don't want to do the return walk to Bondi Beach.

Downloadable Map of the Bondi to Bronte Coastal walk