Lakes Coast Visitor Guide

PAGE 80 I LAKES COAST VISITOR GUIDE STRATFORD BAIRNSDALE PAYNESVILLE WATTLE POINT BRUTHEN TWIN RIVERS METUNG LAKES ENTRANCE 18 Waterfront Apartments with Jetty berth & BBQ at your doorstep 1-3 bedroom rates Indoor heated pool, tennis court ★★★★ WaterFront Holiday Apartments 03 5156 7223 >> Mitchell St, Paynesville Spot iconic Australians in the trees Two hundred metres across McMillan Strait from Paynesville is Raymond Island, a quiet residential island with more than just people populating it. The island is linked to the mainland by a vehicle/passenger ferry, its small residential population co-existing with many native birds and animals. A visit to the island via the free ferry (a fee applies for vehicle passage) offers a truly Australian experience. It is one of the best places in Victoria to spot koalas and is also home to over 60 bird species and many species of ground orchids and wildflowers. Two hundred years ago, koalas could be found right along the east coast of Australia, from Queensland to Tasmania. However, fire, disease, clearing and hunting for fur devastated the population and in 1925 the koala was nearly extinct. The furry marsupials were introduced to Phillip Island in 1920 with a number sent from Phillip Island to Raymond Island in 1953 in an effort to further enhance the population. The koala population, on the Gippsland Lakes island has since flourished and become quite the tourist drawcard. An easy 1.2-kilometre koala trail, starting in the Ferry Park, provides the perfect koala spotting opportunities. It comes as a surprise to many island visitors that quite often koalas can be found in trees close to the ferry. Look up as you reach the island and just beyond the ferry shed. You may find one of the resident locals watching your arrival. Camera buffs can spend many hours wandering the island with plenty of subjects to be caught through the lens. A wander about the island in the shade of the eucalypts is a wonderful way to spend a beautiful day. Lakeside music fest Celebrating a diverse range of local and visiting musical performers, the annual Paynesville Music Festival will hit the town and its waterways on the weekend of February 22 to 24, 2019. The first Paynesville Music Festival was held in 2012. Each year it has grown in size and quality, winning its organisers awards for their efforts. A number of venues around town will host musical acts, the main feature being the outdoors entertainment with the crowds making themselves comfortable on the foreshore for performances on the floating barge in McMillan Strait. Enjoy a musical cruise around the Lakes, symphony performances, buskers, and a variety of dancing opportunities from bush to rock ‘n roll. Take a wander along the Raymond Island Koala Trail and it won’t be long before you’re spotting many of these Australian icons. Photo: Visit Victoria