Lake Eildon is a couple of hours northeast of Melbourne and the journey is a destination in itself. Serviced by Eildon, the region was named in honour of Eildon Hills in Abbotsford, Scotland.
Follow the Maroondah Highway out of Melbourne and be mesmerised as it weaves through the Black Spur. Long gumtree-lined straights give way to huge tree ferns whose outstretched fronds fringe the road, transporting you to a Jurassic world with an amalgam of twists, turns and switchbacks.
TO FLOODING RAINS
Until recently, Lake Eildon had suffered the same fate as most other inland freshwater systems. The drought had devastated the waterway, resulting in an all-time low of 5.3 per cent in 2007 as the poor lake did its best to prevent the farms it nourished from dying of thirst. As if the region was not already on its knees, Mother Nature dealt it a sucker punch in February 2009 when the ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires ravaged the district. The scars are still evident throughout the region today.
And then the rains came. The drought not only broke, it burst at the seams. Lake Eildon’s capacity rose steadily to near capacity. Talk about a comeback.
TOP TINNIE TERRITORY
If you love all things boating, Lake Eildon is calling. Whether your bliss is fishing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, swimming or cruising, it’s yours to enjoy. It was here that my kids got their fill of adrenalin, while my wife was almost convinced of the virtues of the inland holiday when I cooked up a freshly caught redfin in the coals of the campfire, wrapped in foil with butter, lime and black pepper.
In this lake there are lots of fish and some big’uns too, allegedly. There’s rainbow and brown trout to 5kg, cod to 30kg, golden perch to 7kg, redfin to 2kg, roach and tench to ah, who cares, and carp the size of Volkswagens. Finding them and coaxing them out of all this water can take some doing, though. I’ve heard about them, seen pictures of them, even had a few writhe and wave their ample tails in my face on occasion, but I’d never caught one.
Lake Eildon has a shoreline that measures 515km, and is said to be six times the size of Sydney Harbour.
The town of Eildon is located 140km northeast of Melbourne, via the Maroondah Highway.
Houseboating is one of the area’s most popular tourist activities, along with 4WDing, fishing and watersports.
Deer hunting is permitted in Lake Eildon National Park, assuming you have a current firearms licence and a current Game Licence for deer.