For your next day trip or weekend getaway, consider the Powlett River at Dalyston.
The Powlett River is a little known estuary located on the Bass Coast. Ideal for either a day trip or weekend getaway, the area between Kilkunda and Wonthaggi is largely undeveloped countryside and ocean beaches, with lots of nature-based activities such as camping, bushwalking, beach combing, rock pooling, fishing, dune coasting, bike riding and picnics.
Head South on the South Gippsland Highway around the Western Port Bay, The Powlett River is tucked away about 126km or approx. 1.5hrs from the heart of Melbourne (30 minutes from Phillip Island), close to Wonthaggi.
Shopping and eating in nearby Kilkunda is scarce. But a little further round the coast is Wonthaggi, and here you'll find anything and everything you could possibly need.
What is Powlett River? Powlett River is an estuary - the intersection of the Powlett River and Bass Straight.
Access to the reserve is FREE and always open.
Where is the Powlett River? The Powlett River in Dalyston is located 13.5km West of Wonthaggi and 30 minutes from Phillip Island. Effectively tucked away amid rolling countryside, it is (perhaps deliberately) not very well signposted. Do a navigational search for 'Powlett River Caravan Park' for best directions.
Caravan Park Address: 220 Mouth of Powlett Road, Dalyston, Vic 3992. Telephone: 5678 7520
Parking at Powlett River There are no designated parking areas anywhere on the Powlett River reserve. Pull up on the gravel or grassy areas anywhere you like.
Parking is FREE.
Activities at Powlett River The area along the Bass Coast generally is NOT safe for swimming. The beaches are unpatrolled and signs warn of strong currents, permanent rips and rocky outcrops. Cemetery Point is a popular surfing destination, but for family water-based fun, Powlett River is the best recommendation.
Take your boogie boards, kayak, inflatable raft and fishing rods and head down the Mouth of Powlett Road for a day of water and sand based fun.
Explore both sides of the river. One side is home to the confusingly named Tea Tree Picnic Area. Despite the name, this is not a functional picnic spot. Room for perhaps half a dozen cars in a cul-de-sac type situation, there are two paths. The first, less desirable option, is a trip down the 'Wonderland path.' (This is the name I've given it and you'll soon see why). A very narrow, sandy trail with low hanging branches and steep inclines that leads to the beach.
The better option is the mown grass path through paddock to the estuary. The track is flat and (with a bit of muscle) would accommodate wheels (aka: pusher, stroller or wheelchair), but it does end at the beach, which equals sand. Not so good for wheels.
This side is awesome fun thanks to the high sand dunes. Ride your boogie board right down the sandy slope and into the water.
You can swim across the estuary to the other side – and I saw a young family do it with smaller kids in an inflatable raft. It's not terribly deep - but the better option is to drive around to the caravan park side of the river.
On the caravan park side you can set up a picnic, paddle or pull out the rod and do some fishing.
Food and Facilities
There is ONE picnic table located on a small grassy patch next to the river. True picnic-ers would be well advised to pack their own tables and chairs for just in case. The other option is a blanket on the ground.
There are no cooking facilities or shelter/shade here. There are also NO facilities (aka: Toilets) or fresh water.
The first alternative to a picnic is The Killy Pub on Bass Highway, Kilkunda for a bistro meal.
Another alternative is Wonthaggi. The Wonthaggi township is huge and has everything from supermarkets to fast food, bakeries, cafes and restaurants.
Powlett River Accommodation
The Powlett River Caravan Park is a humble establishment, remote and dog friendly. It offers relaxed camping options for those looking to fish, paddle, walk and perhaps take the odd day trip from a quiet 'home' base. They do not have a web site so enquiries must be made directly.
Powlett River Caravan Park: 220 Mouth of Powlett Road, Dalyston, Vic 3992. Telephone: 5678 7520
Nearby Local Attractions
Love it or loathe it, the desalination plant is situated a short drive from the river. Visitors can walk or ride around the area, all the way to the base of the wind turbines.
The trail connects to the Bass Coast Rail Trail, which starts at the old Wonthaggi Railway Station in Murray Street and runs all the way through to Anderson, the turn-off for Phillip Island. A total length of 23km, the path is an easy gravel ride suitable for hikers, bikes and horses. Motorcycles are strictly prohibited.
There is a picnic area with toilet facilities on the desalination site. Enter off the Lower Powlett Road.
Driving back toward Phillip Island, stop and walk across the old railway trestle bridge and climb over the rocks at Kilkunda beach.