Saturday, 7 November 2015

Paynesville, Victoria

Paynesville kangaroos
Paynesville is a scenic little town with an uninspiring name in south-eastern Victoria. Until we visited Raymond Island earlier this year I had never heard of it. Surrounded on three sides by the Gippsland Lakes, it is a boating and fishing heaven.

David doesn't fish - full stop end of story. I think he has traumatic childhood fishing memories - something to do with constantly tangled lines, 5 a.m starts and rough weather on small boats outside Sydney Heads. I have never really gotten to the bottom of it but suffice it to say that one of the world's best fathers could never, ever be enticed to take our sons fishing while they were growing up - no matter how much they pleaded.

I seem to have strayed from the point here - back to Paynesville. We thought it was such a charming town when we drove through in March that we decided to come back. This time, we stayed for a few days and it turns out that Paynesville is not just about boats.

Lakes and Canals


The Gippsland Lakes are Australia's largest network of inland waterways. Separated from the Pacific ocean by the 'Ninety Mile Beach' coastal dunes they are tranquil and picturesque. Paynesville itself has a network of canals and inlets perfect for mooring a boat or just sitting on your balcony soaking up the view. We stayed right on the water's edge in an apartment at Captains Cove. I don't often recommend places to stay because everyone's budget and requirements are different, but this place was exceptional. It wasn't flash but it was modern, reasonably new, clean and beautifully located. It also had a full kitchen and laundry - perfect when you are on a road trip.


Paynesville canal
The view from our apartment.

Paynesville boat
I think this must be the cutest boat I have ever seen. It tooted on its way past us one morning.


Paynesville canal
I caught these reflections in a photograph taken from our balcony.


Kangaroos


Eagle Point Bay a few kilometres from Paynesville is a place where you can almost guarantee you will see kangaroos. Park the car at the eastern end of Bay Road and take the walking track toward Paynesville. We went in the late afternoon for a short bike ride and were rewarded with the sight of several mobs of kangaroos browsing in the paddocks between the track and the bay. Don't expect to see them in the middle of the day but we were told they were there every morning and evening.

If you don't have a car, the Burden Road entrance to the track is within easy walking distance of the centre of town.

Paynesville kangaroos


Paynesville kangaroos
I just love the way kangaroos look at you when you are photographing them. It's as if they are daring you to make them famous on Facebook.

Echidnas, black swans and koalas.


As well as kangaroos, Paynesville has echidnas, black swans. pelicans and sea eagles and, of course, there are the Raymond Island koalas. It was the koalas which brought us here in March. Just a couple of minutes from Paynesville by car ferry, Raymond Island has to be the best place in Australia to see koalas in the bush. You will find my two posts on Raymond Island and its koalas - here and - here

Paynesville black swan and signets
A family of black swans lived in the canal right outside our apartment. Aren't they gorgeous! Swans mate for life. The other swan was nearby.

Raymond Island koala
A Raymond Island koala


Cycling and walking tracks


  • The Eagle Point to Paynesville track is just a few kilometres long and perfect for kangaroo spotting in the early morning and late afternoon. Take insect repellent because the mozzies are ferocious.
  • The Mitchell River Silt Jetties are the second longest in the world. Somehow we managed to miss them but it means we have a great excuse to go back to the area. They jut out from Eagle Point and are reputed to be great for biking.
  • The Sunset Cove track is more of a walking track but perfectly navigable by mountain bike. We cycled it in the late afternoon and found the round trip quite tiring but we had been cycling around Raymond Island for most of the day which probably didn't help.
    The track starts at the end of Sunset Drive and runs along next to the water at Newlands Backwater. The views are quite lovely. You can circumnavigate the entire Paynesville peninsula by joining up with the Eagle Point track. Once you get to the end of the Sunset Cove track turn right at Backwater Ct and ride along Grandview Rd to the beginning of the Eagle Point track. The round trip is about 10 kms. 

  • The East-Gippsland Rail Trail runs from Bairnsdale, 16km north of Paynesville, to Orbost. for 95 km through farmland, forest and quaint little towns. It definitely warrants a blog post all of its own. When I have written it I will post the link here.
If you are visiting the Gippsland region of Victoria, check out the posts by my fellow blogger and Gippsland resident Mark Wyld at Wyld Family Travel. He has loads of great, local information.

20 comments:

  1. Hi Lyn, Mongo here.
    Very nice review of Paynesville. Did you see my boat moored there? When my wife and I saw your pic of the view from your balcony we said in unison: Captain's Cove! Yes, the canals are a great feature of the new Paynesville which may breathe life into this otherwise rural backwater.
    The architecture of some of those houses, especially the newest ones on the Lake King end, is fabulous.

    Unfortunately, Paynesville is torn between opposing cultures. On one side, the ultra-conservative Luddites of Raymond Island. They are mired in the 1960s, Instant coffee with milk, and a lamington or scone. They oppose modernity and all proposals for new developments are beaten, leaving large, gaping empty blocks for decades in the town's two main streets.
    On the other hand are the canal-type people, who prefer danish pastries and coffee from a Marzocco or Gaggia. Hopefully, they will soon start to outnumber the conservatitves and only then will there be signs of progress.
    Another rant...this may be the boating capital of Victoria, but the marine authority is inimicable to the concept and acts more like an arm of greenies or EPA.

    --Mongo

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    1. Hi Mongo -

      Haha. D and I did wonder why there isn't a single shop, cafe or sign of the 21st Century on Raymond Island. You have explained a lot. The ferry broke down while we were over there and we had to catch 'Ugly Betty' back to the mainland. It gave us a chance to meet some of the locals. They seemed nice people (mostly) but I suspect you are spot on with the description 'luddites'.

      We thought Captain's Cove was just fantastic. What a great place to moor your boat - it made us wish we had one.

      cheers
      Lyn

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  2. What a great spot and what a view, looks very peaceful. My husband does't fish, hates it in fact. He says the fish know he's there and won't come near him. No stamina say I x

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    1. I lived next to a lake when I was a child. My grandfather would take us fishing in a row boat and you weren't allowed to talk because you might scare the fish. I only found out a few years ago, from my sister, that grandfather couldn't swim.

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  3. Amazing! A place to spot wildlife is always a good place to visit. I will love to have so many animal encounters.

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    1. I am a wildlife tragic from way back. My husband thinks that's the only reason I travel and he may just be right.

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  4. How cute those kangaroos pose for the photos! Looks like a lovely place for a daytrip!

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    1. Kangaroos often look like they are posing. I don't know why but you're right - it is cute.

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  5. Great photos of the wildlife. I especially like the koala in the tree. And I love the view from your balcony. It would be easy to spend a good part of the day there with a cup or two of coffee.

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    1. I know what you mean about the balcony, the view and the cup of coffee. D and I set ourselves up one afternoon with laptops and a couple of glasses of wine and just stared at the view. Watching the family of swans was magical.

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  6. Never heard of Paynesville but love the canals and the surrounding scenery

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    1. We had never heard of either it or Raymond Island until a twitter contact mentioned the koalas a few years ago. Maybe the Victorians have been keeping it a secret from those of us north of the border - lol.

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  7. Looks enchanting but like a place where I need to bring my own coffee if I don't want Nescafe! Kangaroos must all be sent to some secret school where they're taught to strike charming poses for photographers. I never knew of this part of Australia before so thanks for that!

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    1. I love photographing kangaroos. They are so co-operative. I never thought about the secret school angle - maybe you're right - lol.

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  8. Oh, I want to visit Paynesville, Victoria! All the wildlife you saw; what a dream destination! Thank you for sharing your adventure and your glorious photos!

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    1. It has to be one of the best places we have ever been for seeing Australian wildlife in the bush and it's not remote at all.

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  9. What a cute boat indeed! The whole place looks cute, but for me, that list of animals makes me want to go there. I've never seen an echidna in the wild.

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    1. It is definitely one of the best places in Oz to see wildlife. The funny thing about echidnas is that they aren't that rare. We live in Sydney and there are echidnas in a national park less than ten minutes away but they are very timid so you have to be lucky to see them.

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  10. I always enjoy learning about places where there is a good chance of seeing wildlife. The beautiful canals of Paynesville are another good reason to visit.

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    1. Paynesville and Raymond Island go beyond a 'good chance', particularly Raymond Island. I think you would have to be blind not to find the koalas there but you are right the lovely canals of Paynesville are reason enough to visit even without the wildlife.

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