Location: Mt Oberon
Surface: Mostly gravel or compacted earth with some sections of four-wheel drive track, sand, boardwalk or sealed
Grade: Difficult (4)
Open: No seasonal closures
Fees: Free, camping fees apply
Wheelchair accessible: No
More information: parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/wilsons-promontory-national-park
Victoria’s most popular multiday bushwalk, the Southern Circuit, weaves from the slopes of Mount Oberon down to the eastern shore of Wilsons Promontory National Park, where it traverses south above the dramatic waters of Bass Strait to the dramatically-positioned southernmost lighthouse on mainland Australia.
Along the way you'll discover verdant rainforest, glorious boulder-strewn beaches, coastal dunes, sheltered coves, plunging granite cliffs, wide heathlands and stands of thick coastal ti-tree. Secluded campsites offer beautiful vistas and bays with unbelievably blue waters to swim in.
Where to begin
The trailhead at Telegraph Saddle car park is just over three hours from Melbourne by car (there is no public transport). Embark on the walk from direction – Telegraph Saddle or Tidal River. During the summer period a shuttle bus service runs between Tidal River and Telegraph Saddle car park, but at other times of the year you'll need to walk from Tidal River up the road to Telegraph Saddle to collect your car.
From the car park the trail meanders through thick forest down to the beautiful bay of Sealers Cove, before you ford Blackfish Creek and climb over the next headland. The trail then descends to the Refuge Cove. Heading further south again, you cross thickly forested hillsides before exiting on to the long beach of Little Waterloo Bay.
From beach to hills to the historic lighthouse
At the end of the beach, the trail steadily climbs again to the edges of high cliffs that afford breathtaking views across the crashing seas below. You then take a long forested section before reaching the junction with the Lighthouse Track. From here, you're just a short, highly recommended side trip out to the lighthouse. Completed in 1859 from granite quarried nearby, the lighthouse stands 19 metres tall and offers overnight accommodation for hikers rewarding themselves with a truly unique experience.
Back at the junction, the trail climbs to the inland campsite of Roaring Meg on a beautiful fern-lined creek. Heading north further inland, you cross wide heathlands under the watchful eyes of crimson rosellas and darting fairywrens, before arriving on the Telegraph Track. Follow the track past Halfway Hut to Telegraph Track junction, where the trail leads west along a sandy four-wheel drive track to the stunning Oberon Bay and its campsite, a great place to go swimming after a long day on the trail.
Head north across the beach at Oberon Bay, skirting mountainsides as you pass stunning Little Oberon Bay and Norman Bay, which provides impressive views back towards Mount Oberon. Make your way back to the creature comforts of Tidal River and celebrate covering some of the best terrain in Victoria.
Suggested shorter options
Sealers Cove, 20km return
Walk to Sealers Cove and spend a night or two there before returning to the car park at Telegraph Saddle.
Tidal River to the lighthouse via Oberon Bay, 46km return
Leave your car at Tidal River and walk out to the lighthouse via Oberon Bay and the Telegraph Track. Stay in the cottages adjacent to the lighthouse (booking required), then return the same way.
Suggested wheelchair accessible options
No part of the Southern Circuit is suitable for standard wheelchairs. However, the short, one-kilometre Loo-Errn Track at Tidal River is suitable for wheelchairs,. The Loo-Errn Track traverses the Tidal River (past the Tidal River footbridge) along wooden boardwalks with some short gravel sections. The trail starts 50 metres opposite the information centre (at the BBQ area at the east end of 6th Avenue) and finishes at the First Ramp on the west end of 6th Avenue.
All terrain wheelchairs that can be taken onto the beach are also available from the information centre.