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Wonthaggi Heathland Nature Conservation Reserve

Home > Melbourne > Beaches | Nature | Outdoor | Parks | Walks
by Lyndsey V (subscribe)
I'm an ecologist and writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Also visit me at www.instagram.com/victoriafloraandfauna
Published July 30th 2018
Walk to a wild secluded beach through a heathland reserve
From Phillip Island to Wilson's Promontory, there is no shortage of beautiful wild and rugged beaches along the South Gippsland coastline. Just south of the township of Wonthaggi is one particularly lovely and secluded beach that can only be reached by foot.

wonthaggi, beach, heathland, walks, south gippsland
Footsteps on the beach, reached by walking through Wonthaggi Heathland Nature Conservation Reserve


The walk to the beach is through the coastal heathland vegetation of the 811-hectare Wonthaggi Heathland Nature Conservation Reserve. There is a network of walking tracks in the reserve, which walkers can join together to form a loop. Alternatively, the most direct track to the beach is a track of approximately 1.6 km (one way) that leaves from the carpark and heads south. The best map of the trails that I could find online for the reserve is shown in Walk 30 in the Bass Coast Walks and Trail brochure.

wonthaggi, beach, heathland, walks, south gippsland, wildflowers
Views of the heathland in the reserve, with the wattles in flower


To get to the carpark, head to the end of Chisholm Road, just to the west of Wonthaggi. From here, there is a choice of taking a longer loop walk by heading east, or the direct walk to the beach by heading south; the track then turns west before cutting through the coastal dune scrub to arrive at the beach. The tracks are generally flat and are either sandy or grassy underfoot.

wonthaggi, beach, heathland, walks, south gippsland
Arriving at the beach through the coastal dune scrub


The tracks through the reserve take walkers through a range of interesting heathland and coastal vegetation. Different sections have been burned at different times to promote the growth and diversity of the heathland plants.

wonthaggi, beach, heathland, walks, south gippsland, wildflowers
Different sections of the reserve have been burned for ecological purposes


The range of heathland plants is huge, and spring is the best time to visit to see the spectacular array of wildflowers, including wattles, orchids, lilies and various prickly heathland plants – their leaves may be spikey but the flowers are pretty!

wonthaggi, beach, heathland, walks, south gippsland, wildflowers
Wildflowers in the reserve


It's also a popular place for bird watching, with over 80 species of birds recorded in the reserve.

wonthaggi, beach, heathland, walks, south gippsland, wildflowers
Wildflowers in the reserve


The beach itself faces west, and Phillip Island can be seen further to the right in the distance. At low tide, the rocks are exposed and it's a lovely spot to wander further or sit and gaze into the horizon, before returning to the carpark.

Dogs are allowed on leash. There are no toilets in the reserve.
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Why? A secluded beach and wildflower-rich heathland reserve
When: Any time
Phone: 131963 (Parks Victoria)
Where: Wonthaggi
Cost: Free
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