The Wilsons Promontory National Park on the southern tip of Australia’s Victoria state is easily one of the best national parks all over Victoria and maybe even Australia. The good thing about it is that few people know this place, making this little piece of heaven a well-kept secret for adventurous travelers. If you look at a map, the Wilsons Promontory National Park is the most southern point of Australia, if you leave out Tasmania. It has its own micro climate zones, because of the way the park was shaped over millions of years. In some places, you will even find some mangroves, which are very uncommon in this area of Australia.
The Wilsons Promontory National Park really is a feast for the eyes for animal lovers, especially for bird spotters. Besides a very vibrant wildlife, you can also find some nice hiking trails as well as picture-perfect beaches and other things to do. In this guest post, fellow adventure traveler Christian will write about his experiences driving, hiking and camping in the park. From here on out, Christian takes over this article. But not before he introduces himself:
Entering the Wilsons Promontory National Park at night
My first encounter with the Wilsons Promontory National Park started, quite literally, with a bang. A group of friends and I drove to the Wilsons Promontory National Park on a whim, without doing any research at all, and arrived late during the sunset. Before entering the park we saw a sign, which said something like „be aware of nocturnal animal activity“. There was no park keeper at all, which we thought was a little weird, but maybe they were done with work for the day already. We didn’t think about it all that long and decided to drive in.
We barely drove into the park when a koala bear crossed the street right in front of us. My friend slammed the breaks as hard as he possibly could (I have never seen somebody break so violently), but the koala bear still got under our car. A deadly silence spread through the car as we all looked at each other with wide eyes…
A deadly silence spread through the car as we all looked at each other with wide eyes…
It felt like minutes went past, but then we saw the koala happily strutting away from the car and straight into the bushes. We gasped in unison and from that moment on we truly understood the sign at the park’s entrance. Even though it felt like a child on a tricycle could easily overtake us, we continued our way through the park strictly driving 20 kilometers an hour.
We drove into Wilsons Promontory National Park at night only to get a glimpse of what was waiting for us the next day and to find a camping ground in the park. There are a few, but we weren’t able to spot any at night. We have, however, seen about 60 to 80 animals (kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, koalas, you name it) right next to the road within the first 15 minutes of driving. And that’s only slightly exaggerated!
Because of our scary encounter and our inability to find a campsite inside the park, we set up camp just outside the park. I highly recommend a small, free camping space only 2 minutes away from the entrance to the park called “Stockyard campsite”. The word “campsite” sounds fancier than it really is: a parking lot, patch of grass and a set of swings, but it’s a great option for budget travelers since camping inside the boundaries of the National Park will cost you money.
Hiking through the Wilsons Promontory National Park
The next day, we got up pretty early in order to optimally use our time in the National Park. The first thing we wanted to do was to go on a hiking trip. There are various hiking routes you can choose from, but we thought we might just go our own way and ended up hiking about 3-4 hours in total. We started at the “Five Mile Road” and turned right onto the “Vereker Outlook Walk” to get on top of a small mountain. Along the way, we saw some more of those lovely kangaroos and wombats. The hike itself was not too hard, but I would nonetheless advise wearing trainers or hiking boots.
Be aware that not only harmless animals roam this National Park, snakes do too. We saw one on our hike and as we couldn’t identify it, we made sure to stay well out of its way. Every animal is potentially deadly in Australia, and I am far too young to take my chances 😉
The Vereker Outlook is a great point to end your hike. When hiking up you will suddenly reach a point where half of your body will be covered in clouds and you will only see the legs of the person in front of you; you will literally have your head in the clouds. It is quite an awesome experience.
You will literally have your head in the clouds. It is quite an awesome experience.
The views you get at the top are definitely worth the effort. You will see a wonderfully shaped landscape, which is completely untouched. On the one side, you will see wide, evergreen valleys and on the other side a big bay which ends up in the Tasmanian Sea. It’s really, really pretty! It is a great example of the Australians’ level of care for their country’s natural environment.
After our hike, we walked down to the bay to have a closer look. We were surrounded by wetland, lots of reed and enormous forests; a scenery to fall in love with. I have heard many stories about the park before I went there myself, and I can now safely say that the Wilsons Promontory National Park was all that I hoped for and much, much more. And perhaps the best thing about it is that you won’t meet any other tourists at all!
The beaches of the Wilsons Promontory National Park
During the second half of our day in the park, we visited a couple beaches. The most interesting one was Squeaky Beach, which lies in the southwestern area of the Wilsons Promontory National Park. It’s called squeaky beach because of the funny, squeaky sound the sand makes when you walk on it. It’s a poster-perfect beach; white sand, a clear ocean, and no-one else around. What else could you possibly want?
It’s a great place to try out kite- and windsurfing as some areas of the Wilsons Promontory National Park are pretty windy. Going snorkeling or speeding down the open water on a jet ski are also good options. The underwater world here is not really comparable to the magnificent hotspots such as the Great Barrier Reef, but it’s still really nice. The ocean‘s temperature is about 24°C on average, so it’s not too warm and not too cold.
White sand, a clear ocean, and no-one else around. What else could you possibly want?
A good tip for hiking around the park would be to try to get to as many viewing spots as you can. The National Park simply looks at its best viewed from a higher perspective. If you drive towards Squeaky Beach, you will come across some good places to take pictures. If your photography skills permit, you can easily get some postcard quality shots here.
Other great spots to check out are Mt Bishop and Mt Oberon. You can almost see the whole National Park from their summits. The view towards the west coast was my absolute favorite, and you can hardly compare it to any other view in Victoria. Trust me, you will be amazed.
Overall, visiting Wilsons Promontory National Park should definitely be on your list if you are traveling through the Victoria state. I was glad that a friend told me about it because it was one of the most beautiful places I have seen on my trip through the whole of Australia. It really shows you a side of Australia that is quite different to many others.
A lot in this region actually reminds me a bit of Europe: it’s a very healthy and green environment with lots of things to do and see. It wasn’t a jungle or a desert, but something in between, with a similar climate to many parts of (central) Europe: not too humid, not too warm, just pleasant. It was all quite unlike any other area I have seen in Australia. Needless to say, I would go back there anytime again without hesitating.