Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby publicrejoicer » Wed 10 Jun, 2020 2:06 pm

thanks
"solvitur ambulando"
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Tino B » Wed 10 Jun, 2020 5:20 pm

Should have said that water should be OK at Lower Barry. Also, best done over 3 days and 2 nights. Day 1 car park to Johnny Suey - longish at about 24km. Day 2 Johnny Suey to Tin Mine Cove. Day 3 back out to the car park via China Man Swamp - another longish day but Lower Barry is quite dank and without much sun. Upper Barry is so close to the end that it’s not worth the small back track to stay there.

You may need to consult a tide chart for the crossing of Miranda Creek and time the walk for low tide or wait until it drops.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Hunter n Golfer » Wed 10 Jun, 2020 7:34 pm

I walked to Five Mile Beach on the 7/6/20 and stayed overnight. So not a huge help in regards to the harder parts of the circuit.

I can however confirm it was very quiet. According to the Ranger only two other people doing the circuit over the long weekend. Didn't see anyone for two days.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby publicrejoicer » Thu 16 Jul, 2020 8:30 pm

Greetings Flatlanders,

Our walk report as promised.

The routes committee of the Blisters & Chafers Society have an unusual standing order that states that a party journeying the Northern Prom circuit will do so anti clockwise. This sort of wisdom is not challenged. And so it was that our party of four, Johnson, Kost, Platt and Truscott undertook the Northern Prom circuit on the 3rd of July 2020 over 3 nights and 4 days. The weather forecast was not ideal but our collective enthusiasm for wilderness immersion could not be curtailed.

We mustered at the Five Mile gate at 1600 hours for soup and prep. Final decisions were made regarding a communal tarp for meals, Large bags for the creek crossing and the prescribed amount of water for the 18km jeep track march. The jeep track to Five Mile beach can be tackled a number of ways, and after you have done it once in warm to hot daylight you will think carefully about how you tackle it again. It is the gateway track to unspoiled Northern Prom territory and you are required to make peace with it. Our preferred itinerary is to start late afternoon with the promise of a full or waxing moon under clear skies. In reality we had rolling cloud cover over our five hour march (with short breaks) and beautiful moonlit views of Corner Basin and the lights hugging its rim. We arrived at the Five Mile campsite in the tea tree at 2215 hours, set camp and enjoyed a warm brew before turning in for the evening.

The forecast rain rolled in overnight but did not concern us too much. We were sleeping in, waiting for the tide to do its thing. Due to a lot of water coming down Miranda Creek and the high tide, a 0900 hours inspection of the estuary beach saw a lot of black water lapping the shore. We were going for a 1130 hours crossing expecting to strip down. Day two was an easy day for us, with just the 3km traverse into Johnny Souey Cove. By noon we pulled the trigger. No more could our party wait. The need for journey’s progress was strong. We bagged our packs, stripped down to smalls and sent a canary across to gauge the depth and find holes. By 1250 hours the party had forded the Miranda, clothed, warm and ready for the steepest ascent of the route to Monkey Point. We had water from the car park so there was no need to fill at this campsite.

We reduced the pole length of the helinox DL145’s to suit the incline and set our own pace to the top of the headland, mindful to look back at the views of 5 mile beach, Miranda beach and forward to John Souey Cove. The nuisance rain persisted en route and rainbows popped up on the ocean shores. The pad was easy to follow but the foliage was determined to whip us passers by. We made the John Souey Cove campsite by 1415 hours. Tents went up, water fetched, and a late luncheon coalesced into an early dinner and bed by 1900 hours. We made good use of the communal tarp. Good water was flowing in the first creek we crossed, in fact it was bubbling over the rocks, a sight I had not ever seen. The second creek was not explored for potable water.

The evening was cool, but no rain until early morning. We struck camp at 0830 hours, mindful of the tide for rock hopping and Three Mile beach walking. By 0900 hours we had calm, clear even sunny weather for this leg. The entry track for the Three Mile Point headland was signposted and easy to follow, and whilst it may have been recently cleared, regrowth is active. It soon wends its way down to the rocks to begin your rock hopping experience. The novelty fades quickly. Be sure you time this for the ebbing tide. If you are doing the circuit clockwise there is a piece of tape flapping about on a tree. The entry or exit point is quite muddied around the takeoff point. Just know, you will have to hold your nerve on the rock traverse for some thirty five minutes.

At the end of the rock hop we reached Harman Cove. We enjoyed a short respite for our knees. Harman Cove is a small beach of 100 m with no estuary. There is another lower headland to traverse onto Three Mile beach. By 1005 hours we were walking the Three Mile beach north, with a small flock of gannets, fishing with a seal. A sea eagle was spotted above, doing recon. We were now in a flooding tide and made Lighthouse point by 1105 hours, still able to get around the rocky outcrop via the sand. A scramble up the sandy incline with the help of the knotted rope saw us at the beacon infrastructure and calling an early luncheon. We noted the cleared area for what must be a helipad. No rain. By 1220 hours we were ready for the slog across the Mt Margaret saddle and down to Chinamans Long beach. Our memories of this in 2005 were that it got quite thick from the corduroy onwards.

After passing the helipad, the track becomes a pad and we were bashing through new growth of banksia serrata, allocasuarina verticillata, melaleuca squarrosa, xanthorrhoea resinosa (grass tree) and Leptospermums. It thins out a little and we were walking in low heathland with lovely views back to Three Mile beach and around the saddle itself. By 1320 hours we reached the old Northern track Junction that is now identified by a black thong and pink tape attached to a tree. You can just make out the old track that runs south to St Kilda Junction. A bit further on from here we passed two walkers coming from Tin Mine Cove doing the circuit clockwise. We exchanged some track intel and pushed on. The historical corduroy section with the burnt logs and steel cable is pretty open as was the rest of the track to Chinamans Long Beach. We made Chinamans by 1430 hours, pushing up the beach and contouring Tin Mine Hill via the Tin Mine Track in light rain, making the campsite by 1515 hours. We found the camp site in the tea trees up high to be most agreeable. Good water with no taint of tannin was found at the beach. The campsite was pretty clean. We set camp and enjoyed our cuppa soups under the communal tarp. The wind picked up and a chill prevailed. We finished our evening meals and retired at 1900 hours. A party of three younger blokes entered the camp, cold and wet from a day's walk from Five Mile beach. They seemed to have had some trouble crossing Miranda creek which caused their delay. In any case they found some tent space and settled as we drifted off to sleep.

It was a grey overcast morning but no rain. We readied ourselves for an 0800 hours departure from Tin Mine. A water fill at the creek and we were moving around Tin Mine Hill back to Chinamans Long beach. With the cloud lifted we had good views of the Hoddle range, Barry beach, Mt Fatigue, Toora wind farms and Port Welshpool. We were walking the low tide with good packed sand over the 4.4. Km to the Chinamans Swamp entry. We arrived at 0925 hours and made some alterations to the apparel we were donning. At 0945 hours we belonged to the swamp. Our eyes peeled for the aging and intermittent flagging tape on trees, star pickets and spear like white poles. The vegetation was very similar to the Mt Margaret saddle track but more grass trees and spikey Hakea’s.

A point to note here, is that the route marked on Vicmap topos is not the same route as the flagging tape. It is close, but at a certain point we lost the flagging tape and proceeded on the published route using the Avenza GPS app and consequently entered a world of pain. Clearly at some point, the original track became too difficult to consistently maintain. Our suspicions were realised when we found a hiking tent that had obviously been dropped, as a hapless walker attempted to carve their way through the verdant scrub. It's the shorter route, and we eventually connected with the flagged route but in terms of energy expended, it probably should be avoided. We were bashing through the aforementioned vegetation and at times sloshing through shin deep water with scrub a good meter above our heads. That being said, if you are looking to test your mettle, understand and control your adrenaline glands, then this is the route for you. Maybe we should all do it once.

After heading in the general direction, walking in knee high heathland, Truscott eyed one of the star pickets in the distance and we rejoined the Chinamans highway as we headed to Chinamans Creek, to cross its two arms. The first arm was about 30 meters in distance in waist deep water with flagging tape dangling off shrubs above the waterline. The bottom was solid and not muddy. There was tape at the exit point. About 100 meters of land walking and we came to the more extensive crossing, that was not flagged as much. This is because the water level does not usually reach so far across in times of low rainfall, hence the pad would be enough. We entered the water, walking close to the right hand side, steading ourselves with overhanging vegetation. There were some deeper holes abruptly negotiated. We did not bag packs externally, but relied on internal protection. I reckon we did about 70 meters of wading before we exited at an obvious point.

We did not stop to change. We pushed for a further thirty minutes over higher ground amidst mature Banksia’s and found a spot for a quick 1400 hours lunch. Our raincoats were on and off as the nuisance rain turned hard to soft, soft to hard. The bush ahead started to change. The eucalypts were starting to show themselves in the distance meaning Barry Creek was not far away. It is then that the heavens opened with a good pour of rain and a gusty westerley. Our planned 10 minute stop at Barry creek became a 2 minute drink stop as we unanimously declared a want to be out of the weather and rid of the vegetation that was clawing our spirits. At 1530 hours we began our march. The Barry was high, so it was time to get wet again. This time just below the knees, albeit a very short crossing. The push to the jeep track was now on. For some reason there was an expectation on my behalf, that it would be low heathland and hence relatively quick to traverse. Wrong. Encroaching vegetation with a worn foot pad underneath and sparse flagging tape and slow going with that nuisance rain. A short stop on the open granite rock between the cairns, for views to Corner Basin and more gloomy weather heading our way in a fading light. We made the jeep track junction just after 1700 hours, kitted up for rain and wind walking for the final 5.5 km to the gate. The jeep track is useful for one thing. Personal reflection. That rhythmic unrelenting march soon caused the chaps to string out and find their own pace. Much like high country horses heading home. The last thirty minutes was in darkness and I was thinking about junk food, slow combustion wood heaters and hot showers. The car park at 1825 hours. I laid the canvas groundsheet at the rear of the vehicle and exchanged wet clothes for dry, loaded all the wet stuff into tubs and made our way to the Foster house, where Brendan had the fire going, beer chilling and pizza prep in hand.

So how does this compare to our 2005 excursion? Much more regrowth and wetter. As a consequence the swamp traverse was a bit more difficult. There is a reason why it took us fifteen years to revisit this walk, and that is, because it's hard. What it lacks in mountain pinches it makes up in sloppy beach walking, rock hopping, jeep track blues and spikey vegetation. I like the fact that it's a wilderness zone and it gets little maintenance. The walker it attracts will have a bit of ticker, mettle, and generally speaking, a respect for the earth over which they tread. And when you are cutting your way through social circles in the future and the topic of promontory bushwalking comes up, your companion might say “ I have walked the prom.” You will respond with “north or south”. If they respond with “north,” fertile ground for conversation and mutual respect will be afforded. If it's the south just nod politely.

Over the next 10 years, curiosity will build and no doubt one of our society will submit it once again to the routes committee for due consideration. Count me in.


What did we learn ?
[list=]Do it anti clockwise. Do it on a full or waxing moon
Do the 5 mile jeep track late afternoon and fluke the pleasures of night walking
Check bushwalk.com forums and parks vic as to when sections were last slashed.
Don’t do it from mid December to Feb. I would be nervous about snakes in the chinamans swamp and lack of water at campsites, (depending on seasonal rainfall.)
Long pants and gaiters. Don’t walk the swamp in shorts. Legs get a beating.
Be prepared for waist deep Crossing of Chinamans creek.
We did not treat water.
Do your tidal calculations for Miranda creek, Three mile point rock hopping and beach walking
Bag your pack and float it across Miranda creek at high tide. It looks deep but if you can swim you will be fine and it's not that cold. If you can’t swim, boil the billy and play cards.
Start early each day and get into camp in good time.
Follow the flagged route around the verdant regrowth don’t bother following the published route on vicmap topo.
Poles are a pain in the chinaman’s heathland. Wear work gloves and maybe protective glasses
Poles could be useful when wading the Chinamans creek waist deep section.
Do not try to straighten a helinox bottom pole in the field. They break.
If your walking heart is in the mountains, a bit of flatlanding on the coast is fun.
We love communal tarps for conviviality.
[/list]

We did make a little memento movie of our adventures check it out here

[youtube]https://youtu.be/OZ_QVxNNJQg[/youtube]
"solvitur ambulando"
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 16 Jul, 2020 10:19 pm

Thanks for the post. I intend to do this solo this Spring.
I like you're idea of bagging gear on river/swamp crossings.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Lamont » Fri 17 Jul, 2020 12:27 pm

publicrejoicer wrote:Greetings Flatlanders,

Our walk report as promised.
[/list]

We did make a little memento movie of our adventures check it out here

[youtube]https://youtu.be/OZ_QVxNNJQg[/youtube]

Thanks mate for the report and for the video.You beauty.
Spaghetti western music fans of the world unite! Loved it.
Cheers G.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 17 Jul, 2020 3:08 pm

Lamont wrote:
publicrejoicer wrote:Greetings Flatlanders,

Our walk report as promised.
[/list]

We did make a little memento movie of our adventures check it out here

[youtube]https://youtu.be/OZ_QVxNNJQg[/youtube]

Thanks mate for the report and for the video.You beauty.
Spaghetti western music fans of the world unite! Loved it.
Cheers G.

The video is great.
I wonder if the music was chosen in honor of the recently departed maestro?
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby publicrejoicer » Fri 17 Jul, 2020 4:57 pm

Gidday,
I have been using spaghetti western music from the maestro and others for some years with our little movies. Given there are no more gun slingers on the plains I reckon us walkers should claim the genre and keep it alive !!

We doff our hats to the maestro.

Thank you for the feedback.

regards
"solvitur ambulando"
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Tino B » Fri 17 Jul, 2020 10:52 pm

Great report and video.

The first time I marched in to 5 mile beach and saw the road snaking on in the distance, it reminded me about something one of my favourite hobbits said:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby publicrejoicer » Fri 17 Jul, 2020 11:22 pm

yep that snaking 5 mile jeep track is the stuff of hardship and poetry

:)
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby JamesMc » Tue 21 Jul, 2020 8:44 pm

Thanks for the video - I was one of the pair you met going the other way. It was a VERY wet walk, much wetter than when I did it at the same time last year.

My preference is to do it clockwise in three days. That way it's a longish first day to Tin Mine Cove then comfortable lenght days to follow.

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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby publicrejoicer » Wed 22 Jul, 2020 10:02 am

Hi James,
Good to reacquaint. Yes we found the swamp very wet and at the end of i,t reflecting on your track side commentary were highly amused at your laconic underwhelmed desciption..."yer it's a bit wet" !!

Tell me did you follow the flagged route around or bash through via the Vic topo route?

One day there will be a public debate on clockwise and anti clockwise. I will be looking at you from the other side of the table.

:)
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby JamesMc » Thu 23 Jul, 2020 8:51 pm

publicrejoicer wrote:Hi James,
Good to reacquaint. Yes we found the swamp very wet and at the end of i,t reflecting on your track side commentary were highly amused at your laconic underwhelmed desciption..."yer it's a bit wet" !!

Tell me did you follow the flagged route around or bash through via the Vic topo route?

One day there will be a public debate on clockwise and anti clockwise. I will be looking at you from the other side of the table.

:)


We pretty much followed the tapes. We lost them about 3 or 4 times between Barry Creek and Chinaman Long Beach, and again just east of the Margaret - Hunter saddle. Each time we checked the route marked on my companion's GPS map (Get Lost? I'm not sure). The route has been re-marked in the last 12 months - all the plastic star pickets and wands are new since then. Last year I was off the track for half way between Barry Ck and the beach, just using Google Maps and the topo.

JamesMc
Last edited by JamesMc on Mon 27 Jul, 2020 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby publicrejoicer » Thu 23 Jul, 2020 9:44 pm

thanks James. Good to know. See you on the track sometime.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 16 Aug, 2020 8:48 pm

I watched your video.It was and is as entertaining as ever. I have walked that route three times , three Easters in a row.
:-0
One day I will do it again.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby publicrejoicer » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 9:14 am

thanks paidal. Three easters in a row is good effort for that *&%$#! jeep track !

See you on the track
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 18 Nov, 2020 11:14 am

I rang Parks the other day to see what hoops I needed to jump through to do an overnighter to Tin Mine Cove (don't think I've got legs to do full circuit in a weekend).
The lady I spoke with seemed disinterested and possibly miffed that someone would ask.
I was wondering if this was a ploy to scare of those who aren't really wanting to do it?
She mentioned maps, which I said I'd looked at, and couldn't recall the distance, which I told her. She said the swamp was high, so I gave in and said I'd ring back in a few weeks when the water level in the swamp was lower (and I've hopefully done a few more slogs in the mountains to get my legs up to it).
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 18 Nov, 2020 11:25 am

Parks Vic. seem more willing to entertain walkers planning to walk the Northern Prom in Autumn. That is a good time to tackle that route IMHO.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby swynn » Thu 03 Dec, 2020 9:18 am

Has anyone walked recently? We're hoping to head off mid december, anti-clockwise for a few nights. Have had chats with Parks and the obligatory 'chest-deep water, snakes everywhere' just wondering if anyone can share their recent experience? There's a fair amount of rain forecast for the next week, is Chinamens swamp something that seems to fluctuate with this or does it remain stable around this time of year? Other option is to do a half loop and back- track. Look forward to hearing your thoughts, this thread has been great so far!
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 03 Dec, 2020 11:06 am

swynn wrote:Has anyone walked recently? We're hoping to head off mid december, anti-clockwise for a few nights. Have had chats with Parks and the obligatory 'chest-deep water, snakes everywhere' just wondering if anyone can share their recent experience? There's a fair amount of rain forecast for the next week, is Chinamens swamp something that seems to fluctuate with this or does it remain stable around this time of year? Other option is to do a half loop and back- track. Look forward to hearing your thoughts, this thread has been great so far!


How'd the chat go? I was talking this week with a lady when changing a booking for the Southern Circuit, and got the mentions of snakes and deep water in the swamp. Who did you speak to? I've had two chats now, all I've gotten is doom and gloom, 'it's a big hike, but I'm not the person to speak to'.

Look forward to your trip report.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby publicrejoicer » Thu 03 Dec, 2020 2:36 pm

I wouldn't expect the swamp to drop its water level yet. See My report from July this year. Go for it. Start early to maximise daylight and follow the tape. Long pants, long sleeves, gloves, maybe protective eye wear, gaiters and keep your eyes open. Don't be rattled by third party administrators exhorting a proliferation of snakes. Snake culture has not changed. They are still shy unless you step on them. Give yourself a snake bite refresher if you need it. Carry 3 big bandages and know what you will do in the unlikely event. I too, look forward to your report.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 03 Dec, 2020 5:40 pm

Do it in Autumn. Be smart about this!
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby swynn » Thu 17 Dec, 2020 8:25 pm

Completed the Northern Prom circuit 14th-16th December, group of 5, anti-clockwise.
weather forecast 25, 23, 17 (measured at Prom Lighthouse) reality was 5-10 degrees warmer. Lots of water carried & drank, plenty of swims to keep cool.
First night was at 5 mile/Miranda Crk - easy but long road walk in. Great swim upon arrival. campsite had quite a bit of loo paper around, pretty gross. Water trickling in gully across Miranda Crk from camp, helped having a small flexi hose to direct flow.
2nd Day - Really enjoyed the coastal walk in the AM, swims at John Suey (would stay here next time, great campsite & water) & 3 mile where we had lunch before crossing over. A couple of hrs to cross over, slightly overgrown but plenty of tape. Nice meander into Tin Mine for another swim and set up camp. Enough water there, some of our group treated it some didn't, everyone was fine.
Day 3 We were fortunate to have our 'swamp day' overcast and light rain, made walking through the scrub much more pleasant and less 'snakey'. Only sighted 1 all trip at Lower Barry Crk campsite as we passed through at Lunch. Chinamen's was an easy way to start the day, and while the scrub was thick once we left the beach there was plenty of tape and a foot pad most of the day. We wandered off track a couple of times, both post- a burnt out banksia grove where we lost our 'line'. The GPX was really helpful to direct us back in the right way. The track does meander a lot through the scrub and it is hard to keep bearings at time - even with 5 navigators! Swamp crossings were great fun, first one was the deepest at upper thigh/hip depth, the other two were just about knee height, all solid underfoot. Back at carpark around 5pm, feeling very satisfied with our Northern Prom experience (which has definitely enhanced our love for this place!) - beautiful hike & a fun adventure!

Thanks to everyone who has previously shared trip reports and experiences in this forum! You gave us information, confidence and measure for our trip.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 17 Dec, 2020 8:44 pm

Thanks for the report. It's on my todo list.
Good information
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby publicrejoicer » Fri 18 Dec, 2020 5:18 pm

Thanks for your report. Did you have the circuit to yourself ? any other parties?
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby swynn » Mon 21 Dec, 2020 2:55 pm

We saw a couple on day 1 who appeared to have just done an overnight at 5 mile, 1 ranger driving along the 5 mile track too. No other walkers on the circuit but 2 kayakers at Tin Mine for the evening.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby indented » Wed 06 Jan, 2021 10:38 am

I've had this walk on my list for a couple of years now but hadn't had the opportunity to make it work. Due to some bad weather cancelling an alpine hike I figured I'd make it happen! Completed a solo circuit anti clockwise January 1-3. Previous trip reports were quite handy to assist with the planning as this was my first time in the northern section.

Day 1: Arrived at Tidal River around 10am to check in and get the permit. Needed to speak with a ranger before they would issue the permit despite having completed the paperwork and self-assessment required to make the booking. This is probably a good thing as some first-hand experience can be gathered.

After getting all that sorted and driving to Five Mile Carpark was on the trail for an 11am start. Five Mile Road was easy walking despite a strong headwind, although in the patches when I had wind cover I realized how hot walking this section was without the wind. Stopped in at Barry Creek to check the place out, topped off water. Crossed another couple of well-flowing streams on the way through to Five Mile Beach, the last one about 8km before Five Mile Camp. Five Mile campsite looked quite nice, someone had left a huge cooler bag and jetboil canister there. I’m assuming they must have been off on a walk somewhere but didn’t see anyone.

Miranda Creek crossing was easy as tide was rather low. Easily found the cairns and flagging tape marking the start of the trail to Johnny Suey. The climb out of Five Mile is quite steep and rather overgrown but doesn’t last long. Encountered first navigational hurdle with a downed tree that had a couple of pieces of flagging tape in it. After working through the tree assuming it had fallen on the trail I checked the GPS and realized the trail turned off behind a boulder! Aside from that the Five Mile-Johnny Suey trail was easy going if somewhat overgrown.

Arrived at Johnny Suey around 6pm as the last of my water ran out, but no worries as I’d read reports there was great water to be found. Campsite itself is tiny and rather overgrown, I almost missed it altogether. Some toilet paper around camp which was unfortunate. Got camp setup and went in search of the streams for water, only to find both streams were brackish. This was rather disappointing to say the least! After consulting the map it showed a potential water source around 8kms into tomorrow, otherwise the whole section to Tin Mine would be dry :(

Day 2: Struck camp and on the trail by 6am as somewhat stressed about the water situation. Map showed that the trail to Three mile from the end of Johnny Suey could be hard to locate, but there was a sign right near an arch in the trees with some flagging tape. Trail was easy enough to follow, and though both my map and GPS showed the trail staying elevated, the flagging tape lead me down to the rocks. What followed was around an hour of rock hopping while avoiding the spray from waves around to Harman Cove. Rather unpleasant. There was then a second much smaller rock section to make it onto Three Mile Beach.

Found a small stream at the end of Three Mile Beach, unfortunately also brackish. Beach made for nice walking and was soon at lighthouse point. The rope up to the beacon proved quite handy. From the small clearing at the beacon the trail looked rather overgrown, spotted my first snake almost immediately. On with the gaiters and gloves (thanks to previous report for this tip) and into the scrub.
The trail across to the other side was uneventful, rather overgrown but easy to follow trail. Very hot and tiring work with no water though. Eventually popped out onto the beach for the beach walk section rather dehydrated and started the walk up to Tin Mine Cove. The short section from the beach to the campsite is quite pretty and felt similar to the Southern section. Upon reaching camp around 12pm I quickly dropped my pack and went down for some glorious water!

Tin Mine Cove was probably the nicest campsite of the circuit. That afternoon I was sent some Severe Weather notifications for day 3, including large hail, flash flooding and electrical storms. With the swamp looming tomorrow I decided an early start would be best to try and clear the swamp before the worst of it hit.

[Safety note for Day 2: I would not recommend trying this without water. It was certainly an unpleasant experience, and I was monitoring myself very closely throughout the day for dehydration symptoms. I was also conscious to move slowly and methodically for safety]

Day 3: Struck camp and was on the trail by 6am again with the sunrise, now carrying an extra litre of water. The backtrack down to the beach was quite nice walking, and the very flat hard sand made for easy walking to the turnoff inland. The rain was attempting to start from about 6:30, so before heading inland it was on with the wet weather gear, gaiters and gloves.

The inland section doesn’t ease you into how tricky it’s going to be, it’s overgrown almost immediately, and I managed to lose the trail within the first couple of minutes. Out with the GPS and back on track. This section was hard work, made uncomfortable by the rain. It’s remarkably easy to lose the trail and even when you’re on the trail, half the time you can’t see it for the scrub. There were a number of times when I was standing next to a marker, unable to see where the trail went in either direction.

With the assistance of the GPS a number of times to get back on trail, I eventually made it to the swamp crossings. The first one went by relatively smoothly, with water just above the knee, though quite sticky mud at the base. The larger crossing also went smoothly, reaching mid-thigh depth towards the end. The mud was even stickier for the larger crossing, at one point it attempted to take my shoe clean off.

Once past the swamp crossings it was a matter of repeating the previous experience of forcing through scrub, and then checking the GPS if you haven’t seen any flagging tape for a while. The closer I got to Lower Barry Creek the easier the navigation became.

Arrived at Lower Barry around 11:30am, another very nice spot for camp. This was my intended destination for Day 3, but as it was still early, still raining and I was soaked through I decided to push on. I’m not sure there’s any rain gear that would make it through that sort of wet scrub bashing without wetting out.

After Crossing Lower Barry Creek and emptying the water out of my shoes, I picked up the tape marking the continuation of the trail and headed out. The trail was pretty quickly a repeat of the pushing through wet scrub, which rapidly refilled my shoes!

The trail became easier as it went on, and I reached Five Mile Road about 2 hours after leaving Lower Barry. By this time the rain had stopped, and there was no more wet scrub to push through, so off with the wet gear and onto the uneventful road walk back to the car just before 3pm.

Summary:
Overall this was a great walk and a great experience. Apart from some boats at Tin Mine Cove I saw only three people outside the carpark, all on Five Mile Road.
Should have taken more water for Day 1 to cover Day 2. While there was plenty of water around it wasn’t drinkable. To be safe in future I’d assume no water available between where Chinaman creek crosses Five Mile Road and Tin Min Cove.
Previous advice on the tides is very good, I had easy crossings and beach walks were some of the easiest beach walking I’ve done. I did the rock hopping at mid tide, and there wasn’t a ton of room available.
GPS for Tin Mine-Lower Barry section is (almost) essential. I’d recommend a dedicated one without a touch screen, as my phone screen was problematic in the rain.
Five Mile Road would be terrible in warmer weather

Thanks to everyone who’s provided information and reports for your help!
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 07 Jan, 2021 12:50 pm

Thanks for the report indented.
Well done. Sounds like a lot of fun.
Good information about the bureaucratic necessities and the current state of the walk, especially regarding water.
The rock hopping still sounds a bit adventurous.

I've had similar issues with the GPS on the smartphone when it's sogging wet. Pain in the *&%$#!.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby Baeng72 » Sun 04 Apr, 2021 5:01 pm

Long, meandering posts follows with probably little information content.

So, I finally got the time, permission, and sufficient stupidity to do the Northern Circuit.
The initial plan was Thursday arvo walk in to Lower Barry campsite, Friday Chinaman Swamp to Tin Mine Cove, Saturday Tin Mine Cove to Johnny Souey. Walk out Easter Sunday, early if possible.
There was still a mostly full moon which came in very handy at night for seeing around campsite, weather was good, and low-tide time at Sealers for Saturday was 11:30 pm, handy to know for the rock-hopping.
When I booked they said due to limited numbers at camps, I'd have to go clockwise, and must stay at booked campsite, let's see how that worked out...

Thursday was a no show, traffic snarls on the Monash meant it took 30min to go a few kms, plus every man and his dog were doing roadwork.
Had to stop at the Parks entrance when I finally got there.
The lady said all camping was closed off, not just Southern Circuit due to 250mm of rain the previous week.
I think she might have oversold it with that quantity of rain, and anyway, she rang the duty ranger who said it was OK, and they let me sleep in the car Thursday night.
I may have bought a few bevvies when I realized I wasn't going that evening, purely for intensive carb loading, as all athletes do before a big event.

Day 1.
So, that mean rolling the walk from carpark to Lower Barry camp (LBC), and from LBC through swamp to Tin Mine into 1 day......fun ensued.
The walk to the turn off was fine, just a management track.
The days was warming up, and I was wearing long convertible pants, gardening gloves, but no long sleeves. You can guess how my arms ended up.
At first it was easy, obvious pad/track, trees not to thick, but getting nearer LBC it got pretty dense and very scratchy.
I know we're meant to practise Leave No Trace, but I left my sunhat somewhere on the way to LBC, and so my scone got baked for the rest of the trip.
Not sure how I lost it, as it was around my neck, surely it should have strangled me? Lost on of my gloves near the swamp too.
After a break at LBC, I pushed on towards the swamp.
It's really just a continuation of copses of Banksia, and other scratchy stuff, with grass trees wrapping around your ankles, making each step feel like a rope with a brick is hooked to your ankle.
Tripping was a possibility each step, surprisingly I tripped infrequently.
There were some areas that were easier to walk, but the didn't last long.
I saw the odd Tiger snake, lots of lizards, but no encounters.
I wouldn't enter the area after LBC without a GPS and offline map.
Map and compass would require 4D chess levels of skill in navigation.
Down near the swamp proper, it was hard to navigate, and what looked like the track, wasn't.
On the GetLost map there are two tracks indicated, one in red dashes, and one the moves about a lot more in purple.
Do not try to follow the red dashed track, I did at this point and ended up in some Banksia/Grass tree hellscape.
Had to backtrack a bit and take the purple track.
GPS with map to the rescue or I'd still be there, waiting for some one to walk by for help.
The swamp wasn't too bad, despite the reported rain, up to thigh height the first crossing, a bit muddy and a shoe fell off, but I retrieved it easily.
My shoelaces kept undoing, not sure why, maybe all the branches and scrub grabbing at them, or my prep-level shoe tying ability?
Anyway, I filtered some water at the first crossing, all good. Katadyn filter worked a treat, and the break with a snack got some energy back.
There were another couple of crossings, next one knee height, last one calf high and shorter distance.
The walking was easier for a while after the swamp.
I could see the flagging tape, and odd white pole, or orange pole pretty easily, and thought I was through the worse.
I wasn't, but that flagging tape helped a lot when you weren't confident if you were on an animal track or the right track.
Then it got ugly again, lots of sharp copses of Banksia, and other scratchy stuff that I don't know the name off, and the GPS decided to join the fun and started jumping over the place, it showed me moving 50m one direction, and 100m the other all while I was standing still looking at the phone screen. Very comforting....
Anyway, I got stuck in a Thicket of regrowth because the GPS said to go that way, had to bash my way into it, and bash back out.
The day was getting late, I was stuffed, and my head cooked from the Sun.
April doing a good impression of January.
There was no breeze to speak of, and it was just hot.
I finally made it Chinaman Long Beach (CLB), late, and started walking to Tin Mine Cove (TMC).
It was dark before I got to the turn off at the other end of the beach.
I started walking to TMC, but was cramping, stumbling and just couldn't.
I camped above the tide line on the beach. Sorry Parks.

Day 2
I was surprisingly feeling OK at the start of day 2.
Not having made it to TMC meant I had bugger all water left.
I thought maybe with all the rain, I'd find a puddle or a soak on the walk to Three Mile Beach (TMB).
No luck, water ran out at the start of TMB, and the Sun was cooking again.
The track from CLB to TMB was pretty easy, even in the dark.
I started walking at about 6:30am, to make the tide for the later rock hopping on the way to Johnny Souey Cove (JSC).
There were a few thick patches of scrub, but I barely looked at the GPS, the track was clear.
At about Margaret Saddle, the sun started poking it's head above the ridge, and it was just more the same trackwise, some easy walking, some sharp scrub, but track clear enough.
At TMB I walked past the Beacon, went down to the beach, rope in 1 hand poles in other, no problem.
At first the beach walking was easy, but as the sun heated up, the lack of sunhat and water started to take it's toll.
By the time I got to the Southern end of TMB, I was a bit cooked, and not looking forward to the rock hopping.
I filtered some water from the creek there, smelt like rotten eggs, and tasted *&%$#!, even with heaps of Gatorade powder.
But you gotta try things when you're getting parched.
As I was getting ready to go, I saw that 2 hikers had passed going the other way, they were cruising and already a few hundreds of meters away before I noticed.
The first people I'd seen since the entrance 2 days before.

The GetLost map is no help, it points straight up a steep rock and into the scrub. I was a bit over scrub by now.
Using my sun addled, dehydrated brain, I looked to where their footsteps touched the sand, and started from there.
It was a pretty quick crossing on this small rocky section, a bit reminiscent of Mt Difficult. Clearly I was delusional...
Then a short beach walk, to the next bigger rocky section.
At this place, I started from the footprints, but it seemed like a wall of rock and I was stuffed and brain was cooked.
I was getting a bit down about it all, not sure what to do, when 3 more bushwalkers doing the circuit anti-clockwise came bounding over the rocks.
It turns out you just need to climb up a bit, and it's all pretty easy after that at low tide.
We exchanged information, they told me where the track above the next set of rocks starts and how the track was pretty cruisey, and I mentioned some thing about the swamp.
Thanks so much to those guys, it meant I knew the way, and just had to pull my finger out.
A little while later I was over the second set of rocks, and ready to go up the steep path for the walk around to JSC.
It was hard work getting up the hill, but I managed it, and after some puffing and panting, got to JSC, with the odd Tiger snake obligingly moving off the path.
I had to crawl onto the beach, the low hanging branches wouldn't yield my pack while standing.
Walking down the beach, I noticed another couple with 1 pack between them, they would come in handy later.
I found nice fresh, trickling water at creek next to JSC campsite, above the tide line.
Filtered heaps, chucked in hydralite, had something to eat.
It was too late to push onto Five Mile Bay (FMB) as the tide was rising and I was stuffed.
I spoke to Kyaker who was collecting water for a while.
Then I checked out the campsite.
It's a bit underwhelming.
I had my pack near the beach, to keep an eye on it, as I was charging up my battery pack with a Solar Panel (all the mod-cons), and thinking of going for a swim, when the couple came back, fresh as a daisy.
I hate fit people (only joking).
We spoke for a bit, and they mentioned they were heading to FMB campsite and I warned of the tide.
They said they had a huge dry back and would be happy to ferry my pack across if I wanted to go.
I was stuffed, but the chance to start the final day from FMB campsite was too much to ignore.
It was quite a hard slog up from JSC to the highpoint overlooking FMB, then a very steep drop to Miranda Creek.
The couple were kind enough to go slow so this fat old *&%$#! didn't lose them.
Packs were ferried across, and we swam across.
Later water collected was collected from the spring, with the young guy swimming over.
The guy swam across with containers and collected it.
Thanks so much to that couple too.

Sorry again parks, 3 nights out of 3 I didn't sleep in designated campsite.

Day 3
Next morning I woke at 4am, quietly packed up and was walking by 4:40am.
Still feeling surprisingly OK.
The beach walk was fine (no scrub), the track walk was fine (no scrub), but once the sun came up, my scone started to cook.
I had water, so the sun was the problem without a hat.
I filtered some water where some Frogs where having a good old time, saw a mummy Wombat with baby version walking like a train on the track ahead.
There was lots of wildlife each day, Wallabies, Wombats, Snakes, Cockatoos, etc.
I walked through an area with tree ferns, which was nice, but was followed by a long, steep climb, not so nice.
Then a bit later there was a climb from Barry Creek, up past the track junction to LBC which sapped the energy.
I got to the carpark about 6 hours after leaving FMB camp, and went to Stockyards camp and showered, changed into a fresh set of clothes, and drove home.
Not built for speed, but I got the circuit done.

Phone reception was good at Five mile carpark, and good on Chinamans beach. Wasn't really happening at on the western Eastern side of the peninsula, and didn't find it again until after the slog up the hill from the Tree Fern area.
My Garmin device that I use to keep in contact with my wife and she can track my location, worked OK the first 2 days, then didn't work the last until I was nearly back at the carpark.

That's it. Apologies for the blathering, I'm still dealing with the trauma of bruises, scratches, chaffing, sprains etc. :)
I wouldn't do it again, the reward isn't enough for the effort.

I'll upload some photos if anybody is interested.
Last edited by Baeng72 on Mon 05 Apr, 2021 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Northern Circuit, Wilson's Promontory

Postby bigkev » Mon 05 Apr, 2021 8:29 am

Thanks for the comprehensive report Baeng - sounds like a successful trip :wink: Give it a week and you'll be keen to go again I reckon!
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