Regulars have been holidaying at Cape Conran Coastal Park, in east Gippsland, for years and newcomers rarely stop at one visit. It’s a perfect place to kick back with a book and ramble around rock pools. Or to expend more energy surfing and scuba diving. Tread the Dock Inlet Loop and you’ll quickly realise that it’s also a top bushwalking Victoria destination.
Pink and red common heath (Victoria’s floral emblem and one of many wildflowers that grow in the park) are a welcome distraction from the eye-sore electricity pylons early on the 14km Dock Inlet Loop from Yeerung Bridge. The track soon diverges from the power lines, though, to snake through coastal woodland and pretty creek-fed wetlands.
Keeping right when the track forks brings you to Dock Inlet, a land-locked bowl of toffee-brown fresh water that’s refreshingly cool in warm weather. Now it’s over the dunes onto spectacular Ninety Mile Beach. Majestic white-bellied sea eagles often show themselves as you walk kilometres west on sand between dunes and breaking waves.
Leave the beach again at Yeerung River (the river mouth is safer for swimming than the unpatrolled beach) and walk through massed banksias and a surprise pocket of fern forest back to your car.