Please note: A lot of this area was badly damaged in the 2019/20 summer bushfires. Please check the national parks website before heading out there!


The Nadgee Wilderness Walk ia an eye-boggler of a coastal hike that spans two states. The Nadgee Nature Reserve runs through the only remaining coastal wilderness in NSW before it crosses into a tucked-away corner of coastal Victoria.


  • Epic coastal views
  • An abundance of wildlife – whales, dolphins, birds, snakes, fish
  • Solitude

The Lowdown

Even at only 55km in length, this incredible walk from Merrica River to Mallacoota traverses some of the most scenic coastline that Victoria and NSW have to offer. It is easily achievable in three days but, if you have the time, making the trip over four days will reward you with a better chance to really explore this beautiful wilderness area.


nadgee Wilderness Walk Nadgee Nature Reserve VIC NSW Lachie Thomas, sand, rocks, horizon, water, walker, hiker, ocean


Starting at Merrica River Crossing near Wonboyn NSW, follow the fire track for roughly 10km through open forested hills, down to the sparkling emerald waters of Newtons Beach. Here you can enjoy one of the many pristine swims to come. Continuing on, stroll through the lush rainforests and woodlands for a few kilometres to Little Creek, an epic campsite beside the water and only 200m from possibly the most incredible beach you’ve ever seen.


nadgee Wilderness Walk Nadgee Wilderness VIC NSW Lachie Thomas, clouds, sand, rocks, horizon, water, walker, hiker, ocean


The next day will take you through flowering heathlands of the Nadgee Nature Reserve, over rolling hills overlooking the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and down to the impressive sand dunes of Cape Howe on the state border.

Crossing into Victoria marks the start of long beach walks that will take you to the final campsite of Lake Barracoota, Victoria’s largest inland freshwater lake. The final day will then bring you to Mallacoota where you can either organize a ferry transfer across the inlet or you can wait for low tide and swim/walk across the inlet (making for a much better story).

The biggest challenge for hikers doing this track is often finding fresh drinking water, so make sure you bring purification tablets and call the Merimbula Parks Office before you walk to get an update on water sources.

Read: How To Purify Water in the Bush

Walking in spring often helps negate this challenge and is also the time of year to see many flowers coming into blossom, as well as the migration of whales heading southwards.


nadgee Wilderness Walk Nadgee Nature Reserve VIC NSW Lachie Thomas, hero, waves, dunes, person horizon

Essential Gear

  • Permit ($10pp per night) – contact the National Parks’ Merimbula office on (02) 6495 5000 for the application form. Note, there is a limit of 30 hikers at a time on the Nadgee wilderness walk.
  • Backpack
  • Tent and sleeping gear
  • First aid kit
  • Food for 3-4 days
  • Map of the Nadgee wilderness walk

How To Get There

Nadgee Nature Reserve is approximately halfway between Melbourne and Sydney and it will take about six and a half hours on the Princess Highway to reach from either state capital.

Doing a shuttle with two cars (leaving one at Mallacoota and one at Merrica River Crossing) will make your life significantly easier. Otherwise, you will have to try your luck at hitchhiking from Mallacoota but bear in mind that if you get dropped off on the Princess Highway turnoff to Wonboyn it will still be a 20km walk on dirt roads to your car at Merrica River Crossing.


  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Photography

Skill Level

Intermediate – Advanced


3-4 days

Distance Covered / Elevation Gain

Day 1: From Merrica River Crossing to Little Creek is 14km with ~100m ascent and ~150m descent.

Day 2: From Little Creek to Cape Howe it is 14km with negligible elevation gain.

Day 3: From Cape Howe to Lake Barracoota it is 14km of flat beach walking.

Day 4: From Lake Barracoota to Mallacoota it is 12km of flat beach walking.