In central Gippsland on the west side of Lake Gippsland, Sale is a town that grew up in the second half of the 19th century.
By 1890, Sale was a busy port after a canal was built to connect the town to Lake Gippsland and the open sea.
The La Trobe Swing Bridge is a beautiful artifact outside the city at this time, while the historic harbour is now a focal point for visitors, with area galleries, recreational moorings and a waterfront promenade.
There are daily cruises from the port to the bridge, giving you an insight into Sale’s natural, aquatic trade and Aboriginal heritage.
Water is a common denominator in Sale, and birds are teeming with birds in the calm Lakes of Gothridge and Gayatt, as well as the wetlands of the Sale Common Nature Reserve.
1. Sales port area
Blending culture with the tranquility of the canal, Sell Harbour was redeveloped in the 2000s as the city’s leisure and entertainment district.
It’s a great place to spend a few hours.
Attend an exhibit at Gippsland Art Gallery, take a boat trip, stroll past the moorings along the 200-meter boardwalk, have a barbecue or grab a bite to eat at one of the several trendy restaurants nearby.
In the evening, catch a live performance at Wedge, a performing arts venue in Wellingtonshire.
The Port of Sale was developed in the 1880s, along with a connecting canal, which opened up a network of waterways for the city and effectively linked it to Lakes Entrance, 100 km northeast.
2. Gippsland Art Gallery
Overlooking the water and greenery of the sale port area is a sensational regional gallery.
As an institution, the Gippsland Art Gallery dates back to 1965, but relocated to this picturesque location in 1995 and was redeveloped between 2015 and 2017. In a dynamic program, the gallery hosts more than 30 exhibitions each year in six different exhibition spaces.
One of them is a permanent commitment to the sale of works by textile artist Annemieke Mein.
The permanent collection has about 1,750 objects, including Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Polixeni Papapetrou, Peter Booth and Jan Hendrick Artwork with different names such as Jan Hendrik Scheltema.
In addition to traveling exhibitions and exhibitions for established and emerging artists in the region, there is a rotating exhibit pulled from the extensive collection.
3. Sell Botanical Gardens
From the second half of the 19th century, Searle Botanic Gardens spread over 5 hectares on the eastern shore of Lake Guthridge and came into being later.
The garden plot was first set aside in 1860, and the park now includes gardens and lakes, which we discuss below.
State botanist Ferdinand von Mueller (1825-1896) and architect William Guilfoyle (1840-1912) of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne were involved in the design.
For the young, there is a playground with flying foxes and an animal enclosure with padmelons, red-necked kangaroos and parma kangaroos.
Take a stroll around the park to see the sensory gardens, elm groves, pergola and lots of peacocks to show off.
4. La Trobe Swing Bridge
The first movable bridge to be built in Victoria is 5km south of the city of Sale.
Dating back to 1883, the La Trobe Suspension Bridge is still in working order, with a total length of 45 metres and a wrought iron structure centred on a circular track supported by steel columns.
In the first few decades, the bridge was open 20 or more times a day for steamboats that shuttled between Sale and Melbourne.
The bridge was restored in the 2000s and featured in the 2008 Hugo Weaving and Rose Byrne movie The Tender Hook.
You can get there by walking or biking from Sale via the River Heritage & Wetlands Trail.
5. Port Heritage Cruise Ships for Sale
You’ll recall the days when Gippsland’s waterways were an important means of transport for lazy trips between harbours and swinging bridges for sale.
Departing twice a day, Port of Sale Heritage Cruises operates on the beautiful Rubeena, a wooden vessel launched in 1912 at Lakes Entrance in Victoria. You will raft along the Sale Canal and Thomson River, admiring the birds and tall red gums on the banks.
On Rubeena, you’ll learn about historic water transport, local wildlife and the history of Gippsland, starting with the Aboriginal Gunaikurnai, the traditional owners of Gippsland.
6. Gippsland Vehicle Collection
The Maffra is right up the road in Sale with over a century of exceptional driving history.
The Maffra and District Car Club continues the historic hill climb, and the local motorcycle club has a motocross track.
Also in Mafra, a large WWII-era building used for vegetable dehydration has been repurposed as an exhibition space for the Gippsland vehicle collection.
The fleet of wagons, motorcycles, trucks, cars, engines, and auto memorabilia is just as large, rotating every few weeks to keep things fresh.
You’ll see everything from 19th century horse-drawn carriages to state-of-the-art racing cars.
It is also one of the largest model car display areas in Australia with over 3,500 pieces.
7. Gothridge Lake
Sale has a beautiful freshwater distribution right on the edge of the CBD, continuing south into a nature reserve which we will describe in more detail.
At the top of this body of water is the Reservoir Lake Guthridge, once a swamp that was withheld to provide water to the city.
The reservoir is surrounded by greenery, lawns, shrubs, mature mangrove gums and botanical gardens on the east bank.
A trail winds its way around the lake, and on the south side, you can cross a wooden footbridge or make a detour around the adjoining Gayatt Lake.
There are plenty of black swans, ducks, pelicans and other water birds, while the trails are dotted with Aboriginal art.
Kids will love the play equipment spaced around the coast.
8. Selling Common Nature Reserves
You barely have to leave the city to reach this 300 hectares of open water, marshes, meadows and gum woodland.
This is the best bird watching spot in Sale, on the River Heritage and Wetlands Trail you can keep an eye out for white-faced herons, Australian darts, pelicans and of course whistling kites, royal spoonbills and white-bellied sea eagles, just to name a few a few cases.
There are clear picture boards to help you identify each species.
Cyclists also love the reserve, which has asphalt trails and boardwalks as an option for long but light rides from central Sale.
9. Ninety Mile Beach
After half an hour, you can reach one of the most beautiful and unspoilt beaches on earth.
Ninety Mile Beach is longer than its name, at 94 miles (151 km), between Port Albert in the southwest and Lakes Entrance in the northeast.
For such a long beach, there are no headlands or outcrops other than a few banded reefs.
The beach is a natural barrier to the Gippsland Lakes, a series of bodies of water that start outside Sale and where the La Trobe River flows into Lake Wellington.
The closest settlement on Ninety Mile Beach is Paradise Beach, on the far west side of the Gippsland Lakes Marine Park, where you can see Bass Strait, ride the wind, surf fish, dip your toes in the sea and camp by the beach.
10. Sports Lake
The lovely seaside town of Loch Sport is easy to reach from Sale, nestled between Lake Victoria and within easy reach of Ninety Mile Beach.
As far as location goes, Loch Sport is well-placed, right next to the Gippsland Lakes Marine Park, for endless activities on land and water.
But on the north side of the town, you also have the 2,390-hectare Lakes National Park, beloved for its abundance of wildflowers and support for populations of echidnas, emus, koalas and kangaroos.
Loch Sport has a golf club and tranquil waterfront on Lake Victoria with a boat ramp/pier, jetty, children’s playground and skate park.
11. Gayatt Lake
A southern extension of Lake Guthridge, bird-rich Lake Gaiat is the overflow of its big sister and is a place worth a quiet stroll.
The water is surrounded by a reserve, and you can follow wide gravel paths around the banks of the river, which connect with trails around Lake Gothridge.
The Gayatt Lake Cultural Trail here features inspiring signs to tap into Aboriginal culture and details the plant and animal species in the reserve.
On the east side of the lake is Stephenson Park, Sale’s main outdoor sports venue, undergoing a $1.65 million redevelopment at the time of writing.
Southwest of Lake Gayat stands the Gunpowder Sale Magazine, built in the mid-1860s to store gunpowder for mine blasting.
12. Gippsland Armed Forces Museum
In a hangar at Cecil Airport, there is a museum showcasing over 135 years of Australian military history, all from Gippsland’s perspective.
There is some impressive military hardware in the collection, including a jet that greets you on arrival and the engines and propellers inside.
Covering all branches of the armed forces, the collection features more than 1,500 pieces, including diaries, maps, uniforms, photo medals and well-preserved vintage posters.
These include artifacts from Gallipoli, Belgium and France, all of which help document the role of the Gippslanders in defending the country in war and peace.
13. Old Railway Signal Box
Sale Centre is the heart of Gippsland, home to most of the city’s shops and many dining options.
There is a pedestrian street along the south side where you will also find Sale Cinemas.
Curiously, this is the former site of Sale train station, which was relocated outside the city in 1983. But on the west side, along Reeve Street, you can still see some of the railroad heritage long stranded since the relocation.
The standout is the charming weatherboard signal box, next to a pair of signal lights and a nice old-fashioned level crossing.
With its back to the harbour and opposite the Parliament and Court Buildings on Foster Street, The Wedge is the hub of all Wellingtonshire’s live entertainment.
Operated by Wellington County Council, the venue hosts popular plays, musicals, dance performances, live comedy, touring bands, classical music and tribute shows.
It all takes place at the 400-seat John Leslie Theatre, which is also rented out for conferences, events, exhibitions, and more.
For pre-show drinks and snacks, the newly updated Portside Café features waterfront seating and is open 7 days a week.
15. Sales Visitor Information Center
This tourist resource shares a building with the Gippsland Art Gallery and will help you have more fun on your trip to central Gippsland and Wellingtonshire.
When you consider the diversity of the area spanning the snowfields of Victoria and the expansive sands of Ninety Mile Beach, it’s well worth getting some one-on-one advice to make sure you don’t miss anything.
The Visitor Information Center is open 7 days and offers free high-speed Wi-Fi.
You can chat with the staff and browse lots of maps and brochures, but there is also a great gift shop selling arts and crafts as well as food and wine from the area.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Sale, Australia
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