winter escape wilsons prom accommodation
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Unique Wilsons Prom Accommodation For A Pleasant Winter Escape

Winter is an often overlooked but splendid time to explore Victoria’s parks, and our recent family trip to Wilsons Promontory National Park was a testament to that.

Thanks to a blend of comfort, nature, and adventure, we found Wilsons Prom to be the ideal place to relax, unwind, and reconnect with the great outdoors. 

Regarding finding the perfect accommodation at Wilsons Promontory, we had the most wonderful experience at Just Inside The Gate. Situated at the edge of this stunning park, where the countryside meets the coast, this eco-lodge offers an enjoyable and convenient winter escape.

Edward the Emu spotted on the Prom Wildlife Walk, tidal river
Edward the Emu spotted on the Prom Wildlife Walk

Tidal River Accommodation for Visiting Wilsons Prom

Wilsons Promontory, also known as Wilsons Prom or The Prom, is a beloved destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. With its pristine beaches, rugged mountains, and diverse wildlife, it’s no wonder why so many people flock to this beautiful area. 

Without the summer crowds, we could fully immerse ourselves in nature and enjoy a serene escape to one of Victoria’s most popular National Parks.

Imagine waking up to the sound of native birds chirping and the gentle rustle of eucalyptus trees swaying in the breeze. This picturesque setting is what awaits you at the various Tidal River accommodation options run by Parks Victoria. Whether you prefer the convenience of a cabin or the comfort of a fully equipped unit, you can find it at Wilsons Prom.

Tidal River is the main hub of activity within Wilsons Promontory. For those looking for a more secluded and exclusive experience, Just Inside The Gate provides a unique opportunity to stay in a self-catering eco-lodge surrounded by 97 acres of wilderness.

Our Wilsons Prom Eco-Lodge Accommodation, Just Inside The Gate
Our Wilsons Prom eco-lodge accommodation, Just Inside The Gate

We love exploring Melbourne but having a few days holiday at Wilsons Promontory with our daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren was a break that we had all been looking forward to.

The wintery weather (well, it was June) could not dampen our spirits and at many times and sites each day the thought, “It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, this place is beautiful”, became the reality.

Despite the first rainy night, we were comfortably snug and warm in our wonderful accommodation, Just Inside The Gate. Each morning, over a cooked breakfast and coffee, we watched in awe as the sun rose and reflected off Corner Inlet, cleared the mist and revealed a breathtaking panorama.

Just Inside The Gate is located on the edge of the national park and when looking North-East through the huge double-glazed windows, gently rolling green pasture, dairy cattle and multitudes of birds you can, Kerrigan-like, actually, “feel the serenity.”

– Chris

Our very comfortable, warm and spacious eco-lodge, Just Inside The Gate, wilsons promontory accommodation
Our very comfortable, warm and spacious eco-lodge, Just Inside The Gate

The weather-defiant beauty of the location didn’t lessen as we drove from our accommodation to explore The Prom, in fact, it was enhanced.

Dramatic views of rugged islands from along the road to Tidal River; squeaky sand and playing explorers among huge granite outcrops at Squeaky Beach; watching Crimson Rosellas as we enjoyed a coffee and sandwich at Tidal River General Store; fishing from the platforms along Loo-Errn Track; seeing plenty of free-range kangaroos, wombats and emus and learning how to differentiate their poo… all made this trip memorable for kids and adults.

If you’re planning a winter break from Melbourne, Wilsons Promontory has an amazing amount to offer. The modern, well-appointed, environmentally friendly, family accommodation, Just Inside The Gate, is well suited to stay inside in front of the fire, read, play games or watch TV or as a base for exploratory jaunts into the exciting Wilsons Promontory National Park.

– Chris

Tidal River
Stunning views across Tidal River

Exploring Wilsons Prom from Just Inside The Gate

Sleeping up to 8 people, Just Inside The Gate is a spacious eco-lodge divided into two separate units with a large dining and living area in the centre. 

Whilst it is situated within the national park, travelling into Tidal River from the accommodation takes more than 20 minutes by car. 

It’s a beautiful drive, and there are certainly plenty of activities throughout Wilsons Prom to keep everyone entertained. From bushwalking and birdwatching to beachcombing and stargazing, we were delighted to spot emus, kangaroos, various birdlife, and even a wombat, too. 

With the convenience of self-catering facilities, including a full-size fridge, we easily prepared meals and snacks to keep the whole family fuelled for adventure. 

A group selfie taken on the Loo-Errn boardwalk trail nearby our wilsons prom accommodation
A group selfie taken on the Loo-Errn boardwalk trail along Tidal River, with stunning views of Mount Oberon

Although we had packed all our own food, we stopped at Yanakie General Store for cough lollies.  I was very impressed with the variety of supplies, the very neat setup, and the cleanliness of that store.  

I found our eco-lodge accommodation very spacious, and comfortable. I loved the huge windows overlooking the rural paddocks with the black cows popping on the beautiful green grass.  

Honestly, it didn’t matter that it was overcast and cold, the gas log fire kept the spacious kitchen, and loungeroom area really warm and even travelled down the hallway to the bedrooms.  

It was such a delight to be with family and have precious time with the girls.  “Nanna and Grandpa” had our own wing but chose to share the large kitchen/loungeroom area with the family. We took advantage of the games in the cupboard provided for guest use.  

Each bedroom had its own ensuite, and our bed was very snug and comfortable.  The shower does not have a rail to hang onto, which is important as a senior, however, there are other accommodation options that do have this in Tidal River.

– Terrie

In Feb 2024, Squeaky Beach was named Number 1 in Tourism Australia’s annual list of Australia’s Top 10 Beaches! Marking the first time a Victorian beach has earned first place. We felt so lucky to have the beach almost to ourselves.

It may have been overcast but we put our coats on and had an adventurous time in-between showers!  The Information Centre at Tidal River was fun.  The Loo-Errn track was easy to walk and good for taking a stroller on. We walked along the boardwalk and had fun jumping in some puddles.  

The next day we headed off to Squeaky Beach. Our little 4 yr old was very intrigued with the wombat poo and we were able to follow the poo trail for quite a while.  The beach, even on a cold day, was awesome, with big rocks, crashing waves, amazing scenery.  We had fun squeaking the sand with our boots and drawing in the sand with a stick.  Climbing in and out of the rock crevices. Just beautiful. 

The Prom Wildlife Walk was another interesting walk to do with children.  We saw lots of emus, kangaroos, and later on, when back driving in the car, finally a wombat. 

Lilly Pilly Nature Walk was undertaken by just us seniors.   A truly lovely nature walk, just feeling the serenity and the awesomeness of God’s creation.  These 2 seniors didn’t complete the 5.2km return but managed to walk about halfway. On the return, we saw lots of kangaroos jumping around.  It was just amazing and well worth the effort. 

The weather may not have been ideal, but to me, it was perfect for a winter getaway and perfect for spending time with family in such awesome surroundings. 

– Terrie

Reading books at the dining table of our Wilsons Prom accommodation
If you love Australian author Alison Lester, a stop at the Alison Lester Gallery/Bookshop in nearby Fish Creek is a must!

Recommended Wilsons Prom walking trails for a slower-paced hike

  1. Squeaky Beach to Picnic Bay: This 2 km return walk is a family favourite, with its famous squeaky sand and beautiful coastal views. To just explore the beach, it’s a 300-metre walk from the car park that provides plenty of opportunities for beach play and exploration.
  1. Loo-Errn Track: This 1 km accessible boardwalk around Tidal River offers an easy, flat walk through lush wetlands. Perfect for those wanting a leisurely pace while enjoying the local flora and fauna.
  1. Prom Wildlife Walk: The 2.3 km loop is a flat, easy walk through open grasslands ideal for spotting kangaroos, wombats, wallabies, and emus.
  1. Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk: This 5.2 km return track is a moderate walk through cool temperate rainforest, offering a shaded and serene environment. 
  1. Norman Beach: A simple and flat walk along Norman Beach is perfect for a relaxed beachside stroll. 
The Loo-Errn boardwalk 20 minutes drive from our wilsons promontory accommodation
Tidal River footbridge

Accessible Accommodation at Wilsons Promontory

While Just Inside The Gate has some steps for access and no hand-rails, other Wilsons Prom accommodation options including Sheoak and Wirilda Cabins are equipped with ramp access and fully accessible bathrooms.

Among the Tidal River one-bedroom apartments, the Domain Unit sets a new standard in accessibility, featuring ramp access and a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom for visitors with limited mobility.

Wilsons Promontory Visitor Centre offers the rental of TrailRiders – all-terrain wheelchairs designed to tackle rugged terrains. 

The Loo-Errn Track is suitable for wheelchair users with a boardwalk covering 1 km of wetlands near the main Tidal River hub, bathroom facilities, Visitor Centre and General Store.

Exploring interesting artefacts at the The Tidal River Visitor Centre, open daily, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Exploring interesting artefacts at the The Tidal River Visitor Centre, open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Tidbits for Visiting Wilsons Promontory Accommodation

  • Food and Supplies: Stock up on groceries before you arrive, as there are limited supplies available within the park. The Tidal River General Store has various items, (including espresso coffee!), but it’s best to come prepared. Before entering the park, Yanakie General Store is a great option to stock up on necessities.
  • Enjoy Indoor Amenities: Many of the accommodations at Wilsons Prom are well-equipped with modern kitchens, bathrooms, and cosy lounges. Use these amenities to cook warm meals and relax by the fire after a day of adventuring.
  • Just Inside The Gate: This accommodation option is an eco-lodge sleeping up to 8 people. It is spacious, comfortable, and warm, and includes a full-size fridge, kitchen facilities, a large deck with BBQ, TV, board games, and a gas log heater. 
  • Visit Tidal River Visitor Centre: Stop by the Tidal River Visitor Centre for maps, information on current park conditions, and tips on the best spots to visit. The staff can provide insights into which trails are best in winter and where to see wildlife​.
  • Enjoy Short, Scenic Walks: Plenty of shorter, accessible walking trails suitable for all ages, like the Lilly Pilly Gully Circuit or Squeaky Beach Walk. These trails offer stunning views and are easier for kids and grandparents to manage.
  • Explore the Wildlife: Winter is a great time for wildlife spotting as many animals are more active. Visit the Prom Wildlife Viewing Area to see kangaroos, emus, and wombats. Remember to bring binoculars for a closer look.
  • Accessibility: Wilsons Prom offers accessible accommodation, including Sheoak, Wirilda, and the Domain Unit, while also providing TrailRiders to hire for rugged terrain and wheelchair-friendly trails like the Loo-Errn Track near Tidal River.
  • Stay Dry and Comfortable: Pack walking shoes, gumboots and slippers! Waterproof jackets and sturdy boots are essential for staying dry and comfortable during hikes and outdoor activities. Don’t forget to bring extra socks and changes of clothes for the kids.
  • Prepare to rug up: Wilsons Promontory can get quite chilly in winter, so pack plenty of warm clothing, including thermal layers, beanies, gloves, and scarves.

Wilsons Promontory National Park is part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape and we respect the deep and continuing connection that Traditional Owners have to these lands, waters and sky.

Squeaking our way along Australia's Top Beach! Nice and secluded in the colder months.
Squeaking our way along Australia’s Top Beach! Nice and secluded in the colder months.

This sponsored post has been published in collaboration with Parks Victoria.
The Seniors in Melbourne team visited as guests of Parks Victoria. All views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

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