Population 7279

Once the main supplier of coal to the Victorian Railways, Wonthaggi, near the beachside town of Cape Paterson, is South Gippsland's largest town. There are good tourist facilities in town and a number of pretty beaches nearby.

Visitor Information

1 Bent St; (03) 5672 5767 or 1300 854 334


Nearby national parks

  • Yarra Ranges National Park

    Lofty mountain ash bathed in mist, rare and endangered plants and animals, snow in winter and pristine pockets of bushland make Yarra Ranges...more

  • Kinglake National Park

    Surrounding the township of Kinglake, this bush retreat close to Melbourne offers views of the Yarra Valley, the city skyline and Port...more

  • Brisbane Ranges National Park

    In Brisbane Ranges National Park low mountains are dissected by rugged gorges and hidden gullies with basalt grasslands and woodlands. An...more

Nearby towns

  • Inverloch

    Inverloch is a small seaside town set on the protected waters of Anderson Inlet, east of Wonthaggi. It is characterised by long stretches of...more

  • Korumburra

    Established in 1887, Korumburra stands firmly as the heritage centre of South Gippsland. The township was a primary producer of black coal...more

  • Leongatha

    Leongatha is a thriving town, considered the commercial centre of South Gippsland. Idyllically positioned as a gateway to Gippsland...more

In Town

Bass Coast Rail Trail: 16 km trail that runs between Wonthaggi and Anderson. Suitable for walking and cycling, it is the only coastal rail trail in Victoria with landscape that varies from flat farmland and bushland to rugged coastline.


State Coal Mine The demand for black coal created a thriving industry in Wonthaggi from 1909 until 1968, and the mine site has been retained to show visitors the lifestyle and working conditions of the miners. Daily underground tours offer close-up views of the coalface, a short walk into the East Area Mine and a cable-hauled skip ride to the surface. Above ground, visit the museum for an introduction to the history of the mine and of Wonthaggi itself, or take a walk around the historic buildings. Inquiries (03) 5672 3053 or Parks Victoria on 13 1963; Cape Paterson Rd; 1.5 km S.

Cape Paterson: waters offshore are protected by Bunurong Marine and Coastal Park and are good for surfing, swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving; 8 km S.

George Bass Coastal Walk: starts at Kilcunda; 11 km NW. Ask at visitor centre for details of other walks.

Gippsland Gourmet Country: takes in central Gippsland's gourmet food and wine producers; details from visitor centre.

Fishing spots near town

Anderson Inlet 17 km

Some would argue that Anderson Inlet, near Inverloch, isn’t an estuary but a bay. It has three creeks, Screw, Pound and Cherry Tree, plus the Tarwin River flowing in to it, and is situated about 140 km south-east... Find out more

Venus Bay 20 km

Victoria’s annual run of Australian salmon hits the surf beaches in autumn and runs through the winter. South Gippsland beaches are traditionally among the hottest for salmon action. Winter sees beaches from... Find out more

Mosquito Channel 29 km

Corinella is about 115 km south- east of Melbourne on the eastern side of Western Port. There is a jetty, slipway and a 24-hour all-tide boat ramp. Anglers who launch their boats here regard these waters as something... Find out more

Elephant Triangle 31 km

Fishing for elephant fish in Western Port has become an institution. Anglers hang out for the first signs that the fish are starting to migrate into the bay. In general terms, the Elephant Triangle (GPS: S38.26.826,... Find out more

Tarwin River 32 km

Estuary perch are the saltwater equivalent of Australian bass, and are highly regarded as sport fish. The Tarwin River is among the more exalted of Victoria’s estuary systems with a solid reputation for producing... Find out more

Snapper Spots 41 km

Many snapper anglers prefer to concentrate along the edges of the main shipping channels. The deep water running along the western shore of Phillip Island from the Nobbies to Cowes (Buoys 1–13) is a proven snapper... Find out more

Middle Spit 41 km

One of the most popular destinations for boating anglers is the Middle Spit, located along the western shore of French Island. Regarded as a whiting hotspot, it’s just a matter of knowing where to go and the tide... Find out more

Cowes to Cat Bay 41 km

Cowes to Cat Bay, along Phillip Island, is a popular area for anglers chasing whiting, squid, snapper and gummy shark. Cowes jetty, a favourite with holidaymakers, is a productive platform that often produces elephant... Find out more

Shallow Inlet 56 km

Shallow Inlet is one of few places in Victoria where you can launch your boat off the beach. You can reach the inlet via Sandy Point or from the Wilsons Promontory side, turning from the Fish Creek–Yanakie road. ... Find out more

Corner Inlet 59 km

The sheltered waters of Corner Inlet yield snapper, salmon, whiting and trevally, and the area is popular with game fishermen because it offers the safest ocean entrance between Westernport Bay and Eden in NSW. Port... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Wildlife-watching - Phillip Island 33 km

Phillip Island is best known for the little penguins that come ashore every night (bookings essential). But spend time exploring the area and you will find Seal Rocks, with Australia’s largest colony of fur-seals,... Find out more

Kayaking on Phillip Island 35 km

For a great way to start the day, join a kayaking breakfast tour at Phillip Island Holiday Hire, which starts with a 45-minute paddle from Cowes and includes a civilised breakfast at a cafe. There is also a Devonshire... Find out more

Birdwatching around Gippsland 59 km

This stretch of Victorian coast offers some of the best birdwatching in the country. Two locations, both Ramsar-listed, are worth a visit. Protected by the northern arm of Wilsons Promontory, the wetlands of Corner... Find out more

Golf courses around town

Settlers Run Golf & Country Club 60 km

Throughout his playing days Greg Norman drew huge crowds eager to witness his incredible ball-striking. Confidently striding the fairways, his mere presence made him one of the game’s biggest ever drawcards. He... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Nearby breweries

Grand Ridge Brewery 55 km

One of the country’s longest-running craft breweries began life as the Strzelecki Brewery in 1988, but operated for only a brief period before being re-branded as Grand Ridge under new ownership. Over the ensuing... Find out more

Red Hill Brewery 56 km

Becoming hop farmers wasn’t part of their business plan when David and Karen Golding first applied to develop a microbrewery and cafe from their Mornington Peninsula property. Ultimately, though, they were advised... Find out more

Campsites around town

Kilcunda Oceanview Holiday Retreat 12 km

Dramatic coastal views are the norm at this quiet beachside caravan park, located between Wonthaggi and San Remo. The beaches here are safe for kids, plus there are good spots for a snorkel and plenty of walking options,... Find out more

Inverloch Foreshore Reserve camping area 13 km

Camping is available year-round at the foreshore reserve, but it does get popular. For views over the inlet, take the Screw Creek Walk which includes a boardwalk section and a trail through a paperbark forest. If you... Find out more

Airs Farm camping area (walk-in camping) 33 km

Toast your toes around the open fire (wood supplied) at this private campground, nestled in bushland some 10 km east of Tankerton. The owners will pick you up or you can walk or cycle along Bayview Rd to reach the farm.... Find out more

Fairhaven camping area (walk-in camping) 40 km

The Fairhaven campsites are in a beautiful natural setting on the western shore of French Island, 5 km north of Tankerton off Coast Rd. It’s a great spot to kick back for a few days. While you have your feet up,... Find out more

Walkerville camping area 45 km

Popular with many families who return year after year, this camping reserve has great facilities and is kept neat and tidy by the staff. Close by are surf beaches for adults, as well as safe beaches for kids. Walking... Find out more

Bear Gully camping area 46 km

At the bottom of the cape, just to the east of its historic lighthouse, the Bear Gully camping area is the only overnight option in the park, its shady campsites nestling among tall banksias. From here you can rock-hop... Find out more

Balnarring East Beach C Reserve 47 km

This is the easternmost of the 3 beach reserves at Balnarring – you can get to it from Feathers Rd. It’s just over some dunes from yet another idyllic beach in this area, where swimmers and members of the... Find out more

Balnarring South Beach A Reserve 47 km

South Beach A is accessed via Mason Smith Rd. It’s opposite a protected beach that’s ideal for young children, and there’s also a toddlers’ playground to keep the under-five brigade amused. Keep... Find out more

Balnarring Koala B Reserve 48 km

Located opposite the Balnarring General Store, the Koala B Reserve is one of 3 beachside parks here. It comprises a nicely laid-out campground that’s only a hop, skip and a jump from the beach – for the... Find out more

Point Leo Foreshore camping area 50 km

There are plenty of activities for campers on the Point Leo foreshore. Top of the list is a refreshing dip just off the beach or a surf at one of the 7 local breaks. Canoeing, fishing and waterfront strolls will also... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Warragul Gardens Holiday Park 57 km

This owner-operated park has spacious grassy sites, good facilities and great amenities. However, the focal point is the magnificent gardens; these alone make the park worth a visit. Bookings are required in peak... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Gumbuya rest area 60 km

77km E of Melbourne (L) or 40km W of Yarragon (R)

Secluded among trees well off the highway.

Bunyip rest area 60 km

29km W of Yarragon (L)

Adjacent to the highway. For westbound only.

What's on around town

Market: Murray St; 2nd Sat each month Oct–Jun.

International Film Festival: Graham St; Feb.

Human Powered Grand Prix: Mar.

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