Gippsland Lakes

About the Port

The Port of Gippsland Lakes is one of Australia’s biggest and most beautiful inland waterways. The Port waters cover 420 square kilometres from Sale in the west to Lakes Entrance in the east, and include Lake Wellington, Lake Victoria and Lake King. The port waters also include the lower reaches of the Latrobe, Nicholson, Mitchell and Tambo rivers. A man made ocean access at Lakes Entrance has provided safe passage to Bass Strait since it was opened in 1889 and has contributed significantly to the region’s history.

The waters of the Gippsland Lakes are safe and pleasant to navigate but there are areas of shallow water, which may not be identified by navigation aids. Many parts of the Lakes are accessible only by boat; however, public toilets, picnic facilities and fresh water are available at, or in the vicinity of most public jetties. There are numerous public destination jetties for casual berthing throughout the Lakes system, although boat operators should be aware that time limits apply to all public jetties. It is recommended that new users obtain a copy of the Gippsland Lakes Boating Guide for navigating the lakes and the adjoining rivers.

The Port of Gippsland Lakes is easily reached by road and is adjacent to many towns of East Gippsland including Sale, Bairnsdale, Paynesville, Nicholson, Swan Reach, Metung and Lakes Entrance.


Navigational Information

Relvant Charts – AUS182 and AUS357
VOZR (Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules) Schedule 104 Local Port of Gippsland Lakes

Navigational aids within the Gippsland Regional Ports conform to the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) Buoyage System “A”. Starboard-hand (or right side) marks are green, whilst Port-hand (or left side) marks are red. Cardinal marks are yellow and black; Special marks are yellow and Isolated Danger marks black and red. In using the system it is essential to remember that the direction of buoyage is taken from the seaward entrance of these ports. When returning towards the entrance the situation would be reversed.

The waters of Gippsland Lakes are safe and pleasant to navigate but there are areas of shallow water, which may not be identified by navigation aids. For this reason it is advisable to carry a compass, obtain good local knowledge of the Lakes system and avoid navigating at night.

The area is subject to prevailing south-westerly winds in winter and south-easterly winds in summer.


Go to NTM’s (for this port)

Sea Conditions – Navigation of the ocean entrance to the Lakes system by operators of small boats is dangerous and attention is drawn to the caution notices erected at various points on shore at or near the entrance and at boat ramps in the locality.

Dredging Operations – Dredgers are often operating in the area of The Bar, ‘The Narrows”, Reeves Channel, Cunninghame Arm and the eastern end of Hopetoun Channel. Boat operators should exercise care when in these areas.

Ferry – A vehicular ferry operates on underwater cables across McMillan Strait at Paynesville. A flashing light located at each end of the ferry indicates its direction of travel.

Marks In Line – Gippsland Ports has established “marks in line” for the purpose of assisting safe navigation of Lakes Entrance Ocean Entrance and Bar. Click Here for further information

Crossing Bars – Click Here for more information on Crossing Bars.



Yachtsmen are cautioned about the existence of overhead electric cables across rivers and similar areas and should keep a look out for warning notices on the shore and riverbanks advising of these obstructions and safety heights.

Overhead Cables Clearance
Bullock Island Bridge 8.4m
Lakes Entrance North Arm Bridge 15.2m
Boxes Creek 22.1m
Swan Reach Bridge 15.05m
Nicholson River Bridge 9.8m
Mitchell River (approx. 7km from mouth) 16.2m
Mitchell River (approx. 8km from mouth) 17.5m
Mitchell River (approx. 1 km south of bridge) 15.7m
McMillan Strait (northern end) 22.9m
Picnic Arm (at entrance) 19.5m
Latrobe River (approx. 10 km from mouth) 11.8m
Latrobe River (approx. at swing bridge) 13.6m
Latrobe River (approx. 1km South of Sale) 12.95m

Power Line Clearance Distances are taken at mean tidal level.
Signage on banks/shore in the vicinity show respective heights.
Heights may vary in certain weather conditions (e.g. loss of clearance height during time of floods) (note that heights taken from signage on site installed by relevant power authority)


Bridge clearance heights are displayed on the shore or banks approaching the majority of bridges located on the lakes or rivers.

Bridge Location Clearance
Paynesville Canal (south) 1.2m
Paynesville Canal (north) 5.0m
North Arm Bridge (Lakes Entrance) 6.5m
Cunninghame Arm Footbridge (Lakes Entrance) 2.8m
Eastern Beach Bridge (Lakes Entrance) 1.0m
Bullock Island Bridge (Lakes Entrance) 1.9m
Tambo River Bridge (Swan Reach) 6.6m
Nicholson River Bridge (Princes Highway) 2.5m
Nicholson River Bridge (Sarsfield) 7.0m
Mitchell River Bridge (Princes Highway) 6.0m
Mitchell River Backwater Bridge (Howitt Ave Eastwood) 2.5m
Mitchell River Backwater Bridge (Howitt Park footbridge) 4.2m
Mitchell River Bridge (Lind bridge) 6.4m
Thompson River Bridge (Swing Bridge) 3.8m
Thompson River Bridge (Longford) 6.8m

Bridge Clearance Distances are taken at the mean tidal level.
Heights may vary in certain weather conditions (e.g. loss of clearance height during time of floods (note that heights are supplied by Vic Roads and East Gippsland Shire Council)


Entrance and Bar

Lakes Entrance is where the Gippsland Lakes system opens into Bass Strait. The entrance and bar can be extremely dangerous given certain conditions, whilst strong tidal influences are experienced in this area. Mariners are requested to contact the local coastguard and perform a radio check prior to passage inwards/outwards across the bar.

Cunninghame Arm

Cunninghame Arm provides access to the CBD of Lakes Entrance and is navigable up to the footbridge. Short-term berthing is available adjacent to public jetties and boardwalks along the foreshore. The channel is well defined and is detailed in the Gippsland Lakes Boating Guide and Waterways Online.

North Arm

North Arm Channel is well marked with navigation beacons and has an average depth of 2 metres in the lower reaches. The channel is well defined and is detailed in the Gippsland Lakes Boating Guide and Waterways Online.

Hopetoun and Rigby Channels

Both channels are navigable and well defined, however larger vessels should take care because of moving shoals.

Reeve Channel to The Narrows

Vessels navigating in Reeve Channel with the tide have “right of way” over vessels stemming the tide. These channels are well defined and are detailed in the Gippsland Lakes Boating Guide and Waterways Online.

Bancroft Bay Metung

Bancroft Bay has good water with safe anchorages in Chinaman’s Creek and Boxes Creek.

Lake King

Lake King provides good depth with well-defined navigation beacons. This lake is affected by south west and easterly winds, with sea conditions varying accordingly. Entrances to the Tambo, Nicholson and Mitchell Rivers are navigable and have well defined entrance beacons. The rivers provide safe anchorages. Gergon and Carstairs Banks on the southern side of Campbell Channel require sea room for clear passage. McMillan Strait between Raymond Island and Paynesville provides shelter from prevailing winds.

Lake Victoria

The water depth average is 5 metres throughout its length, however shallowing occurs towards McLennan Strait. South of Raymond Island the Aurora, Steamer and Grange Channels are clearly defined leading to Ocean Grange and Bunga Arm. Mariners are advised that the Steamer Channel (to the East of Crescent Island) is the preferred channel. In the East, Newlands Arm off McMillan Strait, Duck Arm and Picnic Arm adjacent to Banksia Peninsula provide safe anchorages, whilst Loch Sport, Blonde Bay and Toms Creek provide safe anchorages at the western end of Lake King.

McLennan Strait

McLennan Strait joins Lake Victoria and Lake Wellington and provides safe anchorage and an average depth of 4 metres throughout. The entry and exit to the strait is well defined with minimum depths of approximately 1.8m.

Lake Wellington

Lake Wellington is only recommended for shallow draught vessels due to the limited depth of water. The shallow depth when accompanied with changing weather conditions can change the sea state in a very short time. The passage across the lake is well defined, as is the entrance to the Latrobe River. The Latrobe, Avon and Perry Rivers provide good anchorages.
An air force bombing range is defined in the south western corner of the lake.

Go to Waterways Online (Web Map)
Go to bathymetry charts

Boating Facilities


All in-water Navigation Aids

Tide and compass piles

Public Swing Moorings (up to 48 hours, vessel size restrictions apply)

Lakes Entrance

  • North Arm -2
  • Cunninghame Arm -1

Reeves Channel

  • Harpers Bight -3


  • Montague Point -2

Lake Victoria

  • Blonde Bay -1
  • Bunga Arm -2
  • Duck Arm/Picnic Arm – 12
  • Pelican Point – 2
  • Rotomah Island – 1
  • Steamer Landing – 1
  • Waddy Point -2

All on land Navigation Aids (excluding light at Mt Barkley)

All designated swing mooring permit areas

Bunga Arm sewage pumpout barge

Wharves and Jetties

Lakes Entrance Area

Myer Street Destination jetty

Cunninghame Quay Jetty

Post Office jetty

Bullock Island – All jetty structures

North Arm Jetty – near recreation reserve

Drews Jetty (Hopetoun Channel)

Kalimna jetty

Eastern Wharf

Bank Jetty

Boat Harbour – East Central, West

Flagstaff Jetty

Inner Green Light pier (Reeves Channel)

Barrier Landing Jetty (Hopetoun Channel)

Nungurner Jetty

Metung Area

Metung Town Wharf

Silvershot Landing (Boole Poole)

Lake King jetty

Paynesville Area

Paynesville Boatyard jetties

Grassy Point Marina Floating jetties

Boat Harbour (South, Central, North)

Steamer Landing Raymond Island

Progress Jetty

Eagle Point Jetty

Steamer landing jetty Bunga Arm

Services jetty and Refuelling facility Paynesville

Mitchell River Silt Jetties Landing

Fishermans Wharf

Grassy Point jetty (including sailability jetty)

Raymond Island Public jetty

Paynesville Boardwalk (including pontoons)

Resides Jetty Raymond Island

Ocean Grange jetty

Nicholson River

Nicholson River jetty

Nicholson River pen berths

Tambo River

Johnsonville Public Jetty

Swan Reach Wharf


Butter Factory jetty

Lake Victoria Area

Rotomah Island Jetty

Sperm Whale Head jetty

Loch Sport Marina jetty

Wattle Point jetty

Loch Sport Mooring jetty

Hollands Landing (McLennan Strait)

Lake Wellington Area

Marlay Point Boatramp jetty


Bairnsdale Town Wharf

Eagle Point Boat Ramp Jetty

Paynesville Fort King Boat Ramp Jetty

Paynesville Slip Bight Marina

Paynesville Dawsons Cove Boat Ramp Jetty

Johnsonville Boat Ramp Jetty x2

Metung Boardwalk

Metung Chinamans Creek Marina

Lakes Entrance Boardwalk

Nicholson Boat Ramp Jetty

Mitchell River Silt Jetties Boat Ramp Jetty

Paynesville King Street Boat Ramp Jetty

Raymond Island Boat Ramp Jetty

Paynesville Sunset Drive Boat Ramp Jetty

Metung Shaving Point Jetty

Metung Chinamans Creek Jetty

Metung Bancroft Bay Marina including jetties

Wattle Point Boat Ramp and Low Landing

Public Boat Ramps

Operable all year round on all tides and in most weather conditions.

Lakes Entrance

Rotomah Island Jetty

North Arm Spit

North Arm


Shaving Point

Silvershot Landing (Boole Poole)

Tambo River at Johnsonville

Nicholson River at Nicholson

Mitchell River

Silt Jetties

Mitchell River Backwater (Bairnsdale)


Fort King

Slip Road (Boat Harbour)

Esplanade (adjacent to Yacht Club)

Eagle Point – Eagle Bay

Birrell’s Peninsula (Newlands Arm)

Commissioner Point (Newlands Arm)

Raymond Island

Wattle Point

Port of Sale all infrastructure

Sale Canal Boat Ramp Jetty

Loch Sport Boat Ramp and Jetty

Public Boat Ramps

Loch Sport 

Victoria Parade

The Boulevarde

Seagull Drive

McLennan Strait

Holland’s Landing

Seacombe Landing

Lake Wellington at Marlay Point

Sewage Disposal Pumpout and Hopper Facilities

Sewage disposal facilities are provided and managed by various agencies at the following locations:

Area Location Hopper Pumpout Responsible Agency
Lakes Entrance North Arm Spit Yes No East Gippsland Shire
Boat Harbour East Yes Yes Gippsland Ports
Bullock Island North(with refuelling facility) Yes Yes Gippsland Ports
Bunga Arm Barge Yes Yes Gippsland Ports (summer only)
Metung Metung Marina Yes No East Gippsland Shire
Chinamans Creek Yes No East Gippsland Shire
Riviera Nautic No Yes Riviera Nautic
Paynesville Progress Jetty (onshore toilet block) Yes No East Gippsland Shire
Services Jetty Yes Yes Gippsland Ports via licence
*Duck Arm sewage pumpout Jetty Yes Yes East Gippsland Water
Nicholson Onshore Toilet Block Yes No East Gippsland Shire
Lake Victoria Loch Sport Marina Yes Yes Private
Loch Sport Mooring Jetty Yes Yes Gippsland Ports
Hollands Landing (onshore toilet block) Yes No Wellington Shire Council

*Due to low seasonal demand and the unique operational requirements, the Duck Arm Sewage Pumpout Out is only operational during the peak tourist season, Christmas until after Easter.  Signage is in place directing the public to alternative sewage pump out facilities at the Fuel Jetty at McMillan Strait, Paynesville.

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