The devastating bushfires that have swept across Australia this Summer have stunned the world, moving people to immense generosity as we all band together to support the incredible firefighters, emergency services and charities in their relief efforts.
But now that you’ve donated money to the many bushfire appeals, what next? A fun way to make a difference to bushfire affected towns is simply to holiday there – movements such as Road Trip for Good and Empty Esky are doing a great job of encouraging people to visit these towns and to spend, spend, spend!
We recently went on our own #roadtripforgood from Melbourne to beautiful East Gippsland, and can’t recommend it highly enough - check out our fun yet relaxing itinerary below:
Day 1: A cruisy day of driving to Metung (where we were staying)
Pit stop for coffees and a bite at Badger & Hare, a cute little café with friendly service and tasty toasties.
Checked into The Oar House by Ocean Blue Coastal Retreats, our home for the next 3 nights!
The Oar House by Ocean Blue Coastal Retreats
Stroll along Metung Wharf, before enjoying a drink at The Metung Hotel while taking in the views.
Dinner at Froggy’s Bistro, a small and humble family restaurant serving homestyle French cuisine.
Fuelling up for the day with a huge brekky at Six Sisters & a Pigeon, a no frills café with tasty breakfasts and good coffee too.
We had planned to visit the Foreshore Market, a monthly market for the Lakes Entrance Surf Life Saving Club, but unfortunately it was rained out! So off we went op-shopping instead and picked up some great finds – did you know that Gippsland has the most op shops per capita of anywhere in Australia? Or was in Victoria? I read this recently somewhere and can’t find it now, so don’t quote me on it! Haha
The highlight of our trip, beachside camel rides with Camel Connection! Such a unique experience and very interesting to chat with Russell, one half of the Camel Connection team. Was also fun taking pics of and giving chin scratches to Jack, Coco and Euco, the handsome and friendly camels.
Back to The Metung Hotel for some pub grub and gorgeous views
Day 3: Visiting Buchan and Orbost
We had planned to go to the Buchan Caves, however Parks Victoria refunded our tour and informed us that the caves were closed indefinitely due to damage caused by the bushfires. Our map showed that only one road to Buchan had recently reopened just days earlier, so we decided to make the drive there nonetheless.
The drive into Buchan was sombre and eye-opening, as we passed thousands of blackened and charred trees. Seeing these images on the news is definitely not the same as having these scenes surround you in real life…
A hearty meal at The Buchan Caves Hotel, with super friendly service and lots of different twists on the humble chicken parma.
Stop off at Stony Creek Trestle Bridge on the way to Orbost for a bit of history. This was previously built to extend the existing rail line from Melbourne to Bairnsdale out to Orbost, but was damaged by bushfires in the 80s.
Roadside honey – yes please! Pulled over to purchase some Australian honey and honeycomb from the Wombat Honey Shop, an adorable little stall which operates under the honesty system.
Watching the sunset over the water on our last night in Metung
Day 4: Paynesville and home again…
Catching the ferry (free for pedestrians!) from Paynesville to Raymond Island, where there are over 200 koalas.
Beautiful koalas up close and personal
Spotted – the very rare Labrador Koala!
Last pit stop on the way home at Café 3847 & Co in Rosedale – this quirky and eclectic café has amazing coffee and homemade gourmet pies.
Cafe 3847 & Co 11 Prince Street, Rosedale VIC 3847
We had such an amazing trip, and it was definitely a really fun way to support small businesses who are currently feeling the pinch from the drop in tourism and foot traffic. As if you need another reason to plan a getaway!
Where will you go? Check out the following sites for maps, suggested itineraries, and other ideas for your next road trip to bushfire affected towns.