The Country Drive
A meandering drive through postcard-perfect scenery
147km, about 2 hours drive time, circuit ex Traralgon.
This route winds through country towns from Traralgon to Maffra, and Maffra to Rosedale, via Sale. It takes in the classic rural landscapes of Gippsland. A rail trail follows the route, so take your bike with you to explore a variety of easy trails.
The drive can be done as a day trip from Melbourne (add 3 hours, 35 minutes) or Traralgon. Extend your trip with an optional overnight stay in Sale.
Traralgon to Sale
96.2km, about 1 hour, 25 minutes
Set out from Traralgon for a memorable off-the-beaten-track drive through lush Victorian scenery. Your first stop north of Traralgon is Glengarry, known for Narkoojee Winery, preserved historic buildings and its butter factory.
With a tantalising bakery and outstanding regional wines, Glengarry is a top place to stop along the route as you make your way towards Maffra, a charming town steeped in nineteenth century history.
Just north of Traralgon is Glengarry. Its main street is lined with telltale signs of days gone by, like the railway station, Mechanics Institute Hall, and the butter factory. Savour the award-winning wines at Narkoojee Winery and devour something home-baked and delicious at the town's famous bakery.
Drive on to the township of Toongabbie, which also boasts some striking heritage buildings. Signs dotted throughout town provide an insight into how things used to be. Toongabbie is a popular spot to rest weary legs on the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail – an easy, postcard-perfect cycle track from Traralgon to Stratford.
Next stop is Cowwar, a town filled with character and creativity. Look out for quirky cow sculptures around town. Pop into Cowwar Art Space in the rustic butter factory for the latest exhibitions or performances. Further along is Heyfield on the Thomson River. The gateway to the High Country features vast expanses of natural bush and national parks, plus Lake Glenmaggie and Heyfield Wetlands.
Approaching Maffra you'll come to Tinamba, a small town established when McEvoys Track from Seaton opened as a major access track to the goldfields. The popular Tinamba Hotel is the perfect stop for a spot of lunch.
Driving into Maffra you'll admire the tree-lined nineteenth century Main Street. Many of the original shop verandas remain, as well as historic buildings like the Duart Homestead and the converted court house that is now home to the Visitor Information Centre.
After exploring Maffra it's time for the short drive to Stratford to allow you plenty of time to explore the quaint town on the banks of the River Avon. Known as one of the gateways to the Gippsland Lakes, Stratford is a great base for further exploration, fishing trips or a walk on McMillian's Track.
Allow plenty of time to explore some of the diverse stores in Stratford's High Street, like the local baker and butcher (bacon and smallgoods a specialty) and the various antique and gift shops like the exotic Turkish Magic and Mumma Goose.
From Stratford, head on to the town of Sale.
HighlightsGreat trailsGippsland Plains Rail TrailTake in history, artistic expression and natural beauty on the peaceful Gippsland Plains Rail Trail, and look forward to a bite to eat at the end.RestaurantsTinamba HotelRub shoulders with local farmers and visiting foodies in the dining room of this 19th century icon, complete with baby grand piano and chesterfields.DestinationsMaffraWith a name that draws on Portuguese heritage, Maffra is an attractive town known for its nineteenth century homesteads and historic ambience.
Sale to Traralgon
51.2km, about 40 minutes
Sale is Gippsland's bustling commercial hub and it's worth a lengthy stop here.
Visit the Old Port of Sale, with its boat ride to the Swing Bridge that spans across the connection to the Gippsland Lakes.
It's a beautiful spot to pause and explore the Gippsland Lakes, an area of internationally significant Ramsar Wetlands – home to large populations of migratory birds, rare plants and several types of rare and threatened frogs including the Growling Grass frog and the Green and Golden Bell frog.
A short drive leads to Rosedale, a village with spirit that features some of the region's most contemporary eateries and retail offerings. Spend a few hours walking around the town and sample the region's best – the freshest produce, amazing coffees and the tastiest of foods. Rosedale also exudes a sense of history, with historic buildings and homesteads tucked into the surrounding countryside.
From Rosedale, it's a 20 minute drive back to Traralgon, or 1 hour, 45 minutes through to Melbourne.
HighlightsCyclingSale Lakes and Wetlands Cycling TrailRide around Sale enjoying lakes Guthridge and Guyatt, the Botanical Gardens and the Sale Common wetlands.Aboriginal VictoriaBataluk Cultural TrailHit the Bataluk Cultural Trail to hear Dreamtime stories, visit sacred sites and learn about the traditional ways of Gippsland's first inhabitants.MuseumsGippsland Vehicle CollectionThe Gippsland Vehicle Collection provides south east Australia with an outstanding rotating display of interesting vehicles including cars, motor-bikes,...Four-wheel driveAvon Wilderness Four Wheel DriveSpend a day tackling the rugged and spectacular four-wheel drive tracks that skirt the wilderness around the remote headwaters of the Avon River.Nature and wildlifeGippsland LakesExperience the largest inland network of waterways in Australia, the Gippsland Lakes. Go on board a cruiser or enjoy a range of water-based activities.Beaches & coastlineNinety Mile BeachOne of Gippsland's highlights, Ninety Mile Beach is one of the longest and most beautiful stretches of sand in the world offering a wealth of activities.