Stretching from the far South Coast of New South Wales to East Gippsland in Victoria, Australia's Coastal Wilderness is where tall forests, lakes and beaches meet. Walk and camp along the wild, empty coastlines, surf and snorkel from the bush-fringed beaches and canoe the still, majestic lakes. Spot whales, dolphins, seals and penguins, dine on freshly-caught seafood and trace the area's Aboriginal history at ancient midden sites. Stay in pretty towns such as Bermagui, Bega and Mallacoota and climb the historic lighthouses at Point Hicks and Green Cape.
Five things to do in this unspoilt coastal wilderness
Visit the world's largest known colony of little penguins at Gabo Island. Or cruise to Montague Island to see seals, penguins and sea birds wheeling through the air. Spot whales from Eden, Boyds Tower in Ben Boyd National Park or Point Hicks in Croajingolong National Park. The beaches, lush rainforests and granite peaks here are protected by a World Biosphere Reserve. In summer and spring you can see Lake Elusive fringed by wildflowers and bright orchids. Hike the Kangarutha Track through Bournda National Park, listening to the rustle and song of wetland birds.
Relaxed Bermagui is known for its fishing, but you can also swim and surf from the beaches or go canoeing in nearby Mimosa Rocks National Park. Further south, Merimbula is a haven for all types of watersports. Hit the surf, cruise the freshwater lakes or scuba dive in the clear waters offshore. Spot whales and go wreck diving from Eden and relax in pretty Mallacoota, which sits between wide, white beaches and tranquil inlets and rivers. Marlo and Bemm River are both great bases for exploring the rugged coastline of Cape Conran Coastal Park.
Trek the Light to Light Walking Track, which stretches from Boyds Tower to Green Cape. In Croajingolong National Park you can canoe at Wingan Inlet, hike over the sand dunes or do the steep climb to Genoa Peak for panoramic views over Bass Straight. Another great climb to the top of Australia's tallest lighthouse on Point Hicks, the first place in Australia that Captain Cook spotted. For a true challenge, hike the 100km Wilderness Coastal Walk from Point Hicks to Nadgee Nature Reserve.
Fresh seafood abounds along this coastline, and you'll find top-quality seafood restaurants and outlets from Tathra to Mallacoota. Hunt for tuna and marlin on a deep sea fishing charter in Bermagui and feast on fresh oysters in Pambula and Merimbula, where the oyster farm offers regular tours. The scenic coastal road between Tathra and Bermagui is dotted with cafes and gourmet outlets as well as wineries and art galleries. Inland lies lush dairy country and Bega, where you can learn about the town's proud cheese-making tradition in the cheese heritage centre.
Spot ancient Aboriginal middens - debris from shells, stones, bones and campfire charcoal - on the Pabul River Walking Track through Ben Boyd National Park. There are more relics scattered at Jackson Crossing on the Snowy River or at the southern end of Croajingolong National Park. At the Killer Whale Museum in Eden, you can learn about the crucial role that Aboriginal people played in the local whaling industry. Immerse yourself in stories of the all-Aboriginal crew who taught their European captains how to work co-operatively with killer whales in Two Fold Bay.