Welcome to Don’t Delay Your Stay, news.com.au’s campaign to support communities hard hit by this summer’s devastating bushfires. Many of these regions rely on tourism so one of the best ways to help is to visit and spend time in some of the most beautiful parts of our great country.
The gateway to the world-famous Gippsland Lakes, Bairnsdale is a laid-back country town close to scenic drives, and your perfect base for exploring the Mitchell River and surrounding forests.
The town was surrounded during the recent fires and was used as an evacuation centre but it’s now open again for visitors.
The area is known for being a “food bowl”, producing a range of fresh produce.
Lightfoot & Sons Wines is the first stop along the East Gippsland Drinks Trail, serving exceptional wines and views for days.
A creative community thrives in the area, and the East Gippsland Art Gallery has works by local and visiting artists across a range of mediums, including paintings, drawings, mixed media, prints and 3D works.
Join a guided tour at Krowathunkoolong Keeping Place, a museum displaying the heritage of the Gunaikurnai people with hunting and fighting weapons, baskets, canoes and contemporary art on display.
Pop into the farm gates at Picnic Point Farm for cherries, stone fruits, apples and pears bursting with flavour, or pay a visit to the Bairnsdale Farmers Market on the first Saturday of each month to purchase local meats, goat’s milk and organic breads.
Or, find a little bit of the city in the town’s centre at Northern Ground, a renowned daytime cafe that turns into an evening restaurant.
Just across the river is Howitt Park – a scenic and shady reserve perfect for stretching your legs, or for kids to enjoy the playground.
The Riversleigh is the perfect place to stay after a busy day exploring, where you’ll enjoy the warmth of a country hotel combined with the luxury of contemporary boutique accommodation.
And be sure to leave time for a visit to St Mary’s, an impressive Romanesque church built at the beginning of the 19th century. Wander in and check out the murals by Italian artist Francesco Floreani, which attract some 80,000 visitors to the church every year.
Located at the junction of the Great Alpine Road and the Princes Highway, the town also provides easy access to the alpine villages of Omeo, Dinner Plain and Mount Hotham.