MEG LAW and her family explore Wilsons Promontory National Park on their first motorhome holiday
As we drive along the long and winding road hugging the coastline and enter Wilsons Promontory National Park, we are greeted by massive granite peaks and towering sand dunes. The blood orange lichen boulders contrast with the brilliant turquoise waters. My shoulders drop, my soul dances and my eyes widen. It is so good to be back to my natural sanctuary, my happy place.
‘The Prom’, as it is colloquially known, stops me in my tracks every time I visit. No matter what season it is; whether confronted by fierce winds and heavy showers or sunshine and blue sky, it is always a showstopper. The Park is full of natural wonders – rocky mountains, pristine beaches, wildflowers, migrating seabirds, heathland orchids, towering forests, and a host of animals, including kangaroos, emus, wombats, echidnas, seals and dolphins. With only one road in and out, it’s a place where you can really feel like you are away from it all.
Family motorhome holiday to 'The Prom'
‘The Prom’ was the final leg in our motorhome adventure through coastal Victoria. After spending a few weeks in our ‘home on wheels’, we were so excited to return to our favourite natural haven and base ourselves here for the week to camp, hike, swim and explore.
It was our first motorhome holiday, and we were completely hooked. We loved the freedom of parking overnight wherever we liked and waking up overlooking new terrain, whether that be beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers or beaches. We loved seeing kangaroos hopping by the side of the road, the kids playing UNO at the table while we drove upfront enjoying the peace, stopping wherever we liked to make a cuppa in the van or pulling up at a spectacular beach to have happy hour at sunset or partake in a spot of fishing.
Everything was such a novelty. The kids loved climbing the ladder each night to sleep in their big double bed (or what they called their cubby house), closing the curtain and reading by torchlight until they went to sleep.
There were also practical advantages, like having a toilet on board, eliminating the usual pesky toddler pee stops on a road trip, being able to eat lunch at the table while we drove along, or having dad jump in the back to play Pictionary on the old school ‘Etch A Sketch!’ while mum drove.
A surprise perk to the growing trend of #motorhomelife is that it is so easy to go off-the-beaten track and explore different places. We assumed that due to the sheer size of the six berth motorhome we would struggle to explore certain areas, but it certainly proved us wrong.
Wilsons Promontory National Park known as 'The Prom'
“The Mountains whisper for me to wander, my soul hikes to the call.”
– Angie Weiland-Crosby
There is probably no national park in Victoria as well loved as ‘The Prom’, which lies at the southernmost tip of mainland Australia, just a 2.5-hour drive from Melbourne. It became a national park in 1898 and is the state’s largest coastal wilderness area, covering more than 50,000ha. From hidden coves to large expanses of sandy shores as far as the eye can see, there are so many trails and empty beaches to discover. The little mermaid in our family, our daughter, was most impressed to learn that The Prom is home to one of the richest marine ecosystems off the coast of Australia – rivalling the Great Barrier Reef.
Camping here and hiking in The Prom offers the perfect synergy of beach and bush, with a labyrinth of tracks available for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. We chose to spend our time going on all our favourite day hikes and our two kids, aged four and eight, certainly covered some mileage on these tracks, ambling over rocks and racing down sand dunes. Their curiosity and insatiable appetite for exploring new terrain was inspiring, and as parents we were thrilled to see them soak up the wonder of this magical place.
Tidal River Campground - hiking, beach hopping, playing frisbee and more
We based ourselves for the week at Tidal River Campground, on the spectacular Norman Beach. Each day we would drive around to check out new places before returning to all the camping amenities we needed, including toilets, barbecue and a small kiosk which offered the all-important morning coffee hit and fish ‘n’ chips!
After several days of hiking, it was also good to rest our weary feet and give in to those salty, sun-kissed vibes and hang out at base camp with long lazy beach days, a spot of fishing, and our favourite pastime — watching the kids float along the shallows of the river on their boogie boards for hours on end. The tea tree-stained river was also great for kayaking, canoeing and wildlife spotting, with wombats and kangaroos wandering around the camp at dusk.
Sleeping under a sky full of stars, waking up to the sound of waves breaking, hiking through rainforests, beach hopping, playing frisbee, surfing, paddling, G&Ts in our van at sunset, late night fishing and card nights — our first motorhome holiday is one we will remember forever.
The writer was a guest of Let’s Go Motorhomes
6 great hikes in Wilsons Promontory National Park
1. Tidal River to Squeaky Beach
This is one of the most popular walks, and a return trip is achievable with young kids as it is an easy hike (6.3km return and we bribed the kids with a pitstop at Squeaky Bay for some beach frisbee and lunch)
2. Mount Oberon Summit
Panoramic views over Tidal River, the coast and offshore islands (6.8 return and quite steep in parts)3.
3. Lilly Pilly Gully Circuit
This walk weaves through stringybark forest along the southern slope of Mt Bishop before descending into the lush rainforest of Lilly Pilly Gully (5.8km return)
4. Mount Bishop
This one is more challenging, and we had to pop our youngest in the hiking carrier as we climbed the rocky summit of Mt Bishop. But it was worth the climb as we were rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of the west coast of Wilsons Prom and offshore islands (7.4km return)
5. Norman Beach, Tidal Overlook, Squeaky Beach, Picnic Bay, Whisky Bay
This easy hike visits all our favourite beaches and offers a good mix of beach and track walking (6km one-way)
6. Sealers Cove Day Hike
For families with older kids, this walk is 9.5km one way and is worth it to reach the crystal blue water at the end. For those with younger kids like us, you can break it up and do it as an overnight hike
Tidal River Campground has an online ballot system for peak season. To book a site or enter the ballot go to parks.vic.gov.au
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