Carolina: Cruising Past 70: 6 Good/Bad News from the Australian Gippsland’s Lakes Entrance

Thursday, October 5, 2017

6 Good/Bad News from the Australian Gippsland’s Lakes Entrance

the waterways, fresh and salt water intermingle
crabbing and fishing for nothing

We love to come back from a trip brimming with good news. Unfortunately, there are times when we bring home bad news. That was the case on our last road trip east from Melbourne, to Lakes Entrance, a seaside resort and fishing port in eastern Victoria, Australia. It is near a managed, artificial channel connecting the Gippsland Lakes (fresh water) to the Bass Strait (salt water).

The Bad News

First the bad news.  We were enticed to do this trip by Suzette, my daughter Claudine’s friend from high school. She and her husband went last fall and came home with about thirty crabs. They are my favorite seafood and I could eat three or four in one sitting. I dreamed of the chance to feast on them, having missed them a lot at our base in landlocked Arizona and not being able to afford them in Melbourne.

We rented the crab net and a fishing rod from the Eastern Beach Holiday Park where we stayed, bought a bucket from Woolworths and went to Bullock Island, the best place to go crabbing. After two hours of throwing the net and letting out the fishing rod from the jetty, we came home empty-handed…not a single crab or a single fish! Fortunately, April, Clint, and Kyrie braved the cold waters and managed to harvest nine mussels from the shores nearby.

the entrance

Disappointed, we went to the Visitor Information Center to find out what else we could do. They suggested we go to the other side of Bullock Island, the one facing the Entrance from the Strait to the Lakes. That place is where Australian fur seals and a special kind of dolphins hang out. When we got there, however, the crabbers and fishermen told us they come in the evening during high tide! No way would we brave the cold that night even for the cutest of wildlife!

a scene from the Cafe

Hungry, we looked for Ferryman's Seafood CafĂ©, recommended by the Park, to get a taste of what we wished we had caught. The pasta marinara, fish, and chips catch of the day, and burgers, were ok. But there were no crabs on the menu and the prices of fish were not reasonable. There was one saving grace though. The floating restaurant is quite tall and it gave me lots of opportunities to take good photos of the scenes around.  

The Good News

a small part of the Ninety MIle Beach

And thus, the good news began! Lest you think it was a weekend of disappointments, especially with the wind chill on the second day that forced us to put on our jackets, we were lucky enough to see great sights and take great photos of them, have good grilled food, and enjoy a homey water-front deluxe villa.

From the map we were given by the Park, we decided to drive to two vantage points, Jemmy’s Point and Kalimma Lookout, to take in the spectacular views of the unique waterways system. We were not disappointed. At maybe 500-1,000 feet above sea level, we saw all the little lakes of Gippsland, all the Islands including Bullock, the Entrance, and parts of the Ninety Mile Beach in the Bass Strait.  It is a remarkable intermingling of fresh and salt waters, inhabited by waterfowl.

our villa

the playground

The Eastern Beach Holiday Park was also good news. We rented a 2BR, 2Bath Villa with a patio that had a great big grill. Clint was the expert grillmaster. The first night he served us grilled pork belly, burgers, sausages, eggplant, and tomatoes. I cooked steamed rice and sliced honeydew melon. The second night he grilled garlic, thyme and butter chicken (tasted like the Filipino chicken inasal), freshly caught fish we bought from the Fish Shop, the nine mussels they collected, and corn. I reheated the leftover rice and sliced the watermelon.

The two dinners were absolute delights! But the big delight for Kyrie was the playground for just his age. There he met a playmate, just a half year older. We also enjoyed the free DVD movies we watched on both nights. There was also a trail that led us from our patio to the lakes and the beach just about a thousand feet away.

On the morning of our checking out, we got the chance to walk on the Esplanade, cross the Cunningham Footbridge, go to the Ninety Mile Beach, and complete our tour of the entire area. The scenery on both the lake and ocean sides is gorgeous. There are so many kinds of waterfowl flying, fishing, and floating that I am going home with lots of entries to next year’s Photo Show and I believe I will have many chances to win!

the Cunningham  Footbridge

The adults had a good enough weekend with the bad and good news balancing each other. For Kyrie, however, it was a great two days. The food, playground, entertainment, villa, and birds were all good news! It reminded us why it is so good to be children all over again! In the end, we all agreed that the four-hour drives to and from Lakes Entrance were both worth it!

pelicans scrambling for discarded bait

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