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Australia – Mystery Bay & Wilsons Promontory – 19th-22nd Jan

We found a really good camping spot on Mystery Bay, it’s pretty basic but for the location it’s ideal and set in a big forested area. We found ourselves a sheltered spot where we weren’t overlooked and set up the tent once again. The drive to the coast took around an hour and a half which made up for our long journey in the car the previous day. There didn’t appear to be anyone around to take payment so we decided we would head back later on to the old unkept caravan that parks outside the front of the campground.

We enjoyed a lovely afternoon on the beach, swimming, walking and just soaking it all up. This is quite a popular spot for the Aussie summer holidays but it’s not that busy in relation to other beaches on the coast. Its a pretty rough sea though so we found more sheltered spots for swimming in. Later on we enjoyed a good run up to the main road and back with a few hills thrown in for good measure. We enjoyed another night in the tent and when we left the next morning there was still no-one around for payment so we got ourselves another free night of camping!  This was followed by our usual breakfast where Dave decided to go on the swings and we ate looking out to sea.

We then drove onto Eden, it’s really touristy around this stretch of coastline, while Eden itself is much smaller than it’s neighbouring bays and does offer a quieter place to explore. We took in some of the look-outs, bought ourselves some groceries and had a little chat with the ladies in the Information Centre. We were warned not to take our car too far down gravel roads and so we opted for a little bit of beach time at Boydtown. We have heard that the coastal paths around there are beautiful but it is advised to have a 4-wheel drive.

So with lunch and a beach time done we continued on our road trip towards Lakes Entrance. It’s another 4 hours on from Eden and when we arrived we were really underwhelmed. Lakes Entrance is hyped to be one of the big stopping points along the coast from Sydney to Melbourne, but the central part of so commercial with around 40 holiday parks filling up space, a McDonalds and various other tacky shops and restaurants. We went into yet another tourist info office and this time we were greeted with some helpful hints (its not always the case) mainly for Wilsons Prom where we were aiming for the next day.

Instead if staying in Lakes Entrance itself we backtracked a little and went to a the Lake Tyers Holiday Retreat, it’s a holiday park. We’d been told that camping in central Lakes Entrance would cost over $50 for a non-powered sight and this we didn’t want, so we bargained a little and at the Lake Tyers Park they agreed to give us a spot for $40, always got to try and save where we can! So we found a nice grassy spot and then went for a dip in their crowded little pool on the campsite. It did the trick and we were then ready for our dinner followed by a nice walk along the coast to Lake Tyers where on our way back we had a little drink at the Tavern.

The next morning we were on our way to Wilsons Promontory National Park. By this point we’d rang ahead to find out about camping availability and had been informed that the very National Park Campground does hold back a few spots for international visitors. So armed with this information we set out on another 4 hour journey travelling along the A440 until arriving at Foster where we crossed down to Yanakie and then into the National Park. We arrived at around 1pm and after checking in both at the entrance to the park and the information office at Tidal River. We paid $24 for a site on a packed out campground, but they have really good facilities and are set up for the Aussie summer holidays. It’s a great spot for families etc. The park staff were really helpful in assisting us with communication necessary with the car hire company we had booked through. There was a problem with our passenger seat in that it wouldn’t lock into position so we managed to eventually arrange for us to drop into one of the Europcar offices on our way to the Great Ocean Road which wouldn’t take us too far out of the way.

After our set up and a plan in place for the car we went out on a hike to Squeaky Beach taking in some of the look-outs along the way. We were greeted by fantastic views looking back toward Tidal River and onwards toward Squeaky Beach. We realised just how beautiful this National Park is and were very happy to be exploring it. The rock-formations and colours are breath-taking and the colour of the ocean is mesmerising. We really were taken aback by the beauty of this place.

Down towards Squeaky Beach we photographed the waves crashing in, the rock-pools and mussels along the rocks whilst watching surfers taking in the big waves. The beach itself is beautiful and less busy than the one at Tidal River, it’s still a popular spot though for campers and day-trippers into the park. We were out for 3 hours or so before getting back to camp and cooking dinner over one stove which took ages as it was really windy. That night the tent stood up to some strong winds and it was really loud racing through the trees above.

The next day we opted for a half day hike from Darby Saddle to Darby River again adding in a few look-outs and detours as we went. It was much more sheltered along the coastal walk and we were once again very impressed with the views all the while. This has definitely gone up there with the National Parks of America, Canada and New Zealand. The path was pretty quiet from our end with only a few hikers to pass and some lonely boats out at sea. At Darby River we waited for the parks’ shuttle service and got a free ride back to our car. We then ventured back to Tidal River, enjoyed the sun (but not the sand blowing everywhere) along with a very refreshing dip into the cool sea. We then took advantage of our location and had a shower before making tracks towards a free camping spot for the night.

En-route to Frankston we stopped at a small town called Korumburra where we enjoyed a pizza and salad as well as taking the time to charge up our batteries! We then ventured onwards to a camping reserve along a busy section of highway at Koo-Wee-Rup. It was good enough for the night but with no toilets a little bit of a pain. One main problem for us was that it was still really windy and as we were setting the tent up some of the tree branches were creaking away. Dave raised the thought of moving in case a tree were to fall on the tent, after more creaks we decided to move to an open area of the resting ground and as we were doing so part of the tree behind us broke off and fell straight to the ground. We were definitely right to move!! The wind did die down over night though so it was only the traffic noise that continued.

Earlier on in our travels we did decide to pic up the Aussie campers bible, it’s called Camps Australia Wide 6 and lists all of the camping spots for freedom and budget conscious travellers. We seriously recommend this publication as the $60 you will spend on it will be paid for in all of the free camping spots you find. We picked ours up from one of the information centres along the way after we struggled to located some of the camping reserves from our main road map. We wish we’d have got it sooner but it still saved us money.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0, 18mm f4, 90mm Tele-Elmarit f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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One Comment

  1. Posted 22 Jan ’13 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful photos!

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