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Wilson's Promontory National Park

Whilst most of Melbourne was in the grips of footy finals fever, others of us were escaping to the country for an away from it all weekend break.

The 'Prom' as the locals call it, is the southernmost tip of the Australian mainland. It is a three hour drive from Melbourne and Victoria's oldest, and number one National Park. The park covers over 50,000 hectares and includes pristine beaches, rain forests, huge granite mountains and rugged offshore islands.  
Sunset at Norman Beach
It is easy to see why it is one of Victoria's most-loved places. It's popularity means that the on-site accommodation is allocated yearly by ballot. In January all 484 campsites, cabins, group lodges and wilderness retreats at Tidal River will be full to the gunwales, allowing for a maximum of 4000 overnight guests. The Prom receives around 400,000 visit each year!

We were lucky to be staying at the 24 bunk Arthur Lucas lodge to celebrate a dear friend's  birthday, and what a weekend it turned out to be. We had the full gambit of weather from storms and wind gusts up to 122km per hour, to sunshine and balmy days.

Tidal River's tea tree coloured waters
After our arrival on Friday evening we took a short stroll from our lodge to Norman beach. Initially we follow the brown murky looking waters of the Tidal River, discoloured by the large numbers of tea trees present in the area. The water itself is very clean and clear they tell us!

This beautiful Norman beach offers stunning views of Mt Oberon and returning at dusk we pass a gaggle of wombats, one dressed for dinner complete with red and green earrings.  

The Prom is home to abundant wildlife and you'll never walk for long without seeing or hearing animals. Whether it be the screech of a cockatoo, or the song of the cicadas. Kangaroos, koalas and emus abound and the native birdlife provides a splash of colour.  

Walking back to our cabin we notice unconcerned, lolloping wallabies and even the odd echidna snuffling through the undergrowth.

Stylish wombat with earrings
The next morning the weather turns nasty. Arthur Lucas lodge has an undercover BBQ area, so we are still able to have bacon and eggs for breakfast and watch the wild storm approaching through huge panoramic windows. 

As the tea trees bend and break in the wind, and the rain turns to sleet, we abandon an earlier plan of a long walk with a picnic lunch. We munch on the earlier prepared sarnies enjoying the warm, dry comfort of our lodge.   The Park Rangers have a busy day clearing storm debris as the wind gusts get up to 122km/hour.

Storm watching from inside. 
A break in the weather allows us to explore the Tidal River campsite and facilities. The General Store is well equipped with basic supermarket items, souvenirs and camping gear. There is a Visitors Centre, where the Park Rangers will help you plan your walks and activities, there is even a cinema. 

Just to answer a couple of important questions, yes the whole campsite is plumbed with flushing toilets and yes internet access via mobile phones works

Loving the Blue Wren range of merchandise!
We buy a beanie and head out the brave the elements. The umbrella is immediately inside out. We find some shelter amongst the tea trees as we head off to have a nosey at the Wildness Retreats, making a mental note to enter the WIlson's Promontory ballots for next year - these look fabulous. 

By the afternoon with the worst of the storm behind us, we set off on our hosts favourite Prom walk from Darby Saddle to Darby River, via Fairy Cove and Tongue Point (9.4km). We start by leaving a car at the Darby River end to enable a car shuttle back to our starting point.

Given the wild weather we are forced to clambour over, across and through, fallen trees however, we are relatively sheltered amongst the bush.  On occasions when we get to a look-out, we feel the full force of the winds and hang on tight. 

It's blowing a gale out there, hang on tight!
It is a spectacular walk with a bit of everything, from bush scenery to beach views. We decided not to make the trip out to the exposed Tongue Point in favour of visiting Fairy Cove. A steep winding path finds the beach at full tide with the waves lashing the steps. The walk eventually cumulates in the climb from Fairy Cove over a headland with the winding Darby River below. We descend into the car park, glad to see one of our parked cars to shuttle us back to the start of the walk.

Descending down to Darby River
Dinner for twenty-four is a team effort with our hosts having arrived with a trailer full of delicious food and the best in Aussie wines. The mountain of food is transformed into a delicious roast lamb, potatoes and salad appearing from seemingly no-where.  Catering to be proud of, including gluten free and celiac dinners. Followed of course by a huge array of birthday cakes as dessert.

The Arthur Lucas lodge has a tremendous sitting/dining area so there is ample space for everyone.
Delicious food appeared out of no-where!
Entertainment is provided by some talented group members who compose a moving birthday tribute song which will be long remembered for it's ability to bring the audience to tears, despite the chorus of 'Don't forget to put your Dog Poo in a bag!' 

A couple of the younger members followed with an impromptu concert, their gifted singing and guitar playing a welcome end to a lovely day. 

Picnic Bay - one of the many beautiful beaches as Wilson's Prom
The next day, the weather turns on her charm, and with the sun on our backs, we head off for the short drive and walk to Picnic Bay where the keen and brave enjoy the bracing surf. 

The Prom beaches are known for their excellent surf, but the area has dangerous currents and rips. In the summer months lifeguards are present at Norman beach and learn to surf lessons are available.

The beach is wonderful to walk along and rock formations at both ends of the beach offer a range of rock pools to explore.

Our time at Wilson's Promontory is over all to quickly. It is easy to see why it captures the hearts of many holiday makers who return year after year to enjoy the areas delights. 

Thank you for the invitation for a wonderful weekend. 

Looking forward to a return trip for longer in the future.

Little Wandering Wren

Linked to:

Outdoor Wednesday

Thanks to the hosting group of
Our World Tuesday:
 Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia, Sandy and Jennifer

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

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