I think I’ve found my new favourite country pub. Awesome food and entertainment, great views and super friendly bar staff. Oh, and did I mention the free camping out the back? Free power, free shower!
Yep, the Aussie spirit is alive and well here and I love that we’re helping to support local east Gippsland communities doing it tough this holiday period. Head on out if you can, these places need it. Happy Australia Day!
This is where I was last weekend, on our Australia Day long weekend, and what I posted on FB, after our two night stay in East Gippsland.
The holiday town of Lakes Entrance was just one of many areas evacuated during the recent bushfires. At its busiest time of the year, after New Years Eve, when so many rely on seasonal tourism for their livelihood, the normally bustling town resembled a ghost town.
So our plan was to go back, spend some money and show some support.
The Waterwheel Tavern in Lake Tyers, just ten kilometres from Lakes Entrance, is where we ended up. The tavern has a huge decking with prime views overlooking the lakes and it’s only a stones throw to the spectacular stretches of the Ninety Mile Beach.
Behind the Tavern, down a laneway, is a free camping area. It was once a small caravan park but last year tavern owner Kevin removed the cabins and turned the space into a camping area, complete with free power and free showers. It’s a brilliant (and generous) idea and and our thought was we’d camp there and ‘support’ the Tavern.
So … we enjoyed drinks on the decking that afternoon,some more drinks and dinner that night (with the best Pork Belly I’ve ever eaten in my life) and back again for drinks the following night. I think we did our bit to inject some funds into the place.
I had to laugh at the kids menu.
Add some lively music into the mix by an awesome spunky Irish band and, bonus, I doubled my 10,000 dancing steps!
Nearby at Lakes Entrance at the Fishermen’s Co-op on Bullock Island we stocked up on fresh seafood for our Australia Day dinner/picnic that night.
It was great to see people getting out and about again in Lakes Entrance, shopping, visiting cafes, taking cruises and enjoying the waterfront activities that Lakes Entrance is well known for.
We took a drive out beyond Lake Tyers to the town of Nowa Nowa, where we stopped at the General Store for directions and a few more supplies.
I spoke to the owner who told me the fires were heading directly for them before the wind changed direction. They were incredibly fortunate.
We continued on our drive and made our way up to the top of Mount Nowa Nowa. Under a blue but hazy sky, looking out to the vastness below, it was a stark and somber view to the charred forests down below. Around us were the ashes and burnt remains of picnic tables.
It felt surreal imagining how it must have been, barely a month ago.
The tower at Mt Nowa Nowa was saved. Thankfully, not too far away, so was the Stony Creek Trestle Bridge. At 247 metres long and 20 metres high, it’s one of the largest of its kind in Victoria. It stands there, almost like the embodiment of survival.
Yes, it’s tough in many parts of Australia and there’s no doubt parts of the country are hurting. Yet Australia is resilient, hope reins in the area, the human spirit is strong and nature, though fickle and unpredictable, is forgiving and ultimately restorative.
And then, whilst we were walking around the Trestle Bridge, a young family, laughing and waving, cycled past us on the rail trail, perhaps a testament of our ability to not just endure but to love life and keep going.
May we embody all that the world needs in order to heal our future. And make it strong.
Enjoy the journey, wherever you are.
In love and light
If we lose our hope that’s our real disaster. Dalai Lama
Do you want to donate to communities that have been impacted by these devastating fires. Click here to be taken to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.