Wilsons Promontory

14 Mar

Over the Labour Day weekend, we took a trip down to Wilsons Promontory, the southernmost point of mainland Australia, which is also a national park.

It’s about a two and a half hour drive from Melbourne, through mostly scenic countryside and a few small towns.

promcountry

Prom Country

We opted to stay at a B&B in Yanakie. It was a little more expensive than the last one we stayed at on the Great Ocean Road and the owners didn’t seem as friendly. The rooms were extremely small, but fortunately there was a large great room stocked with reading material and games, so we weren’t forced to stay in our cramped room.

When we arrived at the Prom, we were given a park map and were disappointed to see that, due to fire and flood damage, a good 80-90% of the park was closed. Maybe that’s why entry was free? Unfortunately, that included the entire southern half of park, most of the east side and some of the west side. Must-see places like Whiskey Bay and Mt. Oberon were inaccessible. The trail along the Tidal River had been washed away and not yet rebuilt. Even more disappointing was that we discovered people are not allowed to feed the parrots anymore, which I had really been looking forward to. H had told me that you used to be able to get bird seed and if you held out your hand, the parrots would just flock to you and you’d have both arms covered in parrots. I would have loved to do that because I really quite like parrots.

wilsonspromontory

Still recovering from the 2009 brush fires

parrot

One of the parrots that I would have loved to feed!

galah

Two cute galahs. I love cockatoos!

So… what to do? We went to Squeaky Beach and walked along there for a bit. It’s called that because the sand is made up of very rounded granite crystals and squeak when you walk on them. Being a holiday weekend, it was packed with families, despite the cool weather. We then walked down to Norman Bay and saw part of the Tidal River, but that too was very crowded. We also attempted part of the Lilly Pilly Gully walk, but it started to get too dark and we decided we should head back because we didn’t have any flashlights and it’s not really safe to hike in the dark on an unfamiliar trail.

lillypillygully

In the Lilly Pilly Gully. All the trees are still blackened from the fires, but the undergrowth has regenerated nicely.

On our way out of the park, as dusk was settling in, we noticed the animals becoming more active and started seeing a lot of wallabies on the side of the road. At one point, we drove past a clearing and saw about six or seven kangaroos and two emus. Finally! I’ve been here for two months and I’ve finally gotten to see a kangaroo in the wild!

wallaby

Wallaby along the side of the road

A bit further down the road, I saw a kangaroo and two wombats and was able to walk right up close to them and get some pictures with them. They appeared unphased by my presence, probably very used to humans. It almost made up for not getting to feed the parrots.

kangarooandwombat

A kangaroo and one of the wombats enjoying their dinner.

The next day, we decided we’d hike up Mt Bishop. We had seen signs for it near Lilly Pilly Gully and were told it was about two hours one way. It wasn’t a huge mountain, only 320 meters or so, but we were told by other hikers that it offered a great view at the top from both sides, so we figured we’d give it a go. It was a pretty easy hike up there and back and the view was spectacular. And after that, we decided to head home, knowing we’d be facing heavy traffic with all the holidaymakers returning from their weekend away.

mtbishopsummit

View from one side of the summit of Mt Bishop

mtbishopsummit

The view from the other side of the summit of Mt Bishop

On the whole, though, the Prom is nothing compared to the Great Ocean Road in terms of natural beauty, but I may be judging it too harshly, since I haven’t gotten to see any of the really good attractions there. I’d go back again when they reopen more of the park and give it another chance.

4 Responses to “Wilsons Promontory”

  1. jannath March 15, 2012 at 5:11 am #

    great pictures. Sorry you guys weren’t able to see the majority of the park because of the previous fires. Better to be safe than sorry I suppose?

    And oh my goodness I am so jealous you saw a real life kangaroo. Closest I’ve ever gotten were Kanga and Roo from winnie the pooh.

    so cute!

  2. Prom Lover March 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Thought you might like to know, most of the Southern End of the park will reopen on 30th March – check the Parks Victoria website for details.

    FYI – Fact corrections:
    ** ALL national parks in Victoria are FREE entry, this has nothing to do with flood or fire.
    ** You can’t feed the wild birds because they will become dependent on humans and forget how to survive in the wild and die as a result
    ** I doubt you would have walked most of the walks in the southern end of the park – the sortest being about a 15km return walk, so these closures probably did not in fact affect your visit as much as you think.

    Glad you got to see some of the animals.

  3. Cosette May 18, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Theo’s brother is always telling him to take me there. It’s going on my to-do list now for sure. Thanks for sharing!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Healesville Sanctuary « Housewife Down Under - June 3, 2012

    […] gates, you immediately come to the emu enclosure. I’ve seen them at a distance in the wild at Wilsons Promontory, but up close, they are a lot more […]

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