Wilson’s Promontory is a national park in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia, located approximately 157 kilometers southeast of Melbourne, and is one of Victoria’s most-loved places.
At the southernmost tip of mainland Australia, it offers spectacular scenery of huge granite mountains, open forest, rainforest, sweeping beaches and coastlines. With hikes from under an hour to over three days, visitors can camp, caravan or stay in huts, cabins, wilderness retreats or lodges at Tidal River where there is a general store.
The day we drove to Wilson’s Prom, or The Prom, it was raining and the wind was howling, so bad that we just wanted to get there and huddle and wait until the next day to explore the park. However, when we arrived at our planned campground (Shallow Cove Camp Ground), we were turned away. Not only did they not have power (not a concern for us, since we have nothing to plug in) but they also had trees down and felt that we would not be safe there during the storm.
We then went to the next campground up the road, Shallow Cove Caravan Park, where we were turned away for a second time, for all of the same reasons. This sent us up the road to Yanakie Caravan Park, where the office was unmanned, as the manager was off buying lanterns for the cabins, since power was out there as well. There were a couple of young backpackers, a French couple in a rental van, and Spotto, all hoping to get inside the gate and have a place to ride out the storm. We figured out how to get the safety gate up, and found a lovely site to stay the night. Dinner was really gourmet, as you can see:
In the morning, we took advantage of the kitchen that was available. This is common in “caravan” parks: stove top, refrigerators, microwave, electric kettle, sink and hot water – all open and available for camper use for no additional charge. They even rent kitchen sets for $5 in the office, if one comes unprepared. Take a look – I know some RV’ers who make do with less than this:
We settled up with the manager for $28 AUD, and headed into The Prom. Our day consisted of hikes to Tidal River Visitor Center, Tidal Overlook, Pillar Point, Squeaky Beach, and then back to the Visitor Center. It was a tad over 9 miles of hiking, and we had some beautiful views:
The Tidal River Visitor Center has a campground, and the showers there are free. They were quite welcome after that day of hiking, and we cleanup up and then returned to Shallow Cove Campground to take advantage of the $15 AUD camping spot. This was not as glamorous as our first night’s accommodations, but did have a lovely beach that which we had all to ourselves for a sunset dinner of dal that David whipped up.
Wildlife sightings for the day included a wallaby so close we could touch him, a dead wombat on the side of the road, and two emu grazing in a field. Bonus points for anyone who remembers a U.S. children’s show with an emu.
Day two of hiking took us to a large mangrove forest at Miller’s Landing and another hike straight up to the summit of Mt Bishop. The view was spectacular, and we could see where we had hiked the day before. In all, it was another 9+ mile day, and another trip to the free showers at the Visitor Center.
Instead of returning to a caravan park or a campground, we decided to head to a free campsite (call it a rest area, really) which put us about 1.5 hrs away from Hannah. This is on Sunday night, and we promised to take her to an 11:30 a.m. appointment, as well as spend time with her just hanging out before her 8:30 p.m. soccer match.
The stay in the rest area was easy, we made it to Hannah and chauffeured her around for the day, and attended her match with really no issues to speak of. It was a long day, but the weather was fair for the first day of Fall. The match was a nail biter, and she had a brilliant assist. The play-by-play commentators spoke highly of her efforts, and she now has an Easter break from matches which will give us the opportunity to go on an extended road trip.
And that trip has already started…
G’day from Down Under,