East Gippsland Open for Business!
East Gippsland has finally gained some notoriety this summer, although not for the reasons we would have chosen, with massive bushfires sweeping through the area. The township of Orbost where I live had a firefront approach to within 2 kilometres of the town, with spot fires almost reaching the township but was saved by a dramatic windchange. Others were less lucky.
The good news is that the East Gippsland Rail Trail was very little impacted by the fires, with the short (less than 1 km) section that was impacted inspected and declared safe. The Princes Highway is now open again to the NSW border, as is the Monaro Highway from Cann River to the NSW border and on to Cann River.
The coastal corridor between Orbost and Bairnsdale has had little impact: if you drive through Lakes Entrance from Orbost to Bairnsdale, it is astonishing to find that all that is visible is one small patch of forest that burnt late November. Fires impacted close to Bruthen, but the township, surrounding farmland and all the other towns along the rail trail are untouched by fire.
They are however very ready to welcome visitors! Many many businesses suffered a huge loss of trade over the usual peak summer season, with the area drained of visitors from Decemer 28th. They have remained cheerful and smiling through a difficult summer and will welcome our visit.