Well, here we go again with another retro post. I was hoping to fit a day hike in somewhere, but it seems every weekend in Melbourne lately has been nonstop rain. I don’t mind getting wet, but what about the camera? What about the polarizer?! I need some sun for my photos, so instead of walking I’m dragging out a bit more of the saga from my Wilsons Promontory trip a few years ago. This was the third day of hike where we walked from Roaring Meg to Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse via a side-trip to South Point.
Anyway, the night Ben and I spent at Roaring Meg was quite comfortable until we were awoken by what sounded like an alien in the tree next to our tent. I was convinced it was a cross between E.T. and Mike Tyson, so I warily stuck my head out with my headlamp on and my Swiss Army Knife between my teeth. As I shone the light in the direction of the infernal noise all I saw was a nonplussed possum staring down at me. Okay, I may have overreacted, but as we were set up against a hillside I assume the noise was echoing. Right?
First things first at daylight was to eat breakfast and get the hell out of there, as it was absolutely freezing. Our target for the day was the lighthouse which was to be our accomodation for the night, but before heading there we’d decided to explore South Point without our packs, which is about a 7 km return trip from Roaring Meg.
What’s at South Point? Well, as it sits at 146° 22′ 21″ East and 39° 08′ 21″ South, it’s actually the most southerly point of the Australian mainland. Pretty precise huh? Lucky I have a photo of the sign at South Point, which is where I just got all of that spiel from.
We headed off on a winding path that was made for comfortable walking and even more so, when not wearing packs. Although comfortable, there was the odd spot where we had to squeeze between rocks.
Again, the day was perfect with a clear sky and no wind. It was perfect winter walking weather. We made quick progress even though we stopped at the odd gap between trees that gave a fantastic view of the flat ocean. At one point, a large flat rock was perfectly positioned as a lookout, so we spent some time on it relaxing in the sunshine.
A little bit more walking and we arrived at the end of the track. It was remarkable how still the ocean was and again I spent most of my time lying down on the rocks in the sun.
There’s one thing of note amongst the rocks in this area though and that’s driftwood. I’m not talking a bit of timber here or there, but literally metres of the stuff. It was quite a bizarre sight and some of it is surely from ‘ye olde’ shipwrecks.
Being a driftwood lover over the years, I can’t say I’ve ever seen piles of timber washed in this deep before. How about a few photos? Just remember, this is only some of it!
I even consulted Google for an answer and came up with nothing, although I must admit that was the limit of my research.
You know what? I could have spent all day at South Point fossicking amongst the rocks, but with the short winter day we had to keep moving. So, we began the stroll back to Roaring Meg to get our gear. There was the odd tree oozing bright red sap, which made for a colourful photograph.
Upon getting our things together we had a couple of options for the final walk of the day. My notes said it was 7.2 km to the lighthouse if we followed Telegraph Track or a couple of kilometres less if we took a shortcut track near Roaring Meg campsite.
The shortcut has a name, but two years later I’ve no idea what it is. It was signposted though, but the trade-off is it’s rougher and steeper than Telegraph Track. It’s shorter though, so that’s the main thing right?
Of course it is, as we headed up the shortcut which was quite steep for me, but Ben had no problem disappearing ahead. It was well worth the effort though, as the slog was short before popping back out onto Telegraph Track for the final haul to the lighthouse.
The perfect walking conditions continued as we followed the coast until the Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse came into view. From a distance it looked magnificent, perched on top of a rocky outcrop, surrounded by white buildings.
I had never stayed in a lighthouse before, so I was keen to get there well before sunset in order to explore the area. The track continues down to sea level, before coming to the base of the large rocky outcrop with a paved path suddenly rising all the way to the top of the lighthouse buildings.
There was a minor problem though, as that path is a ball-tearing steep slog. It’s only about 100 metres in elevation, but it feels like it covers that height in about 8 feet.
It didn’t help my pack weighed as much as a small Korean car and it ran through my mind I was never going to make it and upon collapsing, I’d roll all the way back to the bottom.
As the path finally began to level out, my head was whistling like a boiled kettle. The first thing I did was dump the vehicle and try to discover how to breathe again. The lighthouse keeper came wandering down to us and said, “Wow, you look stuffed. You must be carrying a heavy pack?” All I could do was wave my arms around, as I had lost the ability to speak.
There are two houses used for accommodation at the lighthouse with one sleeping a stack of people and the other only two. The keeper said, “There’s a family of five in the large house and this one that sleeps two is empty. Did you want to share with the others or have the other house to yourself?” I’m not sure if he was taking the piss or not, as it was easily the dumbest question I’d heard for a while. In my wheezing state I signalled we’d take the house for two.
I had this vision the houses were some sort of rudimentary set up, which involved a roof over our heads and that’s it. Little did I know they’re insanely plush with dining room, kitchen, gas heater, polished floorboards and a large sun-room full of books facing out across the ocean.
I almost fainted in it’s magnificence and was blubbering when I found out it had a hot shower. I was cursing we were only staying one night and not the maximum of two. Let’s check the place out.
Although the lighthouse is automated, there’s a permanent keeper who lives at the site in his own little house and acts as an all round handyman, whilst keeping tabs on the accommodation. It may be the best job in the world. It would be fantastic on a wild winters day and although we had perfect weather, I was kind of hoping for a random storm to batter the place.
Before going for a potter around the area, the keeper took us for a quick tour of the lighthouse itself. The view was even better with a bit more elevation, although I was struggling to see due to my uncontrolled weeping from the fantastic view.
It didn’t stop there though, as there were also a few friendly wallabies nearby. Light was starting to fade and most of the pictures are a bit blurry, but this one isn’t too bad.
We stayed outside until it was almost dark and then retreated inside as the temperature dropped. It was also that time again. Yep, ‘Backpacker’s Pantry’ was on the menu and we laid out the various concoctions from which to choose.
I went for the one labelled ‘Kung Pao Chicken’. After cooking and tasting it though, I suddenly realised I’d misread the packet and instead had bought their less popular version, ‘Kung Puke Chicken’. Don’t you hate mistakes like that? It was so good, that even two years later I’ve still got a pile of packets at home being used as a doorstop somewhere.
I shouldn’t complain though, as it’s a step up from their previous concoction called ‘Kung Pao Chunder’.
What more can I say? The food was crap, but the location is fantastic. If you’re an ocean nut then the Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse is the place to stay for a couple of nights. I knew it would be hard to go hiking again after I relaxed in a hot shower before bed.
I love the remote feel of the place which is understandable as it’s a 19.2 km walk just to get there. It was a bit pricey, but to me it was worth every cent. What’s that travel saying? You’ll long remember the experience, rather than the money spent? Something like that. I think.
Well, that’s it for another retro entry. You never know, I may go walking this weekend in the rain and actually write up something new next week…