My Dad grew up in Gippsland and it wasnt long until I was taken to Lakes Entrance for a holiday as a young child. 15 years later, we still enjoy visiting the East Gippsland port of Lakes Entrance. My Dad would go on holidays with my Nan and Pa for years and once they bought a holiday house there, would spend every second weekend and school holidays there.
And as I found out, he still has a few mates in Lakes that he “grew” up with and fondly recalls the fun he had spending time with them. I even got the chance to meet a couple of them while we were there.
Lakes Entrance is about 320km from Melbourne and takes around 4 hours travel time. It’s also a good place to visit all year round. The winters are generally more warm and the summers more cool than the rest of Victoria.
Lakes Entrance is one of Victoria’s great fishing ports, and the gateway to the largest inland navigable waterway in Australia, the Gippsland Lakes. On the way into town, you’ll come across Jemmy Point lookout, which is a great way to give yourself an amazing first impression. From the height, you can see right across the lakes and Esplanade, and the man made connection between the lakes and the Bass Strait. Most of the time, the raging waters of the Strait provide a strange contrast to the calm waters of the lakes, where fishing boats take shelter from the huge swells. On clear days, you can see around 30km out to see, where perhaps 5 oil rigs are visible pumping gas from the ocean floor.
The town offers lots of options for dining out. There is an assortment of bakeries and cafes as well as fish and chip shops. We heartily recommend the Footbridge Fish and Chip shop on Myers Street, which gave us plenty of chips for our money and offered delicious, mouth-watering flake and scallops. If you feel like getting cleaned up and dining out, there are several clubs and restaurants. We went to the sport club in the main street, which had delicious grilled fish and parmas the size of dinner plates.
Eastern Beach Holiday Park
Travellers are spoilt for choice of somewhere to stay in Lakes Entrance, with dozens of accommodation options most located in prime beachside areas. Others are more central, providing quick access to the main street and all its attractions.
If you stay at Eastern Beach Holiday Park, like we did, then you’ll be only 5 minutes drive out of town, with walking trails into town and to Eastern Beach.
Eastern Beach Holiday Park is a decent accommodation option, depending on what you’re looking for. It has great beach access and lake access, so if you want to go fishing every day like we did it’s ideal. It is a 30 min walk into town though, so if you like being centrally located it’s probably not for you.
That being said, it has good toilet and shower blocks, with a camp kitchen and living room. It has a playground and jumping pillow to entertain the kids, as well as a swimming pool. However, there is only two toilet/shower blocks – a third would go a long way to meeting everyones needs, because there’s not alway enough showers to go around. Also, while the website mentions that their pool was solar heated, it felt pretty cold to us. The internet access is not always reliable and there is a limit of 60mg per day per device. One access code is provided to each person, so choose which device you’ll connect carefully!
Things To Do
There are three main beaches in the area. Most opt for Main Beach or Eastern beach, which are both patrolled during summer. Don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security, however – the waters can be very dangerous, with rips and surging waves being common. The waters of the Bass Strait are notoriously violent, so keep a keen eye on any children in the water. Surfers may want to head to Lake Tyers (The Bluff), which is popular for its waves.
Lakes Entrance has plenty of wildlife. Birds such as swans, pelicans and gulls are common. You might see echidnas, wombats and kangaroos. And then, of course, there’s the sea life. Dolphins can be seen in and around the lakes, crabs are common when surf fishing but cook up ok in some boiling water!
Lakes Entrance, being Victoria’s primary fishing port, is a great place to fish. We went surf fishing from Eastern Beach nearly every day, and we caught plenty of Pacific Salmon. We were hoping to catch some Gummy Sharks, but never did. The three salmon that we had for dinner one night were delicious, cooked in the pan after being floured.
Some other popular activities around Lakes are cycling and water sports. Children or inexperienced cyclists can ride the easy trails around and into town, but for the more experienced cyclists can tackle the 25km Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail, which offers spectacular views of the lakes and ocean.
From the other side of the footbridge, canoes, catamarans and paddle boats can be hired. Paddle around the lake for an hour if you want to experience it without getting wet. There are also plenty of cruises available as well, which all offer different experiences from leisure cruises to wildlife tours. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even charter your own vessel and take your fishing rods to try your luck.
A stroll along the Esplanade provides a real sense of history. A collection of wooden sculptures lines the main street, depicting scenes of life from WW1. You can also see where the old footbridge was, before the new one was constructed.
Overall, it’s a good place to visit as a family with enough activities to do all year round.