In the most southern corner of Victoria, at the same time Australias most southern tip at all, resides the Wilsons Promontory National Park, renowned for its breathtaking nature. It offers almost everything, bushland, mountains (well, at least some little), forest and sandy beaches.
Many walking tracks are crossing the park, some are more maintained, some others less. A two hour stroll or a multi day hike, you can have it all. We (this time that means Jesper, Jasmine, Dillon and I) chose the latter and tackled the “Northern Circuit”.
This walk consists of four stages (if you skip several camps as we did) and sourrounds the northern part of the Prom. The difficulty is said to be moderate to hard since the track marks are availible only sparely sometimes and hence you’re supposed to be capable of dealing with maps and compass. | See the pictures
Day 1: Five Mile Road Carpark –
Johnny Souey Cove Five Mile Beach
21km, 6.5hrs 18km, 5hrs
After about three hours of driving south (beeing the only one with a license it was me who drove all the way down) we arrived at the beginning of Five Mile Road that crosses the park as a maintenance road. Having parked the car and packed our bags we were ready to start.
Not much further the sandwiches in our bags seemed really attractive so we took a short side walk to Millers Landing and had Lunch.
Time flew and it got later and later walking on the rocky road. When we finally reached Five Mile Beach we stated that this camp was way to nice to walk on so we stayed there for the night.
In the freshwater creek we refilled our bottles and had to find that it was not really fresh – it rather tasted like two year old water from a rain cask, seasoned with a proper pinch of salt. The color looked like a very thin black tea (indeed this color is caused by the Tea tree) … But you’re willing to bear a lot if you have to. Hence the morning coffee tasted somewhat different than usually. And there’s no need for salt to boil your pasta.
The few raindrops during the night were not enough to force Jesper and I into the girl’s tent. We had actually decided to leave the second tent in the car and had just taken a tarp against the wind. The drizzle was over soon and nothing else got in the way of a quiet sleep …
Day 2: Five Mile Beach –
Tin Mine Cove Johnny Souey Cove
17km, 6.5hrs 3km, 1.5hrs
The second stay went slightly different to our plans: after we had walked the three kilometres to Johnny Souey Cove this camp appeard to us to be even nicer than the last one. And due to the fact that we had another breakfast with panckes anyway the decision wasn’t too hard to make: Fuck the next 14k, we’ll do that tomorrow (together with the 12k of the third stage!), today is beach time! So the day was made up of sun bathing, digging for crabs and incredible 3k of walking …
A place to sleep was found quickly, on the beach in a spot with nice white sand – at least in the evening.
Day 3: Johnny Souey Cove –
Tin Mine Cove Lower Barry Creek
14k, 6.5hrs 26k, many hrs
Actually when we woke up the next morning the high tide had set in and had almost flooded our tarp and the tent. Only a few centimetres were left dry between my big toe and the sea. And the weather didn’t look so nice anymore, no more blue sky but heavy gray clouds and a cold breeze.
Hence we quickly packed our stuff and began the longest stage of the entire trip. Remember that we had to cope with the 14km that we left yesterday as well as the actual 12km of day three. And just these two parts are supposed to be the hardest. First rough thicket where we actually lost the track for a while and had to make our own way through the overgrown bush (given the size of the track that we found later it’s remarkable that we were able to loose it at all). But we managed to overcome this obstacle and a few hours later we reached Long Chinamen Beach and had our well-earned wraps and a couscous-noodle soup.
The next couple of kilometres we followed the beach until we arrived at the start of the highlight of the whole walk: Chinamen swamp. After rainfalls it can be up to 1.5m deep mud over more than a kilometre. The ranger had us told that he was tired of rescueing tourists from the swamp because they had overestimated their capabilities and navigation skills. Sounds intreesting, doesn’t it?
Well, we were lucky (or unlucky, depending on the point of view) and due to the dryness of the last weeks there was hardly any wet bit, only two short sections that could be bypassed through the bush. So at least our feet stayed dry, they’d suffered enough from getting scrached and bitten by mosquitos anyway.
It got later and later, we had run out of water quite a while ago and slowly I started to look for a place to sleep next to the track since I wasn’t sure to reach the camp before nightfall. And without water the dehydrated food wouldn’t taste half as good as it usually does and therefor the wine gurgeling in my back sounded really tempting. But typically, just when you stop believing, it happens, and we finally reached the Lower Barry Creek camp. The water was not nearly as salty as last time but therefor it smelled pretty ugly. But surprisingly it tasted not bad at all! But actually this night we would have drunk anything …
Tag 4: Lower Barry Creek – Five Mile Road Carpark
Since the last day had been quite exhausting it was difficult go get motivated for the last stage. But the Coke on the passenger seat and the icecream waiting at the Tidal River Camp made it possible and after three hours we reached the car without major problems. Obvieously the Coke was warm and mouldy but at least a bit of a contrast to the yellow creek water of the recent days.
We spent the afternoon at Squeaky Beach having pancakes, bouldering and relaxing. The name arises from the sound that your steps produce. I was told that the grains of sand have all the same size hence there’s no buffer in between them and that’s how the squeaky noise is beeing created.
On the drive home we stopped at a nice pizza restaurant and arrived in Melbourne after midnight where we were reminded of appreciating the value of a having shower, clean drinking water and a mattress.