There is something about sleeping in a tent, out in nature and waking up feeling rejuvenated.
My eyes open, I take in a breath of the crisp, fresh air, I sense that I am somewhere new, somewhere away from the “normal” routine of life – this makes me happy.
Pre-Dawn hike up Mt. Oberon Summit Walk
Duration: 1 hour
I begin packing up my belongings. Rummaging around the tent for my clothes and my hiking boots, I wash my face. I am wide awake. The alarm begins to ring, my 5.30am wake up, set the night before, has already been overridden by the excitement of what the morning’s sunrise will look like up at Mt Oberon.
Mt Oberon Summit Walk is one of the more popular walks to do when staying at the Prom.
The Summit Walk starts at the Telegraph Saddle Carpark, which is accessible by car when the visitor shuttle is not in operation.
Majority of this walk is a gravel fire trail which makes it quite accessible, albeit being a steep ascent up to the summit. Near the top we were met with stairs that had been built into the rock wall, climbing up to the peak. Once summited, there are 360-degree views over the Prom. From observations of the bay to the mainland, these views provide an astounding snapshot of this beautiful area. There are granite boulders which we climbed up and over and discovered more than just the lookout point was offering. After taking some time to soak in the views, we made our way back down to Tidal River for some homemade pancakes before the hike to Sealers Cove.
Tidal River – Sealers Cove
Distance: 10.2 km
Duration: 3 hours
Overnight hikers permit required. Click here for Parks Victoria
A free shuttle bus operates between Tidal River and Telegraph Saddle throughout November to April. A timetable is posted at the Tidal River Visitor Centre and at all the departure locations. When the shuttle bus is in operation the Telegraph Saddle carpark is closed to vehicles, so park your car at the overnight campers carpark near Tidal River.
Eagerly waiting at the side of the road for the shuttle to arrive, we are surrounded with like-minded hikers all with to different hikes planned for the weekend. There were a father and his two daughters heading to Sealers and a group of teens waiting with us. It had been a while since I have done any overnight hikes with a pack, so I was a little nervous about how I would feel by the end of the day.
The shuttle picks us up from the overnight hikers’ carpark and we drive up to the Telegraph Saddle carpark. The shuttle bus is jam-packed with groups of hikers, and tourists at this time of day, so take into account that you may have to wait until a bus is free to get a seat, you may be waiting longer than the scheduled time of departure if you travel in peak times.
Once we collect the bags off the trailer of the shuttle bus, we head off onto our first overnight stop to Sealers Cove. The trail has had some serious maintenance done to it due to devastating bushfires and landslides a few years back. The path is now in really good condition and walking through this area, we discovered the beauty of rejuvenation, while there are still some black burnt tree trunks, new life has begun to bud and sprout. The trail leads you over boulders which are scattered along the trail before going deeper into the rainforest where hidden waterfalls and creeks line the path. We stop for a quick lunch of salami and cheddar wraps but as the weather is quite warm, we are keen to make camp by late afternoon and have a swim.
The sky is overcast, but the heat is still beaming down on us as we walk. The trail can become quite crowded at times as it is a popular route. When met with hikers there is a constant banter about a certain boardwalk that you arrive to that is on the home run, being a newbie to this trail, I struggle to understand the importance of this boardwalk until I finally see it. The boardwalk stretches for kilometres – well maybe not, but it certainly felt like it – and is made from timber with chicken wire for extra grip. After having walked upwards of 9 km, the wiring on your less can be quite uncomfortable and I find myself, around each corner, hoping to be met with the end.
We finally reach the shore, greeted by sighs of relief from a number of hikers as they, like me, are by now just wanting to be freed from the hiking boots and dipping their toes in the water. I decide to take them off and finish the last few hundred metres barefoot.
Sealers Cove campsite is nestled amongst the trees on the south side of the cove. This shady campground boasts many ferns and tall trees, which bring a sense of privacy to your stay, although windy weather and stormy clouds were creating a level of anxiety under those outstretched branches. Thankfully I can say we made it through without any trees losing a limb.
We set up camp and immediately change into bathers before making our way down to the beach. It’s late afternoon, other hikers are slowly arriving at the camp while those who arrived before us are on the beach relaxing and taking in the scenery. It can become busy but you don’t feel like your at the beach on a 40-degree day, squished between the red and yellow flags. I find a quiet alcove near the rich, bold orange stained boulders that align the shore and soak myself in the cool waters, taking this time to unwind.
Sealers Cove – Refuge Cove – Little Waterloo Bay
Distance: 13.4 km
Duration: 7 hours (with stops) 4-5 hours of solid walking
The weather was a little windy last night. The trees were creaking around us. I must admit there was little sleep to be had. Nothing a coffee bag can’t fix though. We got changed and headed down to the shoreline. Preparing some breakfast on a log, we sat and took in the views and finished with some yoga to welcome the day ahead of us.
We headed off mid morning and ascended the coast line into the forest. This beautiful walk intertwines in and out of the forest and continues to provide glimpses of the beach from time to time. We climbed up and over boulders, each view showing off the cove from a number of different aspects.
To get to Little Waterloo Bay from Sealers Cove, we had to pass through Refuge Cove which is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The white sands are met with crystal clear turquoise waters that fizzle and hiss as the light waves crash pleasantly against the shoreline. Lunch was calling, so we walked down to the beach and prepared some salmon and Baby bell wraps. We wanted to take in the scenery, we took off our hiking shoes and sat in the sand, resting our feet and allowing the water to wash over them.
It is possible to stay at Refuge Cove in the campground, but it is also a popular spot for boats to come and take refuge from choppy waters – hence the name I guess. At the campground, you can see that different teams and clubs that have left their mark at the cove by etching words or their logos into pieces of timber and have created a wrap around wall. It’s a little piece of local history that adds some colour to the walk.
As we continue on, the next section of the hike is a gruelling, rocky uphill climb up to Kersops Peak. But oh so worth it when reaching the peak. There are a number of different lookouts along the way overlooking Refuge Cove. We met with some boaties along the walk who had anchored and went climbing Kersops Peak. They mentioned that the peak is worth it but it was particularly windy today. For us Kersops Peak was a slight detour off the main trail, so we left our bags at the trailhead and ascended up to the lookout. The views from the top gave us a birds-eye view of Waterloo Bay to the south, and refuge cove to the north. If you’re in the area, don’t let this one pass you by.
The walk back down brought its own challenges. A couple of kilometres down, my mind is starting to play tricks with me, I put one foot in front of the other but it’s hard work. The sun is continuing to beam down and I’m feeling low on energy. We say to one other, Waterloo has to be just around the corner. This does come true, about ten times after saying this. When arriving at Waterloo bay, the beach is pristine. There are boulders scattered around the edges of the beach with soft white sand. The scenery revives me and provides an outlet to forget about my feet and muscle aching. It is now late afternoon and after some time in the sun, we must continue to make it to Little Waterloo Campground before nightfall.
It is around 6.45pm, knowing we are on the home stretch now, careful footing is more important than ever as we are tired from this outstanding but fairly gruelling hike. We arrive at Little Waterloo Bay where there is a river crossing to access the Little Waterloo Campground. The campground is fairly full with other hiking groups, but we still find a spot and slowly set up camp while the Jetboil boils away, getting prepared for our Beef Bourguignon pouch for dinner.
There wasn’t a lot of energy for much more than eat and sleep at this point, happy to be fed and in bed.
Little Waterloo Bay – Oberon Bay – Tidal River
Duration: 5-6 hours
There is something about the final day of a hike, you build this momentum, that even if you are tired, just spurs you on. Maybe it’s the thought of your favourite food and the accessibility of it at the end, which for me, it’s always Hawaiian pizza and meat pies, hands down! We fill our bellies up with oats and pack up our camp.
We take in the last of Little Waterloo Bay from the trail as it hugs the coastline, heading south towards Waterloo Bay. The bay is beautiful, but with overcast skies and cold conditions, the bay probably wasn’t looking its best – fairly grey tones. So we pushed onwards, heading inland across the middle towards Oberon Bay.
This trail forges a straight path through the mountains and we felt very small compared to the giants of nature that surround us. Be warned as on this trail there are quite a few spots where you have to hike through sand, so whilst the trail is mostly flat, it can become a bit labour intensive.
A variety of Australian flora is showcased on this walk, with Black boys, banksia, eucalyptus trees, just to name a few. I think this walk shows off some of the best of Australia with its forest, mountains and coastline on the horizon, it is quite spectacular.
The walk along Oberon Bay is a long stretch on the sand, so a great opportunity to lose the hiking boots and feel the sand in your feet, but watch out for sand flies and march flies, especially if you are travelling in summer. Spraying my body with Aeroguard did nothing to free me of their desire for my skin. Something stronger like Bushman’s would have been more beneficial. My skin is a magnet for these insects. While trying to take in the scenery around me, I was distracted by these little buggers biting my legs over and over. Then again, with the lack of showering, it may have just been my stench.
As we come to the last stretch of the hike the views are just astounding. The sun had come out and the water became a majestic, bright blue that created a stunning contrast to the green and grey coastline. This was a magnificent way to end our hike as we make our way to Tidal River. This track from Tidal River to Oberon Bay is a popular one for day trippers and even being a Monday, the trail had a consistent procession of people heading out on it.
I cannot believe this landscape is in Victoria and how lucky to have it a short drive from home. This was one of my favourite hikes I have hiked in Australia, and I cannot wait to return to explore more.