The sleepy town of Buchan, in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, is famous for the spectacular and intricate limestone cave system at the Buchan Caves Reserve, open to visitors for almost a century. Underground rivers cutting through ancient limestone rock formed the caves and caverns, and they provided shelter for Aboriginal people as far back as 18,000 years ago.
Orbost services the surrounding farming and forest areas. Most travellers fly through as the Princes Hwy passes just south of the town, while the Bonang Rd heads north towards the Snowy River and Errinundra National Parks, and Marlo Rd follows the Snowy River south to Marlo and continues along the coast to Cape Conran Coastal Park.
Cape Conran Coastal Park
This blissfully undeveloped part of the coast is one of Gippsland’s most beautiful corners, with long stretches of remote white-sand beaches. The 19km coastal route from Marlo to Cape Conran is particularly pretty, bordered by banksia trees, grass plains, sand dunes and the ocean.
Snowy River National Park
Northeast of Buchan, this is one of Victoria’s most isolated and spectacular national parks, dominated by deep gorges carved through limestone and sandstone by the Snowy River on its route from the Snowy Mountains in NSW to its mouth at Marlo. The entire park is a smorgasbord of unspoilt, superb bush and mountain scenery.
Croajingolong National Park
Croajingolong is one of Australia’s finest coastal wilderness national parks, recognised by its listing as a World Biosphere Reserve by Unesco (one of 12 in Australia). The park covers 87,500 hectares, stretching for about 100km from the town of Bemm River to the NSW border.
Rather than barrel down the highway from Orbost to Mallacoota, turn off to Marlo, a sleepy beach town at the mouth of the Snowy River just 15km south of Orbost. It’s a lovely spot, popular with anglers. The road continues on to Cape Conran Coastal Park before rejoining the highway.