SPOT CHECK: THE PROM WITH BROOK JAMES
Melbourne based Brook James is never one to shy away from an adventure in some vintage machinery... Whether it's an air-cooled VW, or his recently acquired Range Rover Classic you'll see below, the man is always rolling in style. When Brook mentioned his plans for a trip to Wilsons Promontory National Park (located on a peninsula southeast of Melbourne, Australia) our ears pricked up. Not because we knew of it's beauty, but quite the opposite, we'd never heard of the place. So we made sure Brook took the camera & gave us a solid run down of what to expect. Here's what he had to say:
Having been to Wilsons Promontory National Park only once before my we have always been keen to get back and explore it further. The area is known for its rugged granite mountains and abundant wildlife, including kangaroos and wombats. It's for good reason that it's become a popular spot for both locals and tourists over recent years.
Feldon Fact #1 - This isn't really the pace for freedom camping & the Rangers are onto it - Being a national park, it's best to do some research & pre-book.. It’s one of the more expensive ones at just under $60 a night.
Myself and my partner Britt had a some time off so we decided to lock it in. Being around 3 and a half (4 hours in something a little slower) from Melbourne CBD, we packed the Rangie, hit the road and took it slow arriving at dark. We were surprised to find how busy it was down there and it had totally slipped our mind that it was peak summer season. We drove around for a decent hour or so on the hunt and both agreed to find a secluded spot just outside of the national park for the first night.
And what a good call it was, we stayed right on the water at a spot called Foster’s, an hour from the main part of Wilson’s Prom. We arrived late, opened up the Crow's Nest and crashed out straight away to the sound of lapping waves right at our doorstep. It was super nice! After a lazy sleep in the next morning we smashed out the usual coffee & brekky on the back of the tailgate, packed up the rig and headed back into Wilson’s Prom.
Feldon Fact #2 - Avoid peak times - Summer, so Dec / Jan as it’s packed with families..
It’s a super nice drive into the main part & takes about 45 minutes to Tidal River (which is where the most popular camping spot is for all of the families). We took it slow along the mostly dirt road and stopped off at the various beaches scattered at the edges of the national park. We took a blanket, a few cold ones and some snacks and spent most of the day relaxing on the beaches. A few to mention that we rated were Squeaky beach, Whisky Bay & Picnic Bay. Tidal River beach was nice, but a little too popular during the busy season for our liking..
Feldon Fact #3 - Keep an eye out for Wildlife while driving especially on dusk / after dark.
We both wanted to do a short hike and both agreed on doing the Mt Oberon Summit Walk on dusk as we knew it would be worth it up there with 360 degree views over the Prom. We drove up to the carpark, packed a small bag with water / essentials and began the incline to the summit. It was a graded dirt road 90% of the way up, mostly zig zagging, pretty easy going but nice and steep.
The last part was nice with a few stone steps on the side of the mountain to the top. We arrived at the top around 7pm, it's said to be a 2 hour hike each way... but most of us could do it in an 1 and a half at a steady pace.
The views were unreal, looking back out over Wilson’s Prom however the weather wasn’t playing ball and didn't gift us that picture perfect sunset. Regardless it was a nice way to finish off the day exploring / relaxing.
Feldon Fact #4 - Do the Mt Oberon Summit Hike - The views are well worth it!
We made our descent back to the truck and slowly cruised back to a camp spot we stumbled across, right by the entry to the park. Watch out when driving at night out there as there is seriously a crazy amount of wildlife after dark, mostly roos and wombats so always drive slow & keep an eye out. We opened the Crow's Nest windows & doors right up as it was fairly warm (keeping the mesh closed to keep out any unwanted bugs) and with the cool breeze blowing through we crashed off to sleep.
Our last day was spent being nice and lazy. A decent sleep-in, a slow coffee & brekky, followed with an easy pack up. Slowly we made our way back to Melbourne, stopping off at small country towns along the way (we'd recommend Walkerville and Venus Bay as some nice stops on the route back). We arrived home late after a well needed few days away resetting.
Feldon Fact #5 - Stop at the beaches along the way - Squeaky, Whisky & Picnic Bay were our picks.
So there you have it, Brook & Brit prove once again it doesn't take much to get out into the elements & get some well earned time off. All photos by the talented Brook James, with words by both Brook & Brit. Looking forward to the next adventure guys! Thanks for the insight into the Prom.