East Gippsland

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East Gippsland has a growing reputation as an emerging foodie hotspot, with the region showcasing a selection of award-winning restaurants, local produce, cool-climate wines and locally-crafted beer.

There are dozens of foodie gems dotted throughout the region, as well as boutique brewers and wineries. Thanks to East Gippsland Marketing Inc, Gastrology recently visited the stunning region to discover some of the culinary delights and foodie hot spots in the region, while enjoying great music, breathtaking scenery and a lively festival atmosphere at the Feast on East @Metung Food and Wine event. Here’s what we got up to during our gastronomic long weekend away.

DAY 1

8pm – Check in at The Riversleigh

After a three and a half hour drive from Melbourne’s CBD, we were in Bairnsdale and eager to check into our accommodation at The Riversleigh. Located in the heart of Bairnsdale’s central business district on a quiet street overlooking the Mitchell River, The Riversleigh features elegant period fittings with tastefully appointed modern rooms, providing a unique accommodation experience to our guests. The ensuite rooms feature a range of guest amenities. A daily continental breakfast in their sunlit bistro is also included as part of the stay.

DAY 2

10am - The Den of Nargun, Iguana Creek

The Den of Nargun is a place of great cultural significance to the Gunakurnai people, especially the women. This hidden gem is tucked away in the Mitchell river National Park. A 5km moderate loop walk through lush gully trails, river access and waterfalls was the perfect way for us to get in touch with nature.

12pm – Lunch at The Long Paddock

The Long Paddock delights with exquisite country style food and delicious sweet treats all of which favour the abundance of locally grown produce in East Gippsland. Everything is prepared with the utmost care and love and the result is food that is truly gratifying. Read more about it HERE.

3pm - Lightfoot & Son’s Cellar Door

Lightfoot & Sons produce award winning wines on their Terra Rosa vineyard overlooking the magnificent Lindenow Valley. We enjoyed a stunning tasting of their wonderful wines and were thoroughly impressed by their famed Pinot Noir. The 2016 Cliff Block Pinot Noir had us in love. Beautifully aromatic with cherry and plum notes, this was a stunning Gippsland Pinot Noir - one which we are excited to add to our cellar.

7pm – Dinner at Sardine Eatery & Bar

Former Head Chef of Waterfront Southgate and Vue De Monde, Mark Briggs brings his award-winning style to Paynesville's newest eatery, Sardine Eatery & Bar.

Mark and his wife Victoria produce a menu focused on fresh, local produce every day, accompanied by a wine and beer list that highlights the best of Gippsland. Mark and Victoria ensure that the restaurant delivers a memorable dining experience with a focus on quality produce from great local producers. Expect deliciously modern and progressive dishes. Read more about it HERE.

DAY 3

10 am - Lakes Explorer Sea Safari

We arrive in Metung and wait with great anticipation for Skipper Pete from Lakes Explorer at the jetty. Our anticipation was rewarded with a wonderful hour long educative boat tour around Harbour and Ocean Entrance Lakes.

This is one experience you simply have to put on your to-do list when in the area. Certified Guide by Eco-Tourism Australia and former National Park Ranger (Land and Marine), Pete was captivatingly knowledgeable and took us through an overview of the wonderful bird and sea mammals living in the area and also provided an introduction into the lake systems. Our favourite part of the trip was visiting the adorable seals as they sun baked and splashed around in the water.

12pm - Feast on East @Metung

Feast on East @Metung is a Food and Wine event overlooking Bancroft Bay on the Metung Village Green. Gourmet food producers, restaurants and a good range of wineries from the region served up complimentary tastings. It was the perfect spot to laze away the afternoon as well as stock up on some delicious wine and produce from the region.

7pm – Dinner at The Grand Terminus Hotel

Located in Bairnsdale, The Grand Terminus Hotel was established in 1889. The restaurant offers a great range of local meals prepared with local produce. Read more HERE.

Day 4

10am - Koala Trail, Raymond Island

We walked on board the ferry and travelled to Raymond Island (aka Koala Island), only 200 metres across the water from Paynesville. Once you reach Raymond Island, all you do is follow the signs to walk the koala trail, and you’ll be pleased to find these sleepy Australian icons in the wild, snuggled up Eucalyptus tree branches across the wildlife sanctuary. There are also other native wildlife that you may be lucky enough to spot including echidnas, kangaroos, and a multitude of birdlife.

12pm – Lunch at Northern Ground

Located in Bairnsdale, Northern Ground is simply a gem. A café by day and restaurant by night, it exudes a calming presence, enveloping a cosy space where you can find delightfully welcoming and warm service.

The kitchen is in safe hands with chef/owner Rob Turner, at the helm. Originally from Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, Turner worked as a food development chef for Marks and Spencer and in country house hotels in the North of England. Northern Ground has only been opened for a few months but it already has a strong fan base and it’s easy to understand why. Read more HERE.