Wilsons Promontory

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Introduction

Its known by locals as 'The Prom' and it is one of the most popular places for a beach holiday in Victoria. While most go to the huge camping ground at the end of the road at Tidal River, a better way to see the Prom is to walk around it on the well established track sytem. The main walk is a 2 to 3 day circuit walk of the southern half of the pninsula. The most popular walk for begineers is an easy two day return walk to Sealers Cove. A much better walk is a four day circuit that starts by walking to Sealers Refuge to camp. Next day to Waterloo Bay to camp, next day down to the lighthouse then continue to Roaring Meg to camp. An optional sidetrip is to South Cape, the most southerly point on the Australian maniland then return to Tidal River via Oberon Bay. The walk can also be shortened to two days by following a linking track from Waterloo Bay to the main central track. The northern half of The Prom is less visited. The main walk follows a vehicle track for a day to Five Mile Beach to camp. The tracks then follow the coast to Johnny Soey Cove then north to a light station then inland to Tin Mine Cove to the next capsite. The third day crosses the swamp of Chinamans Creek to return to the start - the track through the swamp is often waist deep water so plan on getting very wet.

In recent years, bushfires and storms have had major effects on The Prom and while they are being repaired some tracks are currently closed.

History

In 1898, most of the peninsula was declared a national park - along with Mt Buffalo, this was Victorias first natioanl park. As with many other parks set aside 100 plus years ago, the park was initially used for some activities that now seem strange like logging, mining and army training. In the 1970s community expectations changed and eventually the focus shifted to conservaton. Today the entire peninsula is a national park and most of it is managed as wilderness.

Location

Wilsons Promontory is a large forested peninsula in southern Victoria that extends into Bass Strait  Its located 180km south-east of Melbourne and being surrounded by ocean it has a maritime climate. Summer is variable, it can be very hot or pleasantly cool when sea breezes blow. Winter is also highly variable, it can be mild due to the nearby ocean but it is also exposed to south-westerly storms and in such weather it can be pretty wet and cold. The shoulder seasons of autumn and spring are the ebst walking periods.

Access

From Melbourne follow the South Gippsland Highway past Leongatha to either Meenniyan or Foster then head south-east following signposts to Tidal River. This is 241km from Melbourne. Entry fees apply for cars and all campsites must be booked. During holiday periods, all campsites are booked months in advance.

Maps and Track Notes

Being a popular park, numerous mps and guide books have been produced to this park. The most complete book that describes all tracks is Discovering The Prom by the Victorian National Parks Association, published 1999. The two main overnight walks are also described in Weekend Walks Around Melbourne by Glenn Tempest, published in 2003. The southern circuit is also described in our Bushwalking In Australia guide book. The most comprehensive map is Wilsons Promontory National Park which is produced by VICMAP and is one of the Outdoor Leisure series.

Permits

Permits are needed for all walks. While permits can be obtained at the ranger station at Tidal River, it is recommended to book ahead as this guarantees a place at your preferred campsite. A quote system applies to total numbers and each camping area and rangers do enforce this, usually by using a small trail bike. For those wishing to walk off-track, I suggest dont bother unless you know the place well. This is because the scrub is extremely thick and in places impenetrable. To keep the off-ttrack areas untracked, rangers issue very few permits, you will need to specify exactly where you are walking and will need to plan well ahead. From experience, if you like walking off-track go elsewhere as The Prom off-track is extremely tough walking and not very scenic being in tall dense scrub most of the time. There are also plebty of swamps which you seem to end up in as well, the tracks skirt around these.

 

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Last updated : December 8th 2015