Huge beaches with soft sand that literally squishes between your toes? Check. Spectacular viewpoints overlooking the turquoise water? Check. Hiking trails, surf spots and campsites galore? Check, check and check. Welcome to Wilson’s Promontory National Park.
Just a two and a half hour drive from Melbourne, “The Prom” takes up over 50-thousand hectares on Australia’s south coast. The vast park appeals to all types, whether it’s the day-trippers looking to spend time in the surf and sun, hikers planning to explore the trails, nature lovers who enjoy bird watching, or campers who plan to simply relax by the Tidal River.
The well-marked pathways and roads make it easy to get around, and expansive stretches of beach are perfect for finding solitude. No matter how you choose to explore, here are five top spots in Wilson’s Promontory National Park.
The aptly-named Squeaky Beach certainly lives up to its moniker, boasting squishy sand that sounds like you’re walking in gumboots as you make your way across it. However, it could also have been named Marble or Granite beach, as there are beautiful swirls that look more like a luxe kitchen countertop than an Australian beach.
A favourite spot for photographers, surfers, sunbathers and families alike, a pathway shaded by dangling tropical plants leads to the beach, which opens up to the soft golden sand surrounded by huge boulders.
Scampering up the large rocks can take a bit of effort, but it’s a fun way to take in the view—or at the very least get a few Instagram-worthy shots.
Whisky Bay and Picnic Bay
It’s hard to beat the spectacular imagery of Whisky Bay and Picnic Bay, twin lookout points that offer unobstructed views of the turquoise water, crashing waves and untouched stretches of beach below.
Just a quick walk from the main road, visitors pass through dried brush where the black and white branches are a stark contrast to the otherwise lush greenery found in The Prom. Picnic Bay can be accessed via a steep track, and boasts massive rock formations at both ends. Whisky Bay is even more scenic, as visitors pass through a gully and follow Whisky Creek before hitting the sand dunes which lead to a sheltered beach.
The steeped-tea hue of Tidal River can be a bit alarming at first glance, but it turns out the water’s dark brown shade is due to the plethora of tea trees and reeds that surround it. In fact, the area itself is quite a serene spot, as the still water is surrounded by soft sand and lush green foliage.
Visitors can spend the day swimming or paddling in the river, throwing down a towel and sunbathing along its shores, or follow the walking paths and bridges that cross over it. Many of the park’s campsites are also clustered nearby, making Tidal River a popular spot for cooling off.
The crown jewel of Wilson’s Promontory, Mt Oberon undoubtedly boasts the best views in the area, towering nearly 600 metres above the roaring ocean. Fortunately it’s only about 3.5 kilometres to the summit, meaning it’s easy to get all the way up and back down in just a few hours. While it’s steep, the hike itself is also not advanced as much of the wide trail is marked with gravel. Just be sure to have warm clothing on hand, as it can get windy.
One of the best spots to take in towering Mt Oberon, Norman Beach also has one of the best swatches of expansive sand. Visitors follow a narrow, unassuming trail, which suddenly opens to a massive white sand beach.
Slip off your shoes and sink into the soft sand, then enjoy the feeling of the ocean waves lapping over your feet as you navigate the coast line. Due to its vast size, Norman Beach is perfectly set up for those looking for peace and quiet, or a secluded spot for sunbathing.
Norman Beach is also a great spot for learning how to surf, as it has consistent waves that aren’t too large to try and tackle.
While Wilson’s Promontory has enough sites to keep even the most ADD-traveller occupied for a week, it is possible to see the aforementioned five sites in just one day. Those who plan accordingly might even be able to make a pit stop at one of the area wineries before heading home—capping off a perfect day at The Prom.
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