This seaside resort and fishing port town lies near an artificial channel linking Victoria’s biggest inland waterway to Bass Strait.
The picturesque waterfront town of Lakes Entrance is both an important fishing port and a popular holiday destination. It’s located at the entrance to Gippsland Lakes, a vast inland waterway in eastern Victoria, and at the north-eastern end of Ninety Mile Beach, a pristine strip of sand fronting Bass Strait.
The lakes were formed when deposits from the Tasman Sea created long, narrow sand spits and low-lying sand islands and dunes, which eventually became Ninety Mile Beach. The beach now separates Bass Strait from the lakes, which cover 42,000ha.
The region, known as Lakes Coast, is characterised by a minimal annual variation in temperature, meaning it’s relatively warm in winter and cool in summer. It is particularly popular during the summer school holidays as a place for family escapes that feature cruising on the lakes, sand crabbing, fishing, beachcombing and walks on the dramatic beachfront.
Lakes Entrance is located 318km east of Melbourne via the Princes Highway.
Origin of Name:
Lakes Entrance was named because it was the entrance by which ocean-going vessels accessed the Gippsland Lakes, the largest navigable inland waterway in Australia.
At Jemmys Point, 2km west of the town on the Princes Highway, several impressive lookouts offer excellent views of the lakes, Bullock Island and the entrance to Bass Strait. It’s certainly the best place to get a panoramic overview of the entrance to the Gippsland Lakes.
2. Griffiths Sea Shell Museum
This attraction at 125 Esplanade has operated since 1962. Among its impressive exhibits are nearly 90,000 shells, the head of the largest marlin ever caught (almost 616kg), some unusual corals, sponges and an aquarium containing sea snakes, blue-ringed octopuses and many unusual marine creatures, mostly from Bass Strait.
3. Wooden Sculptures
A series of impressive wooden sculptures along the Esplanade were crafted to “honour the memory of the First World War dead and injured”. Famous WWI images include Simpson and his donkey, and a nursing sister caring for wounded soldiers. The sculptures were created by chainsaw artist John Brady in 1998 from 26 Monterey cypress trees planted in 1924 to honour the 26 men from the district who died in WWI. When limbs began falling off the trees their trunks were made into statues.
4. The Entrance Walk
This is an easy short section of Ninety Mile Beach – a 5km return walk on soft sand, running from Cunninghame Arm Footbridge south-west along Cunninghame Arm to The Entrance and back along Ninety Mile Beach. A boardwalk at the mouth of Lakes Entrance offers an excellent opportunity to see how the long, narrow strip of dunes, which runs along the coast here, has been created.
5. Nyerimilang Heritage Park
Historic Nyerimilang Homestead and the associated Nyerimilang Heritage Park are located 10km from Lakes Entrance via the Princes Highway and Kalimna West Road. The park is open from 8.30am until sunset and the homestead is open 9.30am–4pm weekdays and 10.30am–3pm on weekends.
Nyerimilang Homestead, with its attractive semi-formal gardens featuring both native and exotic species, has pleasant views of Reeves Channel and the lakes. It’s noted for excellent birdwatching, being the home of bellbirds, honeyeaters and waterbirds. It also makes a fine spot for a picnic, with a number of picnic tables located around the home. There is a pleasant walk along the circular path that follows the cliff’s edge and returns inland.