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Backpack Wilson's Promontory's Northern Circuit

Wilsons Promontory, Victoria



37.3 miles

Route Type



Added by Katie Kessel

A difficult but stunning 3-4 day hike through the wilderness zone of the northern section of Wilson's Promontory. Camp along secluded beaches and hike with little to no trail.

Most of the northern section of Wilson's Promontory is designated as a wilderness zone and as such there are vast sections of the park that have only sparse markers to guide the way. There are sections as well where you may need to cross creeks that are as high as 1.5m. Since this is a difficult hike, it has been classified as expert, as you will need strong navigational skills especially between Johnny Souey Cove and Lower Barry Creek Campsite.

Please note that prior to starting this hike, phone the Tidal River ranger hut as you will need to book your campsites and fill out hiker self-assessment forms.

That being said, since this hike is quite secluded, the campsites are spectacular and there is tons of wildlife. 

Day One - Five Mile Carpark to Five Mile Beach (19km)

Day one is fairly easy, following the management track from the carpark to Five Mile Beach. Once you get to the beach, follow it north until you reach the campground, which is in the trees. This section of the trail is well-marked and easy to follow.

Day Two - Five Mile Beach to Tin Mine Cove (17.5km)

From the beach campsite, you will be able to see the trail begin again across the stream/pond next to the campsite. If you need water, there is a water source to the left of the pond (if facing the hill).

The hill is a fairly steep climb, where you will reach Johnny Souey Cove, which is also a campsite, in 3km. From this area is deemed a wilderness zone deemed fit only for expert hikers.

From Johnny Souey, you will follow the beach until you make it to 3 Mile Point. In order to get to Three Mile Beach, there is a section of the trail that is highly dependent on the tide. I recommend if possible tackling this section at low tide. If so, you will be able to walk over the rocks along the shore until you reach Three Mile Beach. Otherwise, I could see a makeshift trail on the cliff above that would be able to be used to avoid the rocks, which could be difficult.

Once at Three Mile Beach, walk along until you reach the end, where you will be able to see a steep trail that takes you up the cliffs towards the lighthouse. From here, the trail is quite thick and there is a significant amount of bushwhacking. For these sections especially, I would recommend bringing hiking pants and ensuring you use your map, compass, and GPS to make your way to Tin Mine Cove. There is a trail that can be followed that will take you around Mt Margaret and towards the beach. Once the trail meets the beach, follow it north, following signage, towards Tin Mine Cove Campsite. The campsite is on the other side of the hill, and therefore you will need to follow the trail that climbs the hill prior to making it to the campsite.

The campsite is next to a creek, though I warn it does have a bit of a funny smell, we drank it and it was fine. 

Day Three - Tin Mine Cove to Five Mile Carpark (21.2kms)

Day three is one of the most difficult, so ensure you have enough time prior to dusk to make it back to the road.

From the campsite, follow the trail from the way you came back to the beach, continuing to follow it until you see a sign heading south. Use your GPS, map, and compass to make your way to Lower Barry Creek campsite. I recommend sticking to the trail as much as possible, as there are sections of the trail that pass through creeks that can be up to 1.5 metres high and through areas with thick brush where the easiest way through is through a pre-made trail through. There are some markers along the way, though they seemed to be approximately every 250-500m. Make sure to make enough time through this section in case you cannot find the trail. As well, as with the previous day, I recommend hiking pants as this section of trail has thick brush with painful spines.

If you wish to make the trip four days, I recommend staying at Lower Barry Creek, which is 11.5kms.

From Lower Barry Creek, it is only 4.5kms until you reach the road. Though the VicParks maps say this section is better marked (which it is) there are areas that can be mistaken as part of the trail, so ensure you watch your GPS.

Once you reach the road, follow it back towards the carpark.

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