The Proms and Melbourne

Zaterdag-zondag-maandag 8-9-10december2012

Volgende bestemming: Wilsons Promontory National Park.
Iedereen spreekt er met veel lof over…en inderdaad…het is schitterend. Het is een schiereiland met het meest zuidelijke punt van Australië zo’n 220km van Melbourne.

Bij het binnenrijden van het park worden we verrast door een prachtige vegetatie en veel wind.
De zondag maken we een wandeling langs de kust van Darby Saddle tot Darby River. Daarbij passeren we de prachtige Sparkers Lookout en de Lookout Rocks. Tongue Point is een prachtige plaats tussen immense rotsblokken en Fairy Cove is een aangenaam strandje. Op het eind van de wandeling moeten we even terug liften naar onze Janis”
De maandag volgen we eerst het Lilly Pilly Gully circuit en stappen helemaal tot Mount Bishop op 319m hoogte. Daar krijgen we vanop immense rotsblokken een prachtig uitzicht over de Tidal River, de camping en de verschillende baaien aan de zee. Het azuurblauwe water zorgt ervoor dat St Tropez zijn naam verliest…
Terug beneden liften we naar Picnic Bay en wandelen verder tot Squeaky Beach waar we van het zonnetje genieten op de reusachtige rotsblokken. Als afsluiter wandelen we terug naar de kampplaats waar ons een aangename verrassing wacht. Onder onze Janis staat een heerlijk stoofpotje die onze buren achterlieten bij hun vertrek. Gisteren hadden we ook met hen samen een aperitiefje. Heerlijke mensen! We kunnen zelfs gratis aan logeren in hun caravanpark op Philip Island.

After a couple of days on the ranch, it is time to start driving again. Within 4 days our boat to Tasmania leaves and we want to visit a part of Victoria before leaving the port.
Wilson’s Promontory is a well known park over here, a very famous vacation spot for the people from Melbourne. It’s only some 250 km’s driving, so for here very close! The trip from Omeo to the Prom’s is quite a boring one. Around 7 pm we arrive in the park and are greeted by some great coastal views along our drive. We’ll camp at the Tidal River campground for the next three days. During our visit a great part of the park is closed, due to the huge flood damage to roads and walking trails in the summer of 2011. At this moment they’re still repairing many tracks. We realised only late that we still could reach the ‘South Point Lighthouse’ by foot, from an overnight walking trail of some 25 km. But this southernmost mainland point of Australia will be for another time.

Our first day we make a long coastal walk from Darby Saddle to Darby River. Along the trip we’re greeted by some beautiful coastal views. This south coast consist many white sandy beaches, rough rock formations and some great waves. Along the tracks we visit Tongue Point and take a rest at the sunlit Fairy Cove Beach.
After the walk we get a lift back to our car… The walking trails here are no closed loops, but a couple of friendly Dutchman deliver us back to our car.
When we arrive on the campground, our neighbours invite us to have an aperitif with them. With a good glass of white wine we enjoy the last sunbeams, before it starts getting quite cold. Happily we climb under our duvet in Janis.

The second day we enjoy the forest walk of Lilly Pilly Gully and make the climb to the top of Mt Bishop. From there we have a great view over a couple of bays around the Tidal River campground. After that we lift once again to picnic beach this time, from where we can walk along different cosy beaches back to our campground.
Squeaky Beach stays our favourite.
On our way back we find a wombat along the road… We get plenty of time to try and make a good picture of the animal, while he still keeps grazing. Quietly, like we’re not even there.
After the walk we find a marvellous stew under our car. Another present from our friendly neighbours. We even get an invitation to spend a free night on their campground on Philip Island. What a service!

The last day in the Prom’s we start with a small beach walk near the Tidal River campground, before we leave the park and make a trip along the southern coastline to Philip’s Island. Along the road we enjoy numerous beach sceneries, some sunlit while others are wind torn. This Victorian Coastline is a really beautiful one!
We end at Philip’s Island and enjoy the campground offer. The formula 1 fans will known the island for its racing circuit, birdwatchers will remember the penguin parade and surfers think about some beautiful surf coasts. Our greatest discovery that night is our comfortable tent… We carry it already four months, but never used it before. After a tip from other campers, we give it a try and are both surprised by its comfort. Why didn’t we try this earlier?
Before we go to the parade, we observe the seagulls nesting on a windy corner of the island.
And then, the world famous parade… Every evening – during the spring and summer months – a large number of little penguins leave the waters after sunset and climb into the dune area to their nests and youngsters. Yesterday they counted 1538 birds. Numerous people come over here to view that event and observe the little, funny birds closely. Today we’re two in that mass. The only trouble is that it gets very cold after sunset, so after a while birdwatching we really get frozen and are happy once we arrive back in our car. However, watching these birds was a nice event! It starts with a small group of birds playing at the coastline, water, coast, water, coast, water, …, till they finally head to the dunes and their nests. Along the boardwalk back, you can observe them everywhere. Walking in the burrows, crossing along the path, feeding their youngsters, sleeping, … Now I can imagine where these 1500 bird counting comes from…

Today we have a boat to catch… So the final destiny is Melbourne around 17h. We leave Philip’s Island and glance at the great surfing beach there. From there we head to Melbourne along the coastal road. Once we arrive in Frankston, we spend some nice hours in… a shopping mall. A couple of hours later we reach Melbourne – a big harbour town – along some of its beaches. It feels a little bit like driving to St Tropez. Once in town we start looking for a Repco to finally order the leg of our rooftop rack, but in the heavy traffic and difficult road scheme, we cannot find him. A little bit disappointed we drive to the boat and board for our Tasmanian part. The visitors centre on the boat is really well equipped, so we gain a lot of information about the different parks and our travel itinerary before arrival.
Visiting Melbourne will be on our way back…

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