Gippsland is no longer the weekend destination for those who wander in the outdoors. Today, with a host of local food and wine producers popping up, the region is becoming an ideal retreat for rather longer stays.
Traversing through Melbourne in the morning traffic, you find yourself in West Gippsland in little more than an hour.
When the city gives way to an expanse of rolling hills and lush farmland, you’re in Warragul, the gateway to one of the country’s most revered natural destinations.
Gippsland – from the hills in The Great Dividing Range that roll over into New South Wales, to the lakes, marshes, and lagoons that stretch inland along 90 Mile Beach – is a wonderfully versatile weekend destination, but considering its many charms, it would be a crime not to stay a little longer.
Particularly, its growing reputation for quality artisan cheese, cool climate wines, Wagyu beef, and even rainbow trout, makes it a destination of note in and of itself.
Hogget Kitchen is known for neat cool-climate wines. Its winemakers produce 11 varieties from grapes grown in the vineyard, with an aged pinot noir, riesling, and a unique field blend.
Inside the restaurant, wines are paired seasonally with local meat and dairy, and fresh produce picked from the farm.
Address: 6 Farrington Close, Warragul
Less than 30 minutes south of Warragul, as you peel off the main road, you traverse down through the valley and into West Gippsland’s dairy farming heartland.
Tamsin’s Table, a 45-hectare property run by Tamsin Carvan and her family in Poowong East, is perhaps the most authentic local experience in the region.
Tamsin brings meat and produce from the farm into her hilltop farmhouse, where she runs cooking classes and shares food over her rambling, long kitchen table.
Address: 63-67 Commercial St, Korumburra
Prom Country Cheese
For an authentic experience of the region’s dairy produce after lunch, Prom Country Cheese, in Moyarra, is open daily for cellar door tastings.
Best known for producing artisan sheep cheese (their Prom Picnic Sheep Pecorino won gold at the Melbourne Fine Food awards in 2012), share the plowman’s platter with paired wines from the region, while looking over the dairy.
Address: 275 Andersons Inlet Rd, Moyarra
Bassine Specialty Cheeses
Completing the round trip back to Melbourne, stop by Bassine Specialty Cheeses, which resides on a farm just off the Bass Highway back to Melbourne.
Open for cellar door tastings on Fridays and Saturdays, this tiny factory produces a range of fresh, handmade artisan cheeses from cows on the farm, named for places in the region.
Address: 2125 Bass Hwy, Kilcunda
Nicholson River Winery
Owned by Juliet and Ken Eckersley, Nicholson River Winery produces small batches of specialty wines, to be paired specifically with food. If you’re on the look-out for older vintage wines, this is the place to see.
Address: 57 Liddells Rd, Nicholson
For a friendly country pub with a homey feel, you can’t go wrong with Mitta Pub. Boasting a six page wine list and some of the best beers on tap, just get your credit card out already.
Address: 5557 Omeo Hwy, Mitta Mitta
Loch Brewery & Distillery
Melinda and Craig Davies run the Loch Brewery & Distillery, which is housed in the beautifully restored old bank building on Victoria Road.
They produce a dark ale, amber ale and a best bitter on site, while they’ve also got a range of gin. Single malt whiskey is the long game for Craig, who expects his first batch within 18 months.
Address: 42/44 Victoria Rd, Lock
Paynesville Wine Bar
Voted regional Victoria’s most popular wine and music venue, Paynesville Wine Bar hosts local live music acts while offering patrons a large range of wines, spirits and boutique beers by the glass. Did we forget to mention it’s dog friendly?
Address: 85a Esplanade, Paynesville
Bear Gully Coastal Cottages
On a secluded property overlooking Maitland Beach, abutting Cape Liptrap Coastal Park, are three types of private cottages – for couples, families, and groups. Located down a private timber track, it’s an idyllic place to swim, fish, snorkle and dive amongst the rock pools.
Address: 35 Maitland Court, Walkerville South
Corringle Slips Camping Area
If roughing it is the name of the game, Corringle Foreshore Reserve has set up a spectacular beachfront camping area. The site is equipped with barbecues, fireplaces, picnic tables and pit toilets. Swimming is not advised at Corringle due to strong rips and currents, but bush walking is another alternative.
Address: Corringle Road, East Gippsland, VIC
Gabo Island Lighthouse Reserve
Out in far East Gippsland sits Gabo Island. Sitting 13 kilometres away from Mallacoota, hop onboard a boat to reach this destination. Book yourself into a room in the Assistant Lightkeeper’s Residence. A quirky and unique accommodation idea if you’re keen on changing it up.
Address: Gabo Island, Victoria
Venus Bay Eco Retreat
This sustainable boutique accommodation is nestled in prime bush land in South Gippsland. The Venus Bay Eco Retreat sits on 5.6 hectares of land, giving you the freedom to roam while keeping an eye out for the unique wildlife. The property utilises renewable energy sources and aims to continually maintain the biodiversity of the environment and promote healthy birdlife.
Address: 802 Lees Rd, Venus Bay
Snowy River Estuary Walk
The coastal town of Marlo sits right along the bottom of Snowy River, the 5 kilometre walk is easy while getting that breathtaking view in the mix. Beach hop at Mots Beach and Sampsons Beach along the way to give yourself a well-deserved break.
East Gippsland Rail Trail
Start over at Bairnsdale or Obost to hit the East Gippsland Rail Trail. Hire out a mountain bike and get on the track. The whole trail is 92 kilometres in total, so don’t expect to knock it out in one day. Snowy River Cycling offers Rail Trail Multi Day Rides, booking you accommodation and transporting your luggage throughout the trek.
Wilsons Promontory National Park is located on the south-east coast of Victoria. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to do at Victoria’s oldest national park. With more than 400,000 visitors heading there each year, the view must be worth it.
Warragul is 90 minutes by car or train from Melbourne.