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Wilsons Promontory Southern Circuit Walk

Next to Arapiles and the Grampians, Wilsons Prom is also on my very favourite list of places to go. Although I have been there numerous times, it has always been on a day walk schedule, so the two day overnight walk was something I have had on my radar to do for quite a while. As I have mentioned before, being a climber tends to mean that every free weekend with passable weather sees me out on the rock. But I thought it was about time to lock it in. There was no going back – just had to hope that the weather would hold out for us. Cameron had done the walk before and kept encouraging me by saying “Welcome to a world of pain”. Such a kidder! When we bought our permits at the Rangers office, this comment drew a strange look from the girl who was organizing it. Laughing along but secretly making a note to send in backup helicopters.

While the air was crisp, the sun was shining and I walked both days in t-shirts only. What I especially liked about this walk (besides the fact that it was a coastal walk) was the constantly changing environment. I must have a short interest span as I can get a bit bored when walking through unchanging scenery. But this didn’t disappoint. The wild and wooly bits of the Prom, to the rainforest greenery to  scrubby tea tree.

As far as overnight walks go, I think this would be a good one for those unacustomed to the longer walk and camp option. Possibly, continuing as far as Sealers Cove campground and then doing the return journey – this portion of the walk definitely falls into the easy category in energy output and using the well travelled track.

We chose to travel onto Refuge Cove – arriving at dusk to set up camp and rest weary feet.

Next day had some great sections of walking on the beach to access the next section of track. I never tire of walking along the coast – the sounds, smells and the myriad of interesting things on and in the sand that interest my magpie eyes. After a quick lunch at Waterloo Bay, we headed off in order to finish the last couple of legs to the walk. We were not continuing on the Southern Circuit walk but following the trail that leads to the Telegraph Track, and back up to where we began at Mt Oberon Carpark. While the first part of the day tackled the moderate to hard walking, this trail is predominantly on flat ground travelling over boardwalk in many sections. Telegraph Track is unfortunately, not a highlight of the walk. It travels the management vehicle track and for me, didn’t offer much in the way of interest. Being the end of the day and a little weary(not to mention shin splints and aching feet) the mostly uphill trudge of approx 6 kms felt just like that – a trudge. It would be much nicer if it travelled upon a dedicated track

Dusk was again, almost upon us and by the time we reached the carpark, the moon was out.

I would thoroughly recommend this walk despite my criticism of the last section. The complete Southern Circuit Walk can be found in the Weekend Walks Around Melbourne guidebook, page 146.

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Southern Circuit Walk (p146)

Karen and I were down at the Prom last weekend and did part of the Southern Circuit Walk while researching a daywalk for our forthcoming Daywalks Around Victoria. It’s worth noting that during busy periods (such as the Christmas holidays, Easter and school breaks) you can leave your car at Tidal River as Parks Victoria run a shuttle bus runs between Tidal River and Telegraph Saddle (the start of the walk). There have also been some changes to the walk since the area was largely burned during the 2005 bushfres. Much of the old-growth dense tea tree has now vanished and in places the trail is much more exposed to the sun. One of the most affected sections is the trail linking Telegraph Junction to Oberon Bay Camp. This once a beautiful walking trail was shaded by dense old growth tea tree as it meandered through undulating sand dunes hugging Deer Flat and the swamp. Unfortunately the trail is now a wide sandy vehicle track. During the 2005 fires Parks Victoria decided to construct a wide fire break along much of its length. A great shame, especially as Parks are apparently going to maintain this fire break in the future and so greatly diminish the trails appeal to walkers. Walking trails should not have to follow fire breaks. By the way, the old toilets at Oberon Bay are no longer functioning as they are full. Parks have portable toilets in place and are currently constructing a new drop toilet facility.