Sealers Cove to Tidal River (13 km)
It was going to be the last day of my walk, and I couldn’t have ordered better weather. From early morning on there was nothing but sunshine and blue sky, and the timing of the entire walk ended up being just perfect, because from the following day on the weather turned much worse.
The night was so cold that at some point I woke up and I had to put another layer of clothes on. In the morning I slowly packed up and enjoyed my last breakfast in the forest. Despite not rushing to get going, I still managed to leave before the school class that camped nearby. Some of them were still learning how to organise stuff in a backpack.
I had heard a lot of warnings about the river crossing at Sealers Cove, but when I left the campsite it was low tide and the water level in the lagoon creek was so low that I could get across without even getting wet feet. Even at high tide it should have been possible to wade through safely. That’s what I always have a pair of crocs with me for, they are perfect for wading through creeks.
Following a short walk on the beach, the track turned inlands and after crossing a small bridge across the creek, there was about 20min of boardwalk through a terrific swamp full of beautiful vegetation. In the swamp it must have been at least 10ºC colder than at the beach. Most plants were wet, possibly from frosty temperatures during the night.
After the swamp it was a slightly uphill forest walk all the way to Windy Saddle, where I arrived after 2h of walking. The track was a bit muddy sometimes, and some sections had been restored only in recent years following landslides.
From Windy Saddle it was another hour downhill to Telegraph Saddle. The track was wide and well established and I met several day visitors walking to Sealers Cove. Quite a few information boards highlighted the efforts that went into restoring the Sealers Cove Track following the devastating landslides that had caused significant damage. It is only due to these efforts by many of the parks staff that I was able to enjoy this wonderful circuit walk.
I arrived at Telegraph Saddle car park almost exactly at 12 noon. I vaguely remembered reading something about a shuttle bus for hikers that operated between Tidal River and Telegraph Saddle, but I walked around the entire car park and was unable to find any information. After a short rest I decided to walk down to Tidal River and declined an offer for a lift from a group of backpackers.
Less than an hour later I was at the visitor centre and happy to find my car exactly the way I had left it five days earlier. I had stored a set of fresh clothes in my car and in the toilet block next to the visitor centre there was a free shower, so I enjoyed my first shower in a week and jumped into fresh clothes, before having lunch at the take-away shop close by.
While I sat outside the shop enjoying my hamburger I watched some day tourists feeding chips to a flock of Crimson Rosellas that came swooping down every now and then to sit on people’s heads and beg for food scraps. I wonder how many more signs with Don’t feed wildlife or Don’t feed birds rangers have to install before people finally get it. I also couldn’t help but notice that I was sitting right next to an information board with a story about a Kookaburra that was too fat to fly from eating too many sausages.
It was such a nice day that I decided to go for a little walk around the Tidal River campground before going on the long drive home. I realised I hadn’t seen much wildlife on the entire walk — and not a single wombat — so I was hoping to maybe find one at Tidal River before leaving.
The amount of wildlife I saw in the two hours I walked around Tidal River was quite amazing. The campground was full of Crimson Rosellas, Green Rosellas, Galahs and other cockatoos and parrots. And just before I arrived back at my car, a wombat crossed the road right in front of me. I was lucky once again!
Wombats are funny creatures. I’ve seen some in Tasmania that were so tame you could touch them and they didn’t care. I’ve also seen some that spotted me from a hundred metres away and started to run. Then I’ve heard the stories of wombats at Tidal River that destroyed people’s tents in search of food. The one here didn’t care at all that I stalked him for half an hour in hope for a great photo. I watched the wombat destroy several freshly planted native grass plants by simply pushing the fence away.
Once I had my photos and the wind started to get a bit cold, I went to my car and soon I was on my way home. Towards the park entrance though I stopped several times to enjoy the view from various lookouts, or to watch animals in the late afternoon sun. There I saw another wombat, some kangaroos and even several emus.
In conclusion I think the Southern circuit in Wilsons Promontory is a wonderful walk, and well suited to any kind of hiker, even beginners. Every section is easy to moderate grade, and one can adjust the distance and itinerary to suit anything from one to five nights or even more.
However it’s also a very popular destination and I was surprised how many people I met along the way. Unfortunately I also came across a lot of these annoying inner-city-efficiency-hikers — people who have no time but want to cross the walk off their list of things to do, so they race across the track, do 25-30km in one day and skip most campsites, sidetracks or beaches after taking a selfie to prove they’ve ‘been there’. I can’t relate to people like that, they don’t seem to get the whole point of hiking and bushwalking, which is, to enjoy and appreciate nature, wildlife and the unique surroundings and tranquility you won’t get in the city.
Nevertheless I also had one campsite entirely to myself, at Refuge Cove. The quietest night I had in a long time.
I’m sure I will be back in Wilsons Promontory at some point, there are still a lot of areas I haven’t had the time to visit. There’s the remote Northern section with some challenging tracks, but also several beaches, lookouts and day walks around Tidal River. And, I didn’t climb Mt Oberon. It would have been a picture-perfect day to climb it, but after arriving at Telegraph Saddle car park following a perfect week, I was only looking forward to a good meal and didn’t want to push my luck, so I left it for next time.
More photos of this walk are in the album Wilsons Promontory — Southern Circuit.