Walking is the best way to explore the natural sanctuary of Wilsons Promontory. Known as ‘The Prom’ to locals, it embraces 50,000 hectares of coastal wilderness on mainland Australia’s southernmost tip. The many well-marked trails traverse empty beaches and eucalypt forest, heath and swamp, cool rainforest gullies and rocky mountain tops. Opt for short and scenic trails, like the Loo-Errn Track, ideal for families and the mobility-impaired. Do a day trek to the lighthouse or spend three days on the Wilsons Promontory Circuit Trail, which starts from the main tourist hub of Tidal River. Scale Mount Oberon or hike out to remote and beautiful Millers Landing. Stay at campsites throughout the park and get up close to the park’s incredible array of native plants, birds and animals. You can also dive and snorkel with magical marine life in the clear, protected waters offshore.
44 kms / 3 days / short walks
Let your boundaries blur with nature on this magical three-day circuit. Start with a swim from the family-friendly beach of Tidal River, then head east up the dry, gravelly track to Windy Saddle. Take in the view or stop for a picnic on the patch of lawn that grazing animals have thoughtfully cleared in the forest. The landscape gets wetter and greener on the other side of the hill. You’ll feel alive as you descend through fern-shaded gullies and cross the long boardwalk-covered swamp. Sealers Cove is largely hidden from view by rocky peaks and tall eucalypts so it’s a bit of a revelation when you spill out here. Camp here overnight or curve a little further round the coast to tranquil Refuge Cove.
Start the morning with a swim or snorkel in the calm, protected waters of Refuge Cove. Then hike to the top of Kersop Peak for soul-stirring views across the wild coastline. In winter you might spot whales gliding majestically by. Your conversation with nature will be well underway as you hike through she oak and banksia forest to Waterloo Bay then across soft sand to Little Waterloo Bay. Go kayaking or just set up camp behind the sand dunes and near the crystal-clear creek. Alternatively, you can follow the 7.6km Lighthouse Track across undulating woodland to the Wilsons Promontory lighthouse. Stay here in one of three cottages and wake to invigorating views across the coast. Only accessible by foot or boat, you’ll be happily stranded in this remote slice of paradise.
Cross the dunes and coastal scrub of Oberon Bay, stopping to climb the rocky outcrop of Mt Oberon. This is a great place to commit a sensational sunset to your memory or memory card. As you walk back into Tidal River, check out the large boulders on the water’s edge. The elements have shaped them over thousands of years into striking sculptures that change colour with the light. Protected under National Park law since 1898, Tidal River has no introduced fish or aquatic weeds and is home to almost half of Victoria’s 40 known fish species. Spend the night in the Tidal River camping ground, where you can pitch a tent or stay in a caravan or eco-friendly cabin.
Winding along the Tidal River banks to Squeaky Beach, this easy 30 minute walk is perfect for people with limited mobility. Start at Tidal River’s information centre and tread the boardwalks through swamp paperbark forest and over delicate wetlands to the river. Walk over the footbridge, where you can fish or watch for birds. Do a short detour to Pillar Point, where the lookout offers awe-inspiring views over Norman Bay and the islands. Back on the main trail, dip down to Squeaky Beach, where your feet make a squeaky song on the white quartz sand.
Mt Oberon Nature Walk, VIC
Watch the vegetation change on this subtle but steady two-hour return climb to Mt Oberon’s summit. Start at the Mt Oberon car park and follow the short series of steps to the rocky outcrops on the mountain top. After climbing for an hour – and 3.4km – you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over Tidal River, the coast and islands off the Prom. Beware of unprotected cliffs and take warm clothing as the summit can be cool and windy, even during summer.
Lilly Pilly Gully Circuit, VIC
Discover the Prom’s diverse vegetation and colourful cast of birds and animals on this 6km loop, which takes two to three hours to complete. Start at the Lilly Pilly Car Park and follow the footbridge over Tidal River, taking in gorgeous views of the river and Norman Beach. The track links up with the Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk, traversing eucalypt forests, coastal heathland and temperate rainforest. Find the best places to view koalas and see yabbies in their homes. Watch kangaroos, wallabies and emus graze peacefully in the clearings and wombats scuttling across your path. At the pretty halfway picnic point, crimson rosellas and seagulls will be more than happy to polish off your leftovers. Watch out for colourful spring flower displays along the coastal heaths. Take the high route back to the carpark through the tall stringy-bark forest.
Start this three-hour return hike from the Information Centre at Tidal River. Climb over sand dunes sprouting tea trees to the southern end of Norman Beach, a great spot for swimming, beginner surfing, windsurfing and boating. From here it’s an easy climb around the side of Norman Point to Little Oberon Bay for views out to the Anser and Glennie Group of Islands in Bass Strait. Look out for the craggy form of Cleft Island, also known as Skull Rock.
This three-hour return hike takes you remote Millers Landing, at the southern end of the Yanakie Isthmus, through woodlands, open forest and colourful heathlands. Get used to sharing your path with emus, kangaroos, wallabies, as well as yellow-tailed black cockatoos, honeyeaters, wrens and robins. Hug the shores of Corner Inlet, where you’ll see the world’s southernmost stand of mangrove trees and a rich variety of waterbirds. See the relics of a century-old cattle hut before climbing through banksia and eucalypt trees to Lookout Rock and Vereker Outlook. Take in the photo-competition views across Corner Inlet, Darby Swamp and the dunes of distant Waratah Bay. Then make the return trip along Five Mile Road.
Start at Darby Saddle and follow this picturesque 5-hour return walk through open forests of messmate, banksia, ferns and she-oaks. It’s a good way to ease into the next section, where you climb up a rocky ridge and on to Sparkes Lookout. Rest and rehydrate here, as you look up and down the coast, as far north as distant Cape Liptrap. Or walk a little further to Lookout Rocks, where the rival views take in the offshore islands and the tip of Tongue Point far below. Pep up your inner adventurer as you trek through tea-tree, past rocky outcrops and along windswept heathland. The path leads you to the very tip of the windswept peninsula, where waves batter the bright orange rocks below. Head back to Tongue Point via the tiny, secluded beach of Fairy Cove. The forested slopes drop down to the sparkling sea, where boulders are scattered like a makeshift jetty. Soak up the scenery before the uphill walk back to the car park.