Moving from place to place is exciting but often tinged with sadness. For us actually living in the homes of Airbnb hosts is a major part of our JWalking experience, and we love getting to know them and hopefully becoming friends. Their home becomes our home for a short while and we live together and get closer day by day. So when the time comes to leave it is often sad as it seems as if our blossoming friendship is over too soon. Hopefully we will be able to keep in touch with most of the lovely kind people that we’ve lived with but it is sometimes tough to go.
Thrifty Swift from Frankston
Leaving our friends Sheila and Brian wasn’t so tough as we will be seeing them again a couple of times before we leave Melbourne. The exciting plan this week, for us anyway, was hiring a car and driving to the South East of the the state for a few days. We picked up a nice little Suziki Swift from Thrifty in the nearby town of Frankston. Great car just right for us and our minimal luggage, the only problem being that I haven’t driven an automatic for 30+ years and couldn’t get my head around there being no clutch pedal. So the staff must have been laughing as we kangarooed our way out of the car park, accelerating and braking violently, Jo being thrown back and forward, until I got the hang of things. Slightly embarrassing. And you just wouldn’t believe the language from my navigator!!!
Once the car was in my control we set off for our next lodge in a small town called Tarwin Lower which was around 130km drive. Once out of the busy suburbs the roads were incredibly quiet and even I managed to drive ok. Rather than race there in one go we stopped off to explore Kilcunda Beach on the way. Windy? You’re not kidding. It was blowing a gale but we had a walk down the beach and a little explore anyway.
On to Wonthaggi where we decided to take the Bunurong Coastal Drive down to Cape Paterson and through to Inverloch for lunch. Quite a drive with great views out across the Bass Strait. A bit of shopping and a pie at the strangely named ‘Pie Shop’ before another explore and walk along Inverloch Beach on the Anderson Inlet.
Such a lovely soft sandy beach where we walked and talked for ages without seeing another soul. And as you can see above, one of us was extremely happy to be there (she’s always happy to be everywhere though).
Eventually arrived in Tarwin Lower, a lovely little town with only around 150 residents, and found our way to our new home for the week. The lovely Marlene welcomed us and got us settled in. The house was amazing though, set in a huge garden with an acre of fabulous plants and trees, and decking to sit out on. We immediately felt at home. We weren’t the only ones. There were three cats living with Marlene, hundreds of birds all over the garden, a possum that lived in the roof and came down at dusk every day, and even a full size kangaroo found its way into the garden that first night! Brilliant.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
One of the reasons that we chose Tarwin Lower for our stay was that we wanted to visit Wilsons Promontory National Park. This is an absolutely enormous park on the south coast of Victoria, in fact it’s the southern most National park on the Australian mainland. All of the locals call it ‘The Prom’ and the whole are is referred to as ‘Prom Country‘. The place is vast and features mountains, coastal walks, rainforest, beaches, camping sites and much more. The drive down took an hour or so and as we passed the sign saying ‘Welcome to Wilsons Promontory’ we thought we were almost there. No chance. We drove another 35km through the park to get to the main car park and visitor centre at Tidal River. Huge. Passing such fabulously named areas as Fairy Cove, Tongue Point, Whisky Bay, Lilly Pilly Gully (Jo’s favourite obviously), and Mount Oberon. Wildlife was everywhere as we passed wombats and echidnas on the roadsides and saw hundreds of flame-coloured Rosellas.
So with backpacks containing plenty of water and a few buns we set off for Pillar Point. The next couple of hours were just fabulous as we hiked through forests, clambering over rocks and crossing rivers. We hardly saw another person either which made it so much better, apparently in the summer it can get a bit busy. When we made Pillar Point the view was just incredible.
Continuing on we made for the locally well known Squeaky Beach. It is supposed to squeak as you walk across it but we didn’t get any squeaks. We did get chatting to a guy who sort of invited us to go and stay at his summer house on Phillip Island though, not sure how we get into these situations. A polite refusal didn’t seem to offend however. Sitting on the beach having our buns for lunch was so perfect, watching the waves breaking and just appreciating how lucky we were to be there.
A long hike back in the sunshine to Tidal River followed, before well deserved ice creams and the drive back.
A few stops at fabulous viewpoints as we left the Prom and then a long drive North West stopping at the very strange little town of Fish Creek. Quiet and a bit eerie with no-one around. A bit of a Hitchcock type of town. We were pleased to make it out in one piece and get back to Tarwin.
What a great day out and what an incredible place Wilsons Promontory is, I’d recommend anyone to go there if they ever got the chance. You could stay for a week easily. In fact, Marlene’s son Jason set out for five days camping there with his mates at the end of the week. We’d have loved that.
What to do next then? Only one thing could possibly beat the Prom. Penguins.
26.10 – 27.10.2015