Before you get to the land of waterways and lakes, a stop at historical Walhalla is a must. This historic town was once one of Australia’s most wealthy, mostly due to the prevalence of gold in the region. Now, it’s walkable monument to the goldrush era. Despite having just 20 permanent residents, Walhalla is far from a ghost town- or is it? Visitors are often spooked during a ghost tour of the town’s haunted cemetery.
Ghosts are nowhere to be found down the road in Paynesville, but scenic lakes are! This pretty resort town is known as Australia’s boating capital and is surrounded by lakes on three sides. It’s not an uncommon sight to see dolphins playing in the waters or koalas lounging in the trees of adjacent Raymond Island.
If you want a beach that lives up to its name, Ninety Mile Beach is your place. This stretch of sand, just an hour away from Paynesville is one of the world’s largest uninterrupted beaches and is just begging to be the place of your barefoot walk. It’s also known for being secluded and peacefully quite- you may even have the whole beach to yourself.
Of course, when you’re packing for your road trip, don’t forget to include a fishing rod. The tiny seaside village of Lakes Entrance is the perfect spot for angling and even hosts the Ninety Mile Beach Surf Fishing Competition in January. If you’d rather watch wildlife than catch it, you can settle for a a picnic at Sperm Whale Head in the Lakes National Park and hope to see whales kangaroos, dolphins, koalas and echidnas all by the beach.
Next, take the scenic drive to Wilsons Promontory, an world-renowned park of beaches, coastlines, incredible rainforest and mountains. On the way, take a stop in the leafy shade of Tarra-Bulga National Park, where fern gullies, myrtle beeches, and towering Mountain Ash trees present the perfect scene for a picnic.
When you arrive at “The Prom” drive to Tidal River, the main camping spot. In this area, you’ll find Wilderness Retreats: which offers quiet safari-style tents under the Milky Way.
From Tidal River, a quick walk takes you to one of Australia’s greatest phenomenon: Squeaky Beach. Yes it’s true that your footsteps truly squeak as you walk on this aptly named beach. Wilson’s Prom is famous for it’s isolated beach vistas, including Norman Bay Beach and Whisky Bay Beach. For full immersion, set aside a few days to complete the Great Prom Walk: a winding path around the park that leads you through the best of Australian wildlife.
Wilson’s Prom is difficult to leave, but there are tiny penguins waiting for you on Phillip Island and they’re ready to meet you at nightfall. Leave the Prom and head west out of the park along the coast. A lunch stop at Kilcunda General Store off the Bass Highway will have you fuelled for the journey with fresh local berries and rhubarb. Just 25-minutes later, you’ve arrived at the penguin-hub, Phillip Island. The Nobbies Centre is a great place to start on the island, and introduces you to the area’s unique marine life.
When the sun goes down, the Penguin Parade is the place to be. This nocturnal viewing of allows visitors to witness the islands colony of penguins emerge from the surf and waddle their way along the beach to their burroughs. Simply put, it is a sight to behold and one that visitors from the UK often remark as one of their most unforgettable travel experiences.
Penguins aren’t the only aquatic animals that demand your attention on the island. A trip on the Wild Oceans EcoBoat tour will bring you to Seal Rocks, where hundreds of seals indulge in the Aussie sunshine.
Lastly, delight in a walk from Pyramid Rock on the southern coast of Phillip Island all the way to Berry’s Beach. From there you can see Cape Woolamai to the east and Point Grant in your view of the west. Once you’ve had your fill of wilderness, return to civilisation in the island’s quaint ocean town of, Cowes. Breweries, galleries and boutique bed and breakfasts make Cowes the perfect place to reintegrate with the special culture of Victoria.
The drive back to Melbourne from Phillip Island is less than two hours, plenty of time to reminisce about all the experiences of this extraordinary roadtrip.