Wilsons Prom at a Glance
Wilsons Promontory National Park, otherwise known as “The Prom,” is an epically diverse and pristine set of land situated at Victoria’s southernmost point in Australia. This coastal bushland is the largest of Victoria’s wilderness areas – blanketing over 50,000 ha of land. The park is host to granite hillsides, abundant wildlife, riverside trails, and arguably some of the best camping in the region. People travel from all over Australia to experience the serene beauty and native wildlife habitat found in only a few other places across the world.
Where is Wilsons Prom?
“The Prom” sits at the southeast Victoria’s peninsular point, about a three-hour drive from Melbourne. The granite peaks tower over the Bass Strait – offering unobstructed panoramic ocean views for anyone willing to make the trek to the top.
Best time of year to visit
While summer is undoubtedly the best season in the park, it’s also the most crowded. The issue is that the winter months can be quite frigid, as the park sits on the unsheltered coastline. In our opinion, the shoulder months offer an outstanding balance between weather conditions and tranquillity – with March and October serving up the best chance for summer-esque vibes without the crowds.
Length of Stay
You could spend weeks exploring every corner of The Prom – it’s a never-ending adventure waiting to be uncovered. Still, many are satisfied with a long weekend spent camping, diving, fishing, or surfing. The diversity of The Prom goes nearly unmatched – making it a place you could spend hours, days, or weeks.
- Sleep under the stars and spend quality time with loved ones while camping at Tidal River Campgrounds. From single-tents to family cabins – Tidal River delivers.
- Take a day-hike through rugged mountains and Australian forest to reach Sealers Cove.
- Witness an epic sunset at the edge of Mount Oberton.
- Kayak along the coastline above the teeming marine environments below.
- Charter a sailboat and cruise the shores with the flocks of seabirds at your side.
- Scuba dive among the penguins, seals, sharks, and fluorescent soft corals that line the turquoise coast.
- Spend a night at Wilsons Prom Lighthouse for a unique coastal lodging experience.
- Carve out some surf in the chop of Normans Beach.
Getting to Wilsons Prom
To get to Wilsons Promontory National Park from Melbourne by car, hop on the Monash Freeway (M1) and head southeast from the city. From there, you’ll want to connect with the South Gippsland Highway, meandering through Korumburra, Leongatha, and eventually Meeniyan. After passing through the town of Meeniyan, take the exit onto Meeniyan-Promontory Road (C444) and cruise through the city of Yanakie, which is just over 5km outside of the Parks entrance.
Once you reach the park, follow the main road until you reach Tidal River – the park’s primary campground. The last leg through the park usually takes about 30 minutes, bringing the total drive time from Melbourne to just about three hours.
While it is possible to reach Wilsons Prom by public transport during the bustling summer months, travelling within the park becomes a pain without a car. To reach the most popular campgrounds, trailheads, and the most sought-after attractions, any two-wheel-drive car will suffice.
To arrive at a few of the more off-the-beaten-track locations, however, you’ll be best equipped with a sturdy four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicle. A couple of the park’s sand tracks can get a bit sticky, especially in inclement weather – so be sure to do your research to see if you’ll need something more capable. Most get by without, though, so no need to stress.
Where to Stay?
Accommodation at Tidal River
Tidal River is the hub of travel in Wilsons Promontory National Park, and accommodation options here will feed the appetite of nearly every visitor. From luxurious nature retreats to group bunk lodges that sleep up to 30 people comfortably, this is the perfect spot to base yourself and explore the park.
To book one of the various accommodation options at Tidal River, contact the Parks Victoria Information Center, or visit the Parks Victoria Website.
Camping at Tidal River
Camping is the classic draw for most that visit the park, and for good reason. Wilsons Prom Campgrounds are wildly diverse, and the sites at Tidal River offer some of the most attractive options, right at the park’s front door. Shoot for a campsite wedged somewhere in the forest, or opt for a site closer to shore at Norman Beach – either of which can bring you a memorable experience with friends and family. These campgrounds are also near the park’s central infrastructure in case you have restrictions on your desolation desires.
Tidal River is located directly northeast of stunning Norman Beach, and is the central point for travellers to the park.
39.0317° S, 146.3213° E
Tidal River is accessible throughout the year, as nearly all of the park’s visitors enter through this area. You can easily access Norman Beach, and it’s an excellent spot to base yourself for exploring the rest of Wilsons Prom.
The charging stations here at Tidal River require a two-dollar coin to charge your devices. When finished, your coin will be returned. Also, be aware that the Telegraph Saddle Carpark is inaccessible when the shuttle bus operates – so plan accordingly.
Number of sites:
Tidal river is the most well-equipped campsite inside of Wilsons Prom, with over 480 campsites for tents and caravans alike. Only 20 of the sites are powered, though, so be sure to reserve one early if you need some electric capabilities.
The typical unpowered campsites at Tidal River are nearly all grass-sites, while the powered sites are mostly dusted with tiny gravel that whips around in the wind. For a more pleasant experience in windy conditions, opt for an unpowered site.
Tidal River Camping Map
- Car Park
- Picnic Area with Gas BBQ’s
- Visitor’s Center
- Basic Grocery Store
- Emergency Stations
Generators and fires are strictly prohibited at Tidal River, and no fuel can be found for sale. For a more rugged experience, look to the other campgrounds Wilsons Prom has to offer.
For all booking inquiries, contact the Tidal River Visitor Center at (03) 8427 2122, or visit Parks Vic’s booking page.
Mobile phone coverage
Visitors to Wilsons Prom will be pleased to know that mobile coverage exists in Tidal River for most mobile providers, although there is always the chance that weather systems can affect this. Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone are all verified to work in most cases at Tidal River.
If you’re looking for the outdoor adventure of camping but would rather stay in a more luxurious setting, consider the wilderness retreat tents at Tidal River. The elegant, safari-style tents offer space for up to three people in a secluded area of the park and include:
- One Queen Sized Bed and a Secondary Pull-Out Bed
- En-Suite Bathroom
- Gas Heating
- Outdoor Seating
- Limited space is available, and rooms are booked on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Price for a wilderness retreat tent that sleeps up to 3 guests ~ $350 / night
The huts available at Tidal River are centrally located, allowing guests to easily take advantage of all the campgrounds’ facilities. Each single-room hut sleeps up to 6 guests and comes equipped with the following:
- Three Bunk-Beds
- Dining Table
- Kitchenette and All of the Necessary Cookware
- Gas Stove
* Limited space is available, and rooms are booked on a first-come, first-serve basis.
* Price for a hut that sleeps up to 4 guests ~ $110 / night
* Price for a hut that sleeps up to 6 guests ~ $165 / night
Among the most popular accommodation styles at Tidal River are the 17 cabins on site. Beware, though – these cabins are numbered and fill up well beyond 12 months in advance. Cabin amenities include:
- A Double-Room
- A Second Room with Two Bunks
- Full Kitchen Including Appliances
- Living Room and Furniture
- Deck Area
* Price for a cabin that sleeps up to 6 guests ~ $250 / night
The Tidal River units are meant to sleep only two people and are available with either a double bed or two single beds. The option to link up to four side-by-side units is possible for those with larger groups that wish to stay near each other. The single room units come set with:
- En-Suite Bathroom
- Living Room
- Shared Outdoor BBQ
* Limited space is available, and rooms are booked on a first-come, first-serve basis.
* Price for a unit that sleeps up to 2 guests ~ $200 / night
Four lodges can be used by large groups or families, with accommodation to support anywhere from 12 to 30 guests. The following lodges can be reserved with the Tidal River Visitors Center:
- George Robinson Lodge (12 Beds) ~ $400 / night
- John Gregory Lodge (12 Beds) ~ $400 / night
- Arthur-Lucas Lodge (24 Beds) ~ $800 / night
- Baldwin Spencer Lodge (30 Beds) ~ $1000 / night
Accommodation Outside the National Park
If you aim to sleep outside of Wilsons Prom yet stay within a short distance from the park, you’re in luck. Hectic weekends, holidays, or other large community events can make for a less than ideal sleeping arrangement. Why not get a good night’s sleep just outside of the park and rock-up for morning hikes and surf while the rest of the mobs are struggling to work around one another?
The thing is, you won’t even need to sacrifice comfortability or cost, as the options in Yanakie and Sandy Point are as comfortable and accommodating as you’d find anywhere else. For more information on available properties just steps outside of the national park, contact the Prom Country Visitor Center at 1800 630 704. Alternatively, browse through the listings on offer from AirBnB hosts. Chances are, you’ll find a ton of excellent options that are unique to your style and needs. Some properties even offer water and camping toys such as surfboards and tents – free of charge.
Day trip from Melbourne
While we strongly suggest setting aside several days for Wilsons Prom, it can be made into a one-day trip from Melbourne for a quick escape from reality. While this will undoubtedly make for a long day, spending anywhere from 4-6 hours in the car – it’s worth it to unplug from it all and enjoy a bit of what the park has to offer. Depending on how you choose to unwind, there are practically endless options for anyone who loves the outdoors. Surfing, hiking, scuba diving, fishing – you name it – Wilsons Prom can deliver.
One thing you won’t want to forget when visiting Picnic Bay is your snorkeling gear! On the southern end of the bay, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with excitement as you float above one of the richest marine ecosystems that Australia has to offer outside of the Great Barrier Reef. Giant sea fans stand in prominence near the seafloor, soft corals sway in unison with the changing of tides, and weedy seadragons effortlessly drift through the slender patches of seagrass in the sand.
Listen to the squeak of the ground as your feet stroll across the white sand that makes Squeaky Beach a staple in Wilsons Prom. One of Squeaky Beach’s main draws is the opportunity to ride the waves when the water is at its wildest, so pack your board and get ready for some of the best surfing in the park. Make sure you’re aware of the hazards, though – rip-currents can be the demise of even the strongest swimmers.
Sealers cove is one of the most jaw-dropping locations inside of Wilsons Promontory National Park, and it’s the jump-off point for one of the favourite return hikes in the area. The 19km hike takes visitors anywhere from 3 to 8 hours to complete, and some choose to make it a multi-day excursion that includes an overnight stretch – an excellent experience for kids! If you come in the changing seasons, the landscape transforms as you move through the trails, making for an epic and diverse nature walk. The hike is best for those who want to break free from the crowds a bit, so be cautious if you make the trek alone. It’s a mostly pleasant walk, though, so no stress to the experienced trekkers out there.
Wilsons Prom Lighthouse
Elevated above the rough seas of the Bass Strait, Wilsons Promontory Light Station is a remote destination that’s only accessible by foot. The 19km, 6-hour hike to the light station starts from Telegraph Saddle Carpark, where you begin an ascent through eucalyptus forest and rugged landscapes. Alternatively, you can follow the coastline until you need to jut inland toward the lighthouse. Either way provides an epic outdoor excursion, just watch the tides along the coastline and watch for weather warnings before the hike. Some of the trails gets a bit steep and unstable, so a bit of rain can make for a treacherous descent.
Before you set off to reach the light station, bear in mind that there are certain restrictions for the area. You can’t camp, bring a firearm, fish, or bring your pets along for the journey. For a complete list of restrictions, see Park Vic’s website.
Miller’s Landing is a relatively sheltered beach that offers a popular nature walk which is both easy and short for nearly everyone who attempts it. The mangroves just off the coast are a sanctuary for seabirds, so taking a seat with a nice pair of binoculars can serve up some entertainment for those interested. The nature walk is the main attraction here, though, where you can witness wildlife in full swing as they live out their lives in this pristine habitat.
The Big Drift
The Big Drift is an alien-like landscape that makes you feel like you’re standing at the edge of the Sahara. The kicker is, it’s nestled right in the same landscape as the lush forests and coastlines that Wilsons Prom is so famous for. Sadly enough, it’s commonly skipped over by visitors to the park, which means those that visit have it nearly all to themselves. For the most epic views, visit sunrise or sunset to catch the golden hues as they reflect off the sand. For an even more surreal sight, try to visit just after a rainstorm. The puddles that form in these massive stretches of sand resemble an oasis in the African desert – truly unreal.
Refuge Cove is a small, secluded beach lined with granite boulders and dense forest on the east side of The Prom. The campsite here is perfect for boaters and hikers alike, but the biggest reason to come here is for the marine life. Refuge Cove is a divers and snorkelers paradise, boasting unreal diversity in the clear waters just off the beach. Dolphins, whales, sharks, penguins, stingrays – the list goes on. Adventurous souls and experienced divers can experience night-diving here that is arguably unrivalled by any other location along The Prom’s coastline. Be sure to always use your surface marker buoy when at depths of 8 meters or greater, as the boat traffic in the bay can make for a hazardous ascent.
The walking track at Loo-Errn follows the Tidal River’s south bank, winding and twisting through the protected wetlands in the area. The wildlife comes alive during dusk and dawn, and the show they put on is as peaceful as it is exhilarating. The swampy wetlands here are just another testament to the vast diversity that Wilsons Promontory is so well-known for. Not surprisingly, the Loo-Errn walking trail ends up a highlight of nearly every visitor’s trip to the park, so it’s not to be missed if you’re up for a relaxing stroll.
A trip to Wilsons Promontory National Park wouldn’t be complete without a hike to the summit of Mount Oberton. The views here are unmatched if you can manage to rise before the sun, so grab your camera and sit back in awe – this is Victoria’s crowned sunrise spot. Alternatively, this is also an epic spot to witness one of Australia’s famous sunsets. However, the trek back down can be dangerous, especially in foul weather. If you decide to head down after sunset, best to consult with the park rangers first. The hike to the summit starts at Telegraph Saddle Carpark, and ends after about 3.5 km of “moderate” to “hard” trails.
Take a Cruise Around The Prom’s Coastline
Cruising around The Proms rugged coastline offers visitors the chance to see the park from a different perspective – from crystal clear, turquoise waters that are absolutely bursting with life. Common stop-offs include Refuge Cove, the Prom Lighthouse, and Skull Rock. The Kanowna Island Seal Colony is one of the most playful and intriguing wildlife experiences you can have and is included with most cruise trips. The raw coastal wilderness of Wilsons Promontory is sure to have you planning your next holiday back before you even take a step off the boat.
Walks & Hikes
Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk
The Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk weaves you through Victoria’s temperate rainforest, a dense woodland in the heart of Wilsons Prom. The nature walk is relatively easy, with a boardwalk to support children, adults, or those with physical disabilities all the same. The tranquil walk lets you explore the inner webbing of eucalyptus trees and wildlife that call the land home. The journey is best made by those who want to relax and enjoy some of the park’s more relaxing beauty.
Mount Bishop Walk
For the most astonishing panoramic views of The Proms west coast, make the challenging trek to the peak of Mount Bishop. The hike to Mount Bishop offers similar views to Mount Oberton, although the track is more rugged – making for a quieter and less crowded trail on most days. At the peak, granite boulders stand in distinction, making the dramatic backdrop of Squeaky Beach and Whisky Bay that much more attractive. For an experience that most choose to opt-out of, summit Mount Bishop around sunset for unobstructed views and a backdrop you won’t soon forget.
Norman Beach To Whisky Bay
The walk from Norman Beach to Whisky Bay passes through some of the best sites that the west side of the park offers, including Tidal Overlook, Squeaky Beach, and Picnic Bay. This hour-and-a-half walk takes you by beaches lined with massive boulders, coastal vegetation, and beautiful blue bays that shine exceptionally bright on sunny days. If you’re looking for a family-friendly walk, this trail is a must.
Mount Oberon Summit walk
The Mount Oberton Summit Walk is a steady yet challenging trail that leads you up to the viewing platform near the top of the mountain. The views here are breathtaking, and you’re sure to feel minuscule as you look out over the coastal islands and inlets that line the coast of Wilsons Prom. The sunset views here are particularly spectacular – just be sure to bring a torch and a solid set of hiking shoes for the dark journey back.
From the Telegraph Saddle Carpark, follow down the winding and narrow path that is Sealers Track, and descend into Sealers Cove Bay and campsite. This 18km day hike is an out-and-back trek that gives visitors the chance to see a massive array of wildlife in their natural habitat. Keep an eye on the weather, though, as a bit of wind and rain can make for less than ideal hiking conditions.
The hike to Tongue Point of The Prom’s west coast takes you through a wildly diverse landscape, including sand dunes, marshes, riversides, and eventually the coastal cliffs. Don’t be surprised to run across the abundance of wildlife that’s native to the area. Kangaroos, emu, and echidna all call these lands home, so it’s worth making the trek with a camera in hand to document the journey.
The southern end of Wilsons Promontory National Park is about as remote as it gets, with relatively untouched natural beauty spanning across vast plots of land. The overnight southern circuit hike is a favorite for those who are a bit more keen on adventure, as the trek takes three days and two nights for most to complete. The trail winds through the temperate rainforest and proceeds to loop around the park’s rugged southern coast. The camping at Sealers Cove and Waterloo Bay make for a serene, secluded occasion – adding to the draw for those who joined the circuit for a sense of adventure.
Some visitors with a bit more time on their hands choose to extend the circuit to include Wilsons Lightstation and the South Point – the southernmost point in all of Australia. This five-day extended circuit is the best route for those who want to gain the most from their time in the park. Pack light, dress for the occasion and enjoy your time in the desolate wilderness of the southern Prom.