A one-day trip is definitely not enough to fully enjoy this magnificent place, but surely is a good opportunity to check it out and see if it’s your cup of tea. My chance to do so came as a school excursion led by a teacher who also is a professional tour guide for Bunyip Tours, knows everything about the area and is absolutely fascinated by it.
Wilsons Prom is the most southern tip of the mainland of Australia and it is believed it was a part of a terrestrial bridge joining Tasmania with the continent at some point in the past. It is located 3 hours driving from Melbourne in the Gippsland region and it’s the oldest national park in Victoria. In 1884, after 86 years of Europeans’ first expedition to this place, decimation of the Aborigines, massive timber harvesting, sealers and whalers’ invasion and annihilation of the native wild life, it was fortunately proposed to be reserved as a national park and finally became one in 1898. Wilsons Prom went through plenty of changes since that time. For instance in 2009 it was affected by severe bushfires in which over 25,000 hectares were burned. But apparently and luckily the miracle of life is stronger than destruction and it was unbelievably impressive to see how the rainforest has risen from the ashes over the last 5 years. Sadly Tasmanian Devil and Tasmanian Fox no longer inhabit the area, but other species native to Australia found their home there.
I was delighted to see always-adorable kangaroos observing us from above tall grass while we were taking our “wildlife walk”. We also spotted some emus and saw plenty of wombats’ pits. We would need to come at night to meet them and they sometimes go out during less sunny days too, but it wasn’t the case when we were there.
Wilsons Promontory National Park is popular especially for camping and hiking, but because of the tight schedule, we haven’t done any of it if you don’t count the gentle nature walk we took from Lilly Pilly Gully (I just cannot help myself and not giggle every time I hear this name). It wasn’t too steep and took us less than 2 hours including lunch break we had sitting under the trees and listening to the sounds of birds and a little creek. While enjoying the natural surrounding of the rainforest and inhaling its fresh humid smell, I was thinking about my home. The town where I grew up is located exactly in the middle of backwoods called Kozienice Landscape Park. (PL: Kozienicki Park Krajobrazowy). Its particular aroma, similar to the one in Gippsland, accompanied me for many years and brings so many happy thoughts to my mind. Sharing this reflection with my companions wasn’t the best idea I must say, as I was laughed out for associating the eucalyptus smell with a pine tree one. Oh well, after all, being sentimental has little to do with logics…
Our last stop was the famous Squeaky Beach, where, as you can imagine, the sand ‘squeaks’ when you walk on it. I’m not sure how to relate to this name as for me the proper beach with proper sand should always make that (proper) sound and following this reasoning most beaches should be then called ‘squeaky’. However, when I think about it I cannot recall any other place in Victoria, where you can find noisy sand like this one. Who knows, perhaps the name was given based on this kind of comparison? Anyway, the undeniable fact is that Squeaky Beach is a charming, relaxing white piece of heaven and every precious minute we spent there was passing by far too quickly. Firstly I ticked off the list of basic beach-lover’s actions: throwing the belongings wherever on the sand, rushing impatiently towards the water and getting hit by a crashing wave, running to the shore chased by another enormous wave, going back to the water without learning the lesson and having the pants wet to the level which disables you siting comfortably in the bus.
After the ‘human-versus-sea ceremony’ I went for a pants’ drying walk around the orange rock formations popping up from the ground. They form a beautiful little labyrinth where the water has carved peculiar smudges on the sand between the stones. I climbed one of the rocks and was sitting down for a while enjoying the view of the raging ocean and my classmates playing around at the beach. It was such a shame we needed to go back so soon.
We just had a little sample of what the area has to offer. There are a lot more of pleasurable things to do in the Prom. For instance, there are several different rainforest walks available, such as Mt Oberon Summit walk or Mt Bishop walk. As I’m not much of a hiker, I am more tempted to go back to do a different one – a Squeaky Beach to Tidal River walk. We only glimpsed at the river area and it was looking magnificent!… Wilsons Promontory, I will be back!