FOR ME, LAKES Entrance evokes memories of childhood visits with cruises on the lakes, fish and chips on the foreshore and fun paddle boat rides on the lake just across from the footbridge. Morethan thirty years later all these things are still here but now I'm doing it with my own kids!
We're camping on the eastern shores of Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland, approximately four hours from Melbourne, and the gateway to the largest inland network of waterways in Australia. Fed by five major rivers, the lakes area covers about 400km2. As you enter the town from the Melbourne side, the views of the lakes and Bass Strait are truly breath-taking.
We chose to stay at Eastern Beach Caravan Park, located just atones throw out of town. It is ideal for families with powered sites overlooking the lakes, a jumping pillow for the kids, a quad peddle bike track, organised activities during the school holiday sand a short walk to the beach.
It was too cold to swim during our trip but we enjoyed walking along the beach, which was mostly deserted except for keen fishermen and the odd passing echidna. The bird life is also prolific here and each day around dusk a family of swans made their way past the waters near our campsite, much to the delight of our kids. We just had to make sure we didn't get too close!
Lakes Entrance is very relaxed whilst still offering plenty of ways to pass the time. There is the Grifiths Seashell Museum on the esplanade, with one of the largest and most impressive displays of shells in the country, along with a pirate themed mini-golf course in the centre of town. Paddle boats, canoes, aqua bikes and catamarans are available for hire across from the iconic footbridge.
The main patrolled swimming beach is accessed via this footbridge and is the most popular summer spot.
The best way to experience the beauty of the lakes system is on a pleasure cruise, offered by a number of companies. There are winery tours to Wyanga Park Vineyard, the oldest commercial vineyard in Gippsland, two hour scenic tours, lunch cruises to nearby Metung and eco cruises aboard the historic passenger ferry. If you're feeling sea hardy you can hire your own boat and cast a line.
As our pooch was holidaying with us our exploring was mainly enjoyed on land. We had a great time walking along the maze of jetties, stopping to talk to fishermen fixing their nets and watching birdlife swimming along the waterways. Fishing boats were everywhere, which is not surprising given that Lakes Entrance is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in Australia.
After working up an appetite in the sea air you can head down to the esplanade to enjoy some of the best fish and chips in town.There's also the Fisherman's Co-Op, located on Bullock Island,where you can buy a wide variety of freshly caught fish.
A huge fireworks display on the foreshore will usher in 2012 and in February next year the annual Lakes Entrance fishing competition will draw keen anglers to the town. But, regardless of the season,you can throw a line off one of the many jetties or on the surf beach anytime. With over 90 miles of pristine coastline you'rebound to find a peaceful spot of your very own.
Lakes Entrance is 320km east of Melbourne, and 700km south of Sydney. Eastern Beach Holiday Park, www.easternbeach.com.au, 1800 761 762.
Source: Camper Trailer Australia #47