Wilsons Promontory is home to 50,000 hectares of national park woven with a labyrinth of walking tracks, none of which are more magical than the Southern Circuit. This three day hike takes you through verdant rainforests, along picturesque beaches and leads you to the southernmost point on mainland Australia. Jono’s got the goss.
With our bags packed and cars filled we headed off on the three hour drive from Melbourne to Wilsons Prom. With everything necessary to survive for three days off the grid and our camping passes booked well in advance, we were ready for whatever The Prom had to throw at us.
Read More: Think you might’ve forgotten something? Double check yourself before you wreck yourself with our Packing List For An Overnight Hike.
An hour into the trip, we stopped at Caldermeade Farm for brekkie in the form of succulent scones and a coffee stronger than the Hulk on steroids. We grabbed a table in the garden outside and said hello to the cows, goats and alpacas roaming about while waiting for our food.
With everyone in a post-brekkie scone coma, it was full steam ahead for two more hours till we arrived at the Tidal River Visitor Centre. This is where we grabbed our permits and maps before heading up to Telegraph Saddle, the starting point of our adventure.
Read more: Check out Tidal River Campground
DAY 1 – Telegraph Saddle to Refuge Cove (16.6km | 5hrs)
|Telegraph Saddle to Sealers Cove Camp||3 hours||10.2km|
|Sealers Cove Camp to Refuge Cove Camp||2 hours||6.4km|
With packs on backs and smiles on dials, we started the first section of the hike, made up mostly of a friendly descent down past Windy Saddle and through to the fern-lined boardwalk at Sealers Swamp.
A little further down the track from the boardwalk, the track opens up revealing the stunning Sealers Cove. From here, we took a right onto the beach and were greeted with a crossing over Sealers Creek. If you come during high tide, as we did, getting your packs across the creek without drenching their contents can be a little tricky. So grab a buddy, pair up and help each other get across. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Check tide times beforehand to avoid deeper water crossings at the creek. On the other side of the creek, we were but a stone’s throw from Sealers Cove Campground and the southern end of the cove. This spot in the cove is a beautiful place to take a breather, have a dip or get a snack into the belly.
The remaining two hour hike along the coast offers stunning views and consists of a short climb over the next headland before descending down into Refuge Cove. Refuge Cove
After passing Refuge Cove Boaties Campground, we knew the hikers’ campground was just around the corner. The campground sits adjacent to where Cove Creek flows into Refuge Cove and is complete with water supply and composting toilets. This is where we pitched our tents, cooked up dinner and got some well-earned beauty sleep for the night.
Day 2 – Refuge Cove to Roaring Meg (27.1km | 9hrs)
|Refuge Cove Camp to Little Waterloo Bay Camp||2.5 hours||7.2km|
|Little Waterloo Bay to Wilson Promontory Lighthouse||3.5 hours||10.9 km|
|Wilson’s Promontory Lighthouse Loop||1 hour||1.8km|
|Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse to Roaring Meg||2 hours||7.2km|
Hopefully you don’t roll out of your tent with sore quads because day two is a real leg burner. We woke to the gentle pitter-patter of raindrops on our tents, delaying our start to the day, followed by a sprinkling of hail that forced us to take cover under the shelter of the toilet block before hitting the trail.
2.6km down the trail from Refuge Bay lies Kersops Peak and is definitely worth the short side-track detour. We popped our packs down and scurried up to grab a peek at the vista over Waterloo Bay. From there, we hiked down to North Waterloo Bay and Little Waterloo Bay, where we decided to stop for lunch and a swim while the sun graced us with her presence.
Beyond the dunes and past Little Waterloo Bay Campground, we hiked towards the white sand and turquoise waters of Waterloo Bay. The magnificent colours of the sand and water at this beach rival that of any beach worldwide.
After we’d traversed the white sands of Waterloo Bay, we tightened up our shoelaces in preparation of the solid slog through a long forested section of the trail until we reached the historic lighthouse. We kept our trail mix handy and found our groove as we navigated the twists and turns on the tantalising trail ahead.
Soon enough, we arrived at the junction leading to the lighthouse perched up on the point of the peninsula. Although this lighthouse was erected in 1959, it’s still active today and provides a stellar vantage point for sweeping views over the Bass Strait. With our eyes glued to the horizon, we were lucky enough to see a whale breaching on its way through.
We considered spending the night at a cottage on the peninsula but our pockets were feeling a little light, so it was onto Roaring Meg Campground to tent it instead.
Hot tip! On your way out, fill up your water bottles at the tap in front of the cottages as it’ll be about two hours till you arrive at Roaring Meg.
Day 3 – Roaring Meg to Telegraph Saddle ( 18.6km | 6.5hrs)
|Roaring Meg To South Point (return)||2 hours||6.4km|
|Roaring Meg to Telegraph Junction||2.5 hours||6km|
|Telegraph Junction to Telegraph Saddle||2 hours||6.2km|
Unfortunately, we ran out of time to make it down, but if you want to brag about standing on the southernmost point on mainland Australia, grab an early start and make the two hour return trip from Roaring Meg down to South Point. Be sure to take a photo and pop it on your family group chat, they’ll love this one.
From Roaring Meg, we set a course for Telegraph Junction along the Telegraph Track passing Halfway Hut campground along the way. When we arrived at Telegraph Junction, there was the option to follow the trail leading left along a 4WDing track to Oberon Bay. If you’re tracking well for time, this detour past Oberon Bay, Little Oberon Bay and Norman Bay provide more than a couple of luscious spots to jump in the water for a splash. This trail eventually leads you back to Tidal River, but don’t forget to take in the magnificent views of Mt Oberon behind you on your way through.
If don’t want to make a late entry back into the big smoke, follow the vehicle management track another two hours back up to the Telegraph Saddle carpark. When you see the finish line remember; knees high, long strides and time your dip at the line for maximum effect. That’s another one for the books.
Detour Back Home: For anyone looking for a way to soak their aches and pains away, I’d recommend a detour home via the Peninsula Hot Springs. Let the natural thermal mineral waters embrace your limbs and rejuvenate your soul whilst you contemplate the next time you take a mate to The Prom.
- 3-day pack with all the goodies
- Camping set up
- Sturdy walking shoes
- Food and cooking equipment
- Sufficient drinking water and water treatments for creek or tank water at campsites
- Rain jacket and pack rain cover if rain is forecasted
- First Aid Kit
- A zest for life
Total Distance Covered / Time Taken
62.3km hiked / 3 Days
Intermediate – Due to the length and difficult sections of the hike, overnight hiking experience and reasonable physical fitness is advised.
How To Get There
Wilsons Promontory National Park is approximately a three hour drive from Melbourne. Follow Monash Freeway (M1) to join South Gippsland Freeway (M420/A440) to Meeniyan. Take Meeniyan-Promontory Road (C444) to Wilsons Promontory entrance. Tidal River is further 30 minutes drive from the entrance. Drive carefully and look out for wildlife. Avoid driving between dusk and dawn.
Caught The Hiking Bug Yet?