See and do
When you arrive, you'll see that the town curves around Mallacoota inlet making it a haven for water sport enthusiasts and fishermen alike. Don your bathing suits, head to Mallacoota Hire Boats and hire a putt-putt boat (no boating licence required), kayak or paddleboat and cruise alongside pelicans through the lake and rivers. Boats are available for hire by the hour and you can try your hand at fishing if you hire a rod on-site too. Flathead, bream, whiting, salmon and more scour the lake and locals say it's almost impossible not to catch a fish. Remember to book your boat in advance or risk missing out.
If you’d like someone to do the steering for you, check out the pleasure cruise or twilight cruise hosted by Mallacoota Cruises. The two-hour cruise will take you around the inlet as the host talks you through Mallacoota’s rich history. For those who are lucky you might be able to spot a sea eagle glide along in the distance. The company also hosts guided eco-tours of the expansive Croajingolong National Park that has you and a friendly local host navigating the terrain in a 4WD and stopping off at beaches, rivers or in the bush. Enquire about the addition of packed lunches by local caterer, Sweet And Savory Treats by Jess, that can include buttermilk cream macarons, wraps and seasonal fruit. The group can also organise bushwalk transfers that drop you off and collect you from certain parts of the area, or send you off to the remote and awe-inspiring Gabo Island.
If you’re looking to get in the water make a beeline towards Betka Beach. Located close to town, the beach offers white sands and pristine turquoise waters. For the more adventurous there’s a lookout, rock pools and a sand-lined walk on the other side of the beach near Bastion Point.
Shipwreck Creek Beach is where you can see a reddish creek meet the ocean. The tangerine tinge of the creek owes its colouring to the tannins from neighbouring trees and is perfectly safe to swim in, not to mention it's good for kids. The beach lies next to it and offers shelter from cliff faces nearby.
If swimming or bodies of water aren’t your thing, go for a walk in the Narrows. Located between Buckland's Jetty Boat Hire (another boat hire store) and the Captain Creek jetty, the gravel trail takes you by the lake and throughout Croajingalong National Park. Spot discarded shells at Aboriginal middens, dragonflies whizzing by and the damage caused by the bushfires. It’s a 3km walk (6km return) and is suited to all abilities. If you’re looking for a more paved walk, head into town along the lake. The walk takes you from the Lakeside Drive fishing platforms to the wharf, Captain Stevenson's Point, Devlins Inlet to the Beach and onto Bastion Point, and is 4.7km one way.
If you’re seeking a social, boozy activity, try your hand at lawn bowls at the Mallacoota Inlet Bowls Club. Open every day from 3pm (weather permitting) the expansive green backs onto a club that stocks a bar.
For those simply looking to sit back and relax, we advise you to watch a film at the town’s pop-up cinema, Mallacoota Cinema, located in the community hall. It’s only around during the school holiday season but offers a fully-stocked candy bar and airs films that suit all ages.
Spend some time admiring the art by local artists at the Mallacoota Arts Space. When we visited, in early 2021, a heavy bushfire-theme is dispersed throughout pieces, making it a very humbling and worthwhile experience. The art is also available for sale so you can take a piece of Mallacoota away with you. An impressive portrait by Catherine van Wilgenburg of local and author of Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe, adorns one of the walls and is well worth seeing. It’s made of grey box bark from Bruce’s land in Yuin country and paperbark from the artist’s own Altona street trees and was submitted to the 2019 Archibald Prize.
Get out into the bush and soldier on towards the World War Two bunker that doubles up as a museum. It’s only open on Tuesdays and Sundays and is well worth a visit if you’re in town.