Just two hours from Melbourne, the Bass Coast, Phillip Island and South Gippsland are places of natural beauty, wildlife discovery and idyllic beaches with pristine waters. It’s a place of rolling hills with nutrient-rich soil where delicious produce is grown and farmed, world-class wine is grown and beer is brewed.
From your base on Phillip Island, follow the Bass Coast Discovery Loop to escape on an adventure. Make the most of your freedom to explore, have fun and be curious – be swept away by the tastes and the scenery, welcomed by the proud, friendly locals you meet along the way.
1. Head off from The Nobbies at the western tip of the Island, enjoying the coastal route off the Island and the sights and scenery of bustling fishing town, San Remo as you cross over the bridge.
2. Once on the mainland, head towards Grantville stopping off at farm gates to sample cheeses, pick strawberries and fill your hamper.
Close to the Corinella seaside walking trails, Fig & the Bay is housed in a renovated heritage homestead with stunning views of Western Port. Stop by for a relaxed meal, or coffee & cake while you soak up the sun from the outdoor tables, or relax in the shade of one of the old fig trees.
Stop off at Macca’s Farm for hydroponic veggies, gourmet local produce and the chance to ‘pick-your-own’ strawberries fresh from the farm. Macca’s Farm also grows and sells free-range pork & beef, as well as stocking locally sourced free-range lamb, honey, jams, cheeses and biscuits.
Open for tastings and cellar door sales, Bassine has a wide range of locally made artisan cheeses and fresh milk made directly from their own farm-bred cows. Tours are also available for a behind the scenes look at the cheese making and maturation rooms.
3. At Grantville head inland towards Kernot, cruising over the rolling green hills and taking in the spectacular hinterland scenery. Be sure to stop in at The Grove Gippsland.
Perched atop the rolling hills of the Bass Hinterland, The Grove Gippsland is an immersive food and nature destination comprising an Olive Grove, Restaurant, Sculpture Park, and leisurely bushwalking trails across the 60 acre property. The restaurant serves up a delicious taste of the region with a menu prepared on-site from scratch using locally sourced ingredients.
4. From The Grove, make your way down to Inverloch via Harman Wines and the small town of Kongwak. If passing through on a Sunday, you’ll see the town burst to life for its famous weekly market
At first glance, Kongwak is a farming heartland, but if you look a little closer you will find a thriving creative arts scene and a treasure trove of vintage and retro fashion. This is best experienced at the Sunday markets which draw crowds from right around the region and Melbourne. Located in the main street of Kongwak at The Kongwak General Store and Sheds, it's the best place to find rare collectables, retro, vintage and second-hand items, plants, books and art. This is not your standard regional market!
With a solid reputation for producing superb cool climate wines, relax under the umbrellas, enjoying the tranquil views with a glass of wine or two and a grazing platter of locally-sourced, seasonal produce.
5. Inverloch has a number of great cafes and restaurants with a relaxed coastal vibe and delicious menus. Be sure to visit the Bunurong Environment Centre to learn about the area’s special marine and coastal environment
Home to the South Gippsland Conservation Society's gift & book shop, a fascinating shell museum and dinosaur display with free talks activities for kids during school holidays. The shell museum contains one of the world’s best displays of shells with over 6,000 specimens on display including many local varieties.
6. Leave Inverloch along the Bunurong Coastal Drive towards Cape Paterson, stopping off at Eagles Nest and Shack Bay to explore the unusual rock formations of this part of the coast and go for a swim in the beautiful bay beach. At Cape Paterson explore the rockpools and relax on this beautiful, curved bay beach
7. From Cape Paterson, drive on to the larger township of Wonthaggi, a place that blends country and coastal lifestyle with a vibrant arts scene, chilled-out quirky cafes and unspoiled wetlands right in the heart of town. Be sure to head to the vintage markets to find some treasures to take home.
The next stop on the trail is Kilcunda, but it’s worth making a detour to the sleepy town of Archies Creek and visiting the pub.
Nestled in the foothills of Gippsland's dairy farm country, this charming 100 year old pub draws some big name live music acts, has five rustic, country style guest rooms (Archie's Couch), and serves lunch and dinner in the lounge.
8. The seaside town of Kilcunda is definitely worthy of one final pitstop to take in the views from the trestle bridge and to enjoy a relaxed coffee, meal or snack and pick up some coastal homewares and clothing at the Kilcunda General Store.
One of the most significant features along the Bass Coast Rail Trail is Kilcunda’s railway trestle bridge. Built in 1910, it offers a spectacular vantage point to take in the surf beach below as well as the rolling hills of Gippsland.
From Kilcunda, it’s just a 10 minute drive back to San Remo and the bridge to your home base on Phillip Island