HERE at the south-eastern tip of Australia, the sea meets a vast network of meandering waterways. Only 40kms from the Victorian/New South Wales border, Mallacoota is nestled deep within the Croajingolong National Park.
Arguably in the middle of nowhere, Mallacoota is well worth the drive. A popular stop-off for those taking a coastal drive from Melbourne to Sydney, we are joined by many others on the road.
When we arrive, we find the town bustling. Locals sit outside the bakery enjoying coffee and cake. Visitors flock to take advantage of the perfect boating conditions, canoers eye the calm waterways and weary travellers picnic in the sunshine.
Pelicans glide along the shallow water and boats bob up and down in the marina.
The best way to take in Mallacoota is by foot. Walkways lead off in all directions offering a stroll along the lake harbour or further along to the coast. Self-drive roadways lead to secluded beaches where surfers wait eagerly off the shore for their next set. Fishermen wait patiently for their catch where the salty and fresh water meet.
Pushing off from the rocky shore at Betka Beach we swim out through the chilly water, duck-diving head first into the surf. A pod of dolphins frolic near a boat on its way out to Gabo Island where the historic lighthouse still stands. Smoke drifts into town from a nearby burn-off and the air smells of crackling gum leaves. Children swim in the estuary where the Betka River meets the sea.
On the drive back out of Mallacoota, we take in the sights from the Entrance Viewing Deck. Before we head north it is nice to be able to look back on how far we have already travelled. I imagine many others have done the same thing we have, but standing here just the two of us, it doesn’t feel that way.