Almost a year ago we went on a short stay to Inverloch in Gippsland, Victoria (Australia). We had such a wonderful time and its only one hour from home. We visited so many great places, but there were still more we did not quite have enough time to fit in and vowed to come back. Not long after I won a photo competition with an image from the area and my prize was a weekend at a B&B (Bed & Breakfast) in Fish Creek, also in Gippsland. We also had photography friends who spent a weekend recently in Yanakie and Wilson’s Promontory (known to us as The Prom), which we were unable to go, due to work commitments. So this past weekend it was our time to go.
We rose quite early to get on the road before there was too much traffic and drove the two hours to Wilson’s Promontory, the sun had just risen and it was bright and cool, but would get quite warm as the day progressed. Just getting to The Prom is the first part of the trek, then you need to drive another 20 mins or so to get to Tidal River, which is the main campground, as well as the General Store, Rangers’ Office etc. Moth has never been and I have not been in nearly 40 years. I did not recognise much. We grabbed a coffee and had a wander around. We then hit the beach. Tidal River runs through to the Bass Strait, making a wonderful playground for families. You can surf the wild waves from the main beach or play on the water’s edge, this area is notorious for rips, making it very dangerous. But there is a fabulous creek that runs from the main river through to the ocean. There is a natural sand beach (Norman Beach) at low tide and the water is quite shallow in most of the swimming spots, a little deeper in a few. Long stretches of sand and warm shallow waters make this a haven for families. There are huge rocks and areas of scrubland to explore. I remember this little part of the world from being a kid, I have fond memories of me and a friend playing on a blow-up lilo, in these shallow waters; hours of fun and sunburn. I remember climbing over the rocks and exploring, chasing drop tail lizards and just being a kid.
This whole National Park is geared towards bushwalking and LONG hikes, some spots take days to hike to! We did none of the hikes, I remember coming here for school camp and having to climb Mount Oberon, it was a tough climb as a fit kid! I also remember feeding all the native birds and possums, but there are signs everywhere saying do NOT feed them. All along the West Coast are little bays and beaches, which is where we stopped at frequently as we made our way back from Tidal River.
300m from the car park, you will find Squeaky Beach, named for the rounded grains of quartz that make a ‘squeak’ noise when walked on. Lovely little spot, being enjoyed by many families.
I started walking some of the 400m from the carpark until I saw the very steep gravel path leading down to the beach, I know I must pick my battles when it comes to exploring and chose to stay up top, while Moth went for a look. Apparently very similar to Squeaky Beach.
400m from the car park, but fairly easy walk, there was a little bit of an incline, but not too bad and the walk through the marshy gully in the shade was quite pleasant, however the biting March Flies, were NOT – those things really sting when they bite and they were EVERYWHERE! We named it doing the Prom dance, swatting away those pesky flies, before they bit! We walked through the sand dunes (it is a fairly worn track and not too difficult) and such a pretty spot. We spent a fair bit of time here, exploring amongst the rocks and small pools, the flowing creek and sand dunes.
We stopped at a lookout or two, bypassed a few other beaches as they were quite a hike from the car park. We went to the Stockyards, but there is nothing there but a meeting point to walk to the Big Drift. I had no intention of doing this, after a few VERY fit friends did it last weekend and were still complaining days later how much pain they were in! It is a 4km walk out to a rather large sand dune, then attempting the climb of this dune, while reportedly worth it, was gruelling and taxing, then the 4km walk back to your car – talk about cruel and unjust punishment! PASS
We then drove to Shallow Inlet – honestly not very exciting and onto Yanakie and then Waratah Bay, leaving The Prom. It is a very pretty spot, but only suitable for camping and hikers and experienced bushwalkers or for those who just want to spend lazy days at the beach with small children. Apparently good for fishing too? The only thing I really did not like was the signs everywhere stating you were NOT allowed to fly drones!
We then drove onto Fish Creek, where I stupidly did not take any images – weird right? A very artsy town with a pub, some cafes and galleries. We stopped at Gibsons for lunch, where they made us fantastic lunches with our dietary requirements, I met Ellen who owns the B&B we were staying at, how funny. We then stopped at the gallery of Michael Pitts, a Wet Plate Photographer – Old School stuff, lovely images and it was nice having a chat and looking at his photos and equipment. I probably horrified him with my ‘fake’ wet plate treatments in photoshop, but as much as I do enjoy the medium, who has time and room for all that stuff? Give me digital photos any day! No images to show, but do check out his link above, some great photos.
We then stopped in at the B&B, met Paul, our other host, grabbed a coffee and then headed out again. We visited the other end of Waratah Bay last trip and never even got to the sleepy little seaside town itself, quite pretty, but nothing like my little piece of paradise. Next, we headed to Cape Liptrap Coastal Park and my little piece of paradise, Walkerville South, the boat ramp and Lime Kilns. Love, love, love this spot. We wandered the along the beach and explored Lime Kilns at low tide, full of families and dogs playing everywhere, enjoying the hot sunshine, we walked up along the track to the old cemetery, but the track got so steep I had to give up and head back but did offer great views out over the bay.
We then drove out to the lighthouse, it was by now getting quite late in the afternoon and was cooling down, it was also getting very windy. We stopped and took a few photos, but it was getting quite cold and we stupidly left our jumpers back at the B&B. So after a while we gave up and left, I initially wanted to shoot sunset here, but we left long before that.
We went back to the B&B at Fish Creek and changed into warmer clothes, just managed to catch a spectacular sunset, without my camera (typical) on our way into town for dinner.
Dinner was ribs and Cokes at Kooks, quite tasty, but it did not quite agree with either me or Moth and our fussy tummies, but that is another story!
I was sunburnt and tired, my back and legs were aching so we went back to our room and I pretty much collapsed into bed, as we planned an early start again the next day.
Day 2 – Walkerville South Sunrise, Port Welshpool, Port Albert, Traralgon and Noojee.
P.S. We took the drone with us, but it did not get a fly in today, not allowed to fly them anywhere at The Prom 😦 and then too many people at Waratah Bay and then too damn windy at Cape Liptrap Lighthouse. But there will be other days 🙂