David checks out the resort in the Victorian Riviera that has cleaned up 11 Tourism Awards!
The Gippsland Lakes system is Australia's largest inland waterway. It is made up of three wonderful lakes Wellington, Victoria and King which flow into a man-made entrance at the tourist resort of Lakes Entrance before joining the waters of Bass Strait. The system abuts the Lakes National Park, taking in Sperm Whale Head and the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park, both of which abound with camping reserves and walking tracks.
Metung is on the shores of Bancroft Bay, an area pioneered by the McMillan family in 1840. Their holiday village is the perfect place for family holidays and their attention to customer service has ensured the property is constantly named in state and national tourism awards.
Their self-contained cottages vary in size and everything is provided to make your holiday complete the best linen and bedding, towels, cutlery, crockery and reverse cycle air-conditioning. Kitchens have dishwashers and microwaves and all cottages have television, VCR, barbecue and undercover parking.
Special and unusual touches are pleasant surprises lavender spray and a handwritten note with your morning paper and then maybe a boat ride around the bay spotting dolphins or kangaroos on the shoreline.
There are two heated pools at McMillans of Metung as well as a tennis court, golf driving range and gymnasium. You can fish from the jetty, relax with a book in the library and there are lots of games for children or maybe they would just prefer to explore the grounds (which are protected by security gates).
A grand weekend tradition at McMillans is pre-lunch or dinner drinks taken in Burilda, the homestead's 1908 summerhouse. It also provides a wonderful venue for Christmas, Melbourne Cup Day celebrations and other special occasions throughout the year.
The whole experience is topped off by hundreds of wild and semi-tame birds who live in and around the lagoon, plus giant eucalypts and manicured lawns and gardens.
There are many ways you can explore the waterways in your own boat, in a hired boat or you can join an arranged cruise. The destinations are great and there's a good supply of boat ramps, public jetties and a yacht club where visitors are given a warm welcome. Wooden boats from early times are a beautiful sight.
Riviera Nautique is one of very few companies to be inducted into the Australian Tourism Hall of Fame, our most prestigious tourism award. They own one of the country's finest fleets of yachts and cruisers, live-aboard boats and day boats for picnics, fishing, sailing and sightseeing. One prize in their fleet is a Rigby 24 wooden fishing boat with diesel, suitable for up to eight people for half- or full-day hire.
Riviera Nautique is a short distance from McMillans and both will provide you with plenty of ideas and maps. A great way to spend a day is to start with a gentle cruise to Boxes Creek, an inlet with marvellous bird life, then head around Bell Point, Nungurner and cruise along Reeve Channel past islands and colonies of cormorants and terns to Barrier Landing. Keep an eye open for dolphins, seals, drop in a fishing line or pull in and head for Ninety Mile Beach.
A boating licence is not required, but weather conditions are a deciding factor as to where you can go.