Wilsons Prom southern circuit
Posted by Patrick Melon
3 day hike
Wilson’s Promontory southern circuit (Windy Saddle carpark, Sealers, Little Waterloo and return – 35 km).
This hike was completed before the fires of 2009 and the floods of 2011.
Day 1: Windy Saddle carpark to Sealers Cove. About 10km or 3 hours walk.
What is of interest to me now with this hike is that it took place before the relocation of the track following the 2011 floods. The effect of the floods is noted by several track information signs placed by the Park authority on the way. Huge gouges in the mountain side were created within a few hours of heavy rain. In order to re cut the track extensive works to stabilize the hill side needed to be done.
We started from Telegraph Saddle car park and left the car. For the first few kilometers the track goes down, sidles Mount McAlister and then climbs steadily to Windy Saddle at the 300 meter mark. The photos show the effect of fire that passed through this section.
Windy Saddle is often heard before it is seen. As its name suggests the wind is funneled and roars through this gap in the mountains. At Windy Saddle a track north up to Mount Ramsay is more obvious these days than it used to be. Windy Saddle is a pleasant grassy area with a table and/or bench to sit on. A good stop for a rest, adjust the hiking boots and a bite to eat. The main track continues east and downwards with no more open areas until Sealers beach.
From Windy Saddle the Path descends to the Sealers beach on the north side of the valley in which Sealers Creek flows into the sea. Some re-routing of the original track has been done because of the floods making the distance slightly longer. At sea level the path becomes boardwalk for the last 2 km crossing Black Fish creek and Sealers Swamp. Just before the beach you cross a bridge over Sealers Creek. Once on the beach you turn south east towards the campsite. The campsite must be accessed by re-crossing Sealers Creek (tidal). On this occasion my wife carried me over so only one of us got wet feet!
Day 2: Sealers Cove to Little Waterloo Bay. About 13 km.
Up late and a leisurely start. Even though the night sky had been clear, day break revealed cloudy skies and rain showers. However, as the day progressed the weather cleared up. The track goes out to the Lookout at Horn Point then doubles back on itself, descending into Refuge Cove. Refuge is one of the best campsites on the Prom. From Refuge there is a climb to Kersop Peak. The lookout there provides views south to the lighthouse. The track then descends on to the beach at North Waterloo Bay and becomes very rough until Little Waterloo. Unfortunately, blisters slowed us down on this section.
The water supply at Refuge Cove is at the back of the camp ground just north of the toilets. While I still filter or boil the water I have also drank it straight with no ill effects when running through this section.
The lookout on Kersop Peak is worth the brief walk. It gives good views to the south and to the Lighthouse.
Little Waterloo Bay camp site. Very pleasant area, sheltered and back in among the trees away from the beach. It is also very heavily used and can be damp in wet weather. Beware of the Currawong! Three hikers went for a swim in the morning having carefully laid out their breakfasts to eat on return. The birds had an enjoyable breakfast while they were away.
We enjoyed the rainbow over the sea as the sun was setting.
Day 3: Little Waterloo Bay to Telegraph Saddle. About 13 km.
Our final day of the shortened southern circuit. The track continues south to Waterloo Bay beach. Many continue along the beach to the lighthouse and camp at Roaring Meg. That is a very pleasant walk and the lighthouse is always worth a stop and a look.
We turned west and up the gentle valley between Mount Wilson and Mount Boulder. Mount Boulder is aptly named because of the large granite boulder outcrops that mark the route.
At Telegraph Junction the better option is to continue to Oberon Bay and then head north to Tidal River. We took the easier and less scenic route up the long drag to Telegraph Saddle carpark.
This is one of the best short multi day hikes in Victoria. For that reason it is very popular in summer and advance booking needs to be made. I have camped at Refuge once in winter when no-one else was around. Even then when I got to Sealers it was pretty full. This hike features the best of the more remote sections of the Prom and is accessible to most who enjoy walking.