Our next stop was so spectacular that we adjusted our plans within minutes of arriving to have two days here. Wilson’s Promnotory was beautiful from the second we pulled in. We were pretty beat after a long day of driving so after we set up camp we took a nice long nap under the hot sun on the beach. We woke up at dusk and thought it was the perfect time to take a walk along the freshwater stream that ran into the salty sea. After we got back to our tent and ate dinner, we saw a couple at the site next to us playing a card game that looked interesting. As you could probably imagine – Rob and I are always looking for new movies/games/whatever to entertain us at night. Cards are an easy choice, but most of the games we know are either for more than 2 people or are drinking games. They were playing something called Monopoly Deal with a special deck – after our next trip to the store, this game quickly became our top choice of entertainment. We tweeked the rules a little to better fit a two player game and now it keeps us occupied for at least an hour or so every night, so thank you to that random couple wherever you are.
Morning came and we needed to make the most of our last day in WP. We went on a short trek up to an amazing overlook of the ocean. At the top, we were surrounded by crystal clear blue water and beaches on all sides. The only time I had seen water this amazing before was when we took our dive trip out to the Similan Islands in Thailand. The water we were seeing this day though was about a million degrees colder. People in Australia (and New Zealand we would come to find) have a very skewed view of what “cold water” is. I wouldn’t get into that water without a wetsuit, generally two wetsuits and people were out there swimming in nothing but a bikini! Even Rob thought it was too cold for a swim, so I knew it wasn’t just me being a baby. After our overlook walk, we went to a place called “Squeaky Beach” It gets it’s name from the sound the sand makes when you dig your feet in and shuffle. Squeak, squeak, squeak with every step. Quite entertaining for at least 10 minutes. We ended our day with a walk through Lilly Pilly- a rainforest type walk with thousands of flies. Flies were something that we found to be a serious problem in Australia. They are nothing like flies at home – these guys are 3x the size and persistent as all hell. You swat and dodge and they just continue to follow you everywhere. As you could imagine, a damp, rainforesty, swampy walk was FILLED with them. It put a damper on our celebratory beers midway through the hike, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying the beauty of our surroundings. Just before finishing the hike, we noticed a shuffle in the bushes well off the path. With a little bushwacking and some persistence, Rob was able to capture some fantastic images of a striking jet black cockatoo adorned with flashy yellow plumage along its wings. We have deemed this area a ‘must return’ to spot. There are so many more things that WP has to offer that we just didn’t have the time to do, so we will be back some day.
What to say about Gippsland Lakes… well it was a pretty shit stop to be honest. I am sure it has a lot to offer, but we didn’t get to experience it. We intended to rent a sailboat and glide atop the beautiful lakes basking in the sun. Once we showed up, we saw that motorboats were our only option, which was fine, we decided to go for it. The boat rentals only took cash of course, so we drove down the street to the ATM. We had recently lost our ATM card and had a replacement sent to us, but we hadn’t activated it yet. We can’t make calls on our phone so we went to a Macca’s (McD’s) to use their internet for a skype call, which failed to work. After about an hour and a half we were able to get my dad to call and help. We paid for the boat and got out on the lake 2 hours later than we planned, finally we would be able to enjoy these beautiful waters. We started up the boat and puttered out to a sand bank, but halfway here we realized that “full speed” was equivalent to that of a elderly snail. As soon as we got to the closest sand bank, we took a break and anchored down for a swim. The water was FREEZING. Awesome. We made a sad attempt at going to a new spot, but the wind had picked up and our boat continued on as slow as molasses; we made it about 3 feet in 20 minutes. Our rental period was almost up and we hadn’t done ANYTHING. As we headed back, we approached convergence of lake and ocean. We were instructed NOT to go too close because if we hit the ocean waters we would never make it back. Of course the winds continued to work against us and we began drifting closer and closer to the ocean. Rob was paddling with our singular paddle while I desperately tried to get the motor to go faster. Thankfully minutes before we hit the outlet, a nice couple offered us help and tossed us a rope and pulled us back towards the channel that would get us back to the rental shop. We let go when we felt we could get back comfortably. We went back to puttering along while other boats from the same renter passed us by with ease. Once we were 45 minutes late to return our boat we got a tow from a second generous group- taking accepting their services all the way back this time. We were miserable by the time we hit land. Just exhausted from the struggle. The renter only returned us about 20 bucks on the boat even though they determined that there had been something wrong with the motor. Needless to say we were anxious to get out of Gippsland and onto our next stop.
To answer the title question - Wallarag is a made up word, but here are some town names from Australia that shockingly are NOT made up:
- Bong Bong
- Come by Chance
- Nowhere Else
- Tom Ugly
- Yorkeys Knob