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Wilsons Prom - Southern Circuit

PostPosted: Fri 28 Aug, 2015 10:13 pm
by scoha
This is my second classic trip report from the Prom - you may like to read my earlier report Wilsons Prom - Northern Circuit.

There is no doubt the Prom is a gem and for those of in Melbourne or south east Victoria its a jewel in crown of terrific walking trips we have easy access to. The Prom is one of those places which can be overlooked, or considered "done" and therefore no need to return. Ive just done two fabulous trips there and I think I could go back this weekend and get something different again. (But dont tell anyone because then it might get crowded!)

This time it was the southern circuit I turned to. Very much more popular and more straightforward but every bit as rewarding. This time I did the trip solo as final preparation for my solo AAWT later in the year.

Day 1

Being winter I parked at Telegraph Saddle car park and headed straight off. In summer or busier periods there is a shuttle service from the Tidal River overnight walker's car park. Leave the car park and head south down a closed road. Its not that exciting being a road so this stage is just about re-familiarisation of body and pack and getting a steady rhythm going. Its about 6.5km to the Oberon Bay turnoff to the west and the Waterloo Bay turn off to the east. Then a short walk further south to Half Way hut - which was built to support the lighthouse and connected telegraph line. Its withstood the ravages of weather, bushfire, flood and campers for over a hundred years and still in great shape.

Not long after the Hut you leave the road and its single track walking pad all the way to the Roaring Meg campsite. Nice camp by a little river with very inquisitive ravens. Set up the tent and then headed off the extra 3.6km to South Point - the southern most point on the Australian mainland. Just off the coast are a bunch of islands and the closest at about 10km off is Rodondo Island which as it turns out is actually in Tasmanian waters. So you can very definitely see Tasmania from the tip. Its an inspiring site.

Southern tip of Australian mainland
Rodondo Island, Tasmania 10km away from Victoria

Day 2

Next day headed across the very well kept track to South East Point, all the while getting nice views across Bass Strait and the various Tasmanian islands. South East Point is where the famous lighthouse built in 1857 sits gazing across some of the world's roughest oceans - though on this day it was pancake flat (well a bit of a lumpy pancake anyway).

Theres a really interesting museum as part of the lighthouse, and if you get the opportunity, very worth while to get a tour of the lighthouse itself. Sea Eagles soaring in the constant breeze.

Then it was off this time heading northish on a relatively new trail - the South East Walking Track which connects South East Point with Waterloo Bay on the east coast of the Prom. Lots of little runoffs along the way so plenty of water. After about 10kms the track drops down to Waterloo Bay - classic intense white quartz sand beach and oh so beautiful. The sea is clear and blue and looks very tempting for a swim - but being winter I knew it would be a bit brisk so opted to just enjoy it from the beach. From Waterloo the trail cuts over headlands to get to the camping area at Little Waterloo Bay, which was empty. Some really nice rainforest walking then before gradually climbing up to the lookout at Kersop Peak, with distant views way back to the Lighthouse about 12km away.

Its only about 45 mins then to the Refuge Cove camp site - again deserted. Refuge Cove competes for the most beautiful place in the world. Big call I know but go there and let me know why it isn't! Had the place to myself which was sublime - and the ever present ever inquisitive ravens. Water so clear it looks like liquid glass.

Day 3

Breakfast looking over Refuge Cove makes porridge and dates like the full buffet at the Windsor - too much to look at and hoping you can absorb more than is actually possible. Unfortunately, had to eventually walk out of this little slice of heaven and head through tall eucalyptus forest up to Horn Point - where it started to rain in true spring style - and didn't stop for the rest of the day. Into the hugely popular Sealers Cove, though at this time it was completely deserted. Bots off for the obligatory wet foot crossing of Sealers Creek - fortunately the tide was low and therefore its calf height only. High tide its swimmable. Match the time of your crossing with your enthusiasm for a dip and you will be fine. In my case, torrential rain and a temp hovering around 8c made low tide a great time for crossing!

500m walk up the beach and then into the forest. Some boaties (an assumption based on no evidence other than evidence of attitude) had thought it appropriate to leave a pile of stubbies and beach BBQ rubbish on the track which was horrifying and disappointing all in one. How people could come here and selfishly desecrate such a place in incomprehensible - surely the place was enjoyed at the time?

Anyway, onwards through the rain - really raining rain - through the rainforest on the duckboard that have been installed through there swamp. It felt just right to be walking through such heavy rainforest swamp in such heavy rain. Leaving the duckbiards the trail gradually climbs up to Windy Saddle after negotiating a few areas where the major floods of 2011 had completely obliterated the trail - and it has no (and only recently) re-opened after much painstaking dedicated and effort by Parks and the Friends - great job. I understand that the damage was so extensive and the challenge to re-instate so huge that for a while it was seriously considered that the trail might never be able to be re-opened. Would have been a huge blow to Australian walking.

Eventually pulled in to the finish at Telegraph Saddle and the warmth of the waiting car.

This is a must do walk. Its on great trails, well set up camps and has spectacular scenery - if its summer dont dare do it without some discrete means of swimming in the sea!

Re: Wilsons Prom - Southern Circuit

PostPosted: Sat 29 Aug, 2015 5:13 am
by ofuros
Lovely looking area.....thanks for the report, scoha. 8)

Re: Wilsons Prom - Southern Circuit

PostPosted: Sat 29 Aug, 2015 9:15 am
by J M
Nice report and photos, makes me want to go back there night now!

Re: Wilsons Prom - Southern Circuit

PostPosted: Tue 01 Sep, 2015 9:26 am
Looks fantastic. My partner and I have been keen to do this walk for awhile now, but we had to put it on hold due to the birth of our son.

Now that he is a little bit older and a camping/day hiking veteran (he's 2 :D ) we are looking at this as a possibility again.

He can only manage 3-5 kms at a time, however, so we would need to assist either with our Deuter Kid Comfort Backpack or the All Terrain Mountain Buggy pram we own. Aside from any stretches on the actual beach, are the trails hard packed enough to not bog the pram?

I realise there will still be places where we will need to be creative, but was hoping we might be able to time breaks for him around stretches where the buggy would be practical.

Feel free to tell me I am dreaming :lol:

Re: Wilsons Prom - Southern Circuit

PostPosted: Tue 01 Sep, 2015 7:51 pm
by scoha
Threepoint, as long as you are prepared to carry it would be a great trip - we took out two kids around the Telegraph Saddle - Sealers - Waterloo - Oberon Bay - Tidal River circuit when they were 6-7 walking all the way so that was a bit older - but if you are organised and determined it would be a great trip. Suggest leave the buggy at home as some of the trail is narrow and you would have a job navigating through. You would however I think get the buggy all the way to the point the trail descends to Waterloo where it gets narrow - then its Waterloo Bay and then narrowish track in parts round to Sealers - then its duckboard and trail with some steps back to Telegraph Saddle.

Sorry not conclusive - anything is possible and theres not doubt kids would love it

Re: Wilsons Prom - Southern Circuit

PostPosted: Tue 01 Sep, 2015 9:19 pm
by GBW
Hey scoha, love the's a beautiful place. I'm right in the middle of an account of our experience on the AAWT and it may (or may not) help you in your preparations. We didn't do the whole thing but should give you an idea of the type of conditions you may encounter. Good luck.

Re: Wilsons Prom - Southern Circuit

PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2015 8:14 pm
by scoha
Thanks GBW - very aware of your account and like many others eagerly awaiting the next instalment!! Getting lots out of your track photos and even checking out your food caches - well done