Recently I explored more of Melbourne surroundings and did some of the Wilson Promontory Walks in Victoria, which I believe is one of the best places in Australia for hiking trails and nature walks.
Wilsons Prom is only 220 km and a relaxed 3 hours drive from the CBD. If you plan a trip to Melbourne, the best way to get there is to hire a car and drive on one of these suggested driving routes. I think the one that goes through Cranbourne, Loch, Kurranburra and Foster is the best option as there are lovely villages and interesting things to see along the way.
For your trip planning here are my picks for best walking trails in the Wilsons Promontory National Park.
The best Nature Walks at Wilsons Promontory
Loo-Errn Track – 1 km Boardwalk along the Tidal River
It's the main short walk at Tidal River, the one to start your visit of the national Park. You can start the walk at the car park near the visitor centre. The boardwalk takes you along the beautiful river and fragile wetlands with mangroves lining up the river banks. Ideal as morning or sunset walk for spotting wombats and the many native birds. You can extend the boardwalk to Norman Bay which is the largest and sheltered beach, popular with holiday makers, families with kids who can safely play on this beautiful sandy beach.
Squeaky Beach Walk to Picnic Beach
Squeaky beach is the most popular beach at Wilsons Prom. There are many ways to visit this beautiful area of Tidal River. You can drive to the car park and walk the short path to the beach. You can take photos of the massive boulders and from there continue your walk to Picnic Bay along the coastal path. This is my favourite walk among all trails at the Prom, because it takes you through diverse vegetation, peppered with tea trees and thick bushland and you walk past little bays with deep azure water and amazing views of the ocean. This is an easy 3 km return walk. Once you get to Picnic Bay you can keep walking over to Whisky Bay if you want to extend your walk. If you enjoy walking, you can do the entire walking segment starting from Norman Bay to Squeaky Beach and over to Whisky Bay. The complete walking trail is about 12.4 km return walk, so you need to plan at least 4-5 hours to do the entire walk.
Whisky Bay Walk and Lookout
Another beautiful place is Whisky Bay. From Tidal River Camping is only 12 km by car. From the car park a 800mt path takes you down to the beach. Halfway at a cross-section a short path takes you to the Whisky Bay Lookout, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of both ends: on one side the Picnic Beach and on the other Whisky Beach. This is also popular with amateur and professional photographers who flock here as it is a top place for taking sunset photos.
Mount Oberon Summit Walk
This is one of the Wilsons Prom walks that must be on your list. If you are visiting on a day trip you must get there very early so as to make sure you can also do some of the beach walks. There is a Mt. Oberon car park where you can leave your car and start this 3.4 km return walk along the broad walking path. It's an easy walk suitable for children and elderly people. The last part goes through a short stony staircase. Plan this walk early morning as the sunlight is just perfect for taking photos. The amazing view of the bay speak for itself. In summer it gets hot up on the summit of Mount Oberon, so avoid peak hours till mid afternoon.
Pillar Point and Tidal Overlook Walk
The Pillar Point and Tidal Overlook are two great walks that yo can do on half-day. I did this stretch of the national park 4 years ago and loved it. You start the Tidal River Footbridge and walk along the forest paths to reach the granite boulders at the northern end of he Norman Bay. From there you an enjoy a magnificent view of both, the Squeaky Beach on one side and the Norman Beach on the other. Then you can walk back halfway and follow the path up the hill to the Tidal overlook for another amazing view of the bay. This is the highest point between the Norman and Leonard Bays. As an option you can continue on a circuit and descend to the Lilly Pilly Track Junction to return then to Tidal River car park.
The Wilsons Prom Wildlife Walk
More than a walk this is a wildlife circuit on bushland fields, located halfway between Yanakie and Tidal River. If you are visiting on a day trip, plan this walk early morning as first stop. You are likely to see wildlife, like kangaroos and emus. The first time I went there in 2013 couldn’t do the walk because of the rain, but was rewarded with a beautiful rainbow and a lovely encounter. This year I was lucky enough to come close to a mother and baby kangaroo.
Little Oberon Bay Walk
Another beautiful walk that you will love. Plan it early in the morning as it is a 8.2 km return with an exposed path, so it can become very hot in summer. If you plan this hike in autumn, spring or winter then it would be fine starting later during the day. From the Visitor Centre this track climbs through tea tree shrouded sand dunes to the southern end of Norman Bay. From there it winds across Norman Point to Little Oberan Bay. You can enjoy magnificent views of Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park and the Anser and Glennie Island groups.
Darby River and Beach Walk
This is not among the most popular walks at Wilsons Prom but it's a very pristine area within the national park. This beautiful walk is peaceful and less frequented by visitors. From the Darby Car Park walk for 1 km through a sandy track that winds ist way along the majestic Darby River. When you get to the beach you can walk along the sandy shores to rocky formations. I loved this place.
More Wilsons Prom Hiking Trails
If you plan a longer stay, let’s say 7 days or longer then you may be interested in doing longer walks in Wilson Promontory. There are different hikes to choose from like the Sealers Cove Walk and more overnight walks. Longer walks include camping and requires a national park permit. So if you plan any of the long hikes, you must book through the Wilsons Promontory National park website a few months ahead, because there is a limited number of permits.
The best time for visiting the Wilsons Promontory Park
Hiking and walking at Wilson Promontory National Park is good throughout the year, whereas spring and summer have the benefit of warmer temperatures and longer daylight that allows you to maximize time and the overall walking experience. Autumn and winter can be quite windy, with cold temps and shorter daylight. However with fewer people around this would be the ideal time for the more adventurous and experienced hikers.
What to know about the Wilsons Promontory National Park
There is no entry fee to visit this national park in Victoria. However if you stay overnight either camping or in a cabin / lodge you will have to book and pay for your accommodation with the national park. Parking for day and long-term visitors is free everywhere in the park.
Bear in mind that you are not allowed to cycle or motorcycle and no trail bikes are allowed on any walking tracks. Dogs are strictly not allowed in the park. For BBQ you are only allowed to use gas fuel stove, no camp fire or beach fire. Moreover there is strictly no wildlife feed, (beware of penalties) also leaving food out for animals or offer food can is not allowed.
Conclusions about the Wilsons Promontory Walks
I have been travelling around Australia for nearly 14 years and coming across some extraordinary landscapes and different environments. As a keen walker and hiker myself I love to discover new places all the times. However being Australia a big country it takes a long time to get to places so that it is great to be able to escape in the nature from the city.
The Wilsons Promontory National Park is one of my favourite locations not only because of the beautiful natural environment and varied forest walks that it offers but also for being a top place in Australia for seeing native Australian animals in the wild.
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