There’s more to regional Victoria than the Great Ocean Road and the beaten paths. With this itinerary I intended to explore a circumscribed path around the state of Victoria including Lakes Entrance, Mallacoota, Corryong, Shepparton and Mildura. The trip also includes crossing borders with New South Wales, so please take COVID border restrictions into account.
Day 1: Melbourne to Lakes Entrance: 4 hours, 320 Kms.
Not really off the beaten path but plenty to do here as you get to your destinations hidden farther away from the capital. It’s where the lake meets/enters the ocean. I’ve listed the places you can cover over 2 days in the order of my liking:
- Raymond Island near Paynesville, it’s Koala city on this island.
- Lake Tyres beach and sandbar, walk on a sandbar with lake on one hand and ocean on the other. It’s not very often you can say you did that.
- Entrance walk, walk along the ninety mile beach all the way to the end, and if you’re lucky you may catch dolphins or seals. But it’s not disappointing even if you don’t as you can take a walk along the boardwalk for a view of the ‘entrance’.
- Buchan Caves, likely closed due to current restrictions, but if it’s not, it’s definitely worth a visit.
- Lake entrance cruise, a casual cruise through the Gippsland Lakes with a lot of historical trivia to take home.
- Nyerimilang Heritage Park, where you can take a cultural tour to learn about how the Gunaikurnai maintain their connection to their ancestral lands and waters.
- Lake Wellington
Day 3: Lakes Entrance to Mallacoota: 2.5 hours, 200 Kms.
A small holiday Gippsland getaway in the far eastern corner of Victoria, a great place to relax, away from the hustle of traffic and city. An even better experience was the stay at Gypsy point lodge with a fantastic sunset view against a backdrop of grazing or hopping kangaroos and lyrebirds warbling as they mimic other birds or even your electronic devices!
- Go for a walk at dawn or dusk to see Kangaroos idling.
- Visit the beaches at Bastion point and Betka Beach.
Day 4: Mallacoota to Corryong: 6.5 hours, 550Kms
This is where you would have to cross borders with NSW if you take the scenic route via the snowy mountains along the Alpine way, which I had the luxury of doing at the time. P.S: This was after the 2nd wave of COVID-19 in Melbourne. Don’t miss the splendid scenery at Lake Merimbula (in NSW) and Reggie’s lookout. Just before getting to Corryong, views of the Kancoban Dam. is worth a stop It’s like the saying that a journey can be more beautiful than the destination itself.
Day 5: Corryong to Shepparton: 3.5 hours, 300 Kms.
If you include Mildura in your itinerary, which I strongly recommend you do (unless of course there are no border restrictions in place) Shepparton is the best point to halt a night. The journey on the road is spectacularly adorned with views of Lake Hume with perfect spots for you to lay your picnic baskets on.
Day 6: Shepparton to Mildura: 5 hours, 450 Kms.
Far North-West of Victoria, Mildura is located on the banks of Murray river. On the way is a 120,000 year old and unique salt lake which is a bucket-list worthy sight. When wet and hot, this lake turns pink from the algae in it, although all I saw was a light pink hue during mid-day. But what took the spotlight was what came next. Mungo National Park is one of the driest and hottest places you would’ve seen, located over what was once a lake 15,000 years ago. Apart from the fact that there are human remains found here dating back to 40,000 years, the sight of lunette- the ‘walls of China’ are spectacular, despite having to endure the heat and possibility of encountering snakes.
Day 7: Mildura to Melbourne: 6 hours, 550 Kms.
Before you head back, catching sunrise over the Murray river is a must-do recommendation I would make, even if you are not a morning person. That’s going to make up for the semi-drab journey, before you return to the familiar sight of the cityscape and all the rumpus.