Wilsons Promontory

Almost an island, The Prom, as it is affectionately known, is a wild and desolate headland of some 42,000 ha which projects out from the mainland into Bass Strait. It is the southernmost tip of mainland Australia. Mountainous, heavily wooded and with an average annual rainfall of 1,143 mm, it abounds in wildlife, native flora and its spectacular coastal scenery is visible from the many walking tracks through it.

Location: 207 km south-east of Melbourne in the Gippsland region. The closest town is Yanakie, located 36 km north of Tidal River.

Accommodation: Camping and cabins are the only form of accommodation in the park. Many people stay at Foster when visiting the Prom for more than a day.



Walks

The Prom is a bushwalker’s paradise – it offers wonderful walking opportunities for people of all ages and fitness levels. They begin with short walks on flat ground such as that alongside Tidal River, to overnight hikes to isolated pristine beaches, through temperate rainforest, towering sand dunes, lofty granite peaks and lookouts offering panoramic views. Maps can be downloaded or copies obtained from Visitor Centres at the National Park. These are just a few of the walks you can take:

Squeaky Beach (300 metres from car park. Easy): One of the more accessible beaches of Wilsons Promontory, the pure white rounded grains of quartz on Squeaky Beach make a squeaking sound when you walk in the dry sand – hence its name. The beach was once known as the “singing sands” because of the sound made when walking on it. The access track from the Squeaky Beach car park to the Squeaky Beach offers great coastal views and passes through a range of coast and heathland vegetation. The rock formations at the north end of the beach create a maze of passages for fun exploration.

Pillar Point (Various distances and times, Easy / Moderate): Pillar Point is an outcrop of granite boulders providing breathtaking views of Norman and Squeaky Beaches and the Prom’s offshore islands. Pillar Point can be accessed from Lilly Pilly Gully car park (3km), Squeaky Beach (2.8km) or Tidal River (1.8 km).

Little Oberon Bay via South Norman beach and Norman Point (4.1 km, 1.5 hours. Easy / moderate): Start at the Tidal River Visitor Centre, follow the track past the Terrace toilet block and veer left at the junction. The track meanders over Tea Tree shrouded sand dunes from Tidal River to the southern end of Norman Beach (1.5 km) then climbs gently around the side of Norman Point to Little Oberon Bay. The walk provides fantastic views across the Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park to the Anser and Glennie Island groups. These islands include Cleft Island, which is more popularly referred to as Skull Rock. Norman Point is 300 metres from the main track Beware of unprotected cliffs.

Darby Saddle

Darby Saddle To Tongue Point (5.6 km, 2.5 hours. Moderate / Hard): Tongue Point is a coastal headland jewelled with tumbled stacks and boulders of weathered granite. The Darby Saddle track provides spectacular coastal and forest scenery. At 2.1km a side track (300 metres) leads to Sparkes Lookout which offers views as far as the pyramid-shaped Rodondo Island in the south and Shallow Inlet in the north.

Mt Bishop Track (3.7 km, 1 hour. Moderate): Start at the Lilly Pilly Gully car park (to the left of the toilets). Take the circuit track (walk 11) and turn off at Mt Bishop track. The rocky summit of Mt Bishop offers magnificent views of the Prom’s west coast and off shore islands. Retrace your steps to the car park or return via Lilly Pilly Gully (walk 10). Beware of unprotected cliffs.

Around The Prom

Day visits: Tidal River is the only permanent camping ground within Wilsons Promontory National Park. Because of its facilities (the Park’s information centre is here) it is also the most popular destination for day visitors.

Natural features: Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park; Tidal River, Norman Bay, Squeaky Beach; Mt Oberon; Shallow Inlet Marine and Coastal Park; coastal islands

Corner Inlet: protected from the pounding surf of Bass Strait, the sheltered waters of Nooramunga and Corner Inlet create an intricate network of waterways and islands of scenic beauty, framed by Wilsons Promontory. Boating and recreational line fishing is popular around the inlet. Camping is permitted on some islands. Of Victoria’s large bays it is both the easternmost and the warmest. It contains intertidal mudflats, mangroves, salt marsh and seagrass meadows, sheltered from Bass Strait by a complex of 40 sandy barrier islands, the largest of which are Snake, Sunday and Saint Margaret Islands.

Marine Life: There is a huge diversity of marine life within the waters at the Prom. Brilliantly coloured fish are present such as the Red Velvetfish, Eastern Blue Groper and wrasse as well as Leafy Seadragons and schools of Barber Perch. Intertidal molluscs such as limpets and snails, as well as anemones, brittlestars and seastars, are also common within the waters.

Divers will experience fascinating sponge gardens which consist of a technicoloured assemblage of sponges, sea tulips, sea whips, lace corals and seafans. Octopus emerge at night whilst sharks and rays roam the sandy areas. The offshore islands support many colonies of fur seals and oceanic birds such as Little Penguins, Fairy Prions, Silver Gulls and Pacific Gulls.

Brief history: George Bass sighted the promontory in January 1798 during his explorations of the Victorian and NSW coastline. Wilsons Promontory was preserved as a national park and sanctuary in 1908. The locality is believed to have been named by Gov. John Hunter after Thomas Wilson, a London merchant and friend of explorer Matthew Flinders. It was previously known as furneaux’s Land after Captain Tobias Furneaux, who sailed on Lieut. James Cook’s first voyage to the South Pacific. Furneaux had earlier explored the east coast of Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands.


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