Sorrel starts her trek at Wilsons Prom.
Trekking Wilsons Prom.
VIC budget accommodation... According to Sorrel, trekking to Australia's southernmost residence is nothing short of spectacular.
Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse is Australia's southernmost residence, sitting above a 90-metre cliff. The huge wilderness area has been a national park for almost 100 years and the 130km of coastline features vast granite masses, mountains, forests and fern gullies. Hidden below in the wild waters of Bass Strait is an enormous granite outcrop joining Victoria and Tasmania.
The Prom Lighthouse Trek can be taken unguided. But to enjoy everything it has to offer, the way to go is with an experienced park ranger. They have great bush skills and knowledge of "the Prom" and will give you wonderful information on the flora, fauna and history of the area.
From a safety point of view, mobile phones only work in a limited area of the park, but rangers carry high frequency radios and first aid kits for emergencies. Meals are also provided, so all you need to bring is a change of clothing, a raincoat and toiletries. Don't forget good walking shoes and a hat!
The area has diverse vegetation warm and cool temperate rainforests, tall open forests, woodlands, heathlands and swamp and coastal communities. It is also home to hundreds of bird species, 23 special mammals including koalas, wallabies, echidnas and possums, and around 740 species of plants.
From the meeting point at the Tidal River Visitors' Centre you are driven to Telegraph Saddle to begin the 19km walk. Two tracks lead to the lighthouse: the South East Track running past Waterloo Bay, and the Telegraph Line Track which is where the old telegraph link was used for communication during WWII. Halfway through the walk you will see a historic hut that was used by the line maintenance men.
The walk to the lighthouse takes around seven hours. The first sight of it is one of wonder. Kate and Matt, the keepers, welcome trekkers and show them to their backpacker-style accommodation in one of four cottages. Once settled in, there is a tour of the lighthouse where Kate and Matt explain its history, military connection, and the light and lenses that have been used for over 140 years.
Once you have climbed the narrow stairs, the view from the balcony is sensational. You can see three other lighthouses and look across an area where winds can blow at more than 200km/h.
Also visible are offshore islands, which provide protected breeding sites for birds. On a clear night the lighthouse beams can travel 30km.