I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain – and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light…. ~Robert Frost
I love that quote from Robert Frost, particularly in relation to the two multi-day hikes I’ve done at Wilsons Promontory. Both were on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June, two years in a row, in the middle of the Australian winter. The first hike we ‘walked out in rain’, and the second hike we walked ‘back in rain’. But on both occasions we also had sunshine. It was wonderful to get away from the city lights, to gaze at the stars during dark chilly nights, and enjoy the fresh ocean breeze while trekking along the coast.
East Prom coastal circuit via Sealers Cove, Refuge Cove and Little Waterloo Bay
The thing that I loved most about this weekend was our perseverance. It was raining on our drive to Wilsons Promontory and the weather didn’t look promising. But we donned our raincoats and set off anyway, confident in our wet weather gear, and hopeful that the sun would emerge at some stage. On the first night, just after we’d taken shelter in our tent, the heavens opened to torrential rain. A few hikers were caught out and they were forced to hike out the next day because everything got wet. But we were safe and snug in our warm sleeping bags, and the next two days ended up being perfect with blue skies and sunshine. It’s often the way for us. We seem to attract the rain but then, if we carry on undeterred, we find ourselves in the most spectacular places enjoying nature’s beauty.
And this is a wonderful loop hike via three pristine beaches. On our first day we hiked from Telegraph Saddle car park to Refuge Cove via Sealers Cove; a distance of 16.6km. My hiking buddy and I had stayed at Sealers Cove on previous trips, so we wanted to spend our nights at Refuge Cove and Little Waterloo Bay. This meant our second day was only 7km, but it also had the most difficult part of the loop with a steep climb to Kersops Peak. On the final day, we hiked inland to Telegraph Track and made our way back to Telegraph Saddle car park (11.9km). The circuit is a total of 35.5km.
Lightstation hike via Little Waterloo Bay
The weather was pretty wild the weekend that we hiked to the Wilsons Promontory Lightstation. When we set out on the first day, dark clouds looked ominous and the tea-trees strained against a furious wind, their branches creaking and threatening to crash to the ground. As we approached the beach the wind lifted the sand in a dramatic mid-air dance. Conditions were somewhat difficult.
Shielding our eyes from the onslaught we forced ourselves onward. Our wet-weather gear was tested in the drenching rain and sudden bursts of spray from the breakers. My cap, which I’d worn in optimism of sunshine, lost its battle with the wind and was quickly airborne, soaring high above the angry sea, en route to Tasmania. Please note: the photos below were taken on a summer day walk to Little Oberon Bay (because I didn’t take many shots on that wet and wild weekend).
Wild weather at the Prom can be exhilarating, especially at South East Point. Perched high on the edge of a cliff is a small granite lighthouse, its location in one of the most isolated places imaginable. On the day we visited the wind threatened to lift us off our feet. The Lightstation keepers explained to us that on severe days they are forced to close the lighthouse to tourists for safety reasons. Fortunately we were allowed up, clinging tightly to the railing. Below us the sea churned and smashed against the rocky coast. The wind howled as it swirled around the tiny settlement and the frequent gusts pulled at my clothing. I could not imagine living in such an isolated place and wondered how it was possible that these buildings had remained intact during the ferocious weather that hits this coast.
On day one of this hike we trekked from Tidal River to Little Oberon Bay, which was only 7.6km, but we didn’t set out until the afternoon. On day two, we hiked to Roaring Meg campsite (9.5km), pitched our tents and then did a side-trip to the Lightstation (12.2km return). On the final day, we hiked up to Telegraph Saddle car park via Telegraph Track (12.2km) – it was a bit of a slog, raining heavily for most of it, but the consolation was hot showers at the end of the day. We caught a shuttle bus back to Tidal River.
There is a variety of overnight hiking options at Wilsons Promontory, with the most popular trails in the southern part of the park. For those wanting a wilder wilderness experience, head to North Prom, where there is little maintenance on the trails and very few facilities. If you’re not keen on camping, there is also the option of walking to the Lightstation and staying overnight in the cottages (19.1km one way via Telegraph Track). You’ll still need to carry your own linen and sleeping bag, as well as all your food, but there’s no need to carry a tent, sleeping mat or stove.
For more information about the trails at Wilsons Promontory National Park, click here.