Paynesville is a paradise for boating in East Gippsland. It has a man made canal system for boating as well as a natural harbour area, central to the hundreds of kilometres of lakes and rivers that form part of the Gippsland Lakes system.
Paynesville is around 15 minutes drive from Bairnsdale. A small bus runs several times daily between the towns. The road between Paynesville and Bairndale has a consistently wide hard shoulder, and it is a nearly dead flat 14km ride from Bairnsdale alongside the Mitchell River. There is even a short diversion along a cycle path by the side of the river - although travelling this way involves a climb at the end of the path.
Trains service Bairnsdale from Melbourne three times daily, and carry bikes.
You can also travel to Paynesville by boat. You can moor at the jetty in front of the town centre for 4 hours free of charge - for longer stays there are plenty of marina and mooring options.
It pays to pick up a local map. Some of the online maps services have errors, and don't show the canals or newer roads.
A bicycle is perfectly suited to Paynesville. The area is flat, the roads are quiet, and the Raymond Island ferry carries bicycles free of charge.
The town centre is easy to walk around.
Parking is available everywhere.
To see many of the areas surrounding the lakes a boat is required. There are several options for dingy, cruiser, or kayak hire in town.
Supplies are easily available - supermarkets stock a wide variety of goods, and are open until 8pm daily.
There are four cafe/restaurant style places to choose from along the main strip opposite the foreshore. The coffee market is competitive - with the boaties demanding a good coffee on deck in the morning.
The pub serves meals for lunch and dinner every day, and there are a couple of clubs serving similar style pub fare.
There is a pizza place to eat in or take away, two bakeries selling a large variety of pies and cakes, and a fish and chip shop.
After a day on the lakes or seeing the sights, you will have no problem getting a quiet beer with a view. Don't expect too much in the way of nightlife.
There is mobile reception in town, but the signal is weak and limited in many parts away from the city centre. Telstra has 3G mobile Internet, but Optus and Vodafone struggle with even GPRS.