PAGE 86 | GREAT ALPINE ROAD VISITOR GUIDE PAYNESVILLE / RAYMOND ISLAND A quaint, quirky and colourful lakeside village The small village of Paynesville is a popular holiday destination for lovers of boating, fishing and other water-based sports, from kayaking to kitesurfing. Located just a 15-minute drive south of Bairnsdale, the township has been set-up for outdoor family enjoyment, with expansive waterfront lawn areas, stretches of sand, chairs and paths. There are also two different playgrounds on Paynesville's waterfront, as well a large and clean toilet block, and a skate park that's walking distance from the water. Along the foreshore, the Paynesville farmers and makers market (held on the third Saturday of each month) features a colourful array of local characters, produce and hand-crafted creations. Paynesville's commercial centre is located on the inland side of the Esplanade, overlooking the waterways and foreshore just across the road. It includes a small supermarket, post office and an array of excellent cafés and eateries, some specialising in fresh local seafood. The gentle Paynesville Sunset Cove Walking Track (three kilometres return) winds its way around the foreshore, with show-stopping views across the water (especially, as the name suggests, at sunset). A boating paradise With saltwater lakes on three sides, a network of sheltered canals and inlets, as well as numerous boat ramps and jetties, Paynesville is the perfect place for boaters to launch their way into Gippsland's vast network of inland waterways. In fact, it's possible to travel by water from Paynesville all the way to Lakes Entrance, roughly 25 kilometres to the east (as the crow flies). Floating tin shed On public holidays and weekends, if the weather is fine, you might be fortunate enough to catch some live music being played from the town's iconic floating tin shed – a watercraft fashioned to resemble a rusty stockman's hut. The shed often plies Paynesville's waterfront and canals, with amplified singers and musicians on board, much to the delight of locals and visitors. Island koala spotting Across the water, just 200 metres away from the Paynesville foreshore, is Raymond Island, which is home to a significant koala population, as well as a small residential population that co-exists with many native birds and animals, offering ideal bushwalking opportunities. The five-minute vehicle and passenger ferry to Raymond Island departs Paynesville regularly and is free for pedestrians and cyclists. The island has a relaxed pace, making it an ideal place to relax for a few days (accommodation is available), and there are also a number of excellent spots to throw in line to catch bream, flathead and tailor. The best way to see the koalas, is to take the Koala Walk from the Raymond Island Ferry Park (where bike hire is also available). Just follow the signs...and remember to look up! Ancient silt jetties Just north of Paynesville, at Eagle Point, the Mitchell River enters Lake King. Bluff Lookout provides good views over the lake, river and surrounding countryside. At the mouth of the Mitchell River there are two, eight-kilometre-long and narrow peninsulas of land known as the Silt Jetties, which stretch out into the lake. They were formed over millions of years by sediment in the river being deposited along the river's mouth as the waters slowed when reaching the lakes system. They are believed to be the second largest of their type in the world, and visitors can drive on a narrow dirt road along one of the jetties to a carpark at its end. Pictured clockwise from top left: Paynesville is a boating paradise. The town’s floating tin shed is a live music venue on the water. Take a short ferry trip to see Raymond Island’s resident koalas. Paynesville has a popular farmers and makers market on the foreshore once a month.