1 Dec 2018
Woken by the birds, but not corellas or cockatoos, just birdsong, beautiful. A very peaceful night and a beautiful morning, warm and sunny. No-one else here, fantastic. Moved the solar panel into the sunlight to charge up the onboard battery. Breakfast etc then we headed south to Tidal River. It was 30km away and we drove steadily to try and spot all the animals the road signs warmed us about, but no luck this time.
The main campsite is at Tidal River, over 550 sites, so we just wanted to check out what we had missed. No worries, although there were some separate sites the rest were jammed together; we were glad we chose the Stockyard. We walked down to the beach, Norman Beach, it was huge and the tide was way out. We walked to the water and dipped our toes in the Southern Ocean; it was cold! We followed the beach along to the river, Tidal River, and walked alongside until we got back to the camp. It was very pretty, with huge granite boulders along the river. Ok, on to Telegraph Saddle, for great views north over the Park. Lots of people preparing for various walks on the trails to the west and south coasts; there are no roads.
We now headed north to Squeaky Beach, the next bay up from Tidal River, and true enough the sand really did squeak as you walked across it. Another very pretty bay. We decided to walk to the next bay, Picnic Bay. The track wound up around the headland, Pillar Point, through coastal tea trees and general scrub, lots of pretty wildflowers. The tea trees grow twisted and bent in the coastal winds and provide dense cover and great shelter from the winds today. Saw several bright green caterpillars, some squashed, but most still making their way across the track! We passed two tiny bays with beautiful beaches along the way, but there was no path to them, it was just too steep. Picnic Bay was yet another pretty bay, spoiled a little by the heavy cloud cover and strong winds, so we reluctantly turned round and headed back to the Squeaky Beach carpark.
On to Whisky Bay, to have lunch. The picnic area was quite sheltered so we were able to enjoy our sandwich. I walked up to the lookout, everyone else was dressed up against the cold and there was I in shorts, shirt and thongs! Did get some funny looks. Great view from the top and I was glad to get back to the car. So now we thought we should head further north to try and get from under all this heavy cloud and wind. The sky did brighten as we drove past our campsite and headed on to Shallow Inlet. Missed the turnoff first time but backtracked and found it. A lovely walk, again through tea tree forest and out into the open right by the beach. As we reached the beach we found the wind had not died down, the forest had sheltered us all the way out there. Didn’t stop long, took a few photos of the beach and the black swans before heading back to the shelter of the forest.
Right, lets try the western side of the Promontory. We drove across to Yanakie in bright sunshine, mostly farmland, we were outside the Park now, and found the ocean near Duck Point (didn’t see any ducks!). The tide was right in so the beach was tiny and it was still cold so we gave up and headed back to camp for a cup of tea.
I went for a walk to see the Big Drift, about 2km from the campsite. A nice walk through woodland then open fields and finally the inevitable tea tree forest. Startled a kangaroo on the way. On reaching the Big Drift I encountered a steep 30 metre-high path of very loose sand leading up the top of the sand dune, I seemed to slide down with every footstep more than I climbed, but eventually made it to the top where the sand was much firmer. The sand dunes stretched away in front of me and it was very windy. Just the sort of conditions the info boards warned about. The wind would blow away your footprints so it would be easy to get lost. I just climbed to the top, keeping an eye on the post at the head of the entrance path, to take some photos before returning to the path and heading back to camp. Saw a tiny track across the path just below the summit, and there was a beetle, about 12/15 cm long struggling across the very soft and loose sand. Returned to camp the same way. Spotted a small kangaroo grazing and he didn’t see me until I was quite close, great shot.
Had to rig a tarpaulin across the kitchen area of our tent so that the gas cooker didn’t blow out. Dinner cooked successfully, washed the dishes, bed.
Can’t believe its December already, but not sure about the weather here, should be a lot warmer. Hope December brings a change.
Wow, a beautiful clear sky this morning, and much warmer than yesterday. The birds were singing, the sun was shining, what more could we ask? A leisurely start, we just enjoyed the location and just being.
Eventually we set of south again, this time to Five Mile Road so we could walk the Millers Landing Track to Corner Inlet. It was hot, but the Track was through open Banksia and Stringybark woodland, a lovely walk. We heard several whip birds and then we saw one, he was singing his heart out and we stopped to listen for quite a while. His song was more than the usual peeeep-whip, it was lovely. The Banksia were just starting new growth and were full of old cones from past years in various states of dilapidation. We reached the shoreline of Corner Inlet, at this point it was the southernmost mangroves in the world. Ibis in the shallows and black swans further out, it was a beautiful spot. Pretty flowers and samphire growing on the small marshland behind the mangroves.
Back up the hill to the Track and to the junction with another track which we took to make a triangular walk back to the car. This track steadily climbed higher and higher, with little shade from the now midday sun - only mad dogs and Englishmen? Not sure what Ruth’s excuse was. We did pause frequently and drank water. Hit the road to the carpark, another 2 km to go. The road had little shade and was a bit of a trudge but we made it back to the car in reasonable time. Saw a blue-tongued skink on the road, a bit smaller than the last one we saw but just as feisty as we got too close.
Lunch in the shade, sitting at a thoughtfully provided table and bench. A passerby notice a tiger snake crossing the road nearby but it had disappeared into the bush by the time we got there. Checked out our route for tomorrow as the phone signal was good. Ruth was pretty tired after the walk in the hot sun so we drove on to Tidal River where there is a general store and....ice cream! We had mango and white chocolate; delicious! Afterwards I walked down to the beach to check it out in the sunshine, it had been overcast yesterday. Stunning beach, huge with the tide right out and 2 metre waves rolling in. The campsite was now heaving; so many people! Glad we camped at Stockyards.
We then started to head back to the campsite but stopped at the Lilly Pilly carpark to do the Lilly Pilly Gully walk. We hadn’t gone far when Ruth decided she had had enough walking and returned to the car. I carried on through Banksia woodlands which became Red Gum woods with an under-storey of various shrubs and tree ferns. Heard some birds, including our favourite whip birds, but the foliage was so dense it was difficult to see them. Further down there was a boardwalk across a marshland area, full of tree ferns and other ferns with a stream running through. Very steamy!
Returned to the car and we drove back to camp. Nice to see we were still the only campers though people came and went; there were tracks from the end of the campsite - to the Big Drift and the Old Yanakie Cemetery. A lovely evening, if a bit windy. After dinner, as the sun was just setting, we walked up to the cemetery (only two graves, we could find) to see if the wombat was around. He wasn’t. Back to camp, bed.
Well, what a different night; the wind got up and the rain poured down (about 03.15 according to Ruth) a really stormy night. The awning collapsed under the weight of accumulated rainwater! I struggled out of bed to fix the awning and by then I was fully awake, so no going back to bed, besides which the clouds were breaking up and the warm sunshine made it all better! Breakfast, etc., then on the road north, leaving Wilsons Prom behind. Sad to see a couple of dead wombats by the roadside; people just drive too fast.