Wilsons Promontory National Park is situated around 250 km south east of Melbourne CBD and takes nearly 3hours by road to reach. From the Park Gate entrance, Tidal River camping ground is 25km away. To protect the wildlife at the park, no pets are allowed inside. There are no fuel refuelling stations at Tidal River. Townships of Yanakie, Fish Creek and Foster are the nearest places for refuelling and the nearest is at least 42km away.
Wilsons Promontory from a visitor’s point of view is unique and different from other attractions in the state of Victoria in Australia. This is a place for everyone – and has got to offer something for everyone. Its pristine beaches, hiking trails, birdwatching areas and camping sites make it a perfect location for both lazy – carefree tourists as wells as the hyperactive dudes. Some of its areas are so solitary that it can bring a Yogi out of a hardened criminal. Whether it is of listening to the musical sands of Squeaky beach or remaining on a meditative pose on one of the big boulders on its beaches, the feel-good effect Wilsons Promontory offers is not matched by anything anywhere else in the world.
Foreign or interstate tourists with Wilsons Promontory as their main item in their itineraries should check the bushfire situation if they are planning their trips during Summer. In 2005, 2009 and 2019, the Prom had bushfire incidents and was closed to the visitors for the duration of the fire.
If a visitor wants to see all of what Wilsons Promontory got to offer, it has to be a six- or seven-days trip. If you are not hell bound on covering every walking or hiking trail, one or two days will suffice. The least visited place at Wilson Promontory could the be Light House and most are unaware that it even exists. The light house is at the southern extremity of the park. The light house, which was built in 1859, is only accessible by 19.7km hike continuing on foot. But the views on the way will definitely compensate for the struggle. There are cottages for staying near the light house run by Parks Victoria.
The highest peak at the park is Mount Latrobe, 750metres above sea level, a peak which one sees away to the north-east as one scramble over the Oberon Saddle. For shorter hikes, maps provided by Parks Victoria is enough but for longer hikes most prefer to purchase maps online from other publishers or the visitor centre at park the best place for expert advise before proceeding. Overnight hikes requires registering.
The Prom’s coastline is nearly 120 kilometres of breathtaking views. To experience its hidden coves, granite headlands, giant sand dunes, wildlife and lush thick forests, it is a must to go for one of the long hikes. The Wilderness Zone at the northern part of the Prom and the Big Drift is perfect for hardened hikers. But physical and time limitations may not allow most to accomplish this, so for the rest, the tidal river tracks are one the most scenic parts of the Promontory.
Opening Hours: Open 365 days a year.
Visitor Centre Opening Hours: 8:30am to 4:00pm AEST / 8:30AM to 4:30pm AEDST
Camping accommodation needs to be booked ahead. Phone: 131963 / Web: https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/wilsons-promontory-marine-national-park
Things to do and see at Wilsons Promontory
Picnic facilities like Free Gas BBQ’s and Picnic Tables are provided at the Tidal river area. Picnic tables are at Five Mile and Darby River carparks too. Surf, Swim or relax at one of its beaches.
Campfires and solid fuel BBQ are not permitted in Wilsons Promontory National Park at anytime.
There are a number of lodges and serviced camping areas near the mouth of Tidal River. There are 484 camping and caravan sites
As an alternative Stockyard Campground near the park entrance is also an option. campground has shelters, a camp kitchen and picnic tables. The walk to the sand dunes, “The Big Drift’’ starting point is near the Stockyard Campground.
Boating and Fishing
Recreational Fishing is permitted at Corner Inlet and shallow inlet Marine and Coastal Parks and Wilsons Promontory Marine Park. But should have valid fishing permit. There are fishing platforms at Tidal River estuary and Darby River east of the Bridge. Bait collection is prohibited anywhere at the park.
Boat Launching off Norman Beach is accessed at First Ramp in Tidal River. Contact the Information Centre for conditions.
Walking tracks at Wilsons Promontory
Courtesy: Parks Victoria
Wilsons Promontory National Park is a walker’s paradise. A miriad of walks of varied lengths are available for all abilities. Permits are required for overnight hiking. Call 131963
Promontory Overnight Hikes – Southern Circuit
The Southern Prom Circuit overnight hike is a three-day, two night trail through rainforests to the eastern shores of Wilsons Promontory where you can enjoy the white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of Sealers Cove and Waterloo Bay.
Promontory Overnight Hikes – Northern Wilderness – The five hikers campsites at Northern Wilderness are Barry Creek, Lower Barry Creek, Five Mile Beach, Tin Mine Cove and Johnny Souey Cove. There are no facilities at these campsites to make it a real wilderness experience. Maximum group size at any of the camps are six. Overnight camping is permitted for two consecutive nights only at each of the camp areas throughout the year
Norman Beach – various access points from Tidal River campground. Norman Beach is flanked by Pillar Point to the north and Norman Point to the south and offers stunning views of Mt Oberon. Surfing is only permitted south of Fifth Ramp.
Squeaky Beach – 300m from carpark.
One of the Prom’s iconic locations, the rounded grains of quartz sand make a ’squeak’ when walked on. Squeaky Beach can be accessed from Squeaky Beach carpark, Picnic Bay or Tidal River.
Picnic Bay – 400m from carpark.
Just a short drive from Tidal River, this beautiful bay offers visitors the opportunity to explore intertidal rock pool habitats to the north. Access is from Picnic Bay carpark, Squeaky Beach or Whisky Bay.
Whisky Bay – 400m from carpark
A track leads from Whisky Bay carpark through a moist gully, following Whisky Creek before passing over sand dunes to a small sheltered beach.
Loo-Errn Track – 1km, 30 minutes one way
Loo-Ern Track follows the south bank of Tidal River and links to Tidal River footbridge. A boardwalk (with fishing platforms) protects fragile estuarine wetlands.
Pillar Point – 3.6km, 1.5 hours return
Starting at Tidal River footbridge, walk to this outcrop of granite boulders for breathtaking views of Norman and Squeaky Beaches and the Prom’s offshore islands. Beware of unprotected cliffs.
Tidal Overlook Circuit – 3.8km, 1.5 hours return
Starting at Tidal River footbridge, this walk takes you to the highest point between Norman and Leonard Bays. Stop at the quiet place, dedicated to rangers worldwide who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Continue to the Lilly Pilly Link Track junction (Walk 12) and turn right to return to the footbridge.
Squeaky Beach – 4.2km, 1.5 hours return
This walk offers sweeping coastal views as it climbs up and over the headland separating Norman and Leonard Bays before descending to Squeaky Beach. Starting at Tidal River footbridge, the return walk is via the same track. Beware of wave surges on rocky outcrops.
Three Bays Walk – Squeaky Beach, Picnic Bay,Whisky Bay – 12.4km, 4 hours return.
This spectacular walk connects three beaches, allowing the walker to fully experience the beauty of both land and sea at the Prom. Starting at the Tidal River footbridge, travel alternates between track and beach walking. Arrange a car shuttle for a one way walk.
Little Oberon Bay – 8.2km, 3 hours return
Starting between the Visitor Centre and General Store, this track veers left at the junction and climbs over Tea Tree-shrouded sand dunes to the southern end of Norman Beach (1.5 km), then winds across Norman Point to Little Oberon Bay. The walk provides fantastic views across Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park to the Anser and Glennie Island groups. Norman Point is 300 metres from the main track. Beware of unprotected cliffs.
Mt Oberon Summit Walk – 6.8km, 2 hours return
From Telegraph Saddle carpark, follow the summit track gradually uphill for the reward of a 360-degree view of the park. During peak periods a free shuttle bus takes visitors to Telegraph Saddle from Tidal River and the Overnight Hikers carpark. Telegraph Saddle carpark is closed at these times.
Lilly Pilly Nature Walk – 5.2km,1.5 hours return
Get a glimpse of the Prom’s interior, traversing heathland, eucalypt forest and a boardwalk through stands of warm temperature rainforest. This walk begins and returns to Lilly Pilly carpark. The Lilly Pilly Link Track connects this walk to Tidal River (1km, 20min, refer Walk 12 on map on page 3: Short walks around Tidal River).
Lilly Pilly Circuit – 5.8km, 2 hours return
Starting at Lilly Pilly Gully carpark, this walk climbs across the southern face of Mt Bishop through stringybark forest before descending to the lush rainforest of Lilly Pilly Gully. Return to the carpark via Lilly Pilly Nature Walk.
Mt Bishop Summit Track – 7.4km,2.5 hours return
Follow Lilly Pilly Circuit. A sidetrack leads to the rocky summit of Mt Bishop. Magnificent views are offered of the Prom’s west coast and offshore islands. Retrace your steps to the carpark or return via Lilly Pilly Nature Walk. Beware of unprotected cliffs.
Darby Beach – 1.1km from carpark
A sandy track follows Darby River as it winds its way to the sea. The small exposed beach is embraced at each end by rocky headlands
Short walks in the north
Tongue Point from Darby Saddle – 5.6km, 2.5 hours one way
Enjoy beautiful forest and coastal scenery. At 2.1 km a sidetrack leads to Sparkes Lookout. The main track climbs to Lookout Rocks before descending steeply to Tongue Point. For your safety, do not cross over to the semi-attached island. Beware of unprotected cliffs.
Tongue Point from Darby River – 3.8km,2 hours one way
Experience magnificent views of Darby Swamp, Vereker Range, Darby and Cotters Beach. Starting at Darby River carpark, climb gently through windswept coastal vegetation. A side track at 2.4km climbs down to Fairy Cove (access at low tide only). At 2.7km turn off to the coastal headland of Tongue Point. For your safety, do not cross over to the semi-attached island. Beware of unprotected cliffs.
Prom Wildlife Walk – 2.3km, 45 minutes return
This walk takes you across open grasslands to view native wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies, emus and wombats.
Cotters Lake and Beach – 2.4km, 1 hour return
Starting at Cotters Lake carpark, this walk follows a management track through the often dry basin of Cotters Lake to Cotters Beach – a wild, windswept stretch of coast.
Millers Landing Nature Walk – 4km,1.5 hours return
From Five Mile carpark turn left after the management gate and walk through open banksia and stringybark woodland to Millers Landing where you will find the southernmost stand of mangroves in the world. A bird watcher’s paradise, Corner Inlet is an internationally significant wetland habitat for migratory birds.
Vereker Outlook – 6km, 2 hours return
Panoramic views to Darby Saddle, Corner Inlet and Cotters Beach are offered as this walk climbs through open banksia and stringybark woodland through a tumble of granite boulders. Start at Five Mile carpark. Beware of unprotected cliffs.
Big Drift – 4km, 1.5 hours return
Starting at the Stockyards, follow signs to the northern flank of Big Drift, an expansive landscape of inland sand dunes. It’s easy to get lost, so mark your path to return. No beach access from Big Drift.
Shallow Inlet – 400 metres, 30 minutes return
Park at the end of Hourigan Camp Lane. A short walk leads to Shallow Inlet via a sheltered gully of tea tree and Swamp Paperbark.
Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park
This is one of Victoria’s largest marine protected area and home to spectacular underwater world.
History of Wilsons Promontory
Wilsons Promontory first entered into Australia’s European History at 7 ‘o’clock on 2nd January 1798, when George Bass and his six companions first sighted it on their daring journey in a whale boat from Sydney to Western Port. Bass called it Furneaux Land in his diary. George Bass believed that Tobias Furneaux who was the captain of ‘’Adventure’’, sighted it first and described it as the “high hummocky land’’. But Bass was convinced later that it was unlikely for Furneaux to sight a land so far west. NSW Governor Hunter changed the name to Wilsons Promontory on the suggestions of Bass and Flinders in compliment to their friend Thomas Wilson, a merchant in London. It was infact the group of islands now known as Furneaux Group of islands lying between Tasmania and Wilsons Promontory, was sighted by Lt Tobias Furneaux in 1773.
Easterly gales forced George Bass and team to take shelter in a small bay on their trip back. Bass named it Sealers Cove. The reasons for naming it Sealers Cove is still a mystery. Was it named Sealers Cove because he recognised it as a place suitable for a future sealing industry or was it because he found some evidence that Sealers were already there?
From Sealers Cove Bass sailed to Corner Inlet where he was again forced to take shelter, which allowed him to explore that area. But Bass didn’t do a detailed exploration of Wilsons Promontory.
Between 1799 and 1800, Commander of HMAS Lady Nelson, Lieut. James Grant chartered the Southern Coastline of the Promontory. In 1841 Thomas Townsend, Assistant Government surveyor charted Corner Inlet and the adjacent seas and islands. Over the years until the 1880’s many other explorers and surveyors carried out explorations and charting of Wilsons Promontory.
In the 19th century, extensive sealing took place at Sealer’s Cove to an extent that Seals were made nearly extinct in the area. In 1898, Government of Victoria temporarily reserved the area as a National Park. In 1905, 70,000 hectares were reserved permanently as National Park and in 1908, it was increased to slightly more than 100,000 acres.
During World War II, Wilsons Promontory was used as a Commando Training area.