Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Let people know the beaut locations to sail and the great boat ramps you've found.
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Joséjones
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Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by Joséjones » Dec 9th, '18, 14:53

Hi, my family are new to the trailer sailer scene and we’ve been talking about our first adventure to the Gippsland lakes. We would be going with other boatless people so the plan is to launch the boat at a convenient ramp and rendezvous with the land lubbers somewhere we could anchor with a shore camp nearby.

A bit of googling suggests that Spoon Bay might be what we’re looking for but I’m wondering if anyone has done this or could recommend and alternative. Also, I’m guessing that this area gets pretty crowded over the summer hols. What experience can the group share?

Cheers,

Joe

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zebedee
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by zebedee » Dec 9th, '18, 16:11

For a variety of reasons, sailing on the lakes tends to be centred on Paynesville and Metung. Lakes Entrance (a worthy destination btw) is the commercial fishing hub, as well as a huge tourist centre, probably at least partly because the ocean beach is accessible without a boat. Loch Sport is different. With very little shelter, it seems to be dominated by power boats and jet skis which are readily pulled out at the end of each day. There's no central village in the way of the other towns around the lakes.

If your overnight anchorage is to be driven by the location of your land campers then shelter becomes even more important since you can't just move somewhere else for a few days.

In summer, by about 1pm most afternoons there will be a sea breeze of about 15 to 20 knots from somewhere between due east and south east, which will subside as dusk approachs. It makes for a great afternoon sail returning from Shaving Point (Metung) to just about anywhere further west, but you will need somewhere sheltered from an easterly, so for example, the public Jetty adjacent to the Eagle Point Caravan Park, which might otherwise look attractive, is very exposed most afternoons.

The other condition you want to plan for is when a cool change / cold front comes through. These bring strong winds from somewhere between South and West. For example, the Progress Jetty in Paynesville is spectacularly badly exposed to cool changes; never leave a boat tied up there if a change is due to come through!

If your chosen camping area isn't adequately sheltered from the South/West, you may have to remove the boat for a day or two, but if it is exposed to the east you'll need to be on the water by lunchtime and not return to camp until close to dusk...

So in the perfect world, you're looking for somewhere within about 10km (one hour sailing/motoring) of Paynesville or Metung (which pretty much encompasses anywhere from about Wattle Point (north side of Lake Victoria) or Emu Bight (west end of Sperm Whale Head) all the way to Lakes Entrance, somewhere sheltered from the east and ideally not too exposed to the South West through South either, with land camping available, and with water depth suitable for getting close to shore.

Spoon Bay is the water south of Hollands Landing, outside of the straits. It's a long way from anywhere else, and I suspect it is very shallow. While the campground location is suitably sheltered, there's not really anywhere interesting to sail to; 30km from Paynesville means a day trip to Paynesville, Bunga Arm, Duck Arm, etc, are a full day trip minimum.

Emu Bight camping area might suit you better. If the weather looks like turning really bad you can shelter on the north shore of Lake Victoria west of Wattle Point or head over to Duck Arm (behind the Banksia Peninsula).
There are approved camping sites in Bunga Arm, but they are only accessible by boat. Despite it's orientation to the South West, Bunga Arm is reasonably sheltered.

How many boatless people do you have?
Tents or campervans/caravans?
Do they want a caravan park with all facilities, or a bush camping spot with just toilets and little else?
Are they there for the boating, or will they be doing other stuff?
Presumably you want to be nearby in the evenings and for dinner, etc? Which really means somewhere suitable in the late afternoon - that sea breeze again!

If only there were a public camping area somewhere in Duck Arm or Newlands Arm; 20 minutes drive by car from Bairnsdale and Paynesville, sheltered, close by water to other interesting places... Similarly, Boxes Creek, Chinaman Creek, Nungurner would all be great if there was somewhere to camp on land.
A man's boat is his Castle. The Gippsland Lakes are my moat. Castle 650 #10, Roller Coaster.

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Peter Yates
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by Peter Yates » Dec 9th, '18, 18:02

Zebedee has summed it up well. The lakes get busy over the Xmas school hols and there are few places I can think of that would provide a sheltered anchorage in a natural setting with road access, which it sounds like you want, for the land campers.

As Zeb says, the easterly sea-breezes in Summer can be very fresh (often well over 20 kts), so shelter is important.

By now, all land based accommodation and even caravan park sites would probably be booked out.

The Bunga Arm is beautiful and has a small number of approved camp-sites scattered along it. But it has no road access and you have to book well ahead to get a site anyway.

Sorry to not be more help but a first trip would be much easier to plan if you only had boat mooring to worry about without the restriction of needing to be near land campers - especially at Xmas and Easter.

You could try Allawah caravan park which is on the canal system in Paynesville. It has small jetties and a launching ramp plus camping sites or cabins. But I imagine that would be fully booked out by now.
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by INMA » Dec 9th, '18, 18:07

If your friends base themselves at Paynesville Caravan Park, you can ask the park if you can use their jetties for transfer of people going on day sails.

You can moor at any of the public jetties around Paynesville.

Its hard to advise where to visit without knowing the number of people and capacity of your yacht.

If you want wonderful sailing, sailing at night around Raymond Island is a wonderful experience.

There are many easy day trips on land such as the Buchan Caves (pdandy made a good list of day activities not long ago, have a look for his list).

Launching from the King Street Ramp is my favorite, its not far from the Caravan Park.
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zebedee
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by zebedee » Dec 9th, '18, 20:45

Another consideration is where you intend to launch, and more to the point, leave your car and trailer.

First of all, Hollands Landing is definitely not a place to leave a car and trailer for several days.

The ramps at Loch Sport see mostly day trippers; I'm not sure how keen I'd be on leaving a car and trailer there for a week.

The main ramp at King Street in Paynesville has good shelter in all weather and has an enormous parking area and overflow and especially in summer. In summer there are always has people around, sleeping on board moored boats or in the carpark on their first or last nights. Several marine businesses are walking distance away when you realise you've lost a bung or a shackle pin or some other trivial but essential part.

If you're concerned about security, $12 will get your car and trailer over to Raymond Island, where the ramp is quiet and inconvenient for any would-be miscreants, who are unlikely to spend $12 to get there!

There are ramps at Marina Drive on Point King Island (north end of Paynesville) and at Boat Ramp Road (imaginative name eh?) near the Eagle Point jetty and caravan park; both are overlooked by housing, so they should be fine, even though they're not used as much.

The Metung ramp at Shaving Point is probably good simply by virtue of it's location at the far end of the village. It can be a bit exposed to the east, though the very short fetch prevents much wave action developing.

The more I look at it and what Greg has added, the more I think you try to find somewhere suitable for your land based people then figure out where you can overnight on the boat nearby. Without knowing what level of land camping you have in mind it is hard to be more specific, though Emu Bight is probably fairly close to what you had in mind at Spoon Bay, in a better location.
A man's boat is his Castle. The Gippsland Lakes are my moat. Castle 650 #10, Roller Coaster.

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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by Joséjones » Dec 9th, '18, 21:23

Thanks Zebedee and everyone. As mentioned, we are brand new boat owners having just bought a Sabre 22. The plan, currently in very early stages, is to spend 4 nights down on the lakes with my family (2 adults and 3 kids) along with our land based friends in mid Jan - after the initial rush of Christmas / New Year but before the Australia Day long weekend.

I have been using the Gippsland Lakes Boating Guide ((https://goo.gl/wMYEF3)) in the absence of a real chart. Looking at that, I thought we might all drive to Loch Sport and launch our TS there, then some of us would sail to Spoon Bay while the others drove both cars (including the trailer) to the camp. I can see on the guide that the depth is about 2m there which doesn't give us much room at low tide (Sabre 22 draws 1.3), but I'm still not sure what the tides are like in that part of the lake.

As for things to do, the plan is pretty much to stay put for a few days and mess about on and in the water. We can have some surf times at 90mi beach and do lots of pottering about in the TS. On the guide, Spoon bay looks pretty well sheltered from all but the Easterly, although we might be able to tuck her in near Red Bluff. Obviously, without a chart this is all just an assumption and nothing beats experienced advice :D

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Peter Yates
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by Peter Yates » Dec 9th, '18, 21:59

zebedee wrote:
Dec 9th, '18, 20:45

If you're concerned about security, $12 will get your car and trailer over to Raymond Island, where the ramp is quiet and inconvenient for any would-be miscreants, who are unlikely to spend $12 to get there!

$13 Zeb! It's a pretty toffy area you know!
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zebedee
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by zebedee » Dec 9th, '18, 22:38

The natural tidal range at Shaving Point (Metung) is 100mm (4") and is swamped out by the effects of river flow variation (rain upstream in the catchments) and wind, which can move a remarkable amount of water around. Tide is not an issue West of Metung and really only becomes important in the channels East of Fraser Island near Lakes Entrance, especially at Barrier Landing.

In my opinion the best available "chart" of the lakes, which is also a topographical map of the surrounding terrain, is the Gippsland Lakes Outdoor Recreation Guide, which has marks and depths for marine navigation but also has topographical and road coverage on land and an indication of the facilities are various locations. I bought my laminated copy from the Melbourne Map Centre in Waverley Road East Malvern. See also here. It is also available on ebay.
Creeks and Harbours of the Gippsland Lakes is probably the definitive guide to the lakes, with lots of notes and hand drawn maps, but it's not really adequate alone. Well worth buying, or even checking if your local library has a copy.

If you're on the Loch Sport side of the lake, there are coin operated hot showers at the General store at Golden Beach.
A man's boat is his Castle. The Gippsland Lakes are my moat. Castle 650 #10, Roller Coaster.

Joséjones
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by Joséjones » Dec 9th, '18, 22:49

Thanks Zebedee, looks like Creeks and Harbours of the Gippsland Lakes might be out of print so I'll have to see if I can find it secondhand somewhere. the Gippsland Lakes Outdoor Recreation Guideis pretty much available everywhere, including Rays Outdoor, so I guess that's where I'll start.

Pity, there isn't a nautical chart of the area because it would have felt properly sailorly to have a chart, but I suppose the lakes are considered inland waterways?

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zebedee
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by zebedee » Dec 9th, '18, 22:55

Check your local libraries for Creeks and Harbours; some libraries have them.
The Outdoor Recreation Guide is the closest thing you'll find to a proper chart.
A man's boat is his Castle. The Gippsland Lakes are my moat. Castle 650 #10, Roller Coaster.

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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by INMA » Dec 10th, '18, 00:53

We have been visiting the Lakes for over 30 years.

The 90 mile Beach is not suited for families swimming.

There is a surf club with rescue services at Lakes Entrance, but other than there, keep kids out of the surf.

Camping anywhere near Locksport will involve mozzies, big angry flocks of mozzies.

Paynesville is mozzie free and a good base for your trip.

Raymond Island can be bad for mozzies.

Check if your friends can get into any of the local camping grounds near Paynesville.

If your new to the yacht and figuring out where you want to visit for four days, Paynesville is your best option. There are plenty of kid friendly anchorages within an hour of Paynesville main jetty and many longer trips if you decide to go overnight at anchor.

Remember your getting your bearings on this trip and figuring out what is good for the family.

I can tell you its a long night below if you anchor where mozzies attack. I prefer places where we sleep with the boat open and preferably near good toilets and showers.
Nothing is free, abuse the environment and nature will make us pay the cost with interest.

Anyone ignoring the environment, is probably neglecting our children's future.

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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by Joséjones » Dec 10th, '18, 12:47

Thank you everyone for the great advice. From the sound of it, Paynesville is the best place to start exploring the Gippsland Lakes so the whole plan will be dependant on whether we can get a camping spot at one of the caravan parks or campgrounds nearby. I like the sound of Emu Bight, but the thought of killer mozzies has put me off bush camping a bit.

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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by MargGannet » Dec 12th, '18, 17:08

Helicopter mozzies at Emu Bight!!!
Totally endorse the above comments, and yes Paynesville is the best centre... Might be hard to get a booking, but worth a try for sure.
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by colect149 » Dec 13th, '18, 17:35

A bit hard to read, but best I can do out of the Richard Hawkins book
Creeks4.jpg
Had another go at it so this is now 110KB and seems as close as I can get to the 128Kb limit. Sad to learn the Richard Hawkins books are out of print, my copy of the Lakes one is the later one but it is dated 1989 and entitled Creeks and Harbours of the Gippsland Lakes & Eastern Gippsland. It includes Lake Tyres, Marlo, Bemm River, Sydenham, Tamboon and Mallacoota inlets.

Edit:- CH Smith Marine still list the book for sale, it is a later edition to mine and has Way Points.
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by pdandy » Dec 14th, '18, 22:40

If you're stuck for options, loch sport caravan park might be worth considering? It's right next to the yacht club / boat ramp / public jetty. Although loch sport is way down the list of desirable destinations from a sailing perspective, it's still a nice family holiday destination and you can still sail from there and have fun. A day trip nw up to toms creek , or east to sperm whale head ( the land lubbers can drive out and meet you at the jetty for a bbq , and you could even shuttle them across to rotamah island for a wander around / explore) . Or just sail around in the relatively protected water nth of loch sport and get used to the boat.

I think the loch sport club also does sail training for kids etc over the summer period - they're a good bunch of people.

Don't waste your $ on the creeks & harbours book - try to get a copy of the rooftops map for the lakes which provides good land based advice, and you can use either the navionics app or the recreation boating guide for water based stuff . Alternatively, see pm

You'll notice on the rooftops map, there are lots of camp sites down the bunga arm - water access only, but once you get there a tent can be set up and the boat parked at the beach - so theoretically if you can shuttle the other family across these might be an option?


Having said that, nothing beats paynesville for convenience - allawah caravan park in particular - jetty berths, their own ramp that's relatively protected from the wind ( in the canals)
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by Sue H » Dec 15th, '18, 06:33

colect149 wrote:
Dec 13th, '18, 17:35
A bit hard to read, but best I can do out of the Richard Hawkins bookCreeks4.jpg Had another go at it so this is now 110KB and seems as close as I can get to the 128Kb limit. Sad to learn the Richard Hawkins books are out of print, my copy of the Lakes one is the later one but it is dated 1989 and entitled Creeks and Harbours of the Gippsland Lakes & Eastern Gippsland. It includes Lake Tyres, Marlo, Bemm River, Sydenham, Tamboon and Mallacoota inlets.

Edit:- CH Smith Marine still list the book for sale, it is a later edition to mine and has Way Points.
I noticed during the week that there are copies of this book on sale at the Newsagent in Paynesville.

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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by Peter Yates » Dec 15th, '18, 07:41

pdandy wrote:
Dec 14th, '18, 22:40

You'll notice on the rooftops map, there are lots of camp sites down the bunga arm - water access only, but once you get there a tent can be set up and the boat parked at the beach - so theoretically if you can shuttle the other family across these might be an option?



I think those Bunga Arm campsites are on a booking only basis and would all be well and truly booked out.
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by Peter Yates » Dec 15th, '18, 07:44

pdandy wrote:
Dec 14th, '18, 22:40
I
You'll notice on the rooftops map, there are lots of camp sites down the bunga arm - water access only, but once you get there a tent can be set up and the boat parked at the beach - so theoretically if you can shuttle the other family across these might be an option?

I think those campsites are all pre-booked.
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by INMA » Dec 15th, '18, 12:12

The Bunga Arm campsites are booked through the Parks office in Bairnesdale.

Many of the sites are not maintained with the rangers needing to clear saplings, but frompast experience there is plenty of the sites. Its probably too late to book for this year.
Nothing is free, abuse the environment and nature will make us pay the cost with interest.

Anyone ignoring the environment, is probably neglecting our children's future.

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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by zebedee » Dec 15th, '18, 12:32

Booking is online; some sites are still available:

https://www.parkstay.vic.gov.au/gippsla ... -bunga-arm
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by pdandy » Dec 15th, '18, 13:21

zebedee wrote:
Dec 15th, '18, 12:32
Booking is online; some sites are still available:

https://www.parkstay.vic.gov.au/gippsla ... -bunga-arm
Thanks zeb, I would havd been surprised if they were all booked!

Joe:

As a rule of thumb, the further down the arm , the less likely for sites to be booked and the less likely to have a constant drone of motorboats towing kids....

Have a good look at google earth to get an idea of suitability for parking the yacht - eg the furthest ( dotterel) is reasonably close to that little island just before the first blow hole, so if you get a weird wind shift it still might be possible to move for shelter ( +/- shift the boat to the relative protection of the cove at the first blow hole) .

Another consideration is water quality - my completely nonscientific observation is that the sites with narrower sandbars between the 90 mile beach seem to have cleaner water on the lake side - presumably water seeps through the sand from the ocean? This is most evident way down at the second blowhole, where you can actually see the fresh water seeping through the sand ( and there are sea creatures like seahorses which you don't normally get in the lakes water sections )

If ypu do decide to take this option, be aware the trip down the arm will be relatively slow - stick close to the northern shore, expect to be travelling through shallow sections where the keel might touch down - so have someone up front trying to work out where is best to drift.... on a good day I can sail most pf the way to the first blow hole without dragging my keel (1.2 m) , but when wayer quality is poor it's a real struggle ( it's good at the moment)
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Re: Gippsland lakes sail and land camping

Post by INMA » Dec 15th, '18, 16:49

There is a very safe anchorage behind that Island.

Its difficult to enter motoring from the south along the beach for a couple of hundred meters before finding a deep hole next to the Island.

The weed on the bottom makes poor holding but the soft weed bottom in all directions means being blown around dragging the anchor is low risk.
Nothing is free, abuse the environment and nature will make us pay the cost with interest.

Anyone ignoring the environment, is probably neglecting our children's future.

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