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The country drive

Gippsland

  • Maffra, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

A meandering drive through postcard-perfect scenery
112 km/70 miles, about 1.5 hours

Set out from Traralgon for a memorable drive through some lush Victorian scenery. First stop as you head north is Glengarry, known for Narkoojee Winery, preserved historic buildings and its butter factory. The Country Drive route then winds through the townships of Toongabbie, Cowwar, Heyfield, Tinamba and Maffra, with the Baw Baw National Park towering over the classic rural landscapes. A rail trail follows this route, so take your bike with you to explore at a different pace on some easy trails.

Make your way to Maffra for more historic architectural gems and a number of local wineries, then onto Stratford, which is perched on the banks of the river Avon. From here, it's back towards Melbourne through Sale, with replenishments from vibrant Rosedale.

Leg 1: Glengarry to Maffra
52 km/32 miles, about 40 minutes

With a tantalising bakery and outstanding regional wines, Glengarry is a top place to stop along the Country Drive as you make your way towards Maffra, a charming town steeped in nineteenth century history.

Get started on the Country Drive
Just north of Traralgon, Glengarry is the starting point of the Country Drive along C105. Its main street is lined with telltale signs of days gone by, like the railway station, Mechanics Institute Hall, and the butter factory. Savour the award-winning wines at Narkoojee Winery and devour something home-baked and delicious at the town's famous bakery. 

The Country Drive by car or bike
The Country Drive then heads through the township of Toongabbie, which also showcases some striking heritage buildings. Signs dotted throughout town provide an insight into how things used to be. Toongabbie is a popular spot to rest weary legs on the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail – an easy, postcard-perfect cycling track from Traralgon to Stratford.

Next stop is Cowwar, a town with heapings of character and creativity that shouldn't be missed for the fascinating cow sculptures around town. Pop into Cowwar Art Space in the rustic butter factory for the latest exhibitions or performances. Further along is Heyfield on the Thomson River. The gateway to the High Country features vast expanses of natural bush and national parks, plus Lake Glenmaggie and Heyfield Wetlands.

Onwards to Maffra
As you approach Maffra you'll come to Tinamba, a small town established when McEvoys Track from Seaton opened as a major access track to the goldfields. The popular Tinamba Hotel is the perfect lunch stop.

Driving into Maffra you instantly admire the tree-lined nineteenth century Main Street. Many of the original shop verandas remain, as well as historic buildings like the Duart Homestead and the converted court house that is now home to the Visitor Information Centre.

Leg 2: Maffra to Stratford
10 km/6 miles, about 10 minutes

After exploring Maffra it's time for the short drive to Stratford to allow you plenty of time to explore the quaint town on the banks of the River Avon. Known as one of the gateways to the Gippsland Lakes, Stratford is a great base for further exploration, fishing trips or a walk on McMillian's Track. 

Allow plenty of time to explore some of the diverse stores in Stratford's High Street, like the local baker and butcher (bacon and smallgoods a specialty) and the various antique and gift shops like the exotic Turkish Magic and Mumma Goose.

Leg 3: Stratford to Rosedale
44 km/27 miles, about 33 minutes

From Stratford the Country Drive takes you back towards Melbourne via Sale. Gippsland's bustling commercial hub rewards a lengthy stop. Visit the Old Port of Sale, with its boat ride to the Swing Bridge that spans across the connection to the Gippsland Lakes and is a beautiful spot to explore Sale's Ramsar Wetlands.

A short drive leads to Rosedale, a village with spirit that features some of the region's most contemporary eateries and retail offerings. Spend a few hours walking around the town and sample the region's best – the freshest produce, amazing coffees and the tastiest of foods. Rosedale also exudes a sense of history, with historic buildings and homesteads tucked into the surrounding countryside.