If Kiwi politicians have their way, we will soon be bubbling up with our Auzzie neighbours, and when we do, walkers, trampers and campervan enthusiasts will be chomping at the bit to take advantage of some of Australia’s most stunning scenery and crazy critters. This winning combo can be found 3 hours drive from Melbourne via the Monash and Gippsland Freeways to Meeniyann, and from there on the Meeniyan‐Promontory Road to the gates of Wilsons Promontory National Park. The main camping spot at Tidal River is a further 30 minutes on.
Known to the locals as ‘Wilsons Prom’, the park is the state of Victoria’s largest coastal wilderness area (50,000 hectares), and one of its most enjoyed nature destinations. Popular with all ages, it has something for everyone: beach walks, forest walks, overnight hikes, swimming, camping, glamping and nature watching.
The park offering a range of accessible beaches, accommodations, and day facility bathrooms. Better still, free accessible equipment (all-terrain wheelchairs, beach wheelchairs and TrailRider) are provided via the park’s information centres.
Tidal Creek Camping Ground
Tidal River’s family-friendly camping ground (with powered or unpowered sites as well as cabin and lodge accommodation) is the main gathering point for holidaymakers visiting the park. Day trippers enjoy the spot’s beaches, surfing opportunities, and picnic spots. The camping ground is well known as a place to catch frequent sightings of comical wombats as they make their nightly forays onto the short grass, often going on-the-hunt for human food (strictly no feeding, please!). Kangaroos and wallabies also hop around the camp, unfazed by its human occupants, while colourful native bush birds descend on picnic tables or squawk a noisy dawn chorus. Deeper into the forest, black parrots call from the branches, and echidnas, possums and even the occasional snake can be seen.
Out and about
Wilsons Promontory is criss-crossed with more than 30 walks that bring you 130 kilometres of roaming opportunities. Short, hour-long trails such as the Lilly Pilly Link Track lead over flat-terrain that is manageable with a baby buggy in tow, while the 44 kilometre long Wilsons Promontory Circuit Trail provides the opportunity to camp for several nights in the wilderness.
Wilsons Prom is also the place to experience nature’s power to recover and regenerate. Following devastating fires and floods, the park seems to have a way to heal itself, with tall eucalyptus sprouting lime-green sprigs of foliage from blacked trunks, and winding rivers carving out their familiar paths all over again.
Plan and prepare
Wilsons Prom gets busy over the peak Christmas-New Year period, so it pays to book well in advance for a campsite (in fact, don’t arrive without a booking). Pick up groceries en route, but know that you can get daily supplies of the basics from the Tidal River General Store which is situated right next door to the visitor’s centre. Pay-as-you-go phone charging stations are laid on, and visitor centre staff have all the info on tracks, trails and animal spotting. Bring on the trans-Tasman bubble-sharing!