A Walk on the Wildside

Trip Start May 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 30, 2006

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

I got myself down to Melbourne without really too many problems, except for the fact that it was absolutely bucketing down when I arrirved and I was greeted to a large chimney carrying the graffiti, 'No jobs on a dead planet'. I'm visiting Melborne to catch up with a friend that I met when I was travelling through Laos four years ago, I caught up with her in Prague a little while after but it's been 3.5 years since I'd actually seen her. I arrived a couple of hours before she finished work and had to hide in the train station for an hour since I just couldn't do anything else. Once I met her we headed down to her house, I met her boyfriend Ben and pretty much had an early night for the early rise we'd planned for the next day.

We were up and off by 7am, heading down to the most southernly point in mainland Australia, Wilson's Promontory. Looking out of the window on the drive down I could easilly have thought that I was still in the UK, the countryside was just so similar. Nikki had said that there was a good chance of seeing some native animals in the wild over the weekend, I managed to check off the Echidna before we'd got to the park, sadly it was a bit of road kill at the side of the road, I'd need to upgrade my requirements to include only live animals! As soon as we crossed into the National Park it totally changed, back into native Australian countryside. Gone were the green fields and grazing cows, hello gnarly trees and dry grass. We were greated by a Rosella at the park which is another amazing looking bird that comes looking for some food. As the Ozzies tried to shoo it off I chased it around with my camera trying to get a snap. It actually appeared more afraid of the camera than anything else so it was hard to get it in the end.

We would be camping overnight, therefore required a whole heap of kit between us. Even after we'd shared it equally it still left me with a pack that must have weighed about 15Kg, and yes, the box of wine at the bottom of it was a necessity. We set off, I was expecting a nice little walk in the country with a spot of camping at the end. Before I knew it Ben and Nikki had shot off at a lightening pace. Nikki turned around when she realised I wasn't there, and shouted back "I forgot to mention that we like to walk quickly when we go hiking". Bit late to tell me now! Fortunately once I was warmed up I was able to stay with them, my training regime of walking around various cities must have been more successful that I realised.

The scenery was fantastic throughout the day, we started by heading through an area where a large bush fire had occured just a few months ago. The bush was just starting to recover but it was weird walking through it where the tree stumps had been charred and blackened by the fire. The track headed uphill most of the way which lead to Ben moaning and complaining about it, I think that's just how he likes to get through the day.

Eventually we came out to a beautiful bay with golden sands and the surf crashing onto the beach, the 10 Kilometer walk with the pack was absolutely worthwhile. We'd made good progress and passed a few people on the track, much to Ben's joy - he's kind of competative! this mean that we had the pick of the plots and chose one down near the ocean surrounded by large ferns. The peace and quietness was only destroyed by the contruction of our tent and then us stomping off for a little more walking before the end of the day.

I managed to find a couple of live echidnas on the way, checking them off and a Wallaby that we surprised in the bush, it gave us a little look before hopping off home. The weather had been a bit dismal at the start of the day, in fact we'd considered scraping the plans for the weekend but by mid-afternoon the clouds cleared up and the sun came out. This allowed us to see right along the coastline from the hills as we walked over to Refuge bay and back.

I have to take my hat off to Nikki for cooking Risotto on the camping stove that evening, that's a dish that I'm not happy attempting in the comfort of a modern fitted kitchen. Whatever happened to a couple of cans of baked beans and maybe a sausage? The sky was clear that night and we took a walk down on the beach in pitch darkness. I asked Ben and Nikki where the Southern cross was but they weren't able to point it out, I'm beginning to believe that it doesn't actually exist! They claimed that it must have been behind one of the clouds.

The next day was much more of the same but with packs that we'd managed to lighten quite significantly. We made a quick stop at Squeeky beach in the National Park. It was another stunning ozzy beach but it actually squeeked underfoot as you walked along it, really weird.We drove back up to Melbourne along the coast road to allow me to see a little more of the countryside. It was the first time that I've really been in the countryside in Oz, and I loved it. Next up is a few days of stomping the streets of Melbourne, it's back to city life for me.
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