Bairnsdale boasts a coastal location and laid-back country vibe with rich Aboriginal history, a thriving art scene and neighbouring wineries and breweries. The town is also an ideal gateway to exploring the world-famous Gippsland Lakes, Mitchell River and a range of Victoria’s alpine villages.
Things to do in Bairnsdale
History abounds within Bairnsdale’s town centre, from the early-20th-century St Mary’s Catholic Church and 19th-century courthouse to the iconic Bairnsdale Water Tower, which stands proudly on a grassy knoll. Visit St Mary’s Catholic Church to admire the intricate Romanesque architecture, before wandering inside where beautiful murals by Italian artist Francesco Floreani adorn the walls.
Bairnsdale is perfect for outdoor holidays, especially at the nearby Gippsland Lakes, where you can hire boats for fishing, surf challenging breaks, paddle kayaks or set up a campsite. You’re also an easy 3.5-hour drive from Alpine National Park, home to Falls Creek, which features excellent skiing and snowboarding terrain during winter and hiking and mountain biking trails during summer.
Interested in checking out some local dining? Wander down the main restaurant strip on Princes Highway to enjoy classic fish and chips at Reef & Roast, fresh juice and bagels at Bairnsdale Gourmet Deli or Asian-style noodles at Noodles Tonight. The eateries are interspersed with unique shops, such as Collins Booksellers secondhand books, Toyworld Bairnsdale and the Glama Tiah boutique.
Get out and about on the Mitchell River Walking Track, an immersive 18-kilometre-long trail through temperate rainforest and across gorges with panoramic river views. If you prefer to cycle, you can instead take the Mitchell River Cycling Loop, which features several riverside picnic spots along its 5.6-kilometre-long loop.
Getting around Bairnsdale
From Melbourne, Bairnsdale is about 3.5 hours’ drive and four hours if you catch the train from Flinders Street Station. The best way to get around is by driving, using local buses or catching taxis.