After Kiama we headed to Kangaroo Valley to camp for the night. It was the loveliest free campsite you could imagine. I was amazed it was free. It was huge and ran along the side of a river with plenty of places you could get in and swim. It wasn’t too chilli and I even had a go on the rope swing to launch myself into the river! After a swim we headed back to the van for some dinner and were hopeful of seeing a wombat. Ryan had overheard someone saying the bridge was a good place to stop one so I had a look for it on the campsite map but there didn’t seem to be anything. As I told Ryan h0ow sad I was that I probably wouldn’t see a wombat he span me around and there was a wombat right by the sign I had just been looking at! We ended up seeing 5 wombats that night. One was in the night when I got up to go to the loo and it was right in front of our van. They were so cute and cuddly looking! The only bad thing was some of the kids at the campsite were chasing them which I was shocked at! There didn’t even seem to be any adults with them to tell them not to so other campers seemed to be telling them off.
The next day we drove further down the coast first of all stopping at the little national trust village of Central Tilba. It was very pretty although we managed to arrive before everything was open as we had got up early. There was a little market and cute little shops. We walked down to the cheese factory where we sampled some cheese. I really wanted to get some but it just won’t keep in the van. It was delicious though. We bought some fudge instead and a pie and pasty from the bakery. It was a lovely little village with really pretty wooden buildings and a lovely setting in a valley. We then headed on and stopped at a beach in Mollymook. We ate by the beach and then went down on the beach. We ended up playing the spinny game where you have to spin until you’re dizzy and then try and run towards the sea! It was a lot of fun but we both ended up feeling a little sick. The campground we stayed at that night was really quite nice as well. We went on a bushwalk to a lake. I much prefer the eucalypt forest to the rainforest as it’s a lot more open –more like the woods at home. And there are not so many creatures to worry about, although Ryan was banging his stick all the way to ward off snakes. We hadn’t planned to do the whole walk as it would be getting dark shortly, but as we reached the lake quickly I wanted to do it and Ryan went along with it, despite not being the biggest fan of walks. That night we were camped next to an old Scottish man who was from Melbourne and had moved here back in the 60s. He seemed to be talking to everybody –we thought it was probably so he didn’t have to talk to his wife as she looked like she was pretty grumpy!
On Saturday we were driving further south and stopped at a sign on the side of the road that said coastal walk. We went along the path until we came to a huge lake. I decided to go for a paddle and ended up getting half way across the lake with the water only coming up to my knees! It was so beautiful with the sea in the background. We then had my first ever game of beach cricket –using a stick for a bat, a pinecone for a ball, and a bottle for a stump. I surprised both of us by actually winning the game! After my win we headed back to the van and drove further down the coast we stopped at a beach called Beares beach where we spent some time just relaxing on the rocks looking out to sea. In the sun it felt like proper Australia, just how I had always imagined it. We then carried on to Eden where we went to the Killer Whale museum. There used to be a lot of whaling in the bay by Eden and the killer whales would actually help the people to hunt other species of whales. They would round them up into the bay and then alert the people who would come and kill the whale. They would then leave the carcass for the killer whales to eat the tongue and lips before bringing it to shore to harvest. The skeleton of Old Tom, the killer whale whose job was to alert the people of the whale the pod had captured was preserved in the museum. It was all very interesting but pretty horrific learning about how they harvested the whales for their oil. Apparently NASA still uses oil from the brains of whales as lubricant for their spacecrafts. We drove to a campsite near the Victorian border where we ended up making a campfire. Ryan initially tried to make a campfire with little success until I decided to help with the knowledge I had learned as a Girl Guide. It actually turned out really well –I didn’t realise I was even able to make a fire but it turns out Guides taught me pretty well. We sat by the fire as it got dark whilst Ryan played his guitar. Just like proper camping.
Yesterday we stopped at a beach town just as you enter Victoria although I can’t remember its name. It was another place where the lakes join the sea so you have the option of which you want to swim in. These places seem to be particularly popular with families as they can keep away from the dangerous surf. We saw a sign for a World War II bunker so went to have a look. It turned out that it was only open on Tuesday mornings though. Apparently it wasn’t used as an air raid shelter but was where they collected information from the boats out at sea to send to Melbourne, and also where they intercepted messages. After discovering it was closed we headed to the beach where we found loads of animal tracks, had a go at beach Olympics by doing the long jump and explored some of the secluded beaches over the rocks. From there we had to get some driving out of the way so made our way on to Orbost. We cooked chicken wraps in the park before playing my first game of park cricket. I managed to win 2 out of 3 games! It’s probably something I should have taken up earlier! Unfortunately play was rained off so we headed to a campsite and managed to watch half a film on my laptop before the battery died.
Today we have been to Buchan Caves; we had a tour of the Fairy Cave which was really beautiful. There are loads and loads of stalagmites and stalactites and things called blankets which are like sheets of rock hanging down and do actually look like blankets! There were some huge, pure white stalactites known as the Ivory Palace. There were a lot of sparkly crystals in the cave which were the reason it was given the name Fairy cave, because it was like a fairy wonderland. The cave we went through was around 500m long with the deepest point at 50m underground because it goes under a hill. The entire system of caves here is about 3km long though! I preferred these caves to the Capricorn Caves just because they were so pretty and there seemed to be a lot more to see.
Right now we are making the most of the facilities in the campsite by the caves before heading on to The Lakes Entrance and 90-mile-beach.