For any family vacation, it is important to offer the best of both worlds: relaxation and history. Every hard Sydney or Melbourne city worker deserves a week or two every year to rest and unwind, release the built up stress from the 9 to 5 work week, but the kids need to be entertained as well. Luckily, the small fishing town of Mallacoota offers something for everyone, a combination of historical aspects surrounded by panoramic landscape.

For a trip to the past, look no further than a 16km boat ride to Gabo Island. Surrounded by shallow waters and a history of shipwrecks, including the dreadful Monumental City wreck of 1853, where 30 people lost their lives off the shores of Tullaberga Island, the island is home to Australia’s second tallest lighthouse. Tours of the ancient structure, which was fabricated initially out of wood before local pink granite was used to complete it in 1862, are available as well as optional lodging in the assistant light keeper’s residence – accommodations can only hold 8 individuals at a time.

Besides tours, families can have a mellow day exploring the island and having a picnic while the more adventurous can satisfy their cravings either by fishing, swimming or snorkeling. Whale, dolphin and seal spotting are usually common, not to mention that the island is home to one of the largest small penguin populations in the world.

With regards to the scenery factor, Mallacoota is surrounded by the Croajingolong National Park. Consisting of over 87,500 hectares of temperate rainforests and coastal woodlands, the park is home to a wide variety of animal species as well as a slew of activities for all members of the family, from hiking and walking to canoeing and swimming. Fishing is even allowed within the park, provided that a permit is purchased ahead of time. For the camper at heart, the park offers many great campgrounds; for the bed and breakfast or hotel lover, the Mallacoota accommodation options will satisfy every desire.

So, with the surrounding forests, historical aspects and relaxing atmosphere, the small fishing village off the Princess Highway, practically located in between Sydney and Melbourne, is the perfect place for the family to get in touch with Mother Nature for a weekend or week long retreat.