Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby publicrejoicer » Mon 29 Nov, 2021 8:14 pm

thanks Joris, Always good to hear current conditions of the circuit. succinct report. Three cheers for boobooks at night ! When do you go and collect the recorders? Is there anywhere on the web we can read the follow up to the sound survey ?
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Baeng72 » Tue 30 Nov, 2021 12:00 pm

Nice report.
Sounds like a good time was had.
Brings back memories...
That bog filled 4th water crossing tricks you. I stepped into it, and was up to mid-thigh of mud and water.
Ended up skirting it.
The thickets/trees at the Chinaman long beach end got me lost a few times, backtracking and faffing about, getting a bit cut up by the sharp stuff.
Real pain in the *&%$#! and time waster.
Now I need to resume the fetal position after thinking about it. :)
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Joris » Wed 01 Dec, 2021 7:32 am

publicrejoicer wrote:thanks Joris, Always good to hear current conditions of the circuit. succinct report. Three cheers for boobooks at night ! When do you go and collect the recorders? Is there anywhere on the web we can read the follow up to the sound survey ?


They last about a month so I will be back some time in summer depending on conditions and probably walk the circuit again.The survey is part of a government-funded effort to better understand the current population distribution of (Eastern) Ground Parrot - and particularly in light of the 2019-2020 bushfires which burned a significant portion of the species' habitat. Certainly there will be a report to government and I presume there will be a publicly accessible version of it at some point in 2022.

Baeng72 wrote:Nice report.
Sounds like a good time was had.
Brings back memories...
That bog filled 4th water crossing tricks you. I stepped into it, and was up to mid-thigh of mud and water.
Ended up skirting it.
The thickets/trees at the Chinaman long beach end got me lost a few times, backtracking and faffing about, getting a bit cut up by the sharp stuff.
Real pain in the *&%$#! and time waster.
Now I need to resume the fetal position after thinking about it. :)


That bog crossing fooled me. By the time I realised the situation there was no point in skirting it - mud bath! :lol:
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Joris » Mon 21 Feb, 2022 11:42 am

Hi folks,

Walked the circuit again this past Friday-Sunday in clockwise direction - those audio recorders deployed in November don't pick themselves up! Bit less time available so had to do it over two nights, camping at Lower Barry Creek and Johnny Souey Cove before walking out on Sunday. Since the very wet spring we had it has not rained much at the Prom and it showed along the way - the boggy sections between the track and LBC were dry and Barry Creek at the latter showed a much lower water level. However, albeit low, the water is still flowing well and smells and tastes good (I still treated it). Big *&%$#! tiger snake right before reaching LBC was sunning on the trail in the late afternoon sun and could not be bothered to move. Southern Boobook calling at night.

Left LBC early next morning - entire section to Chinaman's Creek dry underfoot. First crossing no longer resembles an Olympian-length swimming pool but is now largely ankle to shin deep mud and water, solid underfoot. Second crossing is still mostly water below the knee. Some mud, but easy wading. Neither crossing had flow left in it - unless desperate it is probably better to avoid using the water. Third crossing dry. Three more snakes after this.

The bog creek crossing to the SW of Chinaman's Knob has now given up any pretense of being a creek and is now back to looking and smelling like a bog. Mid-thigh deep mud - cross at your own peril. Nice closeups with Southern Emu-wren in this area.

The last 1km to Chinaman's Long Beach was quicker than last time - somehow managed to stay on the marked trail the entire way. The shallow creek along CLB holds no water at the moment. Hundreds of Black Swan and Grey Teal loafing on the water along the beach, pair of Hooded Plover halfway along and a White-bellied Sea-Eagle overhead. Did not pop into Tin Min Cove and quickly crossed the peninsula towards 3 Mile Beach.

Arrived at Johnny Souey late afternoon - southernmost creek (the one that cascades down the rocks) is dry with just a few stagnant pools left. The northern creek still had reasonable flow in it (enough to flow to the sea), water smelled fine and tasted good (still treated it). One other bushwalker at the cove - other than a friendly wave we maintained each other's solitude. Incredibly bright moonlight at night - could have started walking south in the dark without a torch. Groups of Short-tailed Shearwater flying out to sea around dusk.

On walkout from JSC to Five Mile Beach I quickly checked the Miranda Creek spring - its usually modest flow is now reduced to a very modest trickle. With a small bottle or a straw you could top up here still but it would require a bit of patience. Had several White-throated Needle-tail foraging overhead along the ridge that is marked St Kilda Junction on the maps.

All the main creeks along the management track still carry water and all have reasonable flow still.

Hopefully the above is of use to some of you.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby bigkev » Tue 22 Feb, 2022 9:48 am

Thanks Joris...nice report.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby picklemuncher » Sun 25 Sep, 2022 5:57 pm

has anyone done the northern circuit in the past few months? I'm keen to get out there soon! will call the park office in the week but thinking I might get more reliable info here.

mostly wondering about the swampy section with all the rain recently whether it's worth trying or too much of a slog. plan would be for 3 days.. Carpark-5 mile beach-Tin Mine cove- carpark. would that itinerary work or would the last day be too slow going to get through comfortably?

any info is appreciated :)
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 25 Sep, 2022 9:11 pm

IMHO the Chinaman's swamp section will be an ordeal and very wet.
I would wait until Easter. I have done this trek 3 times.Going in an anti clockwise direction It took us three nights and four days IIRC.
The 5 mile Beach to Tin Mile Cove leg was long and taxing.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby publicrejoicer » Mon 26 Sep, 2022 8:42 am

Regardless of the swamp conditions, three days is not long enough for that circuit. That country requires you to invest more time. When you arrive at 5 mile beach you will be cursing that *&%$#! jeep track but this is where the walk really starts. Treat yourself to 4 or 5 days. If you are limited to the three days make John Souey your destination and explore. I would have no problem with doing the swamp anytime now up until Jan. You can't get wetter than wet and there is always a hot shower pending. My issue is a chance introduction to an irate snake that gets disturbed as your party hammers around the scrub. Always wear long pants and gaiters and know what to do. That being said I have done the swamp twice and never seen a snake. We look forward to your report.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby indented » Mon 26 Sep, 2022 3:41 pm

picklemuncher wrote:has anyone done the northern circuit in the past few months? I'm keen to get out there soon! will call the park office in the week but thinking I might get more reliable info here.

mostly wondering about the swampy section with all the rain recently whether it's worth trying or too much of a slog. plan would be for 3 days.. Carpark-5 mile beach-Tin Mine cove- carpark. would that itinerary work or would the last day be too slow going to get through comfortably?

any info is appreciated :)


Can't speak for current conditions as my trip was nearing 2 years ago now (wow), but three days is doable if you're after a challenge. It is a push though and from Tin Mine to the carpark took me about 9 hours with rain a lot of the time and many times losing the track.

I had planned on 4 days but with an early start on day three I made it to Lower Barry camp before lunch. Didn't feel like sitting around all arvo in the rain when I could be having a burger instead.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Joris » Tue 27 Sep, 2022 8:19 am

I have walked the circuit twice in the past 10 months (see further up this thread) and it was really quite wet in mid-November 2021, but nothing that could not be overcome. Looking at the BOM website and comparing rainfall records at the lighthouse for 2021 and 2022 (to August) it seems to me that last year was a lot wetter in that area than is currently the case. No guarantees of course! That said - plenty has fallen and water should not be an issue this time of year.

It will be wet underfoot from west of Lower Barry Creek to west of Chinaman's Knob but that is almost a guarantee in early spring. The actual swamp crossings are not that hard - from west to east: the two big ones are pretty solid underfoot and reasonably straightforward to navigate. The third one is relatively deep but quite short whereas the fourth one is really a mud bath (despite appearances when it is wet) but can be skirted. Currents are negligible to non-existent. In all it comes down to your willingness to get wet at those crossings - if the weather is reasonable irt temperature etc I find it is easiest to just strip off as required, maybe wear some rain pants for basic protection and swap out your boots for reef booties or similar. Use a waterproof liner for your pack.

As to time required - as an indicator of what I did - in November last year I had more time available and so after driving down from Melbourne I walked from the car park to Lower Barry Creek (day 1); from LBC to Tin Min Cove (day 2); from TMC to Johnny Souey Cove (day 3); from JSC to car park (day 4). With less time available last January I again walked from the car park to LBC later in the day (day 1); but on day 2 went from LBC to JSC in one go and walked back out the following day.

Snakes - single baby snake in November last year, 4 big Tigers in the swamp area (not the crossings) in January. If you are going in the next couple of weeks you are not overly likely to encounter (m)any. Still - gaiters are your friend in this terrain, regardless of snakes.

Now that you mention it .... I will probably head out there again some time this spring!
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