There are many great places to visit for a weekend or day-trip from Melbourne, including the Great Ocean Road, Daylesford, and Phillip Island. But today we’re focusing on Wilsons Promontory, the southernmost part of mainland Australia. With beautiful beaches, granite mountains, and plenty of walking tracks, this is why you should spend a weekend in Wilsons Promontory National Park.
Wilsons Promontory National Park is a peninsula, located about a three-hour drive southeast of Melbourne. Affectionately known as the ‘Prom’, the 50,000-hectare national park is Victoria’s largest coastal wilderness area. It’s home to many native Australian animals, including emus, wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, rosellas, and echidnas. In spring, many wildflowers bloom in the Prom too, such as wattle, heathland, and orchids.
Bushwalking is the main attraction in Wilsons Promontory National Park. There are many short walks, as well as overnight hikes. Visit the Parks Victoria Visitor Guide for detailed information and maps on select short walks around Tidal River and the park’s northern region. Some of the most beautiful include the walk across the headland to Squeaky Bay, the Mt Oberon Summit Walk, Tongue Point Walk, and Prom Wildlife Walk. This is where you can see wallabies, kangaroos, emus, and wombats in their natural habitat.
There’s also a free shuttle bus from Tidal River to Telegraph Saddle for hikers. It operates every day during the summer. For experienced bushwalkers, check out the Great Prom Walk, a circuit that takes three to four days to complete.
The surrounding waters and islands are protected by Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park; Victoria’s largest marine-protected area. Although this means strict fishing regulations, it also results in some of the best diving in Victoria. Divers can expect to see deep reefs covered in sponges and coral, as well as sharks, rays, and octopuses. The islands are also home to fur seals, penguins, and gulls. Parks Victoria recommends snorkelling in Norman Bay’s northern and southern flanks, as well as Picnic Bay’s southern flank.
The Prom is also home to plenty of beautiful beaches that are surrounded by rugged granite cliffs. Squeaky Beach is a popular attraction, as its white sand squeaks when walked on. Whisky Bay offers a small sheltered beach, while Picnic Bay has intertidal rock pools to explore. Tidal River — the actual river, not the town — is great for families as well.
During the summer, the Tidal River Open Air Cinema is another popular attraction. Every week they show multiple new release movies, which you can watch under the stars.
Tidal River is the main place in Wilsons Promontory National Park for accommodation. The Tidal River Campground has 484 camping and caravan sites (20 with power), as well as modern amenities, a mobile phone charging station, and picnic areas with free gas barbecues. The campground also has cabins, huts, units, group lodges, and award-winning Wilderness Retreats.
Booking are necessary at Tidal River Campground, but summer is definitely the busiest season at the Prom. From Christmas until late-January, a ballot is held for Tidal River Campground bookings. Tidal River is also where you will find a general store, which stocks a basic range of food, camping gear and souvenirs, as well as cold and hot take-away meals. Stockyard Camp is a smaller campground located near the park entrance, which has 20 non-powered sites.
There are many beaches around Wilsons Promontory that are accessible to everyone, as well as bathrooms around Tidal River. The Tidal River Campground has accessible accommodation, and accessible equipment for park visitors to use. This includes all-terrain and beach wheelchairs.