Published: January 14th 2008January 14th 2008
...she shall bring snow. Not around here she don't; more like a forty degree wave of heat from the furnace-like interior. So, to avoid frying, we are up with the cockatoos and cycling by daybreak. This strategy is working remarkably well, delivering comfortable rides in cool temperatures and on quiet roads, and arrival at destination by lunchtime, thus giving us the afternoon and evening for assorted domestics and relaxing. The major disadvantage of the early shift is the legion of ravenous mosquitoes queued up outside the tent waiting for the first succulent limb to emerge. So, by this means we have ventured eastwards from Melbourne (courtesy of a lift to Lilydale from Peter and Roslyn) and then down to the coast, using quiet roads and rail trails. At Venus Bay we enjoyed the beach and a visit to a wetland reserve where we saw a variety of water birds, plus the rare aquatic Kangaroo - seen hopping and swimming to its refuge on an island in the lake. At a local wildlife exhibition we chatted to a carer of orphaned and injured animals. She was holding a tiny, bald wombat joey and, being called away suddenly, thrust it at Richard saying
"here, take this". His face was a picture. The wombat didn't look too impressed either. Still it was good experience for when Richard meets his new nephew or niece in September. We also picked up some handy tips on moisturising your baby kangaroo's tail so that it doesn't drop off.
After Venus Bay we joined the Australians at play in their favourite national park - Wilsons Prom; even pulling off the coup of obtaining a highly desirable tent pitch in the park for two nights in peak season. This achieved by Richard brandishing his best English accent and pitiful expression, plus playing on the guilty conscience of a park ranger who had slightly misinformed us earlier in the day. At the Prom we walked up Mt Oberon for terrific views of the beautiful bays and turquoise seas; strolled along Squeaky Beach - it really does squeak due to the quartz crystals rubbing together - and cooled down in the sea.
Leaving the Prom was the ride from hell, thanks to the wind from hell. For 60km we battled to Foster against a fiery North wind and arrived exhausted and salt encrusted. We rested, ate lunch and dripped around
the visitor centre until amazingly, on cue, the wind changed to a Southerly and we were bathed in cool, refreshing air from the freezer below; in 15 minutes the temperature dropped 13 degrees and we completed our journey in comfort.
We have since climbed inland to Tarra Bulga National Park and have spent two relaxing days at a lovely campsite, strolling by the rivers, waterfalls (somewhat diminished) and cool temperate rainforest of the park. Richard has seen the lyre bird, to which the rainforest is home, and has heard their calls - an eclectic mix of imitations fired off in quick succession - possums, cats, car alarms and mobile ring tones - whatever takes their fancy!
Farewell for the time being. We are poised to head for the Alpine Region, but mindful of the bush fire risk in the area, our plans may change.
There are more photos below