Cape Liptrap

When we were invited to a gathering of friends and family in Victoria at a place called Bear Gully, only 160km south east of Melbourne – it was hard to refuse. What a magical name. And it turned out to be just as enchanting as we imagined, even if the weather on arrival wasn’t entirely as warm and sunny as we were hoping.

Bear Gully Campground is part of the 4,175ha Cape Liptrap Coastal Park, which stretches from Point Smythe to Waratah Bay on the coastal fringe south east of Melbourne. Overlooking the wild waters of Bass Strait, it transforms from a peaceful coastal area to a wild, windy and fearsome place. Over the first days of our visit, we copped the latter and standing under the lighthouse at Cape Liptrap was awe inspiring as nature threw wild gusts at us in an attempt to fling us into the less than peaceful rocky scenery below.

The park probably plays second fiddle to the Prom – the iconic Wilson’s Promontory – a few hours’ drive further on. Bear Gully is on the western shore of Waratah Bay and from the beach the mountainous stretches of the Prom on the opposite shore were visible when the clouds dissipated.

The park is an easy two-hour drive from Melbourne down the Bass Highway through Leongatha and then to Fish Creek, where we stopped for lunch before winding our way along country roads and past the giant wind farm at Bald Hills. Lower Tarwin is the last top-up for fuel before the final 20km run into the park.

For over 6000 years prior to European occupation the area was home to the Boon Wurrung, Bunurong and Gunaikurnai peoples who enjoyed the abundant seafood as is evident in a number of local middens. Tools were made from the cape’s quartzite and jasper and were no doubt traded widely.

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