Wilsons Prom; A nature balm on a city worn soul.
Updated: Apr 5, 2020
Wilsons Prom is one of the most rugged, stunning yet unforgiving landscapes in Victoria. And it’s quickly become one of my favourite spots in Australia. A fair drive from Melbourne, and a good 40 minutes from the nearest petrol station (a good point to remember when planning your trip), camping on Wilsons Prom is a cool tonic to a busy city soul.
This trip was our second, of two short trips. There is such a vast scenery and exploring to be had just from the drive into the Prom and from Tidal River. It would be extremely hard to explore it all in one trip.
So we chose to base at Tidal River and explore out from there and enjoy what we had around us. And we saw a lot!
We’ll surely go again and explore past the edges of the campsites and day hikes.
The Camp Site at Tidal River
We stayed for three nights, arriving about midday on a Thursday. We booked about 6 weeks in advance, with the Parks Victoria online system for Tidal River camping. They book up very quickly- so plan ahead. We didn't need powered, but there are only 20 on the whole camp, so book ahead if you need to. At first glance it seems fairly expensive at $60 per night, unpowered and an extra $10 per extra vehicle. But it’s unbelievable valuable considering your stunning location.
We camped as close to the beach as we could. Unpowered is further from the Normans Beach. You have stunning backdrops of the Mountainoeus region.
The sites are unreserved- something we thought was a bit of a downfall of Parks, as it’s not great to have to search around for a spot. It would also be very disappointing turning up late on a Friday- as all but spots on the roads would be available. We saw a few set ups taking up 3 sites too. Anyway. Get in early basically and don’t be selfish with set up- if you’re across a few sites you’ll be asked to condense into one.
The shop on the Prom is (understandably) horrendously expensive. A loaf of bread in coles is $1.30 and the equivalent white loaf is $4.00. I thoroughly recommend taking food with you.
Tidal River holds some fantastic events, such as wildlife talks. We are going to stay tuned on their newsfeed for upcoming events and I thoroughly recommend if that is “your bag”, you check it out.
Camping at Wilsons Prom is pretty rustic. But the very best kind of natural rustic that is refreshing and invigorating. A step away from everyday buzz of life and into nature and relaxation.
What to See
We have only visited Wilsons Prom on quick visits, but we still felt like we’ve seen a whole lot. As well as the campsite and Tidal River itself, there are some key beaches that are very easy to access. Norman Beach, Squeaky Beach and Whisky Bay.
Norman beach is directly in front of the campsite, and for us about a one minute stroll. It is totally stunning and once you get past that first shock of cold water it’s comfortable and so much fun diving through the waves.
Walking to Squeaky Beach was, one of our favourite walks ever. Easily accessible from Tidal River, it’s a stunning stroll. A mix of creepy forest and cliff walking makes it unforgettable. Remember water and try do it early morning or late afternoon to avoid the sun. Squeaky Beach itself is really unreal- pure white sand and turquoise (cold) waters, a real must see and my favourite Beach so far on Wilsons Prom. The dry sand really does squeak too. On the way back stop at Pillar Point an absolutely breath taking view of both Tidal River and Squeaky Beach.
Whisky Bay is again a short stroll from the Car Park. I’ll add here that the distance between car parks and beaches is an incredibly clever idea by parks to maintain the visual beauty of the beaches and also ensure the environmental impact around fragile beach ecosystems is conserved. Yes they are not perfectly conveniently placed at the waters edge, but they enhance the natural enjoyment of the beach and allow you time to “naturally mediate" through the bush on the way to the beach. So Whiskey Bay is again, completely stunning and well worth a visit. On the walk to the Beach we saw a big Wallaby sunning itself on the sand, and epic view indeed.
The far left of the beach is a partially used river bed- and for ecologists it was a dream and we found a lot of life and death in that little patch. Including a baby seal carcus. I wouldn't recommend setting up your beach towel there but further to the right would be a stunning beach day.
Wildlife of The Prom
We saw heaps and heaps of wildlife on the Prom. A tiger snake pictured above, on the walking track (eep!) spiders, wombats, wallabies, kookaburras and much more. It is an amazing place to see some Australia wildlife in the wild.
We saw Wombats wandering right through Tidal River camp every evening. Whilst for most people a Wombat sniffing out their food, that they accidentally left in their tent, it was a shame to see so many people directly feeding the wildlife- something very hard for the Park rangers to enforce but a very detrimental activity for the otherwise wild animals.
Do not feed animals, including keeping your food in secured location. Other ways you can help to preserve the wildlife at the prom is
Do not approach animals too closely
Drive slowly on the road into the prom
Use DEET free mosquito repellant
Take short showers and conserve your water use
Take your rubbish with you.
Don’t pick or take anything home
If you’re needing some nature R&R, Wilsons Prom is the place to go. If you’re traveling to or from Sydney to Melbourne it’s definitely worth driving via Wilsons Prom.
Essentials Packing List:
Mosiguard, or similar DEET free mosquito repellant
Reusable water bottle filled with water on hikes.
Wildlife guides and Binoculars