It’s been eight years since I last hiked around Wilson’s Promontory. November 2010 was our last overnight hiking adventure into Little Waterloo Bay. Time flies when a second child arrives on the scene. Firstly, you sleepwalk for the first 5 years of his life, then you’re faced with all sorts of other issues when he starts school and learns to back-chat! Yes, I’m sure we would have loved to have been able to pack up and go off on hikes like this one more often – if only we had more time to ourselves for a hiking adventure in Wilsons Prom!
We have taken the kids on camping trips to Tidal River in Wilson’s Prom a few times, even taking them on a small hike to the neighbouring Oberon Bay. It’s a whole different story when you have to pack for 3 nights in remote territory where light is out at sunset and there are no flushing toilets.
You sleep in a tent and eat dry-freeze food which just requires boiling water to make it jump back into edible pieces. Don’t think we do this just for fun! We do it for a challenge to see how we survive out in the wild. It’s also an adventure as you never know what experiences we may collect along the way.
Over a few blog posts, I’ll share our four day journey and experiences with you. We would have loved to have taken our professional cameras with us, but they’re heavy! We do have good cameras on our phones (iPhone 8plus and iPhone x) and are happy with our happy snaps which were edited through Lightroom.
Worth The Walk – Overnight camping in Wilsons Prom
Wilson’s Promontory has the most beautiful scenery and beaches which are only accessible by foot, boat or helicopter. Spending a few days hiking around the vast parkland can be challenging, especially with steep hills to climb on extremely hot days. Don’t forget that you’re doing all this walking while carrying a heavy backpack! The scenery is definitely worth the effort.
This trip was Andreas’ birthday request. He’d been on a similar hike early this year with our (then) eight year old while I showed my teenager around Sydney. They had such a great time that both boys wanted to go again. This time, the little one wanted to go further and see the Wilson’s Prom Light Station. It’s a hike which I’ve never been on. In fact, I’ve only ever gone on an overnight hike. The thought of going for three nights was a little daunting, but it was Andreas’ birthday and it would have been bad form for me not to join them!
So we survived:
- 3 Nights of camping
- 55kms Hiking
- 222 Floors climbed
A Wilsons Prom Hiking Adventure close to Melbourne
The temperature ranged from 19 to 37 degrees during our hike. On the 37 degree day, we were all wondering WHY?? Why on earth would you subject yourself to this torture? You’re carrying a heavy backpack and walking along a never-ending path which seems to go up more than it goes down. It amazed me how my little (now) nine year old kept up with us, carrying his own (a fairly light 5kg) backpack all the way. He was always looking back over his shoulder at his dad, who had a much heavier load (24kgs), to check if he was okay. Andreas does not cope well with heat and found it very tough that day. With around 15kgs on my back, it wasn’t easy going for me either. We survived it and were rewarded with a soak in the icy cold sea.
You have to be fairly fit for such a hike. My regular running made this hike a lot easier. The little one had been doing regular sporting activities throughout the year. I’m always surprised at how well Andreas copes on these hikes on the little amount of exercise he does. Maybe it’s all that running around at photography gigs which keeps him fit! Some training prior to the hike is highly advisable. Proper hiking shoes make a world of difference to your stability and comfort while walking.
Our Hiking and Camping Gear
On the hike earlier on in the year, little one wore sneakers. Needless to say, he slipped and tripped a few times. This time, we got him so really good hiking shoes which were fortunately on sale at Anaconda! Good shoes start at around the $200-$250. We paid $100 (on sale from $250). The shoes were worth the money! Our boy hiked like a pro. Apart from one fall (due to being tired), he was so stable on his feet. The shoes were really comfy.
Hiking is a costly activity. We ran around all week gathering equipment we suddenly realised that we didn’t have. Our hiking trip was quickly planned, depending on the weather. There was a storm threatening Wilson’s Prom, but luckily it held off.
- A new tent to cater for the three of us (new purchase) – Marmot Tungsten 3P (Naturehike Tents are also a cheap alternative … or go Hilleberg when you want the best! There are lost of options out there!)
- A couple of new mattresses (quality improved a lot over the years! – new purchase) Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Mat
- New hiking shoes for Ethan (new purchase)
- Hiking backpacks (we love Deuter and Osprey Backpacks)
- lightweight Pot
- Small Gas cooker
- Night lights
- Sporks (who needs more ?)
- Sawyer Water filter (you can also take tablets to purify the water – make sure there is water along your hike!)
- Water bladders
- Light sleeping bags (Andreas just used a sleeping bag liner in the warm weather)
- light Blow-up pillows (new purchase)
With all our purchases, we had to keep weight in mind. There’s so much really cool stuff out there which makes your hiking load so much lighter! The lighter things are, the more expensive it gets! Thankfully Anaconda and Rays Outdoors had great sales on! Hopefully we’ll be making good regular use of it! It’s a real luxury to have a pillow when sleeping in tents so we all took a blow-up one.
We packed far too much food for our trip. Proper planning helps but is not easy – especially when you have kids with you.
- Dry-freeze food (just add boing water) from Back Country or Outdoor Gourmet
- Musli bars and breakfast bars (2pp per day)
- Apples, nectarines and apricots (eat on the first day … as they are heavy!)
- Dried fruit and nuts
- 2 x salami (in full rolls)
- Bread buns
- Dried noodles for snacks
- Sandwiches (pre-made for the first day or two)
- Snakes and gummi bears (took too many so shared them around)
- Wine (refilled into a plastic soda bottle) – my reward for a hard day of hiking!
Make sure to take a sealable plastic bag for all your rubbish! Always carry out ALL your rubbish (and maybe pick even some up which you find on the way).
Powdered mash potato was Ethan’s favourite, even though he had always disliked it at home. It came with the Beef Bourguignon and the Roast Lamb and Veggies meals (It can also be purchased in packets from the supermarket). Butter chicken was another of his favourites. All meals were alright once I added my asian spices and chilli to them! The dry-freeze food is nothing like the real thing but is an excellent choice for hiking.
We took our existing water filter device which was so useful as we just used creek water and didn’t have to carry much extra – which we did in the past! Fortunately, there had been some good rain recently so there was a lot of water available. It was so good to be able to wash ourselves each day after sweating away so much!
Ethan’s poor feet and calf muscles got very tight at stages. It was nice to have my myotherapy knowledge to be able to treat his muscles along the way so that he could keep going. Apart from a very large possum who helped himself to my musli bar which was in the side pocket of my backpack in the middle of the night (he chewed through my backpack to get to it), sleeping in a tent was alright. This possum didn’t care that we were there, or that he had to avoid our flying sandals – he just kept eating away! Our 3 person tent was quite roomy and gave us headspace when we needed to get changed inside it.
This is a hike which I’d be happy to do once a year. An overnight hike is preferable and could be done more often. It’s a great challenge and you get to see some places and beautiful nature. It is also a great way to spend some quality time with the family. Highly recommend it if you’re up to the challenge!
Unfortunately we had to leave our big camera at home – all shots taken with our iPhone.