This post will show you the drive along Australia South East Coast. We are driving in the Victorian countryside from Wilsons Promontory and Lakes Entrance to Merimbula and will also visit the Ninety Mile Beach and Mallacoota.
The post is a part of our Melbourne to Sydney road trip by campervan. Mallacoota was our last stop in Victoria before entering New South Wales and its Sapphire Coast tourist resorts Eden and Merimbula.
Sand dunes and a dark river, Australia South East Coast Drive
Australia South East Coast Drive on the Map
The map shows Australia South East Coast and our drive is marked with a blue line.
We mostly followed the coastline but there were also huge areas of farmland and forest. The Victorian South East Coast is a very rural region but it changes when you get into New South Wales.
Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory, Australia
Wilsons Promontory is the southernmost tip of continental Australia. It’s a very popular national park and with a reason. There’s a stunning nature: forest, mountains, rivers, white beaches and a lot of wildlife. You can stay the night in the national park, there are nice campsites.
I am not telling more about the Prom here, there’s another post about it. For Wilsons Promontory check out my post Driving from Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory.
But let’s set out now. Our first destination on the South East Australian road trip is the Ninety Mile Beach:
Ninety Mile Beach
Seagulls at ninety-mile beach, Lakes Entrance
Ninety Miles Beach is incredible, it’s one of the longest stretches of sand in the world.
The beach begins near Port Albert, Victoria and continues all the way to the channel at Lakes Entrance. The beach is very long, 150 kilometres in all.
The Ninety Mile Beach separates Gippsland lakes and lagoons from the Pacific Ocean. The wide beach is backed by sand dunes that are high enough to prevent ocean water from flowing to the lakes behind.
As you can guess the Ninety Mile Beach and the community of Lakes Entrance are an Australian favourite holiday destination.
Dunes at Lakes Entrance, Australia’s South East Coast
The town of Lakes Entrance is located at the east end of Ninety Mile Beach, in the narrow point where the Gippsland Lakes meet the ocean. So Lakes Entrance is a real beach holiday destination since there are beaches on both sides, the ocean and lagoon sides. To be exact the lakes are not lakes but rather inland lagoons. Anyway, the water area is huge. The Gippsland Lakes is Australia’s largest inland network of waterways.
There is a 5 kilometre long marked walking track along the dunes that separate the lakes from the Tasman Sea. To get to the dunes you first cross a white walking bridge that connects the dunes and the town.
We walked the whole track and there was a lot of wildlife: enormous jellyfish, pelicans, black swans and other birds, but despite many warning signs we didn’t see any dangerous snakes that also live on the sand dunes.
The place where the dune ends and inland lakes meet the sea has very strong currents but a lot of sea birds were swimming there without having any trouble.
If you have time you can hire a speed boat at Lakes Entrance, or you can make a nature or dinner cruise on the lakes. As the winding waterway is so big one of the cruises takes you 70 kilometres inland along water.
We didn’t take any cruises or other water-based activities, just enjoyed instead the views from a lookout at Kalimna that is a village next to Lakes Entrance. After that it was time to continue our drive from Lakes Entrance to Merimbula and our next stop was Mallacoota.
Betka Beach, Mallacoota, Australia’s South East Coast
Mallacoota is the next village to visit on the South East Australia coastal drive. Just like Lakes Entrance Mallacoota has access both to the Tasman Sea coast and inland lakes and there are sandy dunes between the waters. Mallacoota is on the edge of Croajingolong National Park with fine walking paths and many visitors come here for the national park.
Betka Beach lies between the village and Croajingolong National Park. The beach area has a rich birdlife and there are almost 300 different kinds of birds. The area also has lyrebirds and we happened to see one cross the road north of Mallacoota.
North of Mallacoota is also a marked rainforest area where you can take a short loop walk.
More photos of Betka Beach, Mallacoota
Australia South East Coast Views
Australia’s South East Coast countryside
To show you what the South East Victorian countryside looks like I put here some photos from the roadside. As we were travelling there had been heavy rains the days before and roads were flooding in some places. But it didn’t cause us any problems.
The nature in South East Australia is very green compared to the dry brown nature before Wilsons Promontory.
Driving on the Australian South East Coast
Bridges and Rivers
One of Australia South East Coast bridges
Driving on we saw many more inland lagoons and crossed them using this kind of old narrow bridges. This was one of the pretty beaches we stopped at.
Lagoon waters are normally brown in colour which comes from the soil. These photos show how this brownish water gets a very special look when it meets blue ocean water.
Lagoon waters meeting the ocean
To New South Wales: Eden, Narooma and Merimbula
The southern part of New South Coast is called Sapphire Coast. Don’t be in a hurry when driving through the Sapphire Coast: the landscape is green, hilly and beautiful and there are many small towns and villages worth stopping at.
Some of the prettiest are Eden and Merimbula. Also the Narooma further north was a very scenic place. And like in Victoria all these New South Wales towns have beaches on both sides. You can choose between ocean front and lakeside beaches – or the turquoise lagoons in between them!
Sapphire Coast of New South Wales
Driving from Merimbula to Sydney
Our journey from Melbourne to Sydney continues in my next post. That post shows you the places in the southern part of New South Wales,between Merimbula and Sydney.
Kiama’s little blowhole on the South Coast of New South Wales
Melbourne to Sydney Drive Along Coast
How did we arrange our Melbourne to Sydney campervan trip, what was our itinerary and how was the whole drive like? You can read about that in my main post Melbourne to Sydney Drive along Coast.
Melbourne to Sydney coastal drive with campervan