MALLACOOTA TRIP REVIEW
On the boundary between Victoria and NSW lies a coastal wilderness zone with amazing scenery and a sense of remoteness. While the 58 km walk can be done in three long days, we decided to take our time to soak it all up. The walking is generally not too steep, but the soft sand and exposure to sun and wind make walking a little strenuous sometimes. The best time to walk is definitely in spring as fresh water is more available and the temperature is more pleasant.
Having left a car at the Wonboyn area, we made our way back to Mallacoota and had one last meal at the local bakery, before taking a short boat trip across Mallacoota Inlet to the start the walk. We walked through the tea-tree lined track, then up over the sand dunes to reach our camp site at the beautiful Lake Barracoota.
Next morning the challenge of beach walking was first on the agenda. Finding firm sand was difficult, especially with a full pack laden with goodies. As we made our way along the coastline we had the beach to ourselves to enjoy ocean sounds and views of Gabo Island lighthouse. Near this spot, the SS Riveriva ran into Tullaberga Island in April 1927 and the remains can still be seen protruding from the water.
The beach walking continued with one of the party members trying their luck at surf fishing to no avail. Drinking water needs to be carried from Lake Barracoota to Lake Wau Waka otherwise the only water to be found is in small stagnant pools. After a tiring day of beach walking we were pleased to reach our camp site.
Day Three we continued our beach walking heading towards Cape Howe. After Iron Prince Point we traversed some amazing sand dunes before reaching Conference Point with a cairn marking the Victoria and NSW border.
Moving along to Nadgee Lake we were pleased to leave the beach walking and head inland to camp along the Nadgee River. Following a successful day of fishing and gathering shellfish, dinner was quite a feast.
All along the NSW section of the walk the beach is guarded by beautiful sandstone cliffs up to 50 metres high. Perched on the cliff tops with the full moonlight and bracing winds we couldn’t believe our eyes as all of a sudden a whale breeched so close to the coastline that we experienced a very up close encounter, making all that tough beach walking worthwhile.
The following morning we made our way back down the cliff to the Nadgee River and headed towards Little River. This track was easy walking through coastal scrub. Suddenly the bush opened out into a grassy green paddock being Newton’s beach campsite, which was very upmarket with picnic tables, toilet, beautiful beach and flat tent sites on lush green grass.
Next Day we enjoyed exploring the beauty of Jan Spiers Beach and exploring the sea caves before making our way to camp at Merrica River. Whilst Merrica River offers a menu of Wonboyn oysters it also had a resident tiger snake basking in the sun.
As we made the last leg of our journey to Wonboyn it was sad to say goodbye to this beautiful coast. Having spent many nights in five star camp sites, it is not surprising that many walkers make an annual return trip to Nadgee coast.
On a logistics note, it is probably easier to do the walk starting in Mallacoota, that way you can book the Mallacoota Inlet boat crossing in advance and avoid any waiting around time. Also, as this is a one direction walk, your options for getting home are either a 2 hour car shuffle, or hiring a local driver (ask the boat charters for a recommendation) to pick you up from Wonboyn.
Comprehensive track notes to this walk can be found in Walking the Wilderness Coast $27.50. The book has walking notes covering the entire coast from Lakes Entrance to Eden in NSW. If you have the time and energy, the 19 day, 213km walk from Cape Conran to Eden is an epic Australian bushwalking adventure. It rightly stands along side other classic long walks such as the Alpine Walking Track and the Larapinta Track.
- Tags: BUSHWALKING
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