Backpack Wilson's Promontory
Australia › Wilson's Promontory Trailhead (Overnight Carpark)
Added by Katie Kessel
"The Prom" is a walk in southern Victoria with a beautiful and diverse track. This hike takes you on a four-day circuit with many of the park's highlights, including several secluded beaches and forests, unobstructed views of the ocean, and the lighthouse at the south-eastern point.
Wilson's Promontory, or "The Prom," is one of the most famous walks in Victoria, just 3.5 hours drive outside of Melbourne. The park has diverse wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, emus, wombats, enchiladas, and possums. Make sure to also keep a lookout for snakes, which love to sun themselves on nice days. They won't bother you if you don't bother them!
Water is not as difficult to find as in some hikes in Victoria, but all the same make sure to stock up when you can!
Please note that you must book camping spots at each of the stops you will be making, which can be done online through the Parks Victoria website or by visiting the visitors centre (which can get quite busy!).
Before you start on your trek, head to the visitors centre at Tidal River (just past the overnight car park), where you can get a car park pass. If you arrive after hours, just make sure to leave a note in your car with your reservation numbers visible through the windshield. From there, make sure you park in the overnight car park area as indicated on the map, a dirt car park just outside Tidal River (back towards the city).
Day 1 - To Sealers Cove (12.5 km)
There are two options at the start of the hike once you set out from the overnight car park: (1) take a shuttle from Tidal River up Oberon to Telegraph Saddle or (2) walk it. The scenery from the road up to the Saddle is not great and you need to beware of cars, but we've always walked it. To get to Telegraph Saddle by foot, head east (right on the road) from the overnight car park for 1km then when you hit the fork in the road, head right up the hill for 2.3km toward Telegraph Saddle.
At Telegraph Saddle, head to the east end of the car park and follow the signs toward Sealers Cove. Follow this portion of the track, which has interesting information on the track being rebuilt not too long ago when it was taken out by a major storm. Follow the track through the forest, up the hill, into Windy Saddle. The track then starts to descend and winds through the forest and onto a boardwalk. Follow the boardwalk until you end up on the beach at Sealers Cove. Follow the beach to the right until you reach the end of the beach. The campsite is across Sealers Creek, which you must wade across. Depending on the tide, the creek can be as high as your waist. Find the track and follow it into the forest, where you'll find the campsite.
Day 2 - Little Waterloo Bay (13.6 km)
Follow the walking track to the east through the forest, where it guides you to Horn Point. There are some stunning views from the rocks here and at a few other spots today. The track then heads back down into Refuge Cove, another great spot to camp on the beach. Follow the track along the beach, past the rangers hut, then up the hill to Kersop Saddle. Here, you can take an optional 600m side-trip to Kersop Peak (ditch your bags if you wish).
Continue along the track, heading along the bay and eventually down to the beach. Follow the beach from here until you reconnect with the trail, heading inland. From here, continue in the forest until you reach Little Waterloo Bay. There are lots of great rocky outcrops here to take a look at the bay and stop for lunch.
Once you get down to Little Waterloo Bay, head to the south side of the creek, where the campsite is just inland from the beach.
Day 3 - Roaring Meg (13.3 km)
At the south end of the camping area, the track continues again (not at the beach, but a little inland). Head up the hill here, which then descends down into the bay. Wade/jump across the creek, follow the beach past the signs for the Lighthouse Track. Near the end of the beach, turn right onto the trail, which leads you up to the top of the ridge. More great views can be seen from up here, including the lighthouse.
Around 9k from Little Waterloo Bay there is an optional side-trip of 1.6k to the lighthouse. I highly recommend it! Ditch your pack on the side of the junction and head up. There are stunning views of the ocean from here and fully serviced washrooms!
From the lighthouse, follow the walking track until you get to another sidetrack to the Lighthouse Lookout (again, recommended), you can see the view in my pictures above. Continue along the track until you meet up with the vehicle track. Follow the vehicle track for just under 1k then turn left back onto the walking track, which will lead you over two ridges before getting to Roaring Meg Creek. You can camp either right next to the creek here or you can continue up to more campsites up the hill.
Day 4 - Tidal River (16 km)
On your last day, take the track from the ridge and follow it until you meet up with the management track. This track is used solely by the park rangers to service the lighthouse so there won't be many vehicles, though it isn't as pleasant of a walk for 3 km.
If you're in need of water at this point, you will be able to find tanks 2km into this portion of the track at the Halfway Hut, to the right of the road.
Continue along the road until you reach a junction in the road and a sign to Oberon Bay to the left. Turn left and follow the track to Oberon Bay. Walk along the beach from here, wading or jumping across the creek here. The trail continues here again around 50m up from the beach to the right.
Follow the track here through the brush and sand dunes. There are beautiful views of the ocean from here, especially near the end of the track as it looks over Tidal River. Continue along the walking track until you reach the visitors centre at Tidal River, where you can continue along to road to reach your car.
Alternative start/finish - If you wish, you can instead park in Telegraph Saddle (at the beginning of the hike) and re-route on Day 4. Rather than re-directing from the management road to Oberon Bay, you can continue on the management road and head north directly to Telegraph Saddle. This option does not offer as many views and is not as pleasant, but is an easy, gradual climb.
- If you're just starting out, I recommend to get lightweight and compressible gear whenever possible
- For both beginner and experienced backpackers, I've created a list of items that would be useful on the trail
- Sleeping supplies (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad)
- Warm clothes if not hiking in the summer for nighttime (it gets cold!) and extra socks
- Snacks, breakfast, dinner (and a stove with fuel)
- Pots, plates, and cutlery
- Waterbottle and water treatment method
- First aid kit, flashlight, knife
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Backpacking, Camping, Hiking
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