There’s a place that I think of when I need to chill out. It’s the same place I think of when I need to stir up my sense of adventure. It’s where I think of when I think of my favourite beach and a place I know I will go back to. This place is called Wilson’s Prom.
Three hours south of central Melbourne on the southernmost part of Australia proper, the only land mass further south is Tasmania and Antarctica, lies this 50,000 hectare national park. It’s hills, fields, scrubland and bush are breathtaking and varied.
Wilsons Promontory National Park is named after a friend of it’s foreign founder however was already known 6,500 ago to the native aboriginal peoples of the area. It had many names depending on the tribe however has always been, to our knowledge, celebrated for it’s beauty and example of ancient earth when it was still one landmass. When the earth was one landmass many millions of years ago, it was called Pangea.
Perhaps most famous for the tragic bushfires that hit the land all too frequently over recent years, it has the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been on. Eco-systems that have been devastated by the fires but have grown back out of the ashes. Huge lakes and bays of still water with eerie mist hanging on the horizon. Hiking paths to heights of 560m and into untouched bush everywhere around.
I remember walking through a field only to be stopped by our guide immediately in our tracks. About 100m to our left was a family of almost 20 Emus – if they decided they didn’t like us, we had to run, fast. Luckily a plane flew over on its decent to the close by airstrip. Later we saw a family of over 30 kangaroos hopping around and lots of wallabies all in their natural environment.
“Wilson’s prom is the closest thing to what the world would have been like before we (humans) touched it” This was said a couple of times during my time there. I would agree.
It has facilities over the park but the main centre is called Tidal River. Made up by a campsite next to the main beaches and a convenience store, fast food cafe and a restaurant. All of which are great (I worked there for a month). There is also an educational centre teaching about the park and nature.
Wilsons Prom camping is a whole load of run. There are campsites all over the park but the ones closest to Tidal River are the safest. There are no outposts or facilities elsewhere and the camp spots at Tidal River are a short walk to the beach. There is always a nice sense of community at night also with campfires and communal cooking commonplace.
Tidal River is named for it’s river that swells with the tide and is fascinating for it’s deep brown yellow colour. You’d be forgiven for thinking it looked like tea as it is infact pretty much that. Thanks to the tea plants in the area, tannin has seeped into the water and given it a rich tea stain.
With more and more people including Melbourne in their trips to Australia I hope more and more make Wilsons Prom a must do attraction if only for a day with one of the tour operators. The beaches are huge and fun. Squeaky beach is named for it’s sand that is so fine that when you walk on it, it squeaks under your feet. The sea can be tame and calm but also fierce and raw smashing against the limestone rocks and ancient natural structures.
A trip is very highly recommended and if you drop into the shop say hi from me!
You can find out more here on the Parks Victoria website about Wilsons Prom camping, weather or stuff to do.