Australia's Best Kept Secret: Fairy Cove
FOLLOW WITH BLOGLOVIN'!
FAIRY COVE, WILSON'S PROM
Last time I wrote about Wilson's Prom, a well-known rugged coastline getaway for Victorians, I mentioned how I've been visiting for the past decade and still managed to discover new things, like The Big Drift. Last week, I spent a few days exploring again and discovered something I knew I had to share with you guys.... Australia's best kept secret is Fairy Cove.
Our group of 9 did a quick Instagram search early Friday morning before quickly deciding on skipping our usual spots (Squeaky Beach), and exploring unknown territory. Fairy Cove looked beautiful, so off we went. It was 19°C, not that warm for Melbourne, but with no clouds in sight and the sun out at The Prom, it was hot.
Fairy Cove is a moderately safe beach under low waves, located among granite boulders and steep slopes, near Tongue Point. It's unpatrolled by lifeguards and only accessible at low-tide, at which the two nooks are joined together to form a 250m long secluded beach. The tide seems to stay out mostly, but these two bays that make up Fairy Cove tend to separate and re-join throughout the day (so keep an eye out when exploring so you can get back to your belongings).
The seas stay true to Wilson's Prom - restless and ever-changing. The wind comes off the Bass Strait and slams waves into cliffs off in the distance, while foamy ripples meet the bay and make for a fun day with a boogie board.
It's unlike anything I've ever seen before. The water is clear, blue, and freezing at first, but warms up as you melt in awe at the beauty surrounding you. We spent half the day there and I still can’t describe the feeling of wading around in the water, spinning 360° to take in the Bass Strait, the mountains you just hiked, to the small private beach, and then boulders that lead off into Tongue Point. Then round, and round again. With virtually no one else there (a maximum of 5 or so other people there throughout the day while we were), it feels as if you're in another universe.
Visitors tend to make Fairy Cove a pit-stop to Tongue Point, but to me, it's the destination.
WHY IS IT SECRET?
Locals and tourists tend to flock to Squeaky Beach for the sand that squeaks beneath their feet and rock formations begging for exploration, or Norman Beach for its stunning view of Mt. Oberon. Fairy Cove is further South and is only accessible via a hike from Darby River, or Darby Saddle.
I assume the reason it’s so unknown is either because of the popularity of the many other locations that make up Wilson’s Prom and their ease of access for families and campers. Either that, or the locals want to keep it secret - in which case, oops?
HOW TO GET THERE:
Fairy Cove can be accessed via hikes starting from either Darby River or Darby Saddle. As Darby Saddle is further away, I recommend parking your car at the Darby River carpark and taking the 2.8km track from there (the track is to the left of the carpark entrance - the one that has signs for Tongue Point). This track will take you roadside for a few minutes until the dirt path turns into a wooden plank trail that starts off steep. Be careful as there are a few loose planks.
The track will take you up and down through forested slopes that give you a stunning view of Darby River and Vereker Range, and will take you around what feels like 3 mountains (Google Maps won’t tell me what they are), until it finally drops down to views of the sparkling sea, scattered boulders, and an island in the distance.
The walk 2.8km, takes around 45 minutes to one hour one-way, and is moderate-hard.
On the way back, the steep steps from Fairy Cove to the signed entrance is the worst in terms of difficulty, with the first uphill trail near the Darby River carpark to the top coming second. The walk in between these two points is moderate, depending on your fitness level.
- Hats + sunscreen are a must.
- Footwear wise, we wore Birkenstock-type sandals and it was super comfortable. The rest of the group hiked in sneakers or thongs. We all did fine.
- Fairy Cove is only accessible at low tide.
- We spotted a tiger snake hiding among the rocks at the bottom of the entrance stairs to Fairy Cove, so keep an eye out and be careful!
- The waves can get big and there will be rips so don't swim out too far and take care as it is an unsupervised area.
- There are no toilets or food/water kiosks nearby, so make sure you're prepared before you set off on the hike, and ensure that you have enough water for the way back. We had a few of the boys carry 5L bottles of water that we could all share. We brought minimal snacks and no lunch so we were hungry most of the day - a well-learnt lesson for next time!
- The walk back up from Fairy Cove to the turn-off sign that says 'Fairy Cove -->' will get you puffing.