We had a great opportunity to housesit at Loch Sport in the Gippsland Lakes area.
What started as a five day housesit morphed into ten. That worked out though because it meant we could settle for a while from [our road trip]. We could do some washing. We could clean out the car and get it washed. We could get some work done. And, of course, we could hang out with the cats that we were looking after.
That was all good, but if we’re honest, Loch Sport was not a place we fell in love with.
A pretty lake on one side, 90-mile beach on the other, and capped by a National Park would be an ideal setting for a lot of folks. But, there was something about the place we just didn’t like. Something we didn’t quite connect with.
I still can’t seem to put my finger on why.
Loch Sport is pretty isolated. I’m sure the place is jumping in summer. It had that kind of vibe. Fishermen and kayakers and SUP boards would cram the lake, elbowing each other for space.
During the offseason, the time we visited, the place was quiet as quiet could be. I usually love the quiet, but it felt like we were invading the place. True enough, there was not a wave or a smile given by a local when we passed by while out walking. Even when we were driving, we would receive suspicious glares from the few folks we did see.
It was kind of creepy.
It certainly wasn’t a place people would just pass by either. You had to want to get to Loch Sport. A very dull, empty stretch of road took an hour to drive to Loch Sport from the nearest town.
It seemed like the kind of place where fugitives went to hide. Maybe that was the strange vibe I was feeling? Maybe it was secretly a ‘witness protection’ kind of place? Seriously, it was a prime location to hide out from the law or from the mob. There was a certain sinister feeling I couldn’t quite shake.
Even the ‘roos seemed in cahoots with the locals, threatening unsuspecting visitors from ever driving there again. There were easily 20 kangaroos (not wallabies, mind you, but the much larger and erratic kangaroos) to every car on the road around twilight in the area between the turnoff to Loch Sport and the township itself.
When I looked at the lake, particularly the surrounding marsh, all I could imagine was the immense population of mosquitos, ready to spread the West Nile virus to any unsuspecting visitor. Like they had an agreement with the locals to seek out the unwelcomed with nefarious intent.
That’s not to say that the place is all bad. It has potential. Maybe that’s it? Maybe it’s the fact that it really could be a gorgeous place to hang for a while, but its progress seems stunted by the naysayers—you know, the people who have lived or summered there for generations and like it just the wait it is, thanks very much.
Loch Sport had few shops: A bakery, a general store and a golf club that was open only now an again. It seemed sorely lacking in amenities.
To get your groceries, you had to drive on that long, boring road, into town. Town, meaning Sale. Yep, that’s the name of the nearest town. Sale.
It kept throwing me off at first. I thought shops were advertising discounts everywhere. Everything said “Sale” and my mind (being the frugal mind it is) kept thinking “ooh, discounts!” But, no, Sale is the name of the town.
That’s not to say though that there weren’t bargains to be found. The town offered the usual amenities for its size. It had the supermarkets, some really great restaurants (we loved Redd Café and Centre Bakery), and pubs like every good Aussie town provides.
Maybe it all comes down to the people after all? Unless you have friendly neighbours and a positive atmosphere, what’s the point of being there? If you’re not welcomed into a place, what makes you want to return? What makes holiday goers want to go back every year?
I know we won’t be returning. Sorry Loch Sport. Or maybe that was your intention after all? Keep the tourists out and keep it for yourself? That’s okay, you can have it.