PARADISE ON VICTORIA'S COAST
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
Tidal River Campground
JOURNEY:: Seaspray, Giffard, Yarram, Foster, Tidal river- 180kms
WEATHER: Sunny, windy day. Temperature mid 20's
CAMPED: Tidal River Camp in Wilsons Promontory NP. $29pn hot showers, fresh drinking water, general store and huge campground on Norman's Beach and Tidal River.
After a quick walk along Seaspray Beach in the wind, we departed around 9am and took a short cut through the country of paddocks of sheep and cattle; although narrow, the road was without traffic so we made good speed.
At Yarram, we found Woolworths, or rather Safeway, they seem to be called in Victoria and stocked up as best we could for our intended 2 week stay in the national park. There is a small general store in the park for basics and we figured we would drive out one day to do a bigger shop.
On a previous stay at Tidal River we vowed we would be back. The national park was designated many years ago, around 1890 methinks, encompasses Victoria's/Australia's southern most point and at only 200kms from Melbourne it is a hugely popular camping destination for Victorians.
We found a pleasant site to camp and with so many choices it takes a while. Sheila had her eye on a site that was overlooking the river but on arrival it was already occupied; we did move to that site 242 a few days later and stayed there until we left.
The campground is set behind the stunning Norman Beach which is a sheltered bay suitable for surfing and swimming. The park is still recovering from a devastating bushfire in 2009 and a once-in-three hundred year flood on March 22 2011- the significance of the date was in our minds when we had cyclonic winds and heavy rain on March 21/22, 2013 but the rainfall was just 50 mms so we felt safe. It is truly amazing how the Australian bush recovers after catastrophic weather.
Much further north tornadoes wrecked havoc on towns along the River Murray- so far we have avoided all catastrophic weather events.
Typical of the southern coast of Australia in our 2 weeks at Wilsons Promontory NP we experienced all types of weather but had enough sunny days to make our stay here a happy one. The wind is the least liked condition but Victorians seem to be used to it and carry on regardless.
We got to swim in the ocean and the Tidal river on several occasions and because Norman Beach is a bay it is protected from heavy surf - the water was cold and clear.
The tides make an amazing impact on the landscape of the river - changing from a wide shallow stream of water to an empty wide expanse of sand. The river was tinted reddish brown as it emptied into the ocean.
Sunset and sunrise coloured the sky with changing shades and impacted on the park.
Animals we met this time were the swamp wallaby, common wombat and very strangely, a wild hog deer- guessing that it is an alien!
The gorgeous lorikeets and wrens seemed very tame but the smartly autumnally toned rail took the award for best colours but shyly streaked into into the scrub when approached.
Taking to the walking tracks is a splendid way to enjoy the park and check out the other beaches, forests and vistas.
Squeaky Beach is a favourite with everyone and visiting on a bright sunny day enhances the experience.
We judge Little Oberon Bay with its pretty beach and stunning colour contrasts a high point of the walks.
Mount Bishop is another attractive walk with views over the park and a trip through the ferns and lilly pilly forest
The environment consists of swamp land grasses, rainforest, heath lands and tortured ti-trees- it is very rocky and the colours of the granite gleam red and yellow in areas. Beautiful!
All in all , if you love nature, safe and comfortable camping and bush walking this is the place to be and if camping is not your style, there are upmarket on site safari tents and well appointed apartments to shelter you in comfort.
We took a trip into town, Leongatha on a wet and windy day to restock fruit, vegetables and meat and even bought a little roast lamb piece to cook in the Weber- delicious with red wine. The trip was nearly 160kms return but it was good to get away from the rain and wind at Tidal river and on return we had a very pleasant day once again.
Our menu here included roast pork and vegetables, quinoa and bbq chicken, dhal, meatballs in tomato sauce, chick pea salads and tasty versions of pasta- we have become fans of the buckwheat pasta. On the night we went shopping we produced fabulous hamburgers with the lot! the Weber cooks really well, just like an oven.
Even if we say so ourselves, we do pretty well with our meals on the road!! And create enough variety to look forward to the evening meal!
Two weeks came to an end and now it is time to head for Melbourne and Annie's house away from the holiday traffic and campers. Tidal River is booked online through a ballot system, first in first served and casual campers have to leave on the Thursday before Easter- the camp ground was virtually deserted when we pulled out Thursday morning.