If you’re looking for a great day hike from Mallacoota, then Genoa Peak should definitely be on your radar. This peak in Croajingolong National Park is close to the Victoria-New South Wales border, and just a short drive from the popular holiday destination of Mallacoota.
The walk is short, yet steep, taking you up to the top of Genoa Peak, with panoramic views across the entire national park and coastal region. It’s undoubtedly one of the best viewpoints in Gippsland, so pack your walking shoes and head out on the Genoa Peak Walk next time you’re driving up the Princes Highway.
This quick guide to the walk will provide all the information that you’ll need for a little adventure in this coastal region of Victoria.
Quick Facts About the Genoa Peak Walk
- Trailhead: Genoa Peak Carpark, Genoa Peak Road off the A1 Princes Highway
- Distance: 3.5 km return
- Time: 1.5 hours
- Total ascent: 216 m
- Difficulty: Moderate-hard (some steep climbing and rocky steps to reach the summit)
- Respect: Croajingolong National Park is the Traditional Land of the Bidawal and Nindi-Ngudjam Ngarigu Monero people
- Dogs: Not allowed as it’s a national park
Read next: What to Pack for a Day Hike
How to Reach the Genoa Peak Walk
Mallacoota to Genoa Peak Walk: 32 km or 45 minutes drive
The closest major town to the Genoa Peak Walk is Mallacoota. The popular summer holiday destination is less than an hour’s drive away from the trailhead. From Mallacoota, you need to head back to the A1 Princes Highway and turn left at the intersection onto the highway. The turn off for Genoa Peak Road is only 2km down on your left.
From the Princes Highway, it’s just over 7km on a dirt road to reach the trailhead. This road is in pretty good condition all year round, even for 2WD. However, be careful in wet conditions and after heavy rainfall.
At the trailhead, there is a turning point with a few carpark spots around the edges. There’s not a whole lot of room, but you could also park down the side of the dirt road if you needed to. It’s definitely not ideal for towing big caravans, but camper trailers and vans will find enough room.
Where to Stay Nearby
Mallacoota is the nearest main town and is likely where you’ll be based when completing the Genoa Peak Walk. This is a very popular holiday spot in East Gippsland.
However, there’s also a great free camp in Genoa for caravans and campervans across the river, which is where I stayed after doing the walk. Otherwise, Genoa doesn’t really offer much other than its historic foot bridge to get to the old pub and post office.
Check out some options for places to stay in Mallacoota:
Shady Gully Caravan Park | I stayed at this caravan park when spending a few days at Mallacoota. It’s just out of town, but there’s plenty of great walks and footpaths that lead into the town centre and nearby bushland. They have powered and unpowered sites for camping setups, as well as cabins. Check availability here.
The Wave Oasis B&B | This queen studio apartment is fully self-contained and perfectly located just back from the water north of town. It’s in a quiet area, with a footpath leading into the town centre. Some apartments offer a beautiful view from the terrace. Check prices here.
Farm Stay with Iconic Water Views | If you’re looking to splurge a bit, this farm stay property offers a four-bedroom holiday home with sea views just outside of Mallacoota. It’s a fully self-contained home, plus the highlight is the rustic hot tubs located in a field overlooking the water. Check availability here.
Trail Notes From the Genoa Peak Walk
I was pretty excited to head off on this walk after spending plenty of time relaxing on the Gippsland coast. It was an overcast day, but this meant perfect conditions for hiking. I was the only one at the carpark, so I set off on the marked trail past the picnic table in mid-morning.
At first, the trail gently climbed through the fire regrowth and old burnt trees. It was a well-made path, that’s easy to follow so I moved along pretty quickly until I bumped into an unexpected monitor lizard. They’re super chill animals, but it still gave me a fright!
With the thin vegetation due to the bushfires from 2019/20, I could see the top of Genoa Peak quite early on in the walk. As I wound my way closer to the rocky outcrop, I had some nice views over the treetops to my left.
At the base of the peak, the trail became more of a rocky scramble, with some steep sections that I had to really use my legs to pull myself up through the boulders. But it was nothing too technical and actually added a sense of adventure to this otherwise short walk.
The further you wind your way through the boulder-strewn slopes of the peak, the views start to really open up back towards the coast. Just as I was almost to the top, there was a lower lookout to my left. I took this to a nice platform, offering beautiful views over the trees and towards Mallacoota.
But then, I continued up. The last part is the steepest section, and then at the base of the actual peak itself there was a metal ladder and handrail to help you up through to the top. Genoa Peak has a caged lookout, so you’re totally safe on the exposed boulder at its summit.
It was pretty windy up there, so I had to hold onto my hat. But the superb views made it really worthwhile. There’s an interpretive sign detailing what you’re looking at, which is basically a panorama over the Croajingolong wilderness area, Gabo Island, Mallacoota inlet and stretching all the way over to the Australian Alps to the northwest. Sadly, the fire damage from 2019-20 was visibly devastating from up there, but it was also good to see so much regeneration in just a few years.
I then, made my way back down the same way and back to the carpark. I started passing a few people going up and by the time I got back to the carpark, I counted another three cars there. I was lucky enough to have the trail mostly to myself!
Essential Information for the Genoa Peak Walk
Here are some helpful tips and safety information for your walk, so you’re fully prepared for everything to expect on the trail.
- On a warm day (especially in spring and summer), you may spot a snake on the trail. Give it plenty of room to move away safely and you won’t have a problem with it.
- The area is still recovering from the 2019-20 bushfires, this means that some trees are still at risk of falling or dropping limbs. Stick to the trail as much as possible as this has been cleared properly for walkers.
- The trail is quite exposed to the sun, especially with the regrowth from the fires still coming back, so even on a cloudy day you should still wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.
Other Walking Tips
- There are no facilities at the trailhead, only picnic tables, so ensure that you leave no trace and bring enough food and water with you
- There’s limited phone reception in the area, but you should have a strong signal at the top of the peak if you need
- It can get very windy at the summit, so hold onto your hat and don’t attempt to climb over the barriers in place
- It’s best to wear good walking shoes, as the last part of the hike over boulders will be easier if you have some grip on your shoes
- The actual summit of Genoa Peak is barricaded with metal handrails and a steel ladder to access it. If the trail is busy, it would be best to let people get down before heading up as there’s not a whole lot of room at the top of the peak itself
- If you don’t think you’ll quite make the top or you’re afraid of climbing the metal ladder, I’d still recommend doing the walk to the lower lookout, as this is much easier to get to and still offers a nice view
Other Things to Do Nearby
- Mallacoota: A popular holiday destination in Victoria, the beautiful town of Mallacotta is surrounded by the wilderness of the Croajingolong National Park. The relaxing town is known for stunning beaches, great fishing, plenty of walks, and lots of wildlife, including koalas.
- Wilderness Coast Walk: Stretching for 100km along the far northeast coast of Victoria, the Wilderness Coast Walk begins at Bemm River and concludes at Mallacoota, or you can even continue into NSW as well. It can take up to a week to complete and is definitely not for beginners, with long water carries, navigational skills required, and inlet crossings. More info on Parks Vic website here.
- Eden and South Coast NSW: Eden in New South Wales is just an hour up the coast, and is the first major town of the South Coast region. If you’re headed up that way, it’s the perfect place to begin your road trip up to Sydney. It’s a pretty laidback place, with stunning coastline in both directions. From there, you can head north to Merimbula, Tathra, Bermagui and beyond.