While it definitely isn’t Australia’s most accessible beach, Refuge Cove is more than worth the effort it takes to get there. Ensconced inside the forested refuge of Wilson’s Promontory National Park, Refuge Cove gets its name from the protection it offers passing sailors. There aren’t any roads leading into this bay—which is accessible by boat or trail—and it’s a favorite of Australia’s yachting community in need of anchorage in storms. For all other visitors who are traveling on foot, Refuge Cove requires a 10-mile hike from the parking lot at Telegraph Saddle, with many opting to break the trip up by camping at Sealers Cove. There’s also a campsite in Refuge Cove at the southern end of the beach, where you can wake to the sound of waves striking sand and birds chirping in the trees. Watch the sunrise from golden sands that face the eastern horizon, and spend the day swimming in turquoise waters that seem clear enough to drink. If it weren’t for a rule that limits camping to a maximum of two nights in a row, it would be easy to spend the days swimming and suntanning—not wanting to head back home.
Refuge Cove is located on the east coast of Wilson’s Promontory National Park. All hikers and campers must first make a booking at the Tidal River Visitor Center, or download an application from the Parks Victoria website. Since Refuge Cove is a backcountry location, all drinking water, supplies, and cooking equipment must be carried in by hand.