Nearly all of the ‘Tour’ participants at the Marlo Pub – photo by Steve Hoole
A 4-day tour of the Lakes Entrance region
Saturday 31st October:
After an unseasonably warm October there was an optimism that we would get a fine and sunny Cup Weekend. When drivers gathered at the Trafalgar Railway Station car park for the commencement of the tour we were greeted with overcast skies which then turned into a short shower. Looking to the east the skies looked more promising, and once we were underway conditions soon cleared providing excellent driving conditions for the rest of the day’s journey. The aim of the first day’s route was to reach the eastern side of Bairnsdale with as little time as possible travelling on the Princes Hwy. This was achieved by turning off the Princes Hwy at Newborough and travelling the back roads to Lucknow.
Once the tour maps and itineraries were handed out, thirteen vehicles set off on the first leg. After leaving the Princes Hwy at Newborough we travelled via Tyers, Glengarry, Toongabbie and Cowwarr to the first destination, Café 3858, for a coffee stop in Heyfield. After a short and pleasant ‘caffeine fix’ we set off on the second leg to our lunchtime destination the Café Riverstone in Briagalong.
Leaving Heyfield, now with the tops down on the roadsters, our group headed north towards Glenmaggie Weir before turning northeast traveling through Maffra West Upper and Valencia Creek. Reaching Briagalong at mid-day we settled down at Café Riverstone to have a relaxed lunch with many conversations about the beautiful countryside and roads we had travelled so far and the anticipation of the afternoon’s route. Following lunch and a browse through Briagalong’s art space and bric-a-brac store, we headed off on the last leg of day one to Lakes Entrance.
The route from Briagalong was to take us east through Stockdale, Glenaladale, Wuk Wuk and Wy Yung and finally back on the Princes Hwy at Lucknow. The roads and countryside through this region makes you appreciate how lucky we are to live in Gippsland. The standout being the 14km drive along Beverley’s Rd to Glenaladale besides the magnificent vistas. A road that would please any sports car enthusiast.
Arriving in Lakes Entrance we all headed to our accommodation to freshen up ready to meet for dinner at the Central Hotel. Along with those club members who drove to Lakes the previous day and some additional guests the group’s numbers swelled to 39, but we enjoyed the evening with a relaxing dinner and lots of fellowship.
Sunday 1st November:
We were greeted with beautiful sunny conditions to start the second day of the tour. Today’s program included a later start, giving members a chance to stroll the Sunday Market along the Esplanade, take a walk over to the surf beach, or for some, a brisk walk to the Entrance.
Gathering at our meeting location (the Lakes Coffee Lab) we set off at 11:00am on the first leg of today’s run which was lunch at the Bullant Brewery in Bruthen. The driving route was a very pleasant 50km run via Nowa Nowa arriving in Bruthen around midday. Our group of 29 enjoyed an excellent meal and then had a chance to enjoy a walk around and browse Bruthen’s small but interesting shopping precinct.
The second leg following lunch was a short 30km run to Metung on the roads that follow the Tambo River, and although flat it’s quite a scenic route as it winds its way to Metung. We gathered at Metung’s Artisan Coffee shop to sit in the sunshine and enjoy a coffee and a chat.
Our final leg of the day was another short run back to Lakes Entrance via the Nyerimilang Heritage Park. A number of the group chose to relax with their coffee a bit longer and head straight back to Lakes. Those of us who went to Nyerimilang enjoyed a walk around the Heritage property and its commanding view of the Lakes.
As there was no organised event for the evening, Colleen & Wayne Eccles invited those free to join them at their accommodation for drinks & nibbles. This was very relaxed and a pleasant way to finish the day (even though it did commence to rain quite heavily for a short period).
Monday 2nd November:
Today’s run commenced at 10:30 am with the planned route taking in a photo opportunity below the Trestle Bridge on Wairewa Rd just passed Nowa Nowa, then onto the Marlo Hotel for lunch. Following lunch we continued onto Buchan via Orbost on the fabulous Buchan-Orbost Rd. Buchan’s Callemondah Café was the afternoon coffee/tea destination, returning to Lakes via Bruthen-Buchan Rd.
The Trestle Bridge photo opportunity was a brisk affair, owing to advice from a local that a prime mover was about to descend upon us, however we managed to get everybody organised quickly enough to take our photos and continue on before the semi arrived.
Lunch at the Marlo Hotel was another good experience and when completed the Hotel manager obliged and took a group photo on the Hotel’s large front decking overlooking the mouth of the Snowy River. Leaving the Marlo Hotel the group made quick diversion to view the small Paddle Steamer ‘The Curlip’ before proceeding onto the Orbost-Buchan Rd for our drive to Buchan. Those of the group who led the way hoped for a brisk run on this great driving road however they were somewhat constrained for most of the journey due to a slow moving school bus. The upside from the navigators’ point of view was that it provided a better opportunity to soak in the beautiful surroundings!!!
With the afternoon tea and chat completed at Buchan’s Callemondah Café we headed back to our accommodation in Lakes Entrance for a relaxing evening after a great day’s driving.
Tuesday 3rd November:
As usual we met at the Lakes Coffee Lab to start our day’s touring and as this was our final day, the run was shorter and more relaxed. Today’s run was a drive around to Paynesville for a light lunch from where we headed back home. The numbers at the lunch were less than on the previous days as a number of our group had chosen to remain in Lakes to extend their Cup weekend break. Lunch was a very relaxed casual affair reminiscing on the drives of the three previous days, and it was great to hear the very positive feedback on the routes selected and the meal/coffee venues.
Over the four days of the Cup weekend we were fortunate with the weather conditions, especially when driving as the roads were a pleasure to drive. All meal and coffee venues were also excellent.
I must thank Gavin and Judy Budge for their assistance and knowledge in planning the driving routes, local attractions and eating venues. Also Judy Barnard for the compilation of the itinerary folders and the booking of all the meal/coffee venues. Thanks to all the Club members who attended for making this Cup Weekend a very enjoyable event.
Words and photos by Phil Barnard