Living in a city as packed as Melbourne, can get tiring after a while. So, one plus of living in a country with so much land mass is that, you can do road trips every now and then. I gathered some friends (thanks to Couchsurfing), rented a car and scooted off to one of Victoria’s most loved places last week. It was amazing to reconnect with nature and be away from the hustle and bustle of city life and people, in general.
There is something quite liberating when you’re on the road towards an unknown adventure. You immerse yourself in the scenery that surrounds, sing along to the tune your ipod is blasting, wind down the windows and let the wind mess your hair up. For a moment, all the worries on your shoulder disappear and you feel free.
We set off from Melbourne CBD area slightly before 9am and reached Wilsons Prom close to 12 noon, after a stop at Foster for some take away lunch. From Foster (a town close to the national park) it was about a 20-minute drive, before the “Welcome to Wilsons Promontory National Park” sign greeted us. 🙂
This shot wasn’t actually taken from a proper look out point but it was just too scenic for me to drive past without pulling over. This view definitely made up for 3-hour drive. And, mind you, this is just the beginning of how scenic the national park actually is.
Pitstop #1: Squeaky Beach
If you’re wondering why the beach is called squeaky beach it’s because when you rub your feet/shoes against your sand it really does squeak! Need proof? Watch this. Squeaky beach is probably one of the most pristine and beautiful beaches you can visit. This is a must see!
Pitstop #2: Tidal River
Tidal river is a very popular camping ground for both locals and travellers. If you’re not a fan of camping, there are also cabins or group lodges for you to spend the night in, before you continue on exploring the rest of the park. For more information, you can visit, http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/wilsons-promontory-national-park/things-to-do/tidal-river-accommodation.
The tranquility and serenity that surrounds this area is unlike any another. This was a perfect spot – we sat by the river, had our lunch and chit-chatted about all our (crazy) travel adventures.
Pitstop #3: Mt. Oberon
The Mount Oberon summit walk (6.4 km, 2-way), while rather long and not exactly easy, offered epic views of the Tidal River and surrounding areas. Apparently, on a clear day, you can see all the way to Tasmania! Majority of the climb, up to the summit is a wide footway with compacted gravel. So, despite the steady incline, it was quite manageable (even with my fitness level).
At the end of this management vehicle track, a mobile phone tower greets you. Just continue on, past the tower and you’ll find a final set of staircase leading to the summit. Keep going because from this point you’re only about 10-15 minutes away from a scenic view. Please exercise caution while climbing this flight of steps, as it is mainly granite boulders that you are stepping on. During wet/misty weather conditions it may get a bit slippery.
The feeling of satisfaction of getting to the top after a 1 hour hike was amazing. We dropped our backpacks and just sat down, to have a moment to take the view before us in. Note that, it can get cold and windy at the summit, even during summer months. After all, you are 558m above sea level!
After the hike, we jumped back into the car and wanted to continue on exploring the rest of the island. We had begun our exploration in an anti-clockwise manner, so next up was towards Roaring Meg and The Prom Lighthouse. Only then, did we discover this point was the most inland in the park we could go by car.
We didn’t have much choice to do another other hikes as they were all beyond 3 hours, 1-way. Since we were left with about 2-3 hours to explore the park, we drove back out while stopping at the other points we skipped along the way. The next pitstop was my personal favourite!
Pitstop #4: Picnic Bay/Whiskey Bay
I think the picture pretty much speaks for itself. This was from the viewing point, in the middle of picnic bay and whiskey bay. After a tiring hike, sitting at this spot and winding down with some good laughs was all worth it, despite the blisters on my feet and cold winds right in my face.
Things To Note:
1. Bring your own food and drinks. I literally just saw only 1 cafe in the entire national park at the visitor centre, located near Tidal River Carpark.
2. The furthest inland you can access by car would be Telegraph Saddle Carpark, which is the base of Mt Oberon summit walk and all other hiking paths. So, you definitely need more time (i.e. overnight hikes) to conquer the national park by foot.
Sealers cove hike – 3 hours (1-way)
Refuge cove hike – 5 hours (1-way)
For more information on overnight hikes: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/514928/Parknote-Wilsons-Promontory-NP-Overnight-Hikes.pdf
3. Check the weather forecast for the day before setting off! We were lucky the day was good for us. You definitely don’t want to be stranded in the middle of a hike when a downpour starts.
4. There is no entrance fee to the National Park. So, YAY! Unless, of course you are spending the night there, then overnight charges apply.
Dollars & Cents:
24 hour car rental (5-seater Mitsubishi) – AUD 66 (Thrifty car rental)
Petrol – AUD 51
Dividing costs by 3 resulted in just AUD 39/person. Plus with food expenses, AUD 50-55 was good for a 1-day road trip to this amazing 125,000-acre national park!
So tell me, when are packing your bags and leaving on a roadtrip?!
All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.