LOCATED:The entire south-eastern coastal strip and hinterland from Western Port to the NSW border.
PRINCIPAL TOWNS: Traralgon, Sale, Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Omeo.
PRINCIPAL PRODUCE: Stone fruit, vegetables (especially potatoes), wine grapes, aquaculture, fish and seafood, berries, dairy products.
This is the visitor's first exposure to the countryside when entering from coastal New South Wales - a beautiful yet sometimes daunting landscape, rising swiftly to mountains inland. From the other direction, the task is to tempt visitors to stay with the road another hour or so past Western Gippsland.
Those who have been before and have, quite literally tasted what is on offer here, have no difficulty in returning. The plenitude of places to the west may be lacking, but the quality more than makes up for quantity. For here you will find a vast array of seafood and all things fishy, with restaurants more than equipped to deal with them. There is a winery or two, including fruit wines and orchards and ice cream, and of course those magic lakes and mysterious wildernesses to explore.
West Gippsland adopted the 'gourmet deli' tag some time back for very good reasons. When you see the wealth of 'smallgoods' produced here, you just have to envy Melburnians who can be here after a ninety-minute drive.
Better yet, the food has not sat for days in some refrigerated cabinet, or for weeks on a shelf. Here you can often pick your own fruit or berries, or at the very least buy some that was harvested in the cool of the same morning.
Bring a picnic hamper to this region, but make sure it is empty as, rounding out the 'deli' department of this region you will find organic vegetables, farm cheese, wood-fired breads, venison, emu, kangaroo and trout, enough to satisfy any luncheon requirements.
All that remains then is to find a tranquil park or riverbank, beach or waterfall. And, you guessed it, these are in abundance too.
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