The small town of Mallacoota is a hidden gem located in Croajingolong National Park. Specifically, it sits in the East Gippsland region of Victoria. If you’re driving along the East Coast of Australia, you’ll find Mallacoota right in the middle of Melbourne and Sydney. Making it the perfect place to stop off and take a break for a day or two. With time on our side, Mike and I were able to properly explore Mallacoota and its many beautiful beaches. Keep reading if you’re looking for advice on what to see and do in Mallacoota. My favourite spots are detailed below!
Where to Stay if You’re Camping
Mike and I pulled our Camper Van into A’Wangralea Caravan Park. Before you ask – no, I’m not sure how you pronounce it either! We stayed here for about three nights, but two would have been ideal. A’Wangralea is a relatively small campground, open to tents, caravans and campers. Most noteworthy are the clean, homely bathrooms and fantastic outdoor kitchen area. The kitchen even features communal barbecues, in true Aussie style.
One evening, whilst we were cooking dinner, I heard a peculiar sound. At first, I thought it might be heavy rain (my natural assumption given I’m a native Londoner). But in the middle of the Australian summer? Surely not. I peered through the criss-cross wooden panelling of the outdoor kitchen and was completely blown away. Approximately one dozen wild kangaroos were making their way across the campground. Thumping loudly with each jump. They stopped for a minute, whilst a couple of the males had a quick boxing match. I was extremely fortunate to have snagged first-class seats to the unexpected show. It was amazing. Seeing the kangaroos was hands down the best part of our stay and one of the reasons I love Australia so much. It’s one of the few places I’ve visited where humans and nature happily co-exist.
Just a two-minute drive from A’Wangralea (or 20-minute walk) and you can enjoy the long stretch of sand that is Betka Beach. Betka has a picnic area and a small car park, which is all Mike and I needed to enjoy the best part of the day. Though the facilities are somewhat small, they certainly weren’t overcrowded with tourists. Not even in the height of summer.
Betka is wonderfully scenic and unspoiled. In fact, you can see where the ocean meets the river and cuts right across the sand with the turning of the tide. It’s a great place for young kids as they can swim in shallower waters without the waves pushing them around. Just make sure that you don’t get stuck on the other side of the river mouth. It gets pretty deep and you don’t want to have to wade back through with all of your beach gear!
Another fantastically scenic beach in Mallacoota is ‘Secret Beach’. As per the name, it’s rather tricky to locate. But trust me, it’s worth the hunt. You can drive part of the way to Secret Beach, but the only way to actually access it is by foot via a staircase on Betka Road*.
The day that we visited Secret Beach it was really cloudy. We tentatively made our way down the rustic steps and took in the dramatic, untouched Australian beach. We spent a couple of hours just exploring the nearby cave and staggering rock formations. It’s a truly beautiful spot that makes for a great day trip.
Mike and I were completely alone for the majority of our time at Secret Beach. In fact, we only passed one other group. This is likely due to the weather, but we found that the clouds actually enhanced the natural beauty and ambience.
*You can walk along the coastline from Betka to Secret Beach rather than driving part-way.
Betka Road is home to many wonders. Another 20-minute drive away from Secret Beach lies the secluded Shipwreck Creek. When I say drive, I don’t mean a regular, smooth track. If you’re planning on visiting this particular landmark, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. The track that leads up to it is unfinished and seems incredibly long. There are potholes everywhere. You can also hike along the coastal track but it would it’s a pretty long walk.
Shipwreck Creek is nestled deep within Croajingolong National Park. It’s a small beach and is completely unpatrolled, meaning no lifeguards. So paddle at your own risk! Naturally, the highlight is spotting the shipwreck. In order to do this, make sure you visit when the tide is out. Unfortunately, we learnt this lesson the hard way. At least there are plenty of walking trails around if you do need to kill some time!
I hope that this article has inspired you to visit Mallacoota! If you have any questions or have your own recommendations to suggest, please feel free to share these in the comments section below.
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