The Great Alpine Road Leg 3
Omeo to Bairnsdale
122 km / 75 miles, about 1.5 hr
From Omeo, the service centre for the local cattle, sheep and timber industries, the Great Alpine Road continues south towards Bairnsdale - East Gippsland's only city.
Bairnsdale originally settled as an inland port, sits on the banks of the Mitchell River and leads into the Gippsland Lakes. The town is now a major gateway to Victoria's east. Visit St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, the interior of which was painted in the 1930s by Francesco Floreani, attend an annual musical and sporting event, or explore the Mitchell River silt jetties that extend eight kilometres into nearby Lake King.
At Bairnsdale the Great Alpine Road touring route ends, and your exploration of Gippsland and its spectacular lakes begins.
Wine and Gold Drive
An alternative route from Omeo to Bairnsdale is through Cassillis, a small town that was once a thriving mining community. Explore the picturesque valley on foot and see relics of the gold-mining era. Nearby is the township of Swifts Creek, famous for its bakery and a good place to stop for a break.
Gippsland Lakes Drive
Stop at Bruthen, overlooking the Tambo River, and see heritage buildings including the Old Post Office and St Matthews Church. Take the C620 to Nowa Nowa, the A1 to Lakes Entrance and watch the daily catch being unloaded at Lakes Entrance or cast a line yourself. Continue along the A1 to Nungurner Road to Metung and stop for a stroll along the shores of the lake. Then take the C606 to Swan Reach the A1 to Bairnsdale and the C604 to Paynesville.