5-9 March: Admiring East Gippsland

Author: Mr A

Location: Seaspray and Nungurner, Victoria, Australia

Tuesday: Mrs A woke on her birthday to another stunning morning overlooking Wilsons Prom. Sadly it was the closest we were going to get on this trip as we needed to be on our way. We had booked into a park at the small settlement of Seaspray, in Victoria’s glorious East Gippsland region. As soon as we arrived, we pretty much unhitched and headed straight off into the nearby town of Sale, as I had found out about a pub with a particularly good reputation for dinner.

Birthday girl with her new necklace from Melbourne

I had been given great advice – this place was tremendous. If you find yourself that way the Criterion Hotel deserves your patronage. As so many reviewers said before me “why isn’t my local pub like this?”. And really there’s no practical reason it couldn’t be in most of Australia that has a climate that supports the growing of local produce.

The chef was a local lad, the produce from all around the area, the funding to invest in the pub was all coming (I was told by the manager) from reinvested profits since they managed to fill the place most nights. How? By offering a very different menu to the usual unimaginative fare of chips with some combination of “parmy (chicken in breadcrumbs), steak, or meat pie. We had delicious Asian influenced starters and duck with various berries and oh so fresh veggies for main.

Happy customers outside the renovated Criterion Hotel

Wednesday: Sadly the next day it was blowing a hoolie, so we were confined to quarters most of the time, only briefly venturing down onto the sand blasting beach.

There’s drama on the horizon – 90-mile beach at Seaspray
Being sand blasted on the beach, trying to imagine what it’s like on a calm sunny day
The wind is shifting the sand dunes like snow drifts

We didn’t see much of Seaspray other than the sea spray. Sorry but couldn’t resist that!

Thursday: The next day we had been generously invited to stay with fellow Zone owners Di and Mark, who live in the small settlement of Nungerner, about a 10 minute drive out of Lakes Entrance. What a little slice of heaven their home and its surrounds has been. Every direction there seems to be miles and miles of tranquil lakes and rivers, bursting with birds, wildlife and views at every turn.

Mark and Di have a resident echidna – quite used to people by all accounts!

The Gippsland Lakes are Australia’s largest area off enclosed water at 103 kilometres long. We have really enjoyed it here and only scratched the surface after 3 days.

Our first night saw us meeting up with some more Zoners, Jo and Scott, who wanted to try out our packrafts at the nearby settlement of Metung.

Zoners catch up at the Metung Hotel
The Metung Hotel
Looking out into the lake

This bustling little village has a pub set in an idyllic lakeside location with 180 degree views up and down the channel.

Friday: We couldn’t wait to get on the water, so in the morning wandered down with our little boats in our backpacks to the jetty that is a few hundred metres from Di and Mark’s place.

The still morning water – smoke haze from the bush fires hanging over the water
Perfect reflections
There used to be a cormorant on every post!
Enjoying this a lot!
Heading off to explore a commercial fishing boat
Someone with a little imagination has built little houses on their beachfront
Mrs A looking quite relaxed
Onwards to the next little bay – you could explore here for weeks
Arriving at the Metung Yacht Club

We paddled around the edge of the lake and ended up back at the pub at Metung…again…this time resisiting a cold beer and heading back to the serenity of Mark and Di’s home and its leafy courtyard.

Mark kindly sorted out some plumbing issues on our Zone. That was his main trade before retiring but now seems to have a mastery of almost every trade there is! A useful set of skills when caravans seem to need so much ongoing maintenance. Di was a kindergarten teacher and tour guide for the local caves at Buchanan, and they both share our passion for walking and the great outdoors. Time therefore slipped away so easily chatting about our respective adventures. Memories being relived and shared, a wonderful thing.

Our fur child is equally enraptured by their home and strolls around with her flag of a tail held high in pleasure. Its brilliant for us to see her so happy, especially knowing in a few short weeks we will be bidding her goodbye for 7 months! Thank goodness we are lucky enough to have two sets of foster parents who are equally crazy about this gorgeous natured little bundle of loveliness.

Stalking skinks in the flower beds
Princess Tassie has explored every corner of Di and Mark’s garden
Investigating secret pathways
Content in the sunny courtyard
Happy cat mode with the tail held high
And relaxing in the sunshine

Saturday: On Saturday Metung held a small market which was especially bustling as it is a long weekend for Victoria.

Eggplant and tomatoes purchased…no garlic….
Plenty of choice in this little market

Fresh veggies purchased it was off to the popular tourist destination of Lakes Entrance.

Before dropping down into the town we stopped at a lookout which really explained the naming of the town!

Amazing views from the lookout
We can see the strength of the current from up here

We had a date with the best fish and chip shop in town for lunch. Sadly no mushy peas or pickled eggs on the menu, I’ll have to wait another few weeks for those in England, but still a not bad effort for Aussie friers!

The Ferryman – delicious fresh fish
More happy punters!

It was our last night here with Di and Mark, so we gathered in the courtyard for drinks and nibbles and whiled away another lovely evening planning how to turn our respective travel dreams into memories.

Final night’s drinks and nibbles with Mark and Di

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