The best things to see and do in Gippsland

Eagles Nest, Inverloch

Joanne Brookfield

Posted March 07, 2022

Occupying almost one fifth of the south-eastern side of Victoria, Gippsland enjoys long stretches of coastline, from Wilsons Promontory right up to the border of NSW.

Inland, the region is bounded by mountains and high plains, so whether you’re looking for beaches and surf breaks; mountain ranges, forests and lakes; wineries, farmland and food producers; or towns offering that old-school country charm and history, Gippsland has something for you to enjoy.

In fact, Gippsland is so big, it’s divided into five key areas.

Phillip Island

Attracting visitors from around the world, one of Australia’s largest fairy penguin colonies calls Summerlands home. At sunset, little penguins emerge from the ocean to waddle back to their burrows, which you can watch from tiered seating and the underground viewing area. Alternatively, take a fully guided tour with a ranger, with RACV Members saving on amazing penguin experiences.

Famous for its beaches, surfers also head to Phillip Island (Summerland Peninsula for reef breaks, Cape Woolamai for beach breaks) while at the sandy beaches in main towns Cowes and San Remo, you can swim, kayak and stand-up paddle board, or simply feast at the many restaurants with sea views.

Cowes jetty is also where you depart for seal-spotting boat tours or catch a ferry to French Island. 

Churchill Island, another nearby island with an historic homestead, farm, scenic 5km walking track and monthly farmers market, is accessible by car.

To really have a proper road trip, an Apollo Motorhome is the best way to do it. From Phillip Island, take the ‘Penguins to Prom Drive’, which travels along the rugged cliffs of Bass Coast for ocean vistas plus winds through the verdant, undulating countryside of South Gippsland to Wilsons Promontory National Park. RACV Members save on attractions and experiences on Phillip Island.

People looking at little penguins waddle home

Experience the magic of watching little penguins waddle home at Phillip Island Nature Park.

South Gippsland

You can’t get any further south on the mainland than Wilsons Promontory – Victoria’s largest coastal wilderness area. The Prom has iconic scenery – think white sandy beaches with azure coves – and labyrinthine walking tracks through forests populated with emus, wombats, echidnas and hundreds of rosellas at Tidal River. Down here you’ll also find Squeaky Beach, where rounded grains of quartz make a squeaking sound when you walk. 

The Bass Coast is also home to several classic beaches, including Yanakie, Venus Bay, Cape Paterson and Kilcunda, which is also where both the Bass Coast Rail Trail and George Bass Coastal Walk begin. Wonthaggi is effectively the CBD of the Bass Coast, with plenty of retail, cafes and coal mining history, but it’s Inverloch where RACV Members might want to stay.

Positioned between wetlands and ocean beaches, the eco-friendly RACV Inverloch Resort has been designed to complement the coastal landscape while also offering guests dramatic views over Bass Strait and Anderson Inlet. The resort also offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets, with villas and hotel rooms, plus a caravan park in native bushland.

Inverloch is on the South Gippsland Drink Trail and is also where 126-million-year-old dinosaur fossils have been found at The Caves beach. There’s also plenty of water sports, walking trails ad eco-boat tours, plus an annual Jazz Festival and summertime food and wine festival, which makes RACV Inverloch Resort a great base for a Gippsland getaway.

Not only is Inverloch the halfway point between Phillip Island and The Prom, you’re also ideally located to head inland and explore the hinterland and Strzelecki Ranges.


Board walk with water at RACV Inverloch Resort

RACV Inverloch Resort is set between wetlands and pristine beaches of the beautiful Bass Strait.

West Gippsland

In West Gippsland, surf breaks are swapped out for snow sports and alpine adventures, with Mount Baw Baw being one of the big attractions. With a Snow Factory guaranteeing snow, and only 150 km from Melbourne, this is Victoria’s most accessible ski destination. In the warmer months, there’s mountain biking and hiking through the wildflowers.

Full of lovingly preserved buildings from the gold rush days, Walhalla is like stepping back in time. For the full ye olde experience, take a ride on the 1900s Walhalla Goldfields Railway or tour underground goldmines. Nearby, the Thomson River offers kayaking and rafting with some low-grade rapids.

Warragul is West Gippsland’s main hub and here you’ll find plenty of cheese from the many local dairies at the cafes and providores nestled among the heritage buildings along the cute streetscapes. To sample more local produce and live music, the Warragul Farmers Market is on the third Saturday of every month, while Creative Harvest, where you can visit flourishing food gardens, and Farm World, happens annually. 

Yarragon, on the Princes Highway just east of Warragul, is where creatives want to head to make the most of the art galleries, antiques, books, collectables, homewares and gift stores. Or head north from Warragul to Neerim South, another bucolic town full of art lovers that is also a popular stopover en route to Mount Baw Baw.

From Neerim South, head further north to Noojee where you’ll find the cascading beauty of both Toorongo Falls, a tiered waterfall, and Amphitheatre Falls on the Tooronga River, where you can see both via a looped walking circuit.


People skiing down a mountain at Mount Baw Baw

Hit the slopes at Mount Baw Baw. 

Central Gippsland

Also known as the La Trobe Valley, Central Gippsland covers all bases - rugged high country, rainforest and the world’s second longest beach. With lush gullies and towering ferns, Tarra Bulga National Park is a cool temperate rainforest with walking trails and a suspension bridge. 

For some history and sea breezes, there’s Port Albert, Victoria’s first established port, which is in the same neighbourhood as the famous 90 Mile Beach. From here, you’re not far from all the marinas and bobbing masts of Sale which is where you can begin exploring Gippsland Lakes.

East Gippsland 

The Gippsland Lakes are actually three – Lake Victoria, Lake King and Lake Wellington – and they provide ample opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating and sailing plus long walks and al fresco lakeside dining. Waterfront villages Paynesville, Metung and Lakes Entrance are also worth a look.

Other attractions in East Gippsland include the Snowy River (made famous by The Man from Snowy River poem and film), the Buchan Caves, which are a subterranean wonderland of elaborate limestone formations and Aboriginal artefacts, and the thriving koala population living on Raymond Island.

RACV Members save more on attractions and experiences in the Gippsland region.
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