Party: Mary Merlo, Lisa Jonas, Chee Wong
Leader: Mary Merlo
Date: early January 2013
Photos: Mary’s photos, Chee’s Photos and Lisa’s photos

On this trip, all that could have been done wrong I DID, like wearing the wrong shoes, the wrong set of clothes, burning my socks on the campfire – gee, not even in my early bushwalking days I’ve ever done that, getting sunburned, or having the wrong map. Some were mistakes that could have ruined the whole trip if it wasn’t for the amazing cooperation I had from the rest of the party. So first of all, a big thank to Chee and Lisa!

It was an amazing walk in one of the most spectacular coastal areas of the Country, on the border between NSW and VIC. The plan was for a relaxing trip with plenty of time for swimming, reading, snoozing, chatting and so on, which we did plenty of 🙂

Here some highlights of the trip

Day 1 Mallacoota – Lake Barracoota

Our walk started on a boat with 35degrees, mmhh.. there’s something not quite right here..

By lunchtime the temperature reached the high 30s, maybe 40s, but it felt like 50s.

Gasping for a bit of fresh air we got to the beach. Jumped in the water with clothes and everything. Ahh, this is a good start!

Met a solo walker at the end of his trip who gave us a map with precious track notes and water sources. Thanks mate!

Wind picked up, feels nice on the skin but sand now flies everywhere, into the ears, in the eyes, at times up the nose, and of course in our cuppa too.

Met some wildlife: a tick crawling up my leg, a goanna walking across the sand dunes.

Had a glass of wine watching the sunset on top of a sand dune. Special

Eventually the wind settled down only to give way to mozzies. Man, who said costal walks are pleasurable?

Had a second meal with my after dinner cuppa: so many bugs fell into it. They were yummy.

Stars, stars, stars, and more stars.


Day 2 Lake Barracoota – Bunyip Hole

Woke up early to beat the heat but at 7am there were already nearly 30degrees. Night walking next?

Left the campsite to escape the early morning mozzies only to be welcomed by ferocious march flies on the lake shore. Got bitten badly 🙁 Killed some though 🙂

Walked along the beach, had a couple of swims. March flies followed us there too. Killed some more.

My feet are sore, new volleys are not good, mmhh.. got blisters. Day 2 of 6. Things are looking good.

Had lunch and siesta at Lake Wau Wauka campsite, beautiful shady spot under the trees and no march flies. Really?!?! Life can be beautiful at times 🙂

Lisa saw the first red belly black snake of the trip.

Found out that purifying water by drinking with a filtering straw is hard work. Better use Chee’s filtering pump.

Super hot but beautiful day of beach walking, not a soul. This place seems unreal.


Day 3 Bunyip Hole – Nadgee beach

No point on waking up early, it’s gonna be hot anyway. Slept in.

Saw dingos’ footprints on the beach. Glad we didn’t camp there. Could have been an interesting night though.

Weather’s changing, turned out to be overcast. March flies are going mad and attacked us – well, me – even while walking: 42bites on left leg, 46 on right one. Next time insect repellent long pants.

Blisters are getting worse. Borrowed Chee’s sneakers. I look funny but they saved my trip so who cares?!

Lazy arvo at Nadgee beach campsite. Nice little spot. Lots of reading, snoozing and swimming.

Got bitten by a bull ant. Starting to see a pattern here, what have I done wrong?

Collected a few litres of swampy water. It’s got a colour and a taste too. Not too sure about it. Will see tomorrow. Hopefully we’ve got enough toilet paper!

Saw heaps of puffer fish, not puffed up though, just normal

Had a swim under the stars. Very special.


Day 4 Nadgee Beach – Newtons beach

Woke up at dawn by dingo’s howling. Saw beautiful sunrise.

Swim and breakfast on the beach. It’s a beautiful day!

Nice breeze kept us alive while walking through low heath on the way to Harry’s hut

Chee met another red belly black snake.

Nice little hut infested by mozzies. Did you get this was the highlight of the trip?!?!

I keep getting the mozzies and the march flies, Chee gets the ticks. Lisa could get the stomach bugs then? Fair enough that we share the wildlife equally, isn’t it?

Little creek campsite for lunch, met second solo walker on his way from Melbourne to Sydney, it’s gonna be a long trip for him!

Master chef Chee made the best brownie ever using parts from 3 different billies as camp oven. He’ll always be welcome on a trip 🙂


Day 5 Newtons beach – Merrica River

Firetrail from Newtons beach to Merrica river. Boring boring boring and hot hot hot, but once at the beach Oh. My. God. A piece of heaven. Best campsite.

Started raining so makes perfect sense to go for a swim. Feels great

Set up the fly for shelter and used it to collect rain water too. That saved us 1,5hr walk to the water source. Mixed it up with the tank water we got at Harry’s hut and created a new brand “Tank&Tarp water – nothing will taste better” we think we could make good money out of it.

Master chef Chee collected some oysters. Oh. My. God. Taste delicious. Went for some more. This is life 🙂

Saw more puffer fish and three stinging rays. Tried to puff up the puffer fish but it didn’t work, it just got annoyed and left us. Maybe it wasn’t a puffer fish after all.


Day 6 Merrica River – Carpark

Trapped at the campsite, will have to wait for the tide to go out before we can cross the mouth of the Merrica river to get to the track. Better lie down and bludge a little longer then.

After a snooze, a bit of reading, a few sprinkles, some wind, some kayakers pfaffing around the beach and an early lunch, the tide allowed for an easy crossing.

Reluctantly set off for the easy walk back to the car. This campsite is a real Eden.

Celebrated the end of an awesome walk with jelly snakes and some beers which miraculously kept quite well inside the esky in the boot of the car. Taste so good.

Stopped on the way home for some coffee, a fresh mango, some potato chips and a packet of tim tam. Sounds like a horrible mix but I can tell you, after days of dehydrated food and swampy water, it was bloody good!


The one thing we will remember the most about this trip? For Chee, the water collection and all the filtering and boiling that came with that, Lisa will always remember the endless beaches with no human soul. And me … no, not the mozzies (although they come second!) the oysters!!!!


A few technical notes for those interested in doing the walk.

The main issue with this walk is water availability. It varies according to the season and the weather, this is what we found on our trip. NB For safety sake you’d better treat all the water (tablets, filtering pump, UV, boiling..).  Lake Barracoota: reliable and permanent fresh water can be collected from the lake shore; Lake Wau Wauka: same as the other lake, just a touch salty but still drinkable. At the campsite farther away from the ocean there is a bucket that can be used to collect water from a nearby point – you just need to follow a pretty obvious track that heads NE from the campsite. Bunyip Hole at the moment has got very little and very swampy water – not recommended! Nadgee lake is a salt lake but if you keep walking along the north shore you will come across a fresh water creek. We didn’t need any water at that stage so I can’t say much about the quality of that water. Nadgee beach: on the north end of the beach walk upstream along the southern side of Nadgee river  and you’ll find a swampy area with some frogs and other little creatures. Treat it and you’ll be fine! Harry’s hut has got a water tank and there is also the Nadgee river nearby which should guarantee a pretty sure source of fresh water. We didn’t check out the water at little creek as we had plenty from the hut. Newtons beach has got no water at the moment. Merrica river: from the NP map it looks like there should be a water source near the campsite, however we spoke with a few people there and it looks like nobody’s able to find it! The other option is getting water from Merrica river further upstream along the track that takes you back to the carpark, it’s a 40 min walk from the campsite but it’s well worth it as it is probably the best water you’ll have on the entire walk as it flows!

As you probably got from the trip report, insects can be a big hassle, no joke. Full length insect repellent clothes is the best advice I can give you as not even the bushman helped me much. The worst campsites mosquitos wise are: Nadgee beach (maybe the south end of the beach campsite is a bit better, but the main one on the northern end of the beach is a nightmare), Harry’s hut and Lake Barracoota. Bunyip hole, newtons beach and Merrica river were surprisingly pretty safe

The best time of the year to do this walk could probably be April/May as there are less mozzies, the water is still quite nice for a swim and the temperature are not too high – I swear, those 40degrees days were a big challenge for all of us as the walk is very exposed.

Alternatively, for us worked quite well an early-ish start to the next campsite for a long lunch break (from lunch time til 4.30/5pm), and then walk again to the following campsite for the night.

Campfire. All the campsites have got plenty of firewood around apart from lake barracouta as it is pretty much surrounded by sand dunes and small scrubby bush. However, please be careful during bushfire season as the combination of very dry underbrush (you’ll see what I’m talking about when you get there) and the ocean breeze/wind can be very dangerous.

What else, it is an awesome walk and totally worth doing it. However, keep in mind that it is not a beginners walk due to the remoteness of the area and the water situation which will make your pack heavy even on the last day of the walk!