Mallacoota – Victoria’s Hidden Treasure

The village of Mallacoota lies on the East Coast of Victoria, just 40 kms south of the NSW Border. Mallacoota lies at the mouth of the beautiful Mallacoota Inlet, a pristine body of water fed by mountain streams and rivers.

Access to Mallacoota is from the Princes Highway at Genoa via a 23km winding and narrow road which is surrounded on both sides by the 87,500 hectare Croajingolong National Park. The Park is classified as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and is a haven for indigenous wildlife, vibrant birdlife and spectacular wildflowers.

waves crashing on rocks at Wilderness Coast Mallacooota

Services in Mallacoota

Once in Mallacoota township, you will find good commercial services including 2 small supermarkets, gift shops, a pub, a pharmacy, a newsagent, petrol stations and a number of coffee shops and cafes. There is also a beautiful art gallery full of works by artists who live locally or nearby – a must visit. A little further away you will find a golf club and a bowling club, both of which serve an evening meal, as does the pub.

The Council run caravan and camp park sits on the edge of the lake and offers both powered and unpowered sites. It must surely be one of the most beautiful caravan parks in Australia. It is a short walk from the shops and is close to the main beach at Bastion Point. Also available are a variety of holiday rentals and private Mallacoota caravan parks.

koala sitting in tree

Enjoy the natural beauty of Mallacoota

The natural environment is the highlight of Mallacoota, surrounded as it is by the National Park as well as the ocean and the lake system. This part of the coast is known as the Wilderness Coast and when one drives out to the more remote beaches you can easily see why. Often you will find yourself the only person on the beach, as you walk along the pristine sands and admire the wild and rocky outcrops. Some of these beaches are accessed by a dirt road which can be in variable condition if there has been heavy rain, but well worth the journey.

There is a great choice of hikes in and around the township, mostly easily accessible. A lovely walk is from the town around Coulls Inlet and following the lake to the area known as Karbeethong. It is a flat walk on made paths and boardwalks – one of which goes across part of the lake. Once at Karbeethong, there is an option to continue walking on a bush track which follows the lake right up to The Narrows, where the upper and lower lakes meet. This section of the walk is a dirt track with some moderate inclines, some rocks and the possibility of a tree being down across the track. It is a truly lovely walk if you are fit for it. Another local walk is the Coastal Walk which tracks down the Coast and can be done as a continuous walk, or in stages. You may walk through ancient melaleuca forests before coming out into open scrub. All along there are lookout points from which you might well spot whales and dolphins.

Sandy Point Mallacoota Inlet picnic area

Take a trip on the lake or spend some time birding

As well as walking there are some great options for getting out on the water. You can hire a kayak or a small boat, or take a cruise with one of the locals. There is something really special about being in the upper reaches of the lake surrounded by ancient trees, with the distinct possibility you will see a sea eagle or two, an azure kingfisher or a gang gang cockatoo.

Bird life is abundant in and around the township, with indigenous and migratory birds prevalent. You can enjoy watching the pelicans in flight or the soaring wedge-tailed eagles or whistling kites. Water birds include ibis, spoonbills and lots of ducks. Many varieties of honeyeaters and parrots can also be found. When driving around town you may need to wait for ducks or even a koala to cross the road.

Friendly kookaburras sitting on balcony in Mallacoota

The natural beauty of the town and surroundings makes it a photographers’ dream, and seasonally you may capture photos of the extraordinarily beautiful wildflowers or unusual fungi.

If you pre-organise your visit you may wish to consider a stay at Gabo Island in the assistant light keepers cottage. The lighthouse on Gabo is the only operating island lighthouse in Victoria and was built from the beautiful pink granite found on the Island. Access to the island is by boat and is weather dependent, but it is a favoured holiday spot for groups of locals.

Purple Wild Orchid

Have we convinced you yet that you should plan a visit to Mallacoota? We hope so, there are many good reasons why this hidden treasure is enjoyed year after years by families who have been visiting for generations. Put it on your to do list!


Jan Wild and Rowan Rafferty blog at Retiring not Shy!, where they discuss a broad range of topics related to retirement lifestyles, including choosing where to live, wise spending habits, maximising your resources, travel, time management, wellness and exercise.

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Embracing everything Australia has to offer with their four kids in tow, Kell and Caleb jump at the chance to explore new destinations as often as possible.

They love sharing their 4wding, camping and travel experiences. Not just limited to the great outdoors though, Happy Go Travel also enjoy the city lights and the finer things in life.
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