Mallacoota

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Grey nomads flock to Mallacoota in Victoria
Where’s my tinnie? ... Fishermen love Mallacoota. PICTURE: Gavin Hansford, Tourism Victoria

The tiny Victorian coastal town of Mallacoota is a superb base from which grey nomads can explore the many wonders of the East Gippsland region.

Situated on stunning coastline and on the doorstep of one of the most spectacular and varied national parks in the country, the town’s permanent population of around 1,000 swells eightfold during the tourist season.

After taking the 25-kilome­tre detour off the Princes Highway, grey nomads will discover an attractive community offering all the services to be expected in a small tourist town. However, it is its location, sitting on the beautiful Mallacoota Inlet, that really fires the traveller’s imagination. Fed by 12 rivers, creeks and streams, including the Genoa and Wallagaraugh rivers, Mallacoota Inlet boasts 322kms of shoreline. It really consists of two large lakes – Top Lake and Bottom Lake.

This is a fisherman’s heaven, and grey nomads who travel with a tinnie or a kayak will probably never want to leave.

Much of the inlet is situated within the immense 87,000 hectare Croajingolong Na­tional Park. With everything from rocky headlands, swamp systems and sand dunes to freshwater lakes, coastal for­ests and extensive heathlands, the park offers plenty for visitors to explore and enjoy. It is also a haven for birdlife, wildlife and wildflowers. More than 1500 plant species can be found here. Whales, dolphins and seals can also often seen in the coastal waters.

The Mallacoota district has established a network of great walking tracks to suit all energy levels. One of the most popular is the 9km one-way, Mallacoota Coastal Walk. It leads from the town through tall forest, rainforest gullies, and heathlands to the Betka River and then along the top of the coastal escarpment to Quarry Beach, Secret Beach and eventually into Croajin­golong National Park.

Lookouts along the way provide fantastic vistas of the coastline, taking in vast sweep­ing beaches, Cape Howe and Gabo Island. Gabo Island itself is well worth a separate trip. The windswept island is famed for its historic 47-metre high lighthouse built out of pink granite.

The town’s history is one that has seen the once lucrative logging, farming and fishing industries in decline, while the tourism and abalone indus­tries are now thriving.

A great place to learn about the area’s past is the Mal­lacoota Bunker Museum, located in a large underground concrete bunker, from where anti-submarine operations were conducted in WWII.

With all of that to offer, plus great markets and great camp­ing options, it’s no wonder Mallacoota is so popular with tourists. And, if you want to beat the crowds and travel out of season, the town is reputed to have the warmest winter temperatures in Victoria … but, sadly, that doesn’t neces­sarily mean it will be all that warm!

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