One of the day trips from Melbourne that I was most looking forward to was a trip offered by the tour company Bunyip. The reason why I wanted to go on this tour was because it included a lot of nature, as well as some hiking. When on vacation, I like to get out, see things, do things, and be active. I walk everywhere I can, and only take public transportation when needed (like in Tokyo because you can't walk everywhere, as the city is just too massive).
This trip was to Wilsons Promontory National Park, which is the southern most tip of mainland Australia. The day started early, but I was able to get some more sleep on the bus ride because it was a few hours away. Of course we stopped often, like this stop in Tooradin Village, for some morning tea.
We stopped by a little inlet and had some biscuits and tea. It was a really peaceful setting, quiet in the early morning, and you could just tell the day was shaping up to be perfect (weather-wise).
After a little more driving, we entered the Wilsons Promontory National Park (known around here at the Prom). Since this is a national park area, there is a lot of wildlife. This meant we would get a chance to spot some of those animals that Australia is most known for, like kangaroos and other marsupials.
Here is an emu. It is a flightless bird, like the ostrich. There were a bunch of them just grazing in the open areas.
We even got lucky and spotted a wombat. This was unexpected because the wombats and kangaroos usually come out around dawn and dusk when the temperature is cooler. The wombat has a very hard bony plate in it's backside and this is used for protection. Our tour guide filled us in on this and explained that it can go back into it's burrow and use the bony plate to crush a predator that chases them in the hole. Seems like that could be quite useful for this little guy. Although they aren't actually so little. Our guide guide they can get up to 45 kgs.
Love this sign! Kangaroos, wombats and koalas- next 15 km!
There is only one road that goes in (and out) of the park area. This helps to minimize traffic and danger to animals, as well as pollution and things like that. Here are some pictures I took along the way as we headed towards the start of our hike.
Oh, did I mention this park borders on the ocean. Since it is the southern most tip, it has a good amount of coastline because the park land sticks off the mainland, like a peninsula, but smaller. There are also little island rock areas nearby. Many years ago, this was the last area attached to Tasmania. of course now that attachment is underwater.
Our next stop was at Norman Lookout so that we could get a better view.
Before we knew it, the time had come to get started on our short hike up Mt. Bishop, where we would enjoy our lunches at the top, with the view. Mt. Bishop is only one of the spots for hiking in the park, and is not the very southern most point (so I can't say I stood on the very tip of Australia). But it still gives a great view of the area around here.
The hike was beautiful. Not too difficult (especially not after Mt. Fuji), but still a good workout. I was able to take some great pictures along the way.
As we got higher up, the ocean (actually this is Bass Straight, which separates mainland Australia and Tasmania) was again in view.
Here I am at the top.
This is some of the ladies that joined me on this trip.
Here I am at the other side of the peak, with a nice view back out over the water.
While at the top we also ate our lunches, which we picked up in a little town along the way. This place has a deal with the tour company and they prepare sandwiches and serve it with a nice apple, if you want. It was nice because the tour guide called the order in advance so that when we stopped to use their restroom, the sandwiches were ready and there was no extra wait time to get lunch. I ordered the sandwich with cheese (which was filled with salad).
After the hike I had the biggest craving for something sweet. I really tried to hold out on eating a candy bar, but this really caught my attention. Certainly not a candy bar that I have ever seen before, and it had all my favorite things. So I tried it. Yeah, it was good, but I probably would have been ok with just half. I was trying to make sense of the food label, but they don't use calories here, they go by (kilo)joules. I can't remember the last time I had to think about the conversion. Of course the next option would be to take the grams of fat, protein and carb and multiply those out by the cals in each gram, but I didn't have my phone with me, and I figured I would forget some of the numbers. Haha, so I gave up!
After our snack break, we headed out for another short hike. This one started at a little inlet where some families where fishing. It was great to see those families out and enjoying nature, especially with their children. I didn't realize it at the time, but I later learned that it was Father's Day in Australia.
I seriously could have stayed in this peaceful location all day!
Then it was off to Squeaky Beach.
This is not Squeaky Beach, but it was still a pretty area that we passed along the way. There were a lot of people out and that is because Spring has just started and the weather was absolutely amazing that day.
This was a fun little walkway I had to pass under.
The views are just amazing. The beach down below is Squeaky Beach.
Before we knew it we had descended onto the beach.
So, why is it called Squeaky Beach? The sand is so fine and when it is dry, it makes a squeaky noise as you walk on it. We managed to find one area where it was dry, and it definitely squeaked when we walked on it.
The last part of the day, as the sun was getting ready to set, was to find some wildlife. You may notice that the kangaroos have necklaces on. These are tags and tracking devices so that the rangers can study the behavior and keep track of the wildlife. I think they may be tagging them with smaller tags now, since these sort of look funny on the animals. There is also a wombat back behind these grazing kangaroos. These are the Eastern Gray Kangaroos.
This is another wombat.
They remind me of deer!
Then we walked back a little further and spotted many more kangaroos just grazing.
I couldn't resist taking this picture. These are some of the others from the tour, lined up and all trying to get a picture of the kangaroos in the tall grasses.
After some animal watching, we boarded the bus and headed back to Melbourne.
Once I got back I discovered I had a message from my grandparents friends that live in Melbourne. We had a hard time getting in touch because I didn't have wifi when I was out all day and I didnd't have a cell phone. So they called my hotel and I was able to give them a call when I got back in. They stopped by my hotel and we went out for coffee. I also grabbed some spinokopita for dinner.
Here we are, enjoying a late night coffee and chatting.
The it was time get head back to my hotel to pack everything up since I will be leaving for Sydney the next day.
QUESTIONS: What was the last national park you visited? Do you like to be active when on vacation?