Located at the southern tip of Australia’s mainland, Wilsons Promontory is a coastal wilderness of golden beaches and bushland trails which serves as one of Victoria’s favourite parks for good reason.
At the southernmost point of mainland Australia lies Victoria’s oldest and one of its most-loved national parks. Wilsons Promontory is a 50,000-hectare coastal wilderness of sandy beaches, granite tors, fern gullies, mountain peaks and native wildlife (think emus, wombats and vividly plumed rosellas), and even harbours a vast inland sand dune system. It is an Aboriginal cultural landscape that remains of major spiritual significance to Victorian Koorie communities today.
Getting to Wilsons Prom
Visit for the day, it’s three hours’ drive from Melbourne in South Gippsland, or stay awhile: the Prom’s main hub is the family-friendly Tidal River (named for the tea tree-stained waterway that curls lazily around it), which offers family-friendly campsites and huts (book ahead, especially in peak season) or hike to a secluded campsite or the historic cottages at the Wilsons Promontory Lightstation.
What to do at Wilsons Prom
A must-hear sound as much as a must-see sight, powdery white Squeaky Beach gets its name from the noise your feet make as they pad along it. That’s thanks to the fine, rounded grains of quartz sand that compress under your feet as you walk. While here, take a dip in the famously turquoise waters and explore the maze of large granite boulders at the northern end of this iconic beach.
Set your sights on the summit of Mt Oberon for one of the best views in Victoria. This trek is short, at 6.8 kilometres return, and steep as you approach the granite peak where you’ll be rewarded with a panorama of Wilsons Promontory: from its pristine coastline and Tidal River to its offshore islands, gullies and other mountains. For a more rugged and challenging trek, hike Mt Bishop.
Follow the coastal walk that connects some of Wilsons Prom’s pristine beaches from Squeaky Beach round to Whisky Bay – preferably in time for sunset (also accessible via its own car park). A secluded beach with colourful rock outcrops, its position on the western coast of the peninsula provides the rare opportunity on the east coast of Australia to see the sun go down over the ocean. Watch as sky, sand and sea turn all the shades of a Manhattan, and islands cast perfect silhouettes on the horizon.
One of the most unusual features of Wilsons Prom is rather poetically called the Big Drift: a landscape of vast and ever-shifting sand dunes. Near the park’s entrance yet off the beaten track, to get there it’s a two-kilometre walk from Stockyards Camp along a path that winds through bushland, paddocks and over hills until presenting you with the otherworldly sight. Spend time exploring but keep an eye on where you’ve come from – it can be easy to get lost here.
A Pennicott Cruise
Jump aboard one of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys’ amphibious yellow boats to explore the Prom’s rugged coastline and unique wildlife, venture to South Point and take in the granite monolith that is Skull Rock.
Hike to Sealers Cove
No roads lead to this picturesque cove, all sandy shores and forest fringed, so what better excuse to lace up your walking boots? Complete this 19.3-kilometre-return hike in a day or camp overnight.
Marine national park
Wilsons Prom is home to Victoria’s largest marine protected area, with waters off the southern coast that harbour a fascinating world ripe for exploration by divers and snorkellers and rivalling the Great Barrier Reef.
Find more memorable things to do at Wilsons Prom here.
Wildlife at Wilsons Prom
Wilsons Promontory is a refuge for native wildlife and a top whale-watching spot to boot.
Visitors to Wilsons Prom will delight in seeing the typically reclusive wombat in the wild, and in fact, the portly marsupial can be quite bold and cheeky in its foraging for food at popular camping spot Tidal River; Parks Victoria advises storing food in your vehicle at night so as not to be woken by a furry intruder.
Head out on a wildlife cruise between September and November to spot majestic humpback and southern right whales motor past Wilsons Prom on their southerly migration.
Part of a $23 million upgrade of the national park, a 10-kilometre predator-proof fence is being built across the isthmus at the entry to the Prom to create a 50,000-hectare sanctuary for vulnerable native species including the ground parrot, southern brown bandicoot and spot-tailed quoll.
The mighty emu is another fixture of Wilsons Prom and, while you may count yourself lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one on your travels around the park, up your chances by heading along on the short, sweet and appropriately named Prom Wildlife Walk, where you’ll also see other native wildlife including wallabies, roos and more wombats.
Access to Wilsons Prom
Wilsons Promontory is one of several national parks in Victoria that has free all-terrain wheelchairs; TrailRiders are available to hire so those with mobility limitations can enjoy and explore the wilderness including the views from the summit of Mt Oberon. The Prom, in fact, is one of three parks that offer the use of motorised TrailRiders for going longer and steeper, and has beach wheelchairs too. See parks.vic.gov.au for more information.