Wilsons Promontory or “the Prom” as it is known, is the southernmost point of the Australian mainland, located in the South Gippsland region of the state of Victoria. The Prom is protected as the 50,000 hectare Wilsons Promontory National Park and the seas around the southern end are the Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park.
There is another, smaller marine national park in the northern area. The park contains 130 km of walking trails and a number of campsites. The hub of the park is Tidal River where there is a store, visitor center, and camping.
History of Wilsons Promontory
The first European to see the promontory was George Bass in January 1798. The promontory has been a national park, to one degree or another, since 1898. Wilsons Promontory National Park, also known locally as “the Prom”, contains the largest coastal wilderness area in Victoria. The site was closed to the public during World War II, as it was used as a commando training ground.
In 2009, a lightning strike near Sealer’s Cove started a fire that burned over 25,000 hectares (62,000 acres). Much of the area had not been burned since 1951. The fire began on 8 February, the day after “Black Saturday”, where an intense heat wave, combined with arson, faulty electrical infrastructure and natural causes, led to hundreds of bushfires burning throughout the state of Victoria. Although the fire burned to within 1 kilometre (0.62 mi), the Tidal River camping area and park headquarters were unaffected.
In March 2011 a significant rainfall event led to major flooding of the Tidal River camping area. All sections of the park south of Tidal River were closed while further repairs of tracks and footpaths were undertaken. The park was fully re-opened by Easter of 2012.
There are overnight hiking tracks with two key circuits, one in the north and one in the south. The southern circuit is more popular with overnight hikers with several camping areas suited to wild camping. Camping is only allowed in the designated areas to reduce damage to the bush.