Almost exactly half-way between Melbourne and Sydney, Mallacoota is ideal for a long, relaxing holiday or a short stopover on the coastal route.
Mallacoota, tucked away some 560 kilometres east of Melbourne, is about as far east as you can travel in Victoria. Located close to the ocean on an inlet called Bottom Lake, this village attracts holiday-makers by the thousands for its unsurpassed fishing, boating, swimming and
Croajingolong National Park surrounds Mallacoota on three sides, making the village an ideal base to explore the park’s eastern inlets and bays. In short, it’s
a brilliant spot for a summer or early autumn family camping holiday.
inlets and relaxing vistas.
The national park, a World Biosphere Reserve, boasts a 100-kilometre coastline, dozens of lakes and 86,000 hectares of dense mountainous forest, freshwater creeks and rivers. You could spend weeks in this park and still not experience all it has to offer.
It’s pretty primitive as well, so most visitors take the easy approach and stay in or near Mallacoota, where two wilderness rivers meet the sea.
In no particular order, Mallacoota’s prime assets are her clean and protected
beaches, sensational fishing locales, photographable scenery, lush yet accessible rainforest and plentiful native wildlife.
a must-do list of 10 top activities in Mallacoota. Have a look around and
you’ll easily find a dozen more:
an unspoilt coast
|Three beaches on Betka
Road south-west of town are perfect examples of why the East
Gippsland coastline is so highly regarded. Betka Beach is sheltered,
perfect for the kids on warm summer afternoons. Quarry Beach is
edged by colourful rock strata's. Secret Beach is exactly what its
name suggests, a seldom-visited cove of clean, pure sand and some
nice rock pools full of squishy critters.
for it at Gabo
|Almost on the NSW
border, Gabo Island boasts a towering lighthouse, a large colony of
little penguins and a delicious get-away-from-it-all feeling. There
are day tours you can do from Mallacoota or you can stay overnight
at the light housekeeper's cottage (bookings are essential, from
Parks Victoria on 13 19 63 anywhere in Australia).
with your own captain
|If you haven’t brought a boat
here (a great idea if you can), explore the ocean and the lakes with
an expert local. Captain Neil Rankin of Rankin Wilderness Cruises is
an old-timer who knows every square metre of the vast waterway and
the Genoa and Wallagaraugh rivers that flow into it.
Neil can even guarantee you a close
encounter with a sea eagle that follows his boat looking for a feed
of fresh fish. Call Neil on (03) 5158 0555 for bookings.
some wildlife at Gipsy Point
||Just 10km north of town is Gipsy
Point, an exceptionally beautiful peninsula jutting into Top
Rent a boat and cruise up for some
serious fishing (mullet and bream are always around), and keep
an eye out for the stately sea eagles perched on snags above
There’s also a big mob of
kangaroos that’s well worth a visit. If you want to stay
overnight, Gipsy Point Lodge (free call 1800 063 556) or Gipsy
Point Lakeside Apartments (free call 1800 688 200) are both
a real rainforest
|Halfway between Gipsy
Point and Mallacoota is the Double Creek Rainforest Nature Trail.
It’s a short and easy stroll through national park-protected bush
with signs explaining the significance of this intensely green and
for a four-wheel-drive jaunt
|Cross the border just east of the
town of Genoa, turn right down Handford’s Road and you are
suddenly in the midst of some steep and wooded terrain, perfect for
a 4WD with a bit of grunt. A highlight is the view from Mallacoota
Lookout at road’s end.
If you haven’t got a 4WD, or
would prefer to leave the driving to a local expert, call Journey
Beyond Eco-Adventures on (03) 5158 0166.
and rapids ahead
|Just outside the town of Genoa is
Genoa Falls, an impressive multi-decked cascade. If you look
carefully and don’t make too much noise, you’ll see water
dragons sunning themselves on the rocks. Great spot for a picnic.
from top to bottom
|Spending a sunny day
exploring Top and Bottom lakes must be one definition of pure bliss.
From the jetty at Mallacoota, cast off into Bottom Lake and explore
the dozens of bays and arms of the national park. There are jetties
at Captain Creek, Gipsy Point and several sheltered wooded
Go out in the early
morning on a sunny day and you’ll be amazed at the vivid
reflections of the bush on the flat surface of the water.
the local seafood
||Crays, abalone, deep
sea fish, whatever your seafood taste, a Mallacoota restaurant
will have it.
(03 5158 0455) is one of several good eateries, or you can buy
something fresh at the jetty and cook it yourself over the
in a festive mood
|In April, Mallacoota
celebrates The Festival Of The Great Southern Ocean with music,
dance and parades. To find out more about this highlight of the
town’s year, call 1800 637 060.
Accommodation choices here are many
and varied, including four- and five-star resorts, motels and plenty of
great camping. A personal favourite is Foreshore Camp Park, a grassy
foreshore campground that has good facilities and easy access to shops
(call (03) 5158 0300).
Three caravan parks are also
recommended: A’Wangalea, Beachcomber and Shady Gully.
If you plan to go bush,
Croajingolong national park has several fine campgrounds, some of which
are accessible only by 4WD. Call Parks Victoria on 13 19 63 for details.
Mallacoota offers a full range of accommodation, restaurants, petrol, shops and a medical centre. For visitor information, call 1800 676 200. Nearby is Genoa with a similar range of services.
When To Go:
With daily temperatures averaging five degrees above Melbourne, Mallacoota never has a “bad” season, though it can be rather windy and chilly in August and September. Highly recommended is March to May, when skies are often cloudless. October to December offers the freshness of spring. Summers are delightful but popular, so book well ahead during this time, especially for campsites.
Ours is from Hema’s Road Atlas, (07) 3340 0000.
On The Road Magazine 2001. Any unauthorised use, copying or mirroring is