The state had declared a new public holiday. The weather forecast looked good. The campground had availability.
Yep. You read that right. We went camping.
And not glamping either. Wilson’s Prom actually has fancy tents, but they book out a year in advance.
Wilson’s Promontory is located three hours southeast of Melbourne. Unpowered sites cost around AUD $50 per night. I have no idea how much camping sites go for, but considering the location, this seemed fair. The beach here is GORGEOUS.
We arrived around noon on the Friday of a long weekend. We checked in, were given a map of the Tidal River camping area, and were told to pick any open site. The ranger also have us a stern warning about keeping food in the car because the wombats will scratch through tents and open eskies if they smell food. We headed for the row closest to the beach, and found spot #419. Considering neither of us had camped in 20+ years, the tent went up pretty quickly.
We quickly realised that we packed far too light. Apparently, our little spot looked too vacant, and people kept asking if they could camp on our space. We were like two birds defending our nesting spot. Then we realised that the people in the adjacent campsite had a guitar. And the people beyond that were a group of 15 blokes with a satellite dish. They would likely be trouble. The wombat thing isn’t a myth either – we didn’t have food out, but they still came sniffing around. First wild wombat sighting !
We were there to photograph the Milky Way, so as soon as it got dark, we headed over to one of the viewpoints and set up our gear. In retrospect, setting up near a walking path was probably not the best idea given people walking around with flashlights, but we didn’t think people would be wandering around the trails at night. We got a few invitations to go smoke weed, but other than that it was pretty quiet. Andy set up the Emotimo for a two hour time lapse.
I shot some stills.
We returned to our campsite to find a new group of three had moved into our spot. WTH? Seriously ?? They had a bright light, and were up until 2am smoking weed. The satellite dish guys were up just as late playing a very loud drinking game. Harrumph. The wind picked up overnight, so we wouldn’t have slept great even if we had considerate neighbours. We woke to lots of toppled shade tents and laundry blown about. The next morning we scouted out a quieter spot down the road. We drove the car down to officially claim it, and then carried the tent down the road. Yep. We were those people. The new neighbourhood was conveniently located close to the public gas grills. Because this area is prone to fires, I didn’t think you could bring your own grills, but it turns out you can. We weren’t the only ones, because there was a decent queue anytime after about 5:30.
We spent the day hiking Mt Oberon, which was a decently steep 7km return hike. The views from the summit were definitely worth it though.
We spent the afternoon on the beach and, because we were wiped out from the hike and because it was cloudy, we called it an early night. The next morning we packed up and made a quick stop at Squeaky Beach before heading back to Melbourne.
What we did well
- packing in lots of small bags (handy to carry to the grill, showers, etc.)
- bringing premade food (made wraps at home, which made for quick and easy lunches)
- timing of grill use (we always seemed to be there RIGHT before it got crowded)
What we didn’t do well
- food security (forgot to put unused stuff back in the eskie)
- brought coffee but no way to make hot water
- site selection (claimed the first one we saw without scouting around)