Life in this picturesque fishing village is pretty chilled
STORY: MARGARET LINLEY PHOTOGRAPHY: VISIT VICTORIA
This is one of those pretty villages where you have glimpses of what’s in store as you approach, but it’s only when you turn the final bend and the lake is stretched out in front of you, that you really appreciate what is here. A good scattering of boats is moored on the sparkling water, their rigging clanging against the masts in the gentle breeze and you think to yourself, ‘Ah, perfect’.
You could be anywhere. St Tropez? The yachts are bigger on the Riviera but it’s the same kind of place. Instantly endearing, instantly exciting, instantly relaxing. It’s also the kind of place where you think, ‘Mmm, can I afford this?’
But more about affordability later.
Metung sits on a thin peninsula which stretches into Lake King where the fishing is good with bream, tailor, flathead, whiting and prawns, depending on the time of the year and Lady Luck. It is part of the Gippsland Lakes area, Australia’s largest inland lake system. A long thin stretch of beach separates the lakes from the ocean. For some, Metung is the centre of the Lakes district. For others, it could be Lakes Entrance or Paynesville. It really depends on preference with each town having its own personality and allure.
Metung is not just about the lake. Stretching back from its long coastline is farming and bush hinterland. The countryside around here is lovely.
The local population is 1400, but that number swells when holiday house owners come to town along with a significant influx of visitors over the warmer months.
“During winter, the town draws in on itself. It’s moody and atmospheric and totally the type of place where you’d want to hunker down beside a fire after a brisk constitutional along the pier.”
The town’s 150-year-old hotel is set beside the Village Green and fronts directly onto the lake. It’s where everyone goes to meet up, have a cold beer or local wine, admire the view of the water, the boats tied up at the wharf, or to enjoy fresh seafood.
The monthly farmers market offers a stunning array of fresh produce direct from the grower and maker. There is a supermarket and pharmacy and a handful of upmarket speciality shops. Metung also has a community health centre and a skin cancer clinic.
There are a small number of clubs in Metung, including the yacht club, the RSL, golf club, bowling club, and the Bloodhounds, a fundraising community group. There are art galleries and boat charters and of course plenty of water sports if you want to organise yourself to kayak, stand-up paddle-boarding, sailing and so on.
The property market is very buoyant with developments radiating out from ‘old Metung’ and offering a strong demarcation between those who want a regular house and those who are looking for a more prestigious offering.
Blocks of lands in the more picturesque positions near the golf course and along the cliff edge, are expensive (think half a million dollars for 1000 sqm), while the same size block further away from the water’s edge might set you back a third of that price.
When it comes to already established houses in these developing areas you can choose the large house on the large block (up to a hectare) with a well-maintained garden and asphalted driveway if your pockets are deep, while at the other end of the scale there are the smaller houses you might find in any suburban development.
If you’re looking for property in ‘old’ Metung, you may well find yourself being pleasantly surprised, especially if you drove into town with your head full of French Riviera comparisons. There are pleasant established properties around the $500,000 mark, leaving you enough – let’s hope – for a tinny.
Families considering a move into the area will be thinking about education. All the primary schools within 20 km of Metung are government schools. Metung PS has 52 students. Other primary schools are at Nungurner (distance 7 km), Swan Reach (distance 15 km) and Nicholson (distance 20 km). Once the children reach secondary level, the nearest school is in Lakes Entrance, 22 km away. The government school here has an enrolment of less than 300 and offers VCAL and VET, in addition to VCE. A total of 20 students did their VCE this year.
In terms of local transport options, there is a network of water taxis that takes passengers between local villages, while the nearest bus is 9 km away in Swan Reach. Bairnsdale, 28 km away, has the closest rail station and a regular train service to Melbourne.
The traditional custodians of the land on which Metung sits are the Gunai Kurnai people.
WATTLE ROAD 🖤 The beauty of this place, from the lush green hinterland to the surrounding lakes. Nowhere better to own a home and a tinnie.
DISTANCE FROM MELBOURNE: 310km
WHO LIVES HERE?
According to the 2016 Census
♦ The median age of people was 58 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 13.3% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 35.7%.
♦ Of the families in Metung 22.7% were couple families with children, 66.7% were couple families without children and 9.7% were one parent families.
♦ 4% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were England 7.7%, New Zealand 1.5%, Netherlands 1.0%, Scotland 0.9% and South Africa 0.8%.
♦ The most common occupations in Metung included professionals 20.2%, managers 15.8%, technicians and trades workers 15.8%, clerical and administrative workers 13.3%, and community and personal service workers 11.4%.
CLIMATE: June average temperatures, max 10.1°C, min 5.5°C. January average temperatures, max 18.9°C. min 13.4°C.
MAJOR EMPLOYERS: Hospitality (accommodation, cafe and restaurant sector), property and business services, and retail.
SCHOOLS: The Metung Primary School is known as The Village School. There are two neighbouring primary schools: the Nungurner Primary School 7km away and Swan Reach Primary School, 14.9km from Metung.
HEALTHCARE: Gippsland Lakes Complete Health operates an outreach GP, nursing and allied health service in Metung and health services in Lakes Entrance, which is 20 minutes from Metung. The organisation is a provider of aged and disability services, family, youth and children services and therapy, education and prevention health programs.
NBN CONNECTION: Fibre To The Node (FTTN)
PROPERTY PRICES: Currently, the median sale price of a unit is $235,000. There has been an insufficient number of house sales in the last 12 months to provide accurate price data.
SPORTS AND RECREATION: Metung is part of the iconic Gippsland Lakes regions and such, water sports and recreation abound in the area. You can paddle the lakes, fish, water-ski and sail. Hiking is also a popular activity in this beautiful area.
There is also a strong local network of sport clubs that include football, cricket, athletics, soccer, honey, badminton, bowls, sailing and swimming teams.
ARTS AND CULTURE: Metung’s natural beauty has attracted artists to the region, so you will discover studios and galleries showcasing locally crafted sculptures, paintings and jewellery.
I’ve been here for 30 years. It’s a great place to live. It’s a small, coastal town and the people are friendly. I like to walk down the street to pick up the paper and it always takes me a while because you stop and chat to people. That’s the fun of it.
In terms of services and things that you might not have here, Bairnsdale is about 28 km away and I think Lakes is 17. Anything you might need is there on tap.
Metung is pretty well-placed for anywhere you might want to go to in the state. It’s close to the mountains, or you can go further along up the coast. It’s pretty central. I never think about going to Melbourne. I’m originally from Sydney, on the harbour, You’re just in traffic when you’re in the city, any city, and it’s hustle and bustle.
People are a little bit different when you get down here. A few of the old regulars down here have passed on now but new people come in and it’s pretty easy to make friends.
Most people have a boat of some sort, a tinny maybe. The fishing is good and this boardwalk here is good. You used to have to walk on the road, but one of the residents persisted with the shire and got this put in. You can make things happen in little towns.
There are good places to eat in Metung. I had dinner in the pub last night; that’s nice. The cafes and bakeries are also good.
It gets quiet and cold in the winter and then in summer it’s pretty crazy here and the grey nomads come in and it gets so that you can’t find a park in the street. They have a market on the village green each month and people get together and interact with each other. I love that.
Travel time is approximately 60 minutes.
FIND A PROPERTY
14 Lands End Grove, Metung
3 3 2
50 Stirling Road, Metung
3 2 4
18 The Sanctuary, Metung
3 2 2
48 Beach Rd, Metung
3 2 2