Short Breaks

Discover Gippsland

3 days | Melbourne Return

Travel Period

Empty Esky logo

Join #EmptyEsky on this 3 day East Gippsland Bushfire Recovery Trip. In conjunction with #EmptyEsky, travel through the VIC East Gippsland over 3 days, giving live support to some of the regions most beloved towns, that have been affected by bushfires.


28th May 2021

Flights to arrive into Melbourne day earlier


Evening of day 3 (30th May 2021), Melbourne

Flights to depart Melbourne after 20:30

Prices From (AUD) i Why is this showing AUD Prices?
For Day Tours and Short Breaks you will be taken care by our friendly Res Team in Australia directly.


Adult Twin i Two people sharing a room, one of whom must be 18 years and over. All prices are per person, land only.


Child i A child must be accompanied by a person 18 years+. Some tours have min. age requirement


Single i A person 16 years and over (note a person 16–17 years must be accompanied by a person 18 years and over).
Prices above are in USD, for selected departures
guests considering this tour


Our Journey beings this morning from The Victoria Hotel Melbourne. Driving out of Melbourne into the Victorian landscape, our first stop of the trip will the town of Yarragon. A lovely little strip of shops and cafes, we’ll have a quick stretch of the legs and time to pick up a coffee or small bite to eat to support the local businesses.

As we approach the main towns of East Gippsland, we’ll stop for lunch in Sale. With so many local pubs and cafes to explore why not try the popular Jack Ryan’s Irish Bar or the down-to-earth Gippsland Hotel, affectionately called “The Gippy” by locals.

Surrounded by lakes on three sides, Paynesville is a charming village where we’ll spend the afternoon. The ferry across the McMillan Strait will take us to Raymond Island for some of the best koala spotting around. The Koala Trail takes you along a path of gumtrees, home to our cuddly friends. Remember to look up to spot these cute creatures resting in the treetops. Back in Paynesville, you’ll have some free time to take a stroll along the beach, watch the boats sail by with a cocktail in hand at Pier 70 or discover regional wine choices at the locals favourite Paynesville Wine Bar.

Across the bay to a boat lovers paradise, the relaxed village lifestyle at Metung will be our evening dinner setting. A key watering hole in the region since 1870, Metung Hotel overlooks Bancroft Bay, with waterfront views and a relaxed atmosphere. As we watch the boats moor in for the day, it’s the perfect chance to reflect on the first day in the region and how your presence here is uplifting and supporting the local communities.

Home for the next two nights is further east at The Esplanade Resort and Spa, Lakes Entrance.

Hotel: The Esplanade Resort & Spa , Lakes Entrance, 2 nights

Included Meals: Dinner

Lakes Entrance has long been a popular Gippsland holiday spot. With the bushfires burning during their usual peak holiday season and the effects of Covid-19, local tourism businesses have taken a hard hit. So today we have a free morning to support these small run operators whilst enjoying the beauty of the region. There’s plenty of options to choose from such as kayaking, boat hire (no experience or licence necessary) or even a farm & factory tour of gourmet mushrooms and snails housed for escargot caviar. Booking an activity with these local businesses is one of the best ways we can support the community and economy.

Nestled down a long dirt road, between the Colquhoun forest and the North Arm sits the family owned and operated Wyanga Park Winery where we will meet for a relaxed wine tasting with lunch in a rustic bush setting. Here you can sample a Prosecco, Rose or Cabernet Sauvignon and even take a bottle home for later. Supporting local businesses not only feels good but tastes good too.

Heading north to the small rural village of Bruthen, perched above the Tambo River Flats, we will visit Neil and Lois at Bullant Brewery. The owner Neil lost his home during the fires however the brewery is intact and open for business. We’re privileged to be able to support Neil’s business whilst he gets back on his feet and share in his passion for beer.

This evening we’ll have a free evening in Lakes Entrance to explore the local restaurants for dinner.

Hotel: Breakfast, Lunch

Trying to share the support with as many businesses as we can, we’ve left breakfast free this morning to roam through the local cafes of Lakes Entrance. With a list of recommendations, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the wander through town having a coffee and meal like a local.

The rural village of Nicholson is a farm settlement dating back to the 1870’s and the Nicholson River played an important role in supporting the growth of the small town. In 1978 Ken and Juliet, pioneers of their time, decided to follow their hearts and plant a vineyard to make wines that suit the regions soils, climate and reflect flavours unique to the area. Our first stop of the day will be a visit to Nicholson River Winery where Ken will introduce you to his extensive range that is Estate grown, made and bottled. Enjoy a locally sourced cheese and wine pairing hosted by Ken.

Our last group meal of the weekend will be in the charming farm to plate café of Lindenow, The Long Paddock. This township sits in the heart of some of the most productive agricultural land in East Gippsland. Enjoy the regional flavours bursting in your mouth from the top quality produce served with some cheerful Gippsland hospitality.

Before returning to the bustling city of Melbourne, get ready to fill your eskies at Myrtlebank Farm. This family owned and operated farm business offers local produce directly from the farm gate. As you fill up with free range eggs, dairy products, seasonal fruit and veges, sweets and jams, you will be supporting local farmers and rural families in the community.

Arrival back into Melbourne at The Victoria Hotel is scheduled around 18:00. Feel free to extend your weekend with an overnight stay at the hotel or perhaps enjoy one last meal with your fellow travellers at Mister Munro.

Included Meals: Lunch

Note: Subject to change in conditions. Venue suggestions are dependent on bushfire recovery efforts and alternates may be suggested by your driver guide. The local community will appreciate your flexibility and patronage in any of the venues that are available on the day of your trip.

Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change.

Subject to change in conditions. Venue suggestions are dependent on bushfire recovery efforts and alternates may be suggested by your driver guide. The local community will appreciate your flexibility and patronage in any of the venues that are available on the day of your trip.


Choose from a range of accommodation standards below. AAT Kings has hand-picked a range of hotels in key destinations to suit all kinds of budgets and we’ve pre-negotiated amazing prices for you.

The Esplanade Resort & Spa , Lakes Entrance, 2 nights

The Esplanade Resort & Spa at Lakes Entrance, boasts 132 quality rooms all four and a half star, under cover parking and two lifts. Most room have views over the lakes, town or into parkland.

The Resort Facilities include large outdoor lagoon pool, indoor heated pool & spa, tennis court & BBQ’s. Onsite we have Illuka Day Spa open Monday to Saturday from 9am – 5pm and on Sundays by appointment, where you can be pampered with treatments ranging from all waxing to fully body treatments, hydro therapy, facials, hand & foot treatments, massage and more.

The Esplanade Resort & Spa
Need accommodation before or after your tour?

Our special discounted rates make booking accommodation with us during your holiday both easy and affordable at selected AAT Kings hotels and resorts. Ask our friendly reservations at the time of booking.

Trip Details

What's included

  • • 2 Nights Accommodation
  • • Experienced Driver Guide
  • • Comprehensive Commentary
  • • Travel in an air-conditioned coach
  • • 1 Breakfast, 2 Lunches and 1 dinner

What to Bring

  • • Enclosed walking shoes
  • • Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen
  • • Water bottle

Fitness Requirements

  • • A low level of fitness is required for this tour.

Flight Information

  • • Day Prior: Flights to arrive into Melbourne anytime
  • • Day 3: Flights to depart Melbourne after 8:30pm

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