Wilsons Prom – 4 Day Road Trip via Waratah Bay
Melbourne to Wilsons Prom – 2 hr 50 mins / 212.5 km
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Wilsons Promontory is a stunning destination at any time of the year. During peak season, booking a campsite is by ballot. Anyone arriving during the Christmas/New Year or Easter periods, without a reserved site or cabin, will almost certainly have to head back out again as there would be very little chance of being able to find accommodation.
Visit the Prom during quieter times though, and the scene is totally different. Even in winter, it is a brilliant place to visit and explore, this trip was late winter and the weather was superb.
An alternative to camping out is to use the Cabins or Wilderness Lodge Tents – Glamping in style! These are ready set-up and rather swish!
Other accommodation options nearby to the Prom can be found here.
We hitched the camper trailer, plus packed the Kombi Van Tent, and headed off early morning towards Wilsons Prom, heading down the South Gippsland Highway and then turning off towards the Prom via the sweet little towns of Loch, Korrumburra, Meeniyan and Fish Creek etc.
The plan was to stay a couple of nights nearby before camping out on the Prom itself, there is so much to see and do on this drive. The trip can also be extended to include Lakes Entrance and maybe Victoria’s most dangerous road too…
Bear Gully Campsite
Our plan was to stay the first night at Bear Gully, in the Cape Liptrap Coastal Park. A great little spot on the coast that used to offer free camping with basic toilet facilities. The rumour that Parks Victoria intended to start charging for many of the free camp areas in Victoria had come to fruition and it now costs about $34 per night – no powered sites.
The ‘user pays’ method is fine, the bonus is that a site can be booked ahead of time and campers then know that they have a spot. When it was free to camp it did mean pot luck as to whether a site would be available as a number of people used to set up camp and stay for weeks on end, limiting availability for others. The sites can have a maximum of 6 people on each one, better for groups but a financial disadvantage for a single camper… Bookings for Cape Liptrap Coastal Park/Bear Gully and other Parks Victoria managed sites need to be done online.
Walkerville & Limestone Kilns
A short walk along the beach at nearby Walkerville and you will find giant brick buttresses protruding from the cliffs like the ruins of some ancient Roman engineering works. These are all that remain of the Walkerville lime kilns. Limestone mined from the cliffs was burnt with firewood in brick-lined kilns to produce quicklime. The lime was then bagged and hauled in tram carts along a 350-metre jetty which once stretched out into the bay to ships, bound for the city.
Next stop Waratah Bay, about 20minutes drive away. A quiet little spot with mostly holiday homes and a pleasant caravan park perched on the hill overlooking the bay with views across to Wilsons Promontory.
Sandy Point and Shallow Inlet
We spent a day fossicking on the beach at Waratah Bay with friends and then popped over to nearby Sandy Point and a great little Fishing spot called Shallow Inlet. A favourite place for the girls as they love playing on the sand dunes and go searching for crabs. Some great walking around the sand dunes here or surfing at Sandy Point surf beach. Koalas can often be found here too and we were lucky to find an incredibly chilled out male in a tree at the Shallow Inlet entry road.
Accommodation at Sandy Point & Waratah Bay
There are 2 villas on this beautiful 4-acre property. Looking onto farmland and surrounded by vegetation local to the area. A resident male koala regularly visits along with lots of birds.
Shallow Inlet is accessible by road or a 1.5km walking/ bike riding track. The inlet is a great place to spend the day fishing, swimming, boating or sailboarding with car access onto the beach.
The surf beach track is about a 1km walk. A short will take you to the main Sandy Point Beach. The beach is stunning and an ideal place for families to swim, surf and boogie board or just for lazing around. Opposite the main beach is the General Store, Café, Mini Golf and Tennis Courts. Wilsons Promontory is a 40-minute drive and has stunning beaches, walks and wildlife.
Prom Coast Holiday Lodge
Offering affordable Group Accommodation and private cottages that are suitable for all budgets whilst not sacrificing on quality. Conveniently located within a leisurely 2-hour drive south-east of Melbourne you can head down for a weekend getaway or a mid-week escape and enjoy the nearby beauty of Wilsons Prom National Park or swim in the safe waters of Waratah Bay and Sandy Point
Wilsons Prom National Park
A 45 minute drive around the top end of Shallow Inlet and we are at Wilsons Promontory! The park entrance is 45km’s from the actual hub of activity on the Prom. Tidal River, where the camping and cabins are located, is the main centre with a general shop and petrol station. Hiking permits can be obtained if you plan to hike any of the overnight trails and camp out (in fine weather a lightweight hammock would be fantastic).
Free BBQ’s can be used by campers and day-trippers at Tidal River and it has access to the beach. Hikes to famous spots such as Squeaky Beach, Lilly Pilly Gully and Mount Oberon are high on the agenda of most visitors.
Accommodation on Wilsons Prom
Camping, Glamping and cabins can be found on the Prom as well as properties just outside the National Park. Find accommodation options here.
Whisky Bay & Squeaky Beach
We stopped in at Whisky Bay and Squeaky Beach on the way into the National Park… awesome rocks to climb, waves to run through and the famous ‘squeaking sand’ :
Why does sand squeak when you walk on it? It only occurs when a certain type of sand (e.g. silica), with grains of a certain size, create layers from the wind and moisture. The sand also needs to be well-weathered, smooth and fairly rounded.
The squeaking noise is caused by friction of the layers rubbing against each other. Polluted sands will not squeak because of foreign matter mixed in with the sand. Therefore, a beach with squeaky sand is a clean beach. (Parks Website)
Wildlife on Wilsons Promontory will often appear unexpectedly, like this loveable Wombat who wandered on through when we were having our BBQ lunch at Tidal River. Campers are warned not to leave food around or inside tents as wombats will go for almost anything edible!
A multitude of birds can be spotted in the area, including Emus – watch out for flocks during the drive to the Prom!
This was a welcomed trip away and we took four days, but the Prom deserves more time to see it all and visit the numerous other areas along the way. Philip Island and the Little Penguins is a good addition to the trip if time permits, quite easy to drive to Phillip Island then continue on the South Gippsland Highway to re-connect with the road to the Prom. Ideally, 7-10 days would be easy to fill with an adventure down this way.
For travellers heading up or down the coast from New South Wales, it is a diversion well worth adding to the list!