Cut adrift from the corona-crisis on a tour of East Gippsland

It feels like I’m floating on the border of two worlds: of what once was and what will eventually be. My stand-up paddleboard bobs at the opening to Lakes Entrance, where the ocean floods in to meet the sprawling river system that makes up Victoria’s Gippsland Lakes. We hug the rocks, just metres from a seal colony that clearly hasn’t got the memo about social distancing. The adults are draped in an ungainly fashion on the rocks, as though deposited there by a wave and now can’t get off. The youngsters show more finesse, diving and turning circles in front of our astounded eyes. We’re soon joined by a pod of Burrunan dolphins. These cryptic and endangered creatures slip through the water effortlessly and then, just like that, they’re gone. Were they really singing, “So long and thanks for all the fish”?

Combining a scenic helicopter flight with stand-up paddleboarding, HeliSUP is a partnership between Lakes Entrance Helicopters and adventure touring company Venture Out. We lift off in a Robinson R44 and are soon looking down on Australia’s largest inland waterway — six times the size of Sydney Harbour — then make a pass over the golden dunes of Ninety Mile Beach, which hold back the pounding surf of Bass Strait…

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