Sealers Cove trail guide

By David Hung 22 October 2014
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Want the complete walking package in just one day? Then be prepared and start early for great touring in Wilsons Promontory, some of Victoria’s most scenic hiking

Combining mountains, forest ranges, white sandy beaches, granite outcrops, fern gullies, gentle streams and abundant wildlife, the walking options at Wilsons Promontory (aka ‘the Prom’) delivers on all fronts, even in just one day.   

To the uninitiated, the park is the big pointy bit at the bottom of Victoria and is the most southerly point of the Australian mainland.  Tidal River is the only settlement inside the national park and is home to the park office, visitor’s centre, campground, cabins, general store and newly opened café.  

If staying overnight in the park a permit system operates for both Tidal River and outlying campgrounds.  Pre-booking is essential. 

Popularity is such that a ballot system operates during summer.  

The three-hour drive from Melbourne is picturesque.  Outside the city limits the rolling green hills are dotted with black and white cows – this is dairy country. 

Break up the journey by pulling into the small town of Loch with its antiques, pub and Hard Loch Café, or stop further on at Koonwarra, home of an organic cooking school and café.

The Prom is like stepping back in time.  Aboriginal people made good early use of the Prom, as evidenced by coastal middens, while earlier European activities have included tin mining, forestry, whaling, sealing and commando training during World War II. 

The direct history of Sealers Cove speaks for itself and it also became a shipping point for timber stripped from the surrounding mountains. 

Thankfully now just a few exposed jetty posts are the only evidence of any of these activities.  

The sandy beach, fringed by forest with granite headlands as bookends, is best used for a picnic lunch by day walkers or by overnight campers.

Fact file

Distance: 20.5 km.
Time: 7 hours.
Start/Finish: Mt. Oberon car park.
Nearest town: Yanakie.
Terrain: Great all year round but can be very hot in summer.
Maps: Vic Map Wilsons Promontory National Park 1:25,000 topographical map.
Accommodation: Tidal River has camping/cabins or try small motels, cabins, caravan parks and backpackers in the Foster, Fish Creek and Yanakie areas. For an upmarket stay try Limosa Rise at Duck Point.
Food/drink: Yanakie or Tidal River.
Other points of interest: Any time of year for wildlife spotting, scenic flights, local produce and wineries. For an enjoyable ride try the South Gippsland Historic Railway or, with pedal power, the Great Southern Rail Trail from Leongatha to Fish Creek (46 km) is fun.
Getting there: From Melbourne head 200 km southeast on the South Gippsland Highway. Turn right at either Meeniyan or Foster and follow the signs (both roads are about the same distance to the Prom). Try the Foster-Prom turn as just prior the turn-off is a very scenic lookout (signposted) that is well worth it.
Tourist Information:Parks Victoria 13 19 63;;

Sealers Cove track notes

1. Start/finish, Drive to Oberon car park at Telegraph Saddle. The car park has limited parking and fills early on weekends and during summer. If this is the case, catch the shuttle bus from the Norman Bay car park at Tidal River that runs about every 15 minutes.   

2. At the top (north end) of the car park a signposted and very definable trail heads down and away through nicely forested slopes only broken up by the occasional dripping stream that gives life to a gully of tree ferns.  

This is a great and well-travelled track – even without a map you will not get lost. After a nice stroll down, the trail heads up and comes to the cleared Windy Saddle – it is a great place for a short break or to regroup if there is a few of you.   

3. From Windy Saddle the track continues east and heads down across the southern side of Mount Ramsay (679 m). The transition to very lush green, thick vegetation is almost immediate.

In just 1 km Ferny Glade provides a fantastic oasis of a small waterfall set back from the trail that cascades over rocks and logs and bubbles across the track promoting cooling ferns, mosses and lichens.  

4. On a hot day Ferny Glade is hard to leave but heading towards sea level brings more variety as Sealers Swamp is reached. The flat land is the domain of swamp paperbarks and a fantastic boardwalk of nearly 2 km.

The boardwalk winds through the vegetation crossing Black Fish Creek and then over a substantial bridge at Sealers Creek before depositing walkers at the base of a small dune with a pit toilet off to the right.
5. Heading up and over the sand, the filtered water view opens to reveal a beautiful, isolated beach with impressive headlands either side.

Turn right up the beach to where Sealers Creek meets the ocean for great camp sites, access to water, another pit toilet and great lunch spots before reluctantly returning along the same route.