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Mallacoota: Discover Australia’s Coastal Wilderness
Mallacoota is a secluded community on the edge of Croajingolong National Park, known for its untamed natural beauty. Just off the coast is Gabo Island, covered in pink granite and sand dunes. Close to town, swim and surf beaches beckon. Mallacoota is best explored on foot, with a network of trails lining the waterfront and heading into the rainforest and heathland. While travellers primarily come to Mallacoota to be outdoors, the town itself is home to a dynamic community deeply involved in promoting local arts and culture. There are a wide range of holiday rentals in Mallacoota, from modern homes at the heart of town to quiet cottages overlooking deserted beaches.
Exploring the Great Outdoors
Mallacoota is a great base for visitors wishing to make day trips to the area’s many natural attractions. You will be close to Croajingolong National Park, listed as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The park stretches for over 100 km, along the coast and further inland. Visitors will discover untouched white sand beaches bordered by towering headlands, rainforests, swamps teeming with birdlife and eucalypt forests. The park is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. There are endless trails for hiking, uncrowded beaches for surfing and clear waters for snorkelling or diving. Wildlife photographers can also capture the park’s 50+ animals in their natural habitat.
Meanwhile, Gabo Island is set 14 km off the mainland from Mallacoota. Travellers come to the island to take in its unique geology, from pink granite shores to sand dunes interrupted by basalt. Visitors typically spend some time at the pink granite lighthouse to learn more about the island’s heritage. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for sweeping views of the region. While on Gabo Island, keep your eyes on the water for a chance to spot whales or dolphins. The best way to get to Gabo Island is to book a tour departing from Mallacoota.
Mallacoota Walks & Hikes
Many walking tracks begin just outside the town of Mallacoota. The 9 km Mallacoota Coastal Walk will take you to some of the region’s most scenic waterfront lookouts. Follow the path through rainforest gullies, along riverbanks and past a series of beaches. The path has been divided into sections if you don’t wish to undertake the full journey.
A number of shorter trails allow travellers to discover different aspects of Mallacoota’s heritage. Head to the Visitor Information Shed to pick up maps outlining various self-guided walks. The 0.5 km family-friendly Heritage Trail will introduce you to the region’s aboriginal history and early european settlement. Visitors wishing to delve deeper into Mallacoota’s past can opt for a longer self-guided walk showcasing even more points of historical significance around town. Staff at the Visitor Information Shed can provide details.
Mallacoota Beaches and Watersports
From surf beaches to safe, calm swimming spots, Mallacoota has it all. Families with young children may wish to spend the day at Betka Beach, beside the Betka River. The beach is sheltered from strong currents and is backed by a leafy picnic area. Bastion Beach boasts the best surfing opportunities near Mallacoota. The beach is patrolled in the summer. The waters facing the main carpark are the safest for swimming, as they are free of rocks for about 100 metres. If you do swim, make sure you stay between the flags. Snorkelers tend to prefer Quarry Beach, with its colourful underwater rock formations. For peace and quiet, head to Secret Beach, which you can only reach by foot.
In Town: Mallacoota Festivals, Markets and Events
While most of Mallacoota’s action takes place in the great outdoors, the small town itself is home to a vibrant community running events year-round. On the first Saturday of the month, Mallacoota hosts the Artisans and Produce Market. At Christmas and Easter, the Community Markets showcase the best of local craftsmanship and talent. While in town, catch a show by the Coming Events Theatre Company. For family-friendly activities promoting local culture, check the Mallacoota Arts Council’s calendar. The Arts Council is intent on promoting art and culture through competitions, such as its yearly short story contest, which anyone, even visitors, can enter.
How to Get to Mallacoota
Mallacoota is a 5.5-hour drive from Melbourne and just under a 7-hour drive from Sydney. It is also possible to fly to Merimbula Airport from major Australian cities, then drive 1.5 hours to reach your destination. Should you not have a vehicle, you can get to Mallacoota via bus and train from Melbourne or Sydney.