Hikes & Walks,  Travel Tips

Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Wilsons Promontory National Park in 2021

In this blog post:
Best Overnight Hikes at Wilsons Promontory National Park
Best Day Walks at Wilsons Prom
Wilsons Prom Accommodation
Best Beaches at Wilsons Prom
Best Lookouts & Viewpoints at Wilsons Prom
Best Walks for Kids & Wheelchair Users at Wilsons Prom
Best Photo Spots at Wilsons Prom
Best Swimming Spots at Wilsons Prom
Best Boat Trips at Wilsons Prom
Getting to Wilsons Prom
Important Things to Know Before Visiting Wilsons Prom
Getting Around Wilsons Prom National Park
Accessibility at Wilsons Promontory

Before I moved to Australia in 2018 I thought I’d done enough research to do the ultimate camper van trip around the country.

I thought I knew every spot that was worth visiting, but it wasn’t until I was relaxing around the fire at a camp BBQ in Lakes Entrance, Victoria that a fellow backpacker asked me if I’d visited Wilsons Prom yet.

Wilsons Prom? I’d never even heard of it. How could I have missed this off my itinerary?

After 2.5 years backpacking and several trips to Wilsons Promontory National Park, I can confirm it’s the most underrated spot in Australia.

What’s Wilsons Prom Like?

Found at the Southernmost tip of mainland Australia in South Gippsland, Victoria, Wilsons Promontory National Park is 50,000 hectares of pure paradise.

Granite peaks meet lush rainforest before reaching sheltered coves and white sandy beaches with crystal clear water.

When you look out at the ocean towards Tasmania from the south tip of the national park, you’ll see small granite islands scattered on the horizon.

The View of Victoria's First National Marine Park at Wilsons Prom
The view of Victoria’s First National Marine Park at Wilsons Prom

These islands form part of Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park, home to humpback whales, dolphins, seal colonies and beautiful coral reef.

Wilsons Promontory is most famous for hiking activities, offering some of the best day walks and overnight hikes in Australia.

Tourists and Victorians alike also flock to The Prom for the incredible scenery and pristine beaches.

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria, Australia.

How Do You Get to Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria?

Wilsons Promontory National Park is on a peninsula southeast of Melbourne.

It’s about 240km by road and it will take you about three hours to get there by car from the city.

Unfortunately, there’s limited public transport in the area so traveling by car or camper van is definitely the quickest option.

Before you leave Melbourne, fill up a full tank of fuel because petrol stations become few and far between the closer you get to the national park (there is an overpriced fuel station in nearby Yanakie if you’re desperate).

If you’re visiting as part of a campervan road trip of Victoria, Wilsons Promontory is the ideal stop in between Lakes Entrance and Phillip Island (or the other way round depending on your route).

How Do You Get Around Wilsons Promontory National Park?

Being from England, I naturally assumed that you could drive around the whole of Wilsons Promontory National Park on various intersecting roads like you can back home.

No, Emily. Think again.

There is one road into Wilsons Prom and it stops dead at Tidal River, about a third of the way into the park (the image below really shows how remote the area is).

The Small Area of Wilsons Promontory National Park Which is Accessible By Road via Google Maps
The small area of Wilsons Promontory National Park which is accessible by road via Google Maps

Although many of the beaches and hiking spots on the west side of the park can be reached by road, a huge chunk of Wilsons Promontory can only be accessed on foot or by boat.

For many people, the pure remoteness of Wilsons Promontory National Park makes it all the more magical.

You can spend a whole day hiking to a hidden bay with crystal clear turquoise water that barely anybody gets chance to visit and spend the night under the stars at one of the most secluded camping spots on earth.

The view of the Milky Way on a clear night at Wilsons Promontory National Park
The view of the Milky Way on a clear night at Wilsons Promontory National Park

What Are the Best Day Walks in Wilsons Promontory?

1. Mount Oberon Summit Walk
7km Return – 2 hours

If you’re only going to do one walk in Wilsons Prom, it has to be the Mount Oberon Summit Walk.

Offering THE best view in the whole of Wilsons Prom, the 7km return walk involves a steady incline up Mount Oberon before rewarding you with views of the eastern Prom with its prominent headlands and beautiful bays.

Apparently, on a clear day you can see all the way to Tasmania from Mount Oberon Lookout.

I can’t vouch for this unfortunately, but I can promise an incredible view of the deep blue Bass Strait and the small islands surrounding the national park.

The walk starts and ends at Telegraph Saddle car park. In low season you can drive to Telegraph Saddle car park, but during summer holidays and weekends between November-Easter a free shuttle bus service from Tidal River visitors centre replaces car access.

2. Darby River to Tongue Point via Fairy Cove
10km Return – 3 Hours

This wonderful walk takes you from Darby River to Tongue Point with a quick detour to Fairy Cove, one of the most beautiful beaches in the national park.

Starting at Darby River car park, the track climbs over Darby Hill offering brilliant views of the Darby River as it snakes through the valley.

Darby River in Wilsons Promontory National Park
Darby River in Wilsons Promontory National Park

This lookout really helps visitors to understand the Aboriginal cultural landscape that we are privileged to explore and makes you think about how Australia’s First People lived in harmony with the river, the mountains and the ocean.

Next, the track veers towards the ocean along coastal heath and you’ll soon come to an intersection of paths with a sign towards Fairy Cove.

The quick detour to Fairy Cove will definitely be one of your favourite parts of the walk.

The small sheltered beach has perfect turquoise clear water and bright white sand.

After exploring Fairy Cove, head back to the Tongue Point track which will then meander along the ever-narrowing headland before reaching the semi-detached island at the end of the walk.

3. The Sealers Cove Walk
20km Return – 6 Hours

The Sealers Cove Walk is considered the best full-day walk in Wilsons Promontory National Park.

The 20km return track starts at Telegraph Saddle Car Park and follows ancient rainforest and ferny gullies to Sealers Cove, a picturesque and completely secluded circular cove with crystal clear water.

The Sealers Cove walk is around six hours return depending on your fitness level and how long you want to spend at Sealers Cove when you arrive.

The beach is bordered by high forested headlands so it’s relatively safe for swimming near the Sealers Cove camping area, which is just by the entrance to the creek at the south end of the beach.

You can pitch your tent here if you want to turn the walk into an overnight hike (there are toilets but no showers, kitchen facilities or car access).

During spring, you’ll see incredible wild flowers on the Sealers Cove walk.

4. Tidal River to Oberon Bay Walk
15k Return – 5 Hours

If coastal walks are your thing then the Tidal River to Oberon Bay Walk is the best walk for you.

Starting at Tidal River Visitors Centre, the walking track takes you to the south end of Norman Bay before hugging the coastline around Norman Point Lookout.

Next, the track will take you to Little Oberon Bay, one of the most stunning beaches in Victoria.

The final part of the walk brings you to Oberon Bay, a long white sandy beach flanked by huge granite boulders.

Looking out to sea you’ll have fantastic views of the Glennie Group Islands straight ahead, which conveniently block swell and high waves making Oberon Bay a really peaceful spot.

Oberon Bay at Wilsons Promontory National Park
Oberon Bay at Wilsons Promontory National Park

Despite the seemingly calm waters, Oberon Bay is not a patrolled beach so stay in the shallow areas if you want to swim.

5. Norman Beach to Whiskey Bay
12km Return – 3.5 Hours

One of my favourite Wilsons Prom walks, this 12km return route takes in four pristine beaches between Norman Beach and Whiskey Bay.

Starting at Norman Beach, the track winds back towards Tidal River Footbridge to cross the water before heading out on the headland towards Squeaky Beach (the area at the south end of Squeaky Beach is one of the best areas in the park for spotting wallabies so keep your eyes peeled!).

Wallabies at Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory
Wallabies at Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory

Next walk all the way along Squeaky Beach until the track re-starts at the northern end. Wind through the bush tracks of another headland before coming out at Picnic Bay Beach.

For the final stretch of the walk, wander along Picnic Bay Beach before ascending up to the Whiskey Bay Lookout at the end of the walk.

Whiskey Bay, Wilsons Promontory National Park
Whiskey Bay, Wilsons Promontory National Park

6. The Mount Bishop Summit Walk
7.5km Return – 2.5 Hours

The Mount Bishop Summit Walk is another mountain climb offering amazing views from the top.

This is a demanding walk compared to Mount Oberon due to the steep narrow path, but the views make it worth it – and we all love a challenge ey?

The walk begins at the Lilly Pilly Gully Car Park and follows the Lilly Pilly Gully Circuit Track clockwise before linking up with the Mount Bishop Walking Track.

Once you think you’ve reached to the top, keep going a bit further because the actual summit is a few hundred yards beyond the Mount Bishop View Point.

The Best Overnight Hikes at Wilsons Promontory

Wilsons Promontory National Park is one of the best places in Australia for multi-day hiking, offering various remote coastal bushland trails leading to hidden beaches and coves.

1. The Southern Prom Circuit Overnight Hike
36km – 3 Day Circuit

The famous Southern Prom Circuit is widely regarded as the best long-distance hike in Victoria and visitors come from all over the world to experience it.

Starting at Telegraph Saddle car park, the track winds through eucalypt forest towards Sealers Cove then hugs the coastline to Refuge Cove and Little Waterloo Bay before heading back to Telegraph Saddle.

Most people tackle the Southern Prom Circuit in 3 days/ 2 nights.

Although 3-4 hours of walking per day may seem relatively tame, remember that you will be carrying everything on your back including a tent, luggage, food and water so it can be quite challenging.

Recommended route:
Day 1
Telegraph Saddle to Sealers Cove, 10.3km, 3 hours (camp at Sealers Cove Camping Area)
Day 2
Sealers Cove to Little Waterloo Bay, 13.6km, 4.5 hours (camp at Little Waterloo Bay Hikers Camp)
Day 3
Little Waterloo Bay to Telegraph Saddle, 12km, 4.5 hours

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this walk will blow your mind so be prepared to see some of the most beautiful spots in Australia and as well as amazing wildlife.

It’s honestly so hard to believe that you’re still in Victoria on this walk because the landscape is so tropical and the ocean so crystal clear and turquoise.

Please note that a camping permit is required to stay at the remote campsites in Wilsons Promontory.

They can be booked online here or bought from the Tidal River visitors centre upon arrival (a small fee is charged for the permit).

Camping permits must be kept with you at all times and returned to the visitors centre when you leave the park so that the rangers know you have completed your multi-day hike safely.

You must also leave your car at the overnight hikers car park during your trek.

2. The Southern Prom Extended Circuit Overnight Hike
65km- 5 Day Circuit

If 3 days hiking isn’t enough for you, choose the Southern Prom Extended Circuit instead (yellow route on the map)

This 5-day hike (65 km) takes you further south to Wilsons Promontory Lightstation and South Point, the southernmost place in mainland Australia.

At Wilsons Promontory Lightstation you have the opportunity to stay in a cottage next to the 19th century lighthouse.

Alternatively, you can stay at Roaring Meg hikers camp or the Half Way Hut campsite further along the extended circuit.

Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse and Cottages via Parks Victoria
Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse and Cottages via Parks Victoria

Again, a camping permit is required to do this circuit and your car needs to be left at the overnight hikers car park.

3. The Northern Wilderness Overnight Hike
57km – 4-6 Day Circuit

I’ll start by saying that this multi-day circuit is only suitable for experienced hikers.

This is because in some places the track is poorly defined, passing through dense heath and across creeks that are sometimes high when the tide is in.

All hikers must fill in a Hiker Self Assessment Form before starting to ensure you have an appropriate fitness level – call 13 1963 for further information.

Nevertheless, if you think you can take on the Northern Wilderness Circuit, you’re in for a real treat.

You’ll be hiking in one of the most remote spots on the continent, offering beaches and forests completely unspoilt by mankind.

Most hikers complete the Northern Wilderness Circuit in 4-6 days and you can stay at any of the five campsites for a maximum of two consecutive nights.

  • Barry Creek
  • Lower Barry Creek
  • Five Mile Beach
  • Tin Mine Cove
  • Johnny Souey Cove

The northern part of Wilsons Promontory is classed as a wilderness zone and there are few facilities – camping permits are required.

Overnight hikers will need to bring a 6L water container and water purification aids, along with plenty of food, toilet roll and a small trowel for digging a hole (I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate any further).

*My map is only intended to provide a general overview of the route. Please use a detailed map, GPS and a compass when hiking in this area of the Prom.

If you want to experience the northern section of Wilsons Promontory without any overnight hiking, choose the easy half-day Vereker Outlook Walk or the Millers Landing Nature Walk.

Best Child-Friendly & Accessible Walks at Wilsons Promontory

1. The Loo-Errn Track via Tidal River Footbridge
1km Return – 30 Mins

This is a super easy walk along the banks of Tidal River via the Tidal River Footbridge, a curved boardwalk bridge which takes you from one side of the shore to the other.

The walk, which starts at Tidal River visitors centre has been designed for people with limited mobility and it’s also great for young kids and push-chairs.

This walk provides an opportunity to see the river up close, which is a deep ‘black tea’ colour because it’s been dyed by the abundance of tea trees in the area.

2. Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk/Lilly Pilly Gully Circuit
5km Circuit – 1.5 Hours

The Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk lets you explore the warm temperate rainforests of Wilsons Promontory.

This family-friendly walk is a great way to see the abundant wildlife of the park up close, so look out for wombats, wallabies, emus and echidnas.

With lots of fun facts along the way, kids will love learning about the different birds found in the area and the different tree varieties in stringybark forest.

Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk via Good Times Tours
Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk via Good Times Tours

The walk is also great for push-chairs and those with limited mobility as the gravel tracks and boardwalks are wide and relatively flat.

The walk starts and ends at the Lilly Pilly Gully Car Park.

3. The Prom Wildlife Walk
2km Circuit – 1 Hour

The Prom Wildlife Walk is probably your best chance to see kangaroos at Wilsons Promontory – especially if you complete it just before dusk.

Starting at the Wildlife Viewing Area, head through open grasslands and see how many wild animals you can spot including wombats and emus.

The Best Swimming Spots at Wilsons Promontory

Beaches at Wilsons Promontory are rarely patrolled so always swim with care and only go waist-deep.

In summer, Norman Beach at Tidal River is intermittently patrolled by surf life-savers so it can be a popular spot for swimming, paddle boarding and beginners surfing.

The east side of Wilson Prom is a relatively protected peninsula due to the prominent granite headlands extending out to sea, so swimming is often enjoyed in the shallow water of the sheltered coves and beaches.

What Accommodation Options Are Available at Wilsons Promontory National Park?

You won’t find any fancy Airbnbs or boutique hotels in the park because Wilsons Promontory accommodation is exclusively provided by Parks Victoria.

Nevertheless, there are loads of accommodation options from budget to high-end so you can choose the perfect stay for your group.

Tidal River is the main visitor hub for the park and it’s where you’ll find modern cabins (up to six people), one-bedroom units for a cosy getaway or basic huts with shared facilities (4-6 people).

If you want a luxury glamping experience, definitely choose the Tidal River Wilderness Retreat.

Tidal River Wilderness Retreat via Visit Melbourne
Tidal River Wilderness Retreat via Visit Melbourne

Pull up to a ready-made spacious safari-style tent with a queen size bed and your own bathroom.

You’ll be staying in one of the best spots in the park for wildlife spotting so expect to wake up to wallabies and wombats right outside your tent.

Tidal River accommodation options also include a large camping and caravan park with bathroom facilities, kitchens, laundry and a shop.

Tidal River Campground via Parks Victoria
Tidal River Campground via Parks Victoria

Wilsons Prom accommodation always sells out fast so make sure you book in advance, especially during peak season and summer holidays.

Tidal River is also home to The Prom Open Air Cinema, Victoria’s oldest outdoor cinema airing classic family films from December to April.

For a more secluded campsite, choose Stockyard Campground.

This is a quieter spot near the entrance to the park surrounded by tall eucalypt and banksia woodland with bathroom facilities, a camp kitchen and shelters with picnic tables.

Best Beaches at Wilsons Prom

  1. Squeaky Beach (the sand is whiter than white and actually squeaks!)
  2. Norman Beach
  3. Whiskey Bay Beach
  4. Oberon Bay Beach
  5. Cotters Beach (also check out Cotters Lake whilst you’re there)

Best Lookouts at Wilsons Promontory National Park

  1. Sparkes Lookout
  2. Picnic Bay & Whiskey Bay Lookout
  3. Norman Lookout
  4. Glennie Lookout
  5. Tidal Overlook Viewpoint
  6. Pillar Point Lookout

All of these view points are close to the Tidal River area and can be accessed via a short walk from the nearest car park.

Best Photo Opportunities at Wilsons Promontory

  1. The Big Drift (inland sand dune system accessed by the drift track)
  2. Mount Oberon Summit
  3. Darby River (from Darby River car park)

Best Boat Trips Around Wilsons Promontory

  1. Wilsons Prom Wilderness Cruise to Cleft Island (Skull Rock)
  2. Wilsons Promontory Whale Cruise (winter only)

Important Things to Know Before You Visit Wilsons Promontory

Entrance fees: Entry to the national park is free for day visitors. Overnight hikers will need to pay for their camping permit fee which usually costs less than $10.

Dogs: No dogs are allowed in Wilsons Promontory National Park.

Weather: Wilsons Promontory is prone to rapid weather changes and can be much colder than Melbourne. Always bring extra layers with you even in the summer, especially if you’re doing long hikes.

Maps & resources: Don’t forget to download the official Wilsons Promontory map and the visitors guide before you go.

Accessibility at Wilsons Promontory National Park

Wilsons Promontory is a brilliant place to visit for those with limited mobility.

Parks Victoria offers free accessible equipment hire including all-terrain wheelchairs, TrailRiders and beach wheelchairs.

Lots of the accommodation options and facilities at Tidal River are also fully accessible.

I hope you enjoyed my ultimate guide to visiting Wilsons Promontory National Park. Don’t miss my article on The 5 Most Beautiful Beaches in Victoria.