Tweet Manookatoo Adventures: Cruising the Gippsland Lakes: Rivers, Creeks, Straits and Arms

Friday, 17 March 2017

Cruising the Gippsland Lakes: Rivers, Creeks, Straits and Arms

The Gippsland Lakes were formed when many rivers joined and pushed their way towards the sea. Natural "blow holes" opened into the sea during times of flood, before the man-made entrance was built at Lakes. The three "big" lakes are King, Victoria and Wellington. Some narrower arms and straits between lakes are navigable and make traversing the lakes more enjoyable; they also served as transport routes before rail lines and roads were built. It is possible to take a boat all the way from Sale to Lakes Entrance or Bairnsdale and that is what farmers and fishermen did in the 1800s to get their goods to market; tourists also travelled these waters after catching the steam train from Melbourne to Sale.
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We have spent many days and night enjoying the rivers, creels, straits and arms of the Gippsland Lakes (I have written a whole post about our favourite spot, Bunga Arm); it is easy to find peaceful corners - to shelter when the wind is blowing or to "get away from it all" when we want some quiet time.
The confluence of the Avon and Perry Rivers
The Thompson and Macalister Rivers join the Latrobe River as it runs through Sale into Lake Wellington, which is also filled from the Avon and Perry Rivers. Birdlife abounds in this area and fish are plentiful - you can see and hear them jumping, particularly at night.
Maclelland Straits
Lake Wellington and Lake Victoria are joined by the Maclelland Straits, a deep winding waterway with Plover Point at the western end and Hollands Landing in the east. The annual "Marlay Point" yacht race is run overnight from the western shores of Lake Wellington through the Maclelland Straits to Lake King and finishes in Paynesville. It can be a test of skill, endurance and patience as the fickle winds decide how long it takes.
Mitchell River
The Mitchell River rises in the mountains near Dargo and winds its way past Bairnsdale to Lake King. The Mitchell River silt jetties are a natural phenomenon, stretching kilometres from the end of the Mitchell River at Eagle Point. They are the second longest silt jetties in the world, behind those on the Mississippi River. The Tambo and Nicholson Rivers also run into Lake King near the end of the Mitchell River.
Tied up at Swan Reach, Tambo River
From the first time, when we hired the Mason Bay, we have spent many a night enjoying the Tambo River, stopping at Swan Reach for a drink at the pub then continuing under the Princes Highway bridge to the cliffs carved out by raging floods in the past. The Tambo continues to be a favourite in Manookatoo - the bridge is high enough that we can get under it and upstream to be by ourselves.
Rafted up to friends at Box's Creek
Another favourite "hidey hole", particularly in windy weather, is Box's Creek - almost surrounded by hills, it is a bullet proof destination we always enjoy. During summer it is often full of hire boats and others, as the water is deep almost to the shore, making stopping there very simple. There is a lovely walk up the hill to view Bancroft Bay with Metung in the distance.
We are lucky to have so many rivers, creeks, straits and arms to enjoy in the Gippsland Lakes - there is always somewhere new to explore no matter what the weather.

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