What do removing your pants in public, squishy squelchy mud, and leeches all have in common?
They all helped make our weekend hiking trip in Wilsons Promontory National Park a fun and memorable one!
Full of energy and excitement, our group met at Tidal River, and headed off in the bus to Telegraph Saddle carpark.
Once on the hiking trail, it was a steady climb on a nice hiking track through the forest. There were some nice views across the valleys on the way, and some unexpected small waterfalls after all the recent rain.
Then the mud happened.
At the start we all gingerly side stepped the puddles, keeping our shoes clean and dry.
The point came soon enough though, that there was no option but straight through! It squished, it squelched, it was slippery, and it was deeper than it looked in some parts. I love this type of walking – it’s so fun to slosh through the mud and have lots of laughs as you nearly (or do) fall over. I managed to stay upright somehow, but the squeals and yelps from everyone kept us all laughing.
After the mud we were all getting a bit tired and hungry (knowing that lunch was coming up) and weren’t sure if the boardwalk we’d heard about actually existed or not.
It did! And, at 3km, it was the longest boardwalk I’ve hiked on. We’d been warned at how slippery it was, and the chicken wire across it sure helped. But – as one of our group found out the hard way – even slightly step off this chicken wire and your feet slid off the side quickly and painfully.
The boardwalk ended, there was a toilet (hooray!), and the hiking trail opened on to a beautiful beach – complete with white sand and crystal clear water.
At the end of the beach was the river crossing across to Sealers Cove camp (and the rest of our trail). The high tide was at lunchtime (not helpful!), and when we got there, everyone was stripping off waist down and the water was up over most people’s waists. Instead, we stopped for some lunch and waited for the water to go down a bit. There was a bit of rain, but a yummy lunch of rice salad, wraps, hummus and tuna kept us happy. While we were stopped, one of our group noticed a leech shaped mark on her leg – I tried to block out what this meant! The bronze water was made that way by the tannin in the tea trees – it was very unusual to see.
Even after we waited a while, the river was still pretty high – so there was no option but to remove our shoes, pants and head through the icy cold river. Squeals and more laughs, the water was thigh deep for some, and top of leg deep for us shorter people – and so so cold!!
Back in our warm pants, and shoes and socks back on, we headed through Sealers Cove campsite. This is where most people stop off for the night – it’s a big campground with lots of spots. As it was a long weekend, by the time we were walking through, most of these spots were already taken.
Heading back along the bushwalking trail, we had nice views over beautiful beaches and coves, and some more mud, before heading down and across Northern Refuge Cove and back up onto the trail to Refuge Cove campground.
We ended up pitching our tents at the ‘Boaties Campground’, which was almost beachfront. The larger hikers campground was just over the back – and is where we went for extra toilets, and (un-treated) water.
Refuge Cove can only be reached by walking there, or coming in on a boat. There’s something about that, that makes it extra special – the effort we’d put in to there had been worthwhile.
Some of our group stripped off and ran into the freezing cold ocean for a (super!) quick dip – I preferred to enjoy the crystal clear water and soft sand from the shoreline.
All starving, we enjoyed a delicious dinner of stew, pasta, cous cous, and warming red wine and port. With full bellies and happy hearts, we headed off to bed early.
I woke up nice and early the next day, and enjoyed some down time alone on the beach. I watched the yacht that had moored overnight set off, and loved watching the gentle waves roll in. It was so relaxing and peaceful, I would’ve been happy staying there all day.
All packed up, we headed off and up to Kersops Peak. It was a calf burning, lung starter, but gave us the best views of the weekend.
Back on the trail we headed towards Little Waterloo bay, across another river (this one we could walk over the rocks – and keep our pants and shoes on!) and stopped in the campground area (which was flooded in some parts) for an anti pasto lunch. We then went inland – to the flat (and apparently easy) part of the walk. There was more mud, and by this point my feet were giving me grief. I was tired, and in pain, and knew I had a while to go.
We stopped for a snack, and I added some electrolytes to my water and laid down (in what was possibly wombat poo) with my feet up. It helped a lot – and I was ready to take on the final part of the walk.
The final part was along a road – an easy trail that way, but with lots of walking up, it was a tough slog back to the carpark. My lungs were crying out, I was tired, and I knew I had a big drive home.
I just took it at my own pace (which turned out to be not much behind the others), and said a little mantra to myself at the tough bits ‘I can do this’. Because – I knew I could.
We could see the saddle (where the carpark was) up ahead, and just when we thought we’d never get there (and I was questioning why I did this type of thing for fun) – we got there! Hoots and high fives all around – we’d made it!
We caught the bus back to the carpark and said our goodbyes. It’d been a small group, but all got along really well and enjoyed each other’s company.
There’d been removing our pants in public, lots and lots of mud, leeches – and lots of laughs, good times and amazing hiking.
Trail Notes: This walk was approximately 35km over 2 days. We went from Telegraph Saddle carpark to Sealers Cove, then to Refuge Cove. The next day we walked to Little Waterloo bay, to Telegraph track junction and through the middle back up to Telegraph Saddle carpark. Details on the walks available can be found at: Parks Victoria. It’s recommended that you follow trail notes and take a map with you. This walk is remote, so extra care should be taken, and prior experience is necessary.
Please Note: I went as a regular paid hiker of Take Shape Adventures, and these views and opinions are my own. Take Shape offer a wide range of bushwalking trips, adventure weekends, and obstacle training – and will look after you with fab food and great advice.
Bio: Sam is a daydreamer, storyteller, and hiker. She loves getting outside, and you’ll often find her on the bushwalking trails close to her hometown of Geelong. You can follow along with her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. If you have any questions that she can help with, or would like to chat about possible sponsored opportunities, advertising, or affiliations (that will benefit her audience) please drop her an email at email@example.com.
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