Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria, March – April 2022

Wilsons Promontory encompasses the southern most tip of the Australian mainland and was a spectacular place for Retire Active SA Bushwalkers to hold an A,B,C,D camp for 65 walkers.

For Indigenous people Wilsons Promontory is part of a spiritually significant land and we learned of ongoing work with the Traditional Owners to further respect and develop the cultural heritage of the area.

We were based at Tidal River in units, cabins, huts and the campground with a central meeting place which worked well due to the excellent weather conditions. Tremendous thanks to Andrew and Elaine and all the walk coordinators and leaders whose hard work made this camp an outstanding success. Although some tracks were closed due to storm damage and burning, our leaders designed 6 walks across coastal areas, mountain lookouts, through fern gullies and banksia forests with one rest day. It was a varied and stimulating programme with animal and bird life in abundance.

The Light Station 19 kms from Tidal River provided an extension walk for 17 of the group who witnessed the rugged coastal environment and luxury accommodation. Many thanks to Lorraine who coordinated this walk which was a highlight for many. (A report of the lighthouse walk follows.)

At the BBQ on the last night I asked others for their camp highlights, these are the responses:

  • What really hit me was the spectacular scenery and landscape – the huge hills and granite boulders, the little rivers and hobbit forests with gnarled trees – so full of character
  • The fern glade on the Mt Bishop walk. It was dim and dark around the flood lit fronds of a fern – bloody beautiful
  • I enjoyed the whole experience of walking with a group of people who step up and make something happen
  • The Three Bays area and going up and over to another bay reminded me of my childhood and home in Tasmania. The granite rocks were marvellous. We had a lovely time
  • Being close up to the animals especially the wombats but also wallabies and birds
  • Walking amongst the tree ferns and listening to the birds
  • The Lighthouse track to Waterloo Bay through forests, fern gullies with a running creek was beautiful
  • The Ranger talk was a standout. Bill spoke with so much passion and put himself right into it.
  • The relaxed atmosphere where I enjoyed the company of friends
  • I was impressed with the distance views from Mt Oberon which put a lot of things in perspective.
  • Seeing sea eagles. There were two resident eagles floating around and landing at the Lighthouse.

Sixteen of us set off to walk the Lighthouse walk. About 18 kms one way and 21 return. The weather was just about perfect for walking. Some of us were a little nervous walking with the A walkers but it was just amazing.  The group was cohesive and everyone waited where necessary and it just worked so well.  I believe this was the first Retire Active SA walk to do this. There was lots of chatting and admiring the views.  

Nearing the end of the last climb up to the lighthouse we suddenly stopped after hearing someone cry out and we turned to see Lorraine jumping very high to avoid stepping on a Copperhead snake. An amazing jump on Lorraine’s part and she will definitely be a person of interest in the next high jump Olympian team.

We arrived at the Lighthouse and settled into the three cottages for the night and saw another snake and some wombats. The lightstation was closed but at its base was a museum with its heritage collection and a powerful telescope to watch the busy shipping lane in the almost 360º view of Bass Strait

 Off again next morning and a fantastic walk back to our cars.   A wonderful time was had by all.