The fast-growing town of Drouin is located on the Princes Highway 90km east of Melbourne.
Like its immediate neighbor Warragul, Drouin is situated on a plain between the peaks of the Strzelecki Mountains in the south and the first peak of the Great Dividing Range in the north.
It’s a short drive to rainforest-covered valleys, waterfalls and scenic peaks, with a much-loved trail linking Drouin and Warragul.
Every summer, the fig trees scattered across the town bloom bright red, and there is a seven-day festival to commemorate the occasion.
1. Civic Park
A short walk from Drouin’s shops, restaurants and community services, Municipal Park is a great place to while away an hour or two on a sunny day.
In addition to the scenic views with overgrown lawns, shrubs, pergola, shady trees, and a pond, the space also features amenities such as picnic and barbecue areas, a rotunda, acoustic enclosures, a newly renovated playground, and a skate park.
For some indulgence, the town’s McDonald’s is on the southwest corner, and Drouin’s indoor and outdoor pools are on the west side.
Civic Park is also the starting point of two town trails to Warragul, which we discuss below.
2. Two Towns Trail
From Civic Park, you can walk or cycle to Drouin, 8 km east of this superb paved trail.
This route is vital for commuters, but recreational walkers and riders will be blown away by the natural beauty and can take the time to peruse the interpretive signs along the way.
At various points, you can gaze north or south through the plains to the Baw Baw, Worth and Strzelecki mountains, and just outside Drouin, the trail cuts through the wetlands.
The Two Towns Trail is almost completely vehicle-free, with occasional use of quiet local roads, and plenty of places to rest and enjoy the scenery.
3. Ban Yip State Park
North of Drouin is the southernmost slope of the Great Dividing Range, part of which is protected by the 166-square-kilometer Bunyip State Park.
Although the space was used for logging until 1990 and suffered from regular bushfires, it is an exceptional natural resource, with mountain ash and powdery slender bark scattered across the swampy wasteland.
You can explore these landscapes on a hiking trail, mountain bike or 4×4.
Worth a visit is the Lawsons Falls Circuit Walk, to the park’s only waterfall.
Bunyip State Park is one of the only places in Victoria where you can see the state’s bird (the helmeted honeyeater), fauna (Leadbeater’s possum) and flora (common heath) all in one place.
4. Robin Hood Reserve
You barely have to leave Drouin to reach this important Aboriginal site, home to the Kurnai Brayakoloong tribe for generations.
There is a circular path along several hundred meters with five interpretive signs conveying fascinating facts about the culture and history of Kurnai Brayakoloong and decorated with Aboriginal artwork.
After the walk, you can rest on the banks of the Tarrago River, where there are barbecues and picnic tables.
5. The world of Gumbuya
One of the most popular outdoor activities in the Melbourne area is a few minutes’ drive on the Princes Highway from Drouin.
Gumbuya World features roller coasters, animal attractions and playground rides, as well as a water park.
The latter is called Oasis Spring and is the most exciting place in Gumbuya World.
There is a surf simulator, the reverse Boomerango water slide and the 180m dark slide Taipan.
Gentle fun is available on the 300-meter Lazy River.
Gumbuya World’s animal enclosures are located along the wildlife trails and feature a walking aviary, koala and dingo exhibits, wallaby trails, a “small animal cave” with insects and baby crocodiles, and a petting zoo.
6. Turongo Falls
If there’s ever a day trip to start from Drouin, it’s this majestic tiered waterfall, which slides down a wooded mountainside among towering gum trees and lush ferns.
Moist forest species such as blackwood, mountain ash and mountain ash gum abound, support wildlife such as sugar gliders and various possums, and are best seen at dawn or dusk.
To reach the falls, there is a 2.2 km loop that climbs steadily through the forest to the viewing platform.
After being stunned and taking as many photos as you can, you can continue down the route and go another 600 meters and you’ll see the Amphitheatre Falls, which is slightly smaller but still great.
7. Noojee Trestle Bridge
A must detour on the way to Toorongo Falls is this 100-meter-long wooden trestle that spans the valley and reaches a height of 21 meters.
The tallest building of its kind in Victoria, the building is a remnant of the Noojee to Warragul railway, built in 1919 and then rebuilt following a fire in 1939. You can marvel at the Bridge Bridge Rail Trail via the Noojee Trestle, a three-kilometer journey through the tranquil rainforest along the old line.
8. Farm World
The countryside around Drouin is known for its agriculture, making Lardner Park just outside the city a logical venue for one of Victoria’s leading agricultural conferences.
Farm World has more than 800 exhibitors each year, and while agribusinesses can connect, check out new equipment and watch demos, Farm World has plenty to keep families and leisure visitors entertained.
For four days at the end of March, you can take part in equestrian competitions and sheep herding, and discover all the livestock breeds raised in Victoria.
Kids can ride camels and meet cute farm animals like goat kids, lambs, piglets and chicks.
9. Cannibal Mountain
If you need some quiet contemplation on your way to and from Gumbuya World, there is an unexpected beauty just off the Princes Highway.
At Mount Cannibal, you can take the 2.3km loop, giving you ample opportunity to explore the rolling countryside of classic Gippsland.
Near the summit is a lookout on a massive granite ridge with uninterrupted 180° views.
Mount Cannibal is located in a conservation area with toilets, picnic areas, BBQ facilities and a children’s playground.
10. Mint Ridge Farm
Located next to Bunyip State Park, the beautifully landscaped Peppermint Ridge Farm covers 8 hectares and offers a range of seasoned experiences for those interested in the origins of Australian native food and spices, embodying the Drouin region’s specialty prestige.
Take a multi-sensory tour of Australia’s native food garden, order a bush food platter, or enjoy afternoon tea featuring fennel myrtle tea, lemon myrtle muffins and strawberry chewing gum jam.
The nursery is also a must, selling all the plants in the farm garden, from sansho to lemon myrtle, and you can take a bush food class at the Native Creative Cooking School.
11. Mount Worth State Park
For hilly views, you can turn south to the Strzelecki Mountains, and about half an hour’s drive from Drouin lies Mount Worth.
The hillsides here are covered with moist montane rainforest growing blackwood, ash and ash gum.
Mountain ash in particular can live for hundreds of years and grow to extraordinary heights, as you will see on the Giant’s Walk, which takes you past a tree believed to be 300 years old and with a circumference of 14 meters.
Meanwhile, on the McDonald’s Trail, you can set your sights on the Latrobe Valley up to the first slope of the Great Dividing Range.
Living in this environment are some famous Australian animals such as wombats, platypus and possums.
12. Laurie Collins Sculpture Garden
Respected area artist Laurie Collins has established his studio on a rural property about ten minutes from Drouin.
Collins is a sculptor who works primarily with recycled metal and metal waste, which he turns into unique creations.
If you contact in advance, he will show you his newly developed sculpture garden, after which you can visit his shed/studio where you can learn about his creative process.
13. The Path of Achievement Exploration
For a relatively small town, Druin has nurtured some sporting giants, especially in the Australian Rules football world.
These include Gary Ablett Sr. and Dale Thomas, while Lionel Rose, the first Aboriginal Australian to win a boxing world title, was also born in Drouin.
Another walkway from Drouin Civic Park pays homage to the town’s sporting achievements, winding down the slope to Drouin Recreation Reserve before cutting north to Victoria Street.
The start of the walk is not to be missed, heralded by a spectacular mosaic of snake heads created by the indigenous Koori community.
14. Fig Festival
Every February, the small fig trees around Drouin produce fiery, delicate red flowers.
In honor of the event, there is a week-long festival that culminates in all kinds of fun on the third Saturday of each month.
On this day, there are parades of floats and costumes designed according to specific themes.
The parade ends at Civic Park, where there will be live music, food trucks, a market (more below), an evening movie screening and fireworks.
15. Drouin Craft and Produce Market
This market is organized by the Rotary Club of Drouin and is held in Civic Park on the third Saturday of every month.
Typically, you can buy fresh produce, handmade crafts, flowers and potted plants, clothing toys, and more here.
Pick up a cup of coffee to wake you up in the morning, and as lunchtime approaches, cold snacks and grills will be served.
There is an additional special market in February to coincide with the Ficofilia festival in Drouin.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Drouin, Australia
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