Gippsland Road Trip: The Wonder of Wilson’s Promontory

When you tell most people that you are headed to Melbourne and looking to explore its surrounding region, most people immediately assume you are headed along the Great Ocean Road.

(someone exclaimed GOR! at me as if that was some popular internet-speak for Great Ocean Road. I was extremely perplexed)

Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Driving
Roadtrip in Wilson’s Promontory!


Yes the Great Ocean Road is quite spectacular, and it is worth the long drive if you haven’t travelled it before, but for those looking to avoid the crowds and to claim a different experience, you should consider heading down south-east to the Gippsland region instead. I spent an amazing 4D3N on quite an intensive roadtrip around this region (with 1 night in the tiny town of Walhalla), and it really captivated me with its scenic beauty and quiet charm.

Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Norman Bay Pano
Just a little bit of Gippsland at Wilson’s Promontory. This was taken at Norman Bay

Not many people outside of Australia’s Victoria region will have heard of Gippsland, but for those who know it, the Wilson’s Promontory National Park is one of the highlight spots that you absolutely have to make a stop at, and you’re gonna see a ton of photos coming up that prove exactly why!

Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Norman Bay Campsite
Even the random campsite is pretty at Wilson’s Prom

Wilson’s Promontory, or quite fondly just ‘The Prom’, is a national park at the southernmost tip of the mainland. It apparently gets pretty crowded in the summer , but here in the middle of winter at 10+ degree temperatures, it was blissfully peaceful and absolutely, amazingly, beautiful.

One thing I really enjoyed about Wilson’s Prom was the sheer variety of landscapes you’ll encounter just driving through the park. Every corner you turn is another picturesque moment – I kept having to swerve off the road just so I could grab some pictures or video!

Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Squeaky Beach Green Rock
The beautiful beaches and coasts are definitely worth a tramp
Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Tall Grass
I stopped by the side of the road to take a picture of the tall grass and managed to lock my steering wheel by accident. That was about 20mins of panicking and finally placing an international call to the helpline, who solved the problem in 3 mins because I am an idiot. SIGH.
Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Dead Tree
Beautiful valley view of the scrub below. The weather was so erratic – beautiful blue skies one moment, grey drizzly weather the next. Apparently that’s normal winter weather here in Victoria!

The park is quite large – it took me half an hour to drive from the park’s entrance to Tidal River, the main camping site and point for visitors. as it is not peak season, I probably could have counted the number of cars I spotted in an hour on one hand. What I also managed to spot were some wild critters:

Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Emu
Spotted 3 emu in a clearing! Pulled into a clearing and watched them wander around for a bit.
Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Wallaby
This wallaby was a little overly friendly. It was waiting in the clearing where we saw the emu, and came over to the car window where my window was wound down so I could take emu pix. I suspect people must have been feeding it because it looked like it was gonna go for my gopro or jump in the window. I took this after hastily winding up my window
Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Wombat
Wombat crossing! It literally walked across our path. I never realized how much wombats look like koalas that walk. I’m pretty sure I saw more dead roadkill wombats than I saw live ones though…


Take the time to do some walks on the trails and enjoy nature up close – I only had an afternoon to spend there and was feeling absolutely sluggish, so I skipped the recommended walks and drove around from point to point instead. The good news is that the easy walks (half to one hour) honestly sound quite doable, and I saw that as someone who would rather go hungry than head out for food when in a truly lazy mood. For the adventure enthusiasts, there are some ‘hardcore hiker’ multi-day treks that bring you right into the heart of the park.

Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Mount Singapore
Hello there’s a Mount Singapore in here! But it’s really deep into the park >_<


After exploring the Tidal River area, we bought some food and instead of walking over as we planned, drove down to Squeaky Beach to chill out and have lunch.

Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Squeaky Beach
I like this shot – I’m quite fond of the weird plants that grow along beaches

Named apparently for the squeaky sound produced when you walk across its sand (nope, can’t verify that we heard anything), the beach is a short stroll from the parking area, and was pretty deserted that day.

Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Squeaky Beach Sand
Maybe some of this sand was squeaky? I was in boots and the wind was pretty damn strong so I didn’t hear anything
Gippsland Wilsons Promontory Squeaky Beach Fish and Chips
We bought some fish and chips and squid from the cafeteria place at the main Tidal River camp grounds. The one thing we had trouble finding was nice picnic tables! In the end we sat on a rock, slightly sheltered by huge boulders and tucked into lunch. There were 2 crows beadily eyeing us from behind the entire time we were eating.



The Destination Gippsland folk also put me up at a really nice place called Bear Gully Cottages – with just 4 cottages that can sleep 2-4pax each, and about 40mins drive from Wilson’s Promontory located in a small southern headland area called Cape Liptrap (Our shitty GPS just could not handle being so close to the edge of the map and often placed us in the water instead)

Gippsland Bear Gully Cottages Pano
The entire compound faces the sea – there is a little pond where the owner Lee was building a viewing platform of sorts when we visited
Gippsland Bear Gully Cottages Cuttlebone
it’s like something out of a story book! We stayed in the Cuttlebone Cottage

The owner Lee is quite the personality, having spent most of her life working in the South East Asian region (and does she have some great stories to tell), she’s also proven to have quite the eye for design as evident from the beautiful decor of each cottage that she furnished all by herself.

Gippsland Bear Gully Cottages w Lee
Lee and me. You can’t tell here but she’s pretty tall and has 2 adorable cats living in her house which is also on the property
Gippsland Bear Gully Cottage Bedroom
My bedroom! It has a heating pad and she gave me a ton of blankets, which is great because the cottage can get a little drafty especially in the winter so being all snuggled up was amazing. A took the other bedroom on the other side of the house
Gippsland Bear Gully Cottage Living Room
The living room looks ridiculously like it fell out of a home decor magazine. There’s a kitchen with utensils and cooking ware so you can prep your own meals (and you will need to because the nearest town is almost an hour away). Off to the left (not pictured) is the fireplace which was a godsend.
Gippsland Bear Gully Breakfast
How ridiculously instagram-ready is this breakfast setting!

One of my favourite things about Bear Gully is that you are one fairy path away from the beach and even after spending a day at the amazing Wilson’s Promontory and Squeaky Beach, this relatively untouched beach is of comparable beauty. If you want a true getaway, this is probably be it as we only ran into a pair of ladies who had been camping nearby in our two visits to the beach, and absolutely no one else.

Gippsland Bear Gully Maitland Beach Sign
What lies that way?
Gippsland Bear Gully Twisty Wood
You go through the twisty wooded path to get to the beach…
Gippsland Bear Gully Beach Orange Flower
One of my favourite photos, love the colours
Gippsland Bear Gully Beach Shells
There is an entire stretch of beach to explore, including a spot which is just a whole beach of pebbles and shells and while it makes for amazing pix, has a bit of a funky smell
Gippsland Bear Gully Seaview
This had me wishing the weather was warmer so I could jump right in and wade
Gippsland Bear Gully Beach Coastline
If you walk all the way down that coastline, you might end up at a spot where there is a lighthouse and limestone kilns

Do note that being surrounded by such uninhabited beauty also means that you’re kinda far away from most things – either stock up on food and cook up a storm in the attached kitchen, or be prepared to drive almost an hour to the nearest town to find some food!

Gippsland Fish Creek Hotel
We had dinner with Lee at the art-deco Fish Creek Hotel which has a rather incongruous giant fish on its roof. Can’t miss that.

Fish Creek is probably the closest town, and you’ll know you’re in the town centre when you see the one cross junction that has quite the eclectic collection of shops – the aforementioned Fish Creek Hotel, Kooks Catering (good lunch option), Ride the Wild Goat which besides an amazing name has some great furnishing and art pieces, and a bookshop we dearly wanted to check out but was closed by children’s book author Alison Lester


Follow my Gippsland Roadtrip:

Many thanks to Wilson’s Promontory and Lee at Bear Gully Cottages for an amazing experience. Also to Destination Gippsland for organizing and sponsoring this Gippsland Road Trip.

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