Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoriaís beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published September 23rd 2019
Shining a light on a hidden paradise
Walkerville South might not be on your holiday bucket list. You might not even have heard of it for it is more tranquil retreat than bustling town. But take some time out of your next trip to Wilsons Promontory or during your next South Gippsland holiday and you won't be disappointed. Walkerville South has pristine beaches, picturesque rock formations, a tiny cave, a bushland walk, fossils, the ruins of 19th century lime kilns, a historic cemetery and an abundance of birdlife. The area is beautiful at any time but is particularly stunning at low tide. It would make an ideal picnic lunch stopover on a trip to the Prom. Don't forget your camera.
1. A Pristine Beach of white quartz sands, known as Bluff Beach, lines the coast at Walkerville South which sits on the western shores of Waratah Bay which runs between Cape Liptrap and Wilsons Promontory. The beach is backed by steep slopes where houses can be seen peeping out from amongst the trees. What amazing views the residents must-have. At low tide, the flat, compact sand is a great beach for a stroll for people of any fitness level and provides a wide expanse for children to play. Surf Lifesaving rates this as a relatively safe swimming beach with a caution to be careful of rocks and reefs.
Pristine beach and bushland - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
2. Heritage Listed Lime Kiln Ruins can be viewed from the beach. They are quite a spectacle. The kilns are of significant historical importance and are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. Limestone quarrying and quick lime production was carried out here from 1878, reaching its peak of production in the 1890s, when up to eighty men were employed quarrying limestone, working the kilns, supplying timber and bagging and stacking lime.
Ruins of one of the lime kilns viewed from the beach - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
The limestone mined from the cliffs was burned with firewood in the brick-lined kilns to make quick lime. The lime was then bagged and taken in tram carts along a 350 metre jetty which out into the bay where it was loaded on ships. The kilns operated until 1926, no longer economically viable as cement took over from lime.
Such a varied landscape - Photo copyright Gaye Beveridge
3. Interesting Rocks can be found all along the beach and particularly to the south during low tide. This area might be a geologist's dream come true, there are so many different types of rocks here. The shapes and colours differ dramatically. Some stand a couple of metres high, others are low and ruggedly flat, creating rock pools the children will enjoy exploring.
There is even a small cave open at both ends, forming a tunnel. Eroded from a fault line in the cliff rock it's a little tight so you're claustrophobic, walk around it. We passed through, just for fun, carefully treading rotting seaweed on the floor. The seaweed was exuding an odour and causing the water trickling from the cave to run black.
The predominant rock here is limestone and it was through the mining of this that settlement came to the area. We also came across an outcrop of iron ore, its deep metallic black a sharp contrast to the off-white limestone. In close proximity to the iron ore just around the corner from Bird Rock was greenstone. The variety of colours has to be seen to be believed.
Greenstone, iron ore and limestone are all present - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
5. Lime Burners Walk runs between the north and south settlements of Walkerville. You will be passing through stands of Drooping She-oak and past cliffs. You will sight some of the ruins of the lime kilns. At a lookout with sweeping views across the Walkerville South beach you will find information boards detailing the history of the lime kilns. A short side track leads to the historic Walkerville Cemetery. The walk along a track of dirt and gravel is 750 metres long and takes around 15 to 20 minutes each way. It is rated easy to medium but is a little bit steep in parts but quite manageable to people of average fitness.
View from the Lime Burners Walk Lookout - Images copyright Gayle Beveridge
6. The Historic Walkerville Cemetery can be reached from a side track on Lime Burners Walk. The track up to the cemetery is quite steep. This hillside cemetery overlooks Bluff Creek and although it contains around 30 graves, only six are marked. A couple are fenced and the remaining headstones display the names of early residents. There have been no burials there since 1926.
Walkerville's historic cemetery - Image by Lifegames Photography for www.south-gippsland.com and used with permission
7. Birdlife is abundant at Walkerville South. It is not uncommon to see fairy wrens and eastern yellow robins picking through seaweed that has washed up on the shore. They are searching for the tiny crustaceans caught amongst the seaweed tendrils. You are likely to see silver gulls might also see any of these Prom Country Indigenous Birds described in this leaflet.
A fairy wren looking for crustaceans in beached seaweed - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
Walkerville South is around a two and a half hour drive from Melbourne's CBD initially along the South Gippsland Highway or the Bass Highway. From Walkerville South Road access to the beach is by Bayside Drive which is a gravel road. Follow Bayside Drive to the parking area at the Walkerville South Beach near the boat ramp. There are public toilets beside the carpark which are reached from a short, uphill, fenced path. There are no shops near the beach.
Map of Walkerville South Beach access - Image courtesy of Google Earth