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Published February 14th 2019
The South Gippsland village of Loch is an often overlooked destination for a simple day trip away from the city. Certainly, the Food and Wine festival is well known about, but the town itself is not often talked about as a destination for a drive by itself. Somewhere to just relax and unwind for an afternoon. But that is exactly what it is.
The town itself has never been big. Since its formation in the late 1870's it has always been a little hamlet. And it has embraced this. It used to be served by what was called the Great Southern Railway until its closure in 1993, and was then for a time a stop on the now defunct South Gippsland Heritage Railway. But it seems that the shutting of the railway has been the making of this town.
The main road towards South Gippsland now bypasses the main street of Loch, meaning that the town is not full of traffic. This has given the town a very relaxing atmosphere. And it's this atmosphere that differentiates it from many other towns in Victoria.
This makes walking through the town a calming experience. It's not a big town by any measure - it's only really a ten-minute walk from one end of town to the other and back. But a closer inspection of the shops along the way will be rewarded by excellent shopping experiences. From homewares to antiques, to clothes, to soap to fresh produces, the variety and quality of items in the small number of shops is surprising and welcome.
The food available is similarly impressive, with a cafe at The Old Print Shop, and a couple of other eateries including Olive at Loch and Udder and Hoe. Each is well worth a visit, as is the Loch Brewery and Distillery. Located in the old Bank they have a wide collection of beers and spirits available for drinking. An afternoon sitting at their tables in the sun outside, sampling their produce is an excellent way to pass some time with friends or family.
One of the more unique experiences of Loch is the main path between the town and the recreation reserve that takes you along the old railway line. There's just something about it that is exceptionally pleasing.
This path also takes you over the suspension bridge over the Allsop Creek. Suspension bridges are always an attraction, and this one is no different. The Gorge over the creek is quite high giving the bridge an impressive feel.
There's a growing move to re-extend the railway to South Gippsland from Melbourne. While this would certainly give this region a much-needed boost, it might change the character that Loch has built up. And while the railway is still many years away from reopening, why not get to Loch to experience how it is now. It's definitely worth the drive.
Loch is generally packed with people on weekends, and is a popular rest place for those touring or heading ro Sandy Point, the Prom. It holds an annual wine and food Festival with stallholders displaying desplaying local produce. My favourite lunch break is food, coffee from cafe adjacent to Service Station, then relax time in tiny adjacent park, where there are also rest rooms, itís also a good place for lunch before heading across the ranges to Drouin and beyond. Have a long association with this Region and Loch as my time out place.
We love stopping in Loch on our way to South Gippsland. It has a lovely serene atmosphere, with plenty of interesting little art and craft shops. We have done this for many years and it is definately better now that it is bypassed by the highway. A great place to stop for lunch, a break and a short walk.