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Penguins to Prom

Gippsland

  • Inverloch Beach, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

Famous animals and sacred spaces
210 km/130.5 miles, about 3 hours

Journey between two of Victoria's most loved tourist attractions - the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island and Wilsons Promontory National Park at the southernmost tip of mainland Australia.

You'll uncover much more than these two major sights as you wind your way through south Gippsland on this 200-kilometre drive. Detour along the Bunurong Coastal Drive for sweeping ocean views and unique rocky outcrops, wander along almost deserted rugged beaches, cast a line for a fish supper, or enjoy a counter meal in a typical country pub before you reach the breathtakingly spectacular Wilsons Prom.

Leg 1: Phillip Island to Inverloch
46.6 km/29 miles, about 45 minutes

Bid the little penguins farewell and depart the Penguin Parade and Phillip Island, stopping off in the pretty fishing village of San Remo on the Melbourne side of the bridge to the island. Time your stop-off to catch the 12pm daily pelican feeding at the San Remo pier.

From San Remo, take the B420 to the Anderson roundabout. Turn right onto the B460 and follow the road past Kilcunda and its tempting general store until you reach Wonthaggi. Pause for long enough in Wonthaggi to tour the State Coal Mine to discover life underground in the 1900s.

From Wonthaggi the route takes a scenic detour along the C435 to Cape Paterson and the start of the Bunurong Coastal Drive, a unique stretch of coastal road featuring sweeping ocean views and dramatic rocky outcrops. The road stretches 14 kilometres between Cape Paterson and Inverloch, your destination.

Leg 2: Tarwin Lower to Fish Creek
71.5 km/45 miles, about 1 hour

Hit the water at the coastal resort of Inverloch - having a swim, snorkel, paddle or rockpool ramble in Anderson Inlet, often described as the most popular estuary in Victoria. Sate an appetite at one of the many cafes and restaurants lining the town's main street.

You may even be able to indulge in a spot of 'Dinosaur Dreaming' in Inverloch, taking a look at Monash University and Museum Victoria's excavations of the rocky coastline of the Bunarong Marine Park. Dated at around 115-120 million years old, you can see evidence of the ancient rivers that once flowed in this area.

Head out of Inverloch on the C442 towards Tarwin Lower, a popular fishing township on the bank of the Tarwin River. Take a detour into Venus Bay (just 3 kilometres from Tarwin Lower) to explore the sweeping surf beaches and coastal walks.

From Tarwin Lower take the Tarwin Lower-Walkerville Road to Walkerville, home of the Cape Liptrap lighthouse and the historic limekilns, giant brick buttresses protruding from the cliffs over the beach at Walkerville. These are all that remain of Walkerville's booming quicklime industry of the 1890s.

From Walkerville take the Fish Creek-Walkerville Road to Fish Creek. You'll know you've arrived when you see the giant mullet sitting atop the Fishy Pub.

Leg 3: Fish Creek to Wilsons Promontory
61 km / 38 miles, about 1 hour

Follow the C444 out of Fish Creek. Leave yourself plenty of time for detours to the beautiful hamlets of Sandy Point and Waratah Bay via the C445. The two coastal townships feature sweeping beaches with stunning views to Wilsons Promontory National Park, and are particularly popular during the warmer months.

Continue along the C444 until you reach Wilsons Promontory National Park. 'Wilsons Prom' as it is affectionately known, is the southernmost tip of mainland Australia and regularly attracts nature enthusiasts from around Australia and worldwide. There are over 30 established walks of varying duration and over 30 species of native mammals to be spotted. Secluded beaches, cool fern gullies and spectacular rock formations make the Prom perfect for walking, bird watching and, of course, exploring. Pitch a tent at one of the campsites, or rough it in style in a contemporary cabin to get the most out of your visit to the Prom.