Australia // Victoria //

Wilsons Promontory

WILSONS PROMONTORY, or “the Prom”, the most southerly part of the Australian mainland, was once joined by a land bridge to Tasmania. Its barbed hook juts out into Bass Strait, with a rocky coastline interspersed with sheltered sandy bays and coves; the coastal scenery is made even more stunning by the backdrop of granite ranges. It’s understandably Victoria’s most popular national park, and though the main campsite gets totally packed in summer, there are plenty of walking tracks and opportunities for bushcamping, and the park is big enough to allow you to escape the crowds. You can swim at several of the beaches and even surf.

The nearest town is the dairying settlement of Foster on the South Gippsland Highway, a 30-minute drive away and the best place to buy groceries, fuel and other supplies. Situated by a small river on Norman Bay, Tidal River is the national park’s main camping and accommodation centre, with a general store (daily 9am–4pm) including a pricey supermarket and takeaway food.

Walks

Many short walks begin from Tidal River, including a track accessible to wheelchairs. During summer holidays and on weekends between November and the end of April, the tracks become extremely busy so show up early, and book well in advance if you intend to camp. Although the remote north of the park offers some short well-signposted walks, the longer (overnight) hikes are suitable only for experienced, properly equipped bushwalkers, as there are no facilities and limited fresh water.

One of the best walks is the Squeaky Beach Track (1hr 30min return), which crosses Tidal River, heads uphill and through a tea-tree canopy, finally ending on a beach of pure quartz sand that is indeed squeaky underfoot. The Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk (2hr return) is also very rewarding, as it affords an excellent overview of the diverse vegetation of “the Prom”, from low-growing shrubs to heathland to open eucalypt forest, as well as scenic views. The walk starts at the Lilly Pilly Gully car park near Tidal River.

The tracks in the southern section of the park are well defined and not too difficult; the campsites here have pit toilets and there is fresh water, although this is creek water and it needs to be treated. The most popular walk is the one- to two-day (35.5km) Sealers Cove–Refuge Cove–Waterloo Bay route, beginning and ending at the Telegraph Saddle car park.