Hiking at Wilson's Promontary National Park

My daughter Emma and I have just got back from a three-night hike around Wilson's Promontory. After the first night at Tidal River, we went to Little Waterloo Bay, walked through Refuge Cove and then camped the third night at Sealers Cove before returning to Tidal River.

Emma is a scout leader and tough as nails, so she pretty much walked the legs off me.

The birdlife at the Prom was pretty good, but I hadn't brought any optical equipment with me at all. This was quite frustrating, as I was hearing a bird at Little Waterloo Bay that I didn't quite recognise. You know that feeling you get when you just know you've heard the call before but you can't figure out what it is. It's horrible.

Eventually I got a reasonable close-up look at one of them. It was a Crescent Honeyeater. Is it just me or do they associate with Beech trees?

Other birds were good as well, if distant at times. We had Gannets feeding in Refuge Cove, a wary Bassian Thrush at the lunch spot there, and some very cheeky little birds - Superb Fairy-wrens, Eastern Yellow Robins and Brown Thornbills at Sealers Cove. The Thornbills actually came into our tent vestibule searching for food.

The birding would have been so much better if I'd brought a pair of binoculars. My problem is that my old Nikon Monarch 8.5x56s are heavy as anything. Because we were already carrying everything, I really didn't want to add the extra weight.

What I needed was a pair of compact binoculars, like the Vortex Vanquish 8x26 . Compact bins don't weigh much and give a surprisingly bright image, as they're kitted out with inverted Porro prisms. I don't know why, but I've tended to look down on compact bins, but clearly they have a valid purpose, and it's a pity I didn't have any.

Oh, and incidentally, the heavens opened while we were camped at Sealers. While we were warm and dry in our tent, having a robust pair of waterproof and fogproof binoculars would have been an extra assurance.