LAKES COAST VISITOR GUIDE | PAGE 15 WILSONS PROMONTORY There’s something extra special about‘The Prom’ Wilsons Promontory, often referred to as ‘The Prom’, is one of Victoria’s most-loved places. Located at the southernmost tip of mainland Australia, The Prom offers spectacular scenery of huge granite mountains, open forest, rainforest, sweeping beaches and coastlines. The fact that Wilsons Promontory National Park was first reserved in 1898, means that much of the natural beauty of this very special place has been preserved, and will remain so for generations to come. Now covering more than 505 square kilometres, Wilsons Promontory National Park includes a historic light station, built in 1859, perched on a small peninsula jutting into the wild seas of Bass Strait. The National Park also takes in a number of small offshore islands. A diver’s paradise Wilsons Promontory is a diver’s paradise with spectacular underwater scenery. Divers will experience fascinating sponge gardens, a technicolour assemblage of sponges, sea tulips, sea whips, lace corals and sea fans, and brilliant coloured fish at home swimming through them. Abundant wildlife Explore the park and you’ll find fantastic beaches, cool fern gullies, great views, spectacular rock formations and abundant wildlife. It is home to more than 700 native plant species, 30 kinds of mammal, from tiny antechinuses (a tiny, mouse-like marsupial) to kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, koalas, seals and bats, and around 180 species of birds (including emus). Reptiles, amphibians, insects and other invertebrates are also numerous and diverse. The small islands within the national park are home to colonies of penguins, seabirds and seals, with granite cliffs plunging below the surface to the deep reefs. Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park is Victoria’s largest marine protected area at 15,550ha, extending along 17km of mainland coastline. Walk and stay Back on dry land, wonderful bushwalks can extend from under an hour to more than three days, with accommodation options including camping and caravanning, huts, cabins, wilderness retreats or lodges. Several walking tracks start/end at Tidal River, making it an ideal base for exploring The Prom. A popular walk to the top of nearby Mount Oberon offers magnificent views of Bass Strait and the Prom’s dramatic offshore islands. Home base As the only township within Wilsons Promontory National Park, Tidal River is where visitors will find a general store and take-away food shop, as well as camping and cabin accommodation. All the accommodation types at The Prom generally book out well in advance, so it’s best to check availability if you’re planning a stay. To make an enquiry, call the Park Office on 13 19 63 or visit the Parks Victoria website at parks.vic.gov.au and search for Wilsons Promontory. Be prepared Even in springtime, the weather at The Prom can be unpredictable, so always be well prepared with waterproof jackets and good comfy shoes on any walks, as well as plenty of drinking water, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellant and snacks. The magnificent beach at Norman Bay is just a short walk from the Tidal River camping area.