Around Easter, A. and I took a long weekend in Wilson’s Prom. The Prom, as it’s known here, is one of Victoria’s little secrets. Well known in Melbourne as a getaway and a gorgeous spot for camping, quiet beaches and rugged hikes, it’s little heard-of outside of Australia- and I’m okay with that.
We were blessed with beautiful weather- neither too hot nor too cold, and (a rarity in Victoria) no rain to speak of. Patches of cloud made photography a little more interesting, and we spent several days exploring beaches, cliffs and walking trails up and down the coastline. We also got to know the local wildlife a little better- here, A. made friends with a Crimson Rosella, but the campground at Tidal River is also known for its population of semi-tame wombats, and there are roos and wallabies up and down the length of the trail. Not to mention Tiger Snakes. Oddly enough I didn’t pause to take a photo of the one I nearly stepped on, as I was busy scooting back down the track in a hurry, looking for a large stick.
Wilson’s Prom has been struck with a series of natural disasters over the last few years, including devastating bushfires that damaged much of the park and made many tracks unsafe to walk on. Flashfloods more recently have equally left much of the park’s infrastructure in disarray, and when we were there, many walks were still closed to the public and under repair. It was somewhat disappointing, and we were unable to walk some of the trails we’d been hoping to, but we still found some gorgeous scenery and some great hikes, so we can’t complain. Really, it just gives us something else to go back for. Not that we need the excuse.
I have to confess, we were a little cheeky. Some opportunities were too good to miss, and we ended up scrambling up a couple of closed tracks to find ourselves on secluded beaches and little coves that we had entirely to ourselves. The Prom isn’t exactly crawling with people outside of peak season, but it’s still a popular destination. However, being the only people in some of these spectacular spots was really quite special, and we relished it.
The coastline at the Prom is rugged- rocky and wild, with coves and beaches interspersed by tall cliffheads and rocky outcrops. It’s a dramatic landscape, and one of the most beautiful along Victoria’s southern ocean shore. The Prom juts out into the Bass Straits, a long and jagged peninsula that is one of the most exposed parts of the state. Once upon a time, a land-bridge joined Tasmania to the rest of Australia, and the Prom is its last vestige. When you look at some of the rocks around the Prom and compare them to, say, the rocks of northern Tasmania, you can see the similarities.
Our favourite walk was the one that led from Darby Saddle to Tongue Point. It’s listed as a moderate hike, which is a fair assessment- lots of ups and downs. Starting well inland at the high point of Darby Saddle (always ominous, because it means you need to end the walk with a climb back to the car), it took us a good chunk of the day to complete- five or six hours, when we factored in the exploring. The views along the way were magnificent, however, and it was well worth the effort.
Towards the end of the walk, the path splits and there’s a little scramble down to Fairy Cove. We were pretty much the only people on the track that day, so we had the spot to ourselves, and it was magnificent- a glorious and footprint-free beach where we could scramble onto the rocks and watch the breakers dash themselves against the headlands, and even a little tidal pool we were able to take a little swim in- still freezing cold, but not as hostile as the ocean itself.
One of the loveliest things about the Prom is the constant drama. With the winds coming off the straits, the clouds are ever moving and shifting the light on the scenery. The sea is restless, and you can sit for hours just watching the waves pound the base of cliffs or swash up around fallen rocks in great foamy charges.
Three things I’m keen to capture on my next trip to the Prom. First off, the night skies are magical out there, so taking a tripod to do some starlight photography is a must. Second, a spot of time-lapse to catch the movement of waves and clouds would be magical. And third, I am busting to get myself a nice telephoto lens and do some nice wave photography. The above shot is about the best of the bunch I was able to get, but I’m only shooting on an 85mm, which doesn’t really have the reach necessary to get those lovely creamy breakers at their best.
Seriously, it’s a spectacular spot, and I can’t recommend Wilson’s Prom enough. If you’re coming through Victoria as a tourist, or if you’re just a local Melbournian with a weekend to spare, make sure you get down there.