7 November 2007

Walk Report: Northern Prom

Yesterday I returned home after a great walk in the northern section of the Prom over the Melbourne Cup four-day long weekend, with Cam and Michelle. I brought back some photos, and some suggestions for anyone planning a visit.

Wilsons Promontory is of course Victoria's best known and most visited national park. I caught the overnight hiking bug there on a three-day loop in 2002, and have been back for several trips in the southern section since. But I'd never previously walked in the less visited northern section, a declared wilderness zone. Water sources there are less reliable, and track maintenance is limited to what walkers contribute with their feet.

Get the topo map. The track is pretty much as marked, except at Three Mile Point where it goes over the saddle rather than around the headland.

Much of the track looks like this:

Follow the footpad and the marking tape. Be prepared to retrace your steps a little when you realise that you've been following a wombat track or other errant walkers - it's worth going back to find the real track. Fallen trees (especially after the wild storm this weekend) will send you in the wrong direction. When in doubt continue a little to see if it becomes more clear, but don't throw your pack through the hedge to create a new track. Contrary to hearsay from other hikers we met, there is a footpad all the way and it can be found, frequently by feel and some experimentation. Our party of three meant that we could explore two forks with one person staying at the last known point on the track.

Go anticlockwise if the campsites are available in that order, so that you make the metre-deep crossings of Chinaman Creek on the last day. Leave some dry socks in the car.

I can't offer much advice regarding water as the storm provided plenty on our trip. Lower Barry Creek looked like an aqueduct when we passed through, yet it's not even shown as a water source on the map. But when we arrived at Five Mile before the storm, Cam had to push a fair way up in the scrub opposite the campsite before he found a good trickle to fill from. The water had plenty of tannins but seemed clean and I drank it untreated without problem.

If you can book two nights at Tin Mine Cove, it's a beautiful sheltered beach with opportunities for off-track exploration to Mt Singapore. A couple of mozzie coils might come in handy.

This was a really enjoyable, quite challenging walk, and if you like a bit of navigation and the feeling of remoteness then it's a great place to go - especially with a pair of superstars like Cam and Michelle.

More photos