Often called Prom Country, the southern mainland area around Wilsons Promontory has lots to offer visitors. Here are some of our guest favourites.
Walkerville South Beach
This is a popular beach tucked in to a corner of Waratah Bay. It has pretty stretches of sand, rocks to climb on, rock pools, stone arches and small (safe) surf, against the canvas of the purple hills of Wilsons Prom. It is easy to see why it was the inspiration for Alison Lester’s famous book Magic Beach. It is a kids adventure playground.
The beach is the home of the historic lime kilns. Lime was used as mortar and much of Melborne was built with the lime from Walkerville. Up to 80 men were employed mining lime, drying it in the kilns and bagging it. The bags were loaded on to trams and hauled along the 350m pier to be shipped away. The kilns were closed in 1926.
For me (Mike) Cape Liptrap is one of my favourite places. If you stand at the lighthouse and stare off to bass strait, you feel like you are at the end of the world. Waves generated by storms, way south west, in the Southern Ocean crash on the ancient rocks at the base of the cliff. There is a surf break to the east, a hang gliding launch pad (check youtube), and spectacular snorkelling. One day I went for a snorkel there. It is pretty remote, there was no one around and it is quite a climb down the cliff. When I snorkel, I kind of meditate and get lost in a different world, playing in the kelp and flipping between rocks in currents, chasing fish and being followed by Sweep. I snorkelled between two rocks into an open top cavern to find half a dozen Eagle Rays dozing, and one about to exit the cave. Because I was blocking the entrance in 1.5m water, we had a moment face to face eying each other off. I didn’t know if those rays have stingers (they do) so I dived down and the ray swum over my back. Before disturbing the other rays, I quietly backed out of there.
Lyerbird Art Council
With a life-long passion, and a love of live music beating through his veins, in 1999 Ian Bevington decided he needed to bring great live music to South Gippsland where he lived. Like-minded friends and family (and complete strangers) banded together to form the Lyrebird Arts Council. They have been surprisingly good at attracting excellent live music to the region. They operate two sites, The Meeniyan Town Hall and Mossvale Park. The Town Hall is a historic 1930’s building that seats 260. The usual format is table and chair seating. Most events are BYO drinks and nibbles. It’s a step back in time to an era before everything was commercialised. Mossvale Park is like a Botanic Park or an old English country garden with acres of European trees. It is an ideal spot for concerts and festivals. They have attracted acts such as Beth Orton, Sarah Blasko, Martha Wainright and Paul Kelly.
Annual membership is $7.50 or $15 for a family. How cool is that! If you are visiting the area, keep an eye on upcoming bands:
Waratah Hills Vineyard
The area behind Waratah Bay is known for pinot, and the owners have a passion for food, wine and South Gippsland that rubs off. The vineyard was planted in 1996 by pinot noir pioneer Phillip Jones of Bass Phillip and is now owned by Judy and Neil Travers. A former tractor shed hosts the cellar door and restaurant with a toasty fireplace to keep it warm through winter. Sample tapas platters of local and seasonal produce, or you can order ahead to arrange a specific menu for a group.
Big Drift Wilson’s Promontory
I’m sure you’ve all heard comments that Wilsons Promontory is the most beautiful place in Victoria, manybe Australia (see photos above). But many won’t have heard of Big Drift at the Prom. It’s like a desert, an otherworldly landscape. This article explains it well.
Trulli offers pizza in the authentic southern Italian style, with thin bases and quality fresh local and Italian ingredients. There is an excellent wine list, and many Italian wines. The pizzeria has a cosy feeling in winter with the warm glow of the wood fired pizza oven and the staff are very welcoming. The owners moved from Melbourne (and Italy and America) to build something fgrom the heart…….”when you cook with your heart you can’t go wrong.”
Great Southern Rail Trail
The rail trail runs from Leongatha to Port Welshpool, 72km right across South Gippsland. The trail winds through farmland, forests and villages. It is mostly flat or slightly undulating, but like most former railway lines, the path of least steepness has been chosen, so it is kind on the legs. You can walk or cycle, and what makes it most enjoyable is the variation of landscape. Each stretch is quite different. At some points you’ll get awesome views of Wilsons Prom and Waratah Bay. Very rewarding.
Coral Reefs Surrounding Wilsons Promontory
Scientists have been using robots to study the sea floor to as deep as 95 metres.
“Beautiful corals, stunning sponge gardens, vast numbers of fish and "needles of rock" that soar towards the surface of the water…….. The footage it captured, in water as deep as 95 metres, has revealed marine communities which scientists say rival and in some cases eclipse the beauty of the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.” The article says.
You can see the robot footage and read The Age article here.
Mike Leslie 14-10-16