Our travels over the Victorian Alps brought us to Bairnsdale, in the middle of the Gippsland region (well, the western edge of eastern Gippsland….). The question now was, where to go next? We’d always planned to go east along and up the coastline, but did we have time for some backtracking westwards into the central/southern (and perhaps even western) Gippsland regions first?
Yes, we’ve noticed that time is getting away on us. I’m sure family is going to be thrilled to hear that we’re planning to be back in Brisbane for Christmas (what would Christmas be like without us??)! That’s in about two weeks time (less as I actually write/post this)!! The boys really want to be there (you know, play with cousins, get presents and the like….), and it isn’t that often that families get together like they do at Christmas so it is a great way for us all to catch up.
Despite the limited time remaining in this travelling holiday, we decided to do a quick detour into the central/southern Gippsland region. We spent Tues night at one of the Golden Beach campgrounds that form part of the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park. Not sure how Golden Beach got its name, but I suspect it is a grandiose interpretation of the yellow sanded beach! Unfortunately the surf was no good, and a pretty heavy invasion of seaweed would have discouraged any water entry regardless. Still, a nice spot to spend the night.
It was tempting to detour just a little further west, and visit Wilsons Promontory NP, and perhaps even Phillip Island. However Nicole and I have visited both places previously, and the now looming deadline of being back for Christmas caused us to decided against doing so.
We did however detour slightly further, to visit Tarra-Bulga National park which we’d been told is a must see. The whole Gippsland area is pretty & green, so it was no surprise to find that we were entering a lovely moist green rainforest type environment. We came in through the south, and the lower reaches of Tarra Valley road heading in were beautiful. The narrow road and surrounding hillsides were lined with tree ferns, sometimes with only just enough room for the motorhome to drive between the fern fronds. Please excuse the quality of these pics; taken thru the windscreen from a moving vehicle….
Soon after entering the National Park there is a waterfall, Tarra falls, to stop and look at.
There are a number of picnic areas on the side of the road coming in, but Tarra Valley is the first with some walking tracks. It’s a lovely area with, you guessed it, lots more beautiful tree ferns. Also a lovely creek and more waterfalls.
Driving further north there are tree ferns all the way heading up the mountainside, but they are growing underneath a eucalyptus forest. This area was once logged, so isn’t a true rainforest in the technical meaning of the word. However it still feels and looks like one with the moist atmosphere and abundant tree ferns, and given enough time will gradually revert back to the original rainforest structure/habitat.
The majority of walks in the National Park are up at the Bulga picnic spot. Here we did the most of them combined into one longer trek (but still only around 4-5kms). The suspension bridge is one of the main points of interest, allowing beautiful views over the valley with its many tree ferns and other moss covered trees.
We headed out of Tarra-Bulga National park to the north, towards Traralgon. As per the rest of Gippsland, lots of green grass and green hills, as well as some not so pretty recently logged plantations…. They’ll grow back though, and timber, which I like as a material, has to come from somewhere.
The big coal fired power stations begin to loom into view as you head further north. We drove right past the Loy Yang power station, one of the couple still operating in the area. There is a huge coal pit on the other side of the road which is presumably where the coal comes from. These are the power stations that the greenies would like to see closed (particularly as they burn brown coal rather than the cleaner black stuff). It is a beautiful area, and I can see how such power stations are not terribly desirable things to have scattered around the countryside. I don’t associate myself as a greeny, but are very supportive of solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy generation.
Heading east again concluded our brief detour into the southern/central Gippsland area. There are many smallish rivers/streams that you pass over driving around here, and we ended up spending the night on the edge of one of these (a little to the east of Bairnsdale). We may have been in a largish carpark, with a number of other campers, but hey, the Nicholson River is still nice!