The Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse was built in 1859 and it continues to light the night sky to this day. However, unless you are the lighthouse keeper or captain of a shipping vessel, you probably didn’t even know it existed. The lighthouse sits on the point of a raised peninsula that extends from the South-East coast of Wilsons Promontory National Park.
A number of shipping vessels crawl past this exposed coastline, but they’re not the only ones passing through. Whales pay regular visits during Winter and Spring, as well as Seals and Dolphins who call this place home all year round.
The Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse is only a 10km walk from the most southerly point of mainland Australia. Its Southerly position can leave this unique location open to roaring Westerly winds and treacherous Bass Strait conditions. However, when the water turns to glass and the wind settles, it is a sight to see like none other.
Fortunately, Parks Victoria recently opened the lighthouse cottages for visitors. Walk in the footsteps of previous lighthouse keepers and experience this remote accommodation. The clean and cosy Banks Cottage sure beats any camping setup; make yourself at home in the lounge, kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom. There’s no arguing about the highlight of staying underneath the lighthouse. Waking up to start your day with some of the best ocean views that Victoria has to offer.
Book the Banks Cottage and all your essentials are covered:
- Tea, coffee, milk, condiments
- Shampoo, conditioner, soap
- Warm linen and towels
- Heater/Air conditioner
- Board Games and cards
Remember to bring all your supplies for a nice meal and maybe even a bottle of your favourite wine. Upon your arrival, organise a time to tour the lighthouse with the lovely hosts Renata or Colin.
Interview with the current lighthouse keeper: Renata
Q: How long have you been the Wilson Promontory Lighthouse keeper for?
Renata: “Three and a half years roughly, and I love it. It’s a hard place not to love.”
Q: What are your favourite things about the lighthouse and the cottages that make you love it so much?
Renata: “We have wombats and wallabies in our yard instead of puppies and kittens!” Renata then continued to list more reasons, “People have to make such an effort to get here, I think that’s the thing that I appreciate about it most, because there are so many places that are so accessible in our lives these days… We’ve travelled a fair bit and this to me, is still one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world”
Q: We’ve seen whales, wombats and seals during our stay, what other animals have you seen in the area?
Renata: “There was one day in particular where we saw literally hundreds and hundreds of dolphins and there were three distinct pods of them… We’ve seen four killer whales going just down below the lighthouse there as well, which is quite extraordinary because their fins are so formidable.”
Getting to the Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse
- Book your accommodation early.
- Use the address Wilsons Promontory Road, Tidal River, Victoria.
- Check in at the Tidal River Visitor Information Centre as an overnight hiker.
- Drive to the Telegraph Saddle car park .
- Begin your hike:
The lighthouse is only accessible by continuing on foot through the southern section of the “Prom”. The 19.7km hike to the lighthouse separates the weak from the willing. Follow our suggested hike to make it to the lighthouse and see one of Victoria’s most untouched beaches. Download the overnight hikers guide to make sense of our hiking instructions.
Day 1: Are we there yet?
Park your car in the Telegraph saddle car park and begin your hike down the Telegraph Track. The Telegraph Track is a single lane, emergency access road that has an easy downhill to start before a few minor climbs coming in to the Roaring Meg camping ground. Continue on this track for 12.2km, passing the Telegraph junction and Halfway Hut before arriving at Roaring Meg. Roaring Meg is a good stop for lunch as the walking difficulty increases after this point.
Once you have refuelled, follow the signs for the Lighthouse via the walking track. The walking track is a skinny donkey track that consists of some fairly serious climbs to start. The walking track extends for 7km with the last 3km offering views of the Lighthouse at multiple lookout points. Finish with a gruelling climb up and on to the peninsula where the Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse sits. Take a look back to see the dense bush that you just conquered.
- Difficulty: Challenging
- Distance: 19.7km
- Time: 6 hours – Including stops and lunch
Day 2: Waterloo Bay
Say your last goodbyes to the Lighthouse and jump back on to the walking track heading around the East coast. This section of the walking track has some moderate climbs at the beginning. If the rock hopping and pretty surroundings aren’t enough to satisfy, just wait for the lookout that awaits you at the top of the climb.
After walking for 7km you will begin the easy decline down to Waterloo Bay. Waterloo Bay is undoubtedly one of Victoria’s best kept secrets. The Bay features turquoise waters and stunning white sand, all enclosed by large granite rocks and dense bush land. A great stop for lunch.
Continue up the beach for 900 metres and follow the raised grated track to your left off the sand. Walk 4.5km through swampland until you reach the Telegraph Track Junction. The track is well maintained with a raised boardwalk keeping your socks and shoes dry for most of the walk.
Head North on the Telegraph Track, toughing out the last 6km of walking up to the car park.
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Distance: 22.5km
- Time: 7 hours – including stops and lunch
Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse Hiking Tips:
- All hiking can be completed in comfortable runners.
- Pack light: Walk with change of clothes, food and water.
- Invest in a water bladder to drink while walking.
- Consider purchasing a small hiking pack or large comfortable backpack.
- Best hiked in mild temperatures.
- Remember to Check out at the Tidal River Visitor Information centre!
- Consider booking accommodation in Yanakie or Foster after last day.
- Bring at least one block of chocolate to enjoy at the Lighthouse after a long day of walking!