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The Gippsland region’s coastline, southwest of Melbourne, has developed a reputation as a miniature version of Australia’s iconic Great Ocean Road. And with its dramatic clifftop vistas and vast offshore rock formations poking out at every turn, it’s easy to see why. Surrounded by all of this natural drama is Inverloch, a seaside town that hugs the postcard-perfect shore of Andersons Inlet. This protected pocket of water and its surrounding scenic trails makes Inverloch a popular getaway year-round: swim, paddleboard, sail, and surf (Eagles Nest has legendary waves) in summer, then lace up your hiking boots or jump in the car for epic coastal walks and road trips during cooler months.
Melbourne Airport (MEL) receives hundreds of flights from dozens of carriers every day. The joy of traveling the 105 miles (two hours) southwest to Inverloch by car is taking in the spectacular coast at your own pace. Rental options are available at the airport, or in the city proper. There’s no direct public transport to Inverloch, although a series of trains and buses will get you there in 4.5 to seven hours, depending on your route. The fastest requires you to catch the Skybus or taxi to Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station, a train to Dandenong, then a bus to Inverloch. Rideshares and taxis are available around the region when you arrive.
Summer (December through February) is peak season in Inverloch, thanks to long, sunny days with maximum temperatures between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain and humidity levels are low, and water temperatures are at their annual highs, though still brisk: around 63 degrees. Diving in is an invigorating experience over winter (June through August) and spring (September through November), when water temperatures can dip to 55 degrees, while daytime highs reach between 60 and 75. The rainy season peaks in the middle of fall (May) and spring (October). Coastal breezes can be cool, so come prepared with layers.
Part of the Penguins to Prom Touring Route — extending 130 miles between the penguin viewing experience on Phillip Island and Wilsons Promontory in the south — this nine-mile stretch of coast between Cape Paterson and Inverloch takes in rugged cliffs, rocky headlands, sandstone stacks, and sandy beaches, with ocean views from Bass Strait to the rolling hills of the Bass Coast. Continue four miles southwest to the Bunurong Marine and Coastal Park, known for its intertidal reefs, and be on the lookout for whales and fur seals.
A visit to the Bunurong Environment Centre is like turning back the clock to the Jurassic era. Tour the Inverloch Dinosaur Dreaming dig site, the most productive of its kind in the state, with a paleontologist, and learn about the dinosaur footprints and more than 15,000 bones that have been discovered in the fossil layer here.
This family-friendly hike is a scenic way to discover the various ecosystems of the Gippsland coast. The trail takes you along boardwalks to marshland and mangroves (look out for mud crabs), with panoramic views of Anderson Inlet from the Townsend Bluff lookout. It’s a 40-minute loop from the Inverloch foreshore, and at low tide you can stroll along the sand for part of your journey.