As I sit here at the desk in my AirBnB in New Zealand on this rainy day I figured what better way to spend my time than down memory lane from a rainy adventure from “down under”.
This specific story was the chosen adventure for my birthday weekend last November in Australia. Unfortunately, rain was in the forecast for it all. Luckily I am a pro at this point in “bad weather” and not letting unwanted weather deter me from every travel opportunity or at least some sunshine in my mind.
It all began with loads of frustration and incompetent employees. Hours of tram rides, bus rides and Ubers in an attempt to try to pick up the car we rented at the Melbourne airport. This incompetent employee told us we needed a specific document when we knew for sure it was not needed, we argued, but of course we lost. Hours and hours later we finally got the car having spoken to a different employee who said in fact we did NOT need this document and the car was ours. All of that money, at $20 a ticket one way to the airport (plus the cost of the tram and Uber) and time wasted for nothing. Long story short, this guy took about 5 hours out of adventure time and added a whole lot of eye rolls to the beginning of the trip.
There ended up being scattered showers throughout the trip so whipping out my camera was always a tough decision (times I wish I had a GoPro: a million). So throughout this blog there will be a mix of digitals off my canon and the occasional, regretful iPhone-ographer photo for reference.
Headed towards Phillip Island we stopped for a view and a walk through a miniature garden full of plants and flowers. Driving further on, the wilderness became so lush, I felt completely encompassed.
We went to a Koala conservation area and walked through the paths high in the trees and saw the adorable little bears sleeping in the perfect little crevasse of a tree. They sleep for about 20 hours a day apparently, so obviously they have the perfect gig. Luckily we did get to see one or two of them actually move and grab leaves to eat, this was for sure worth the staring and waiting for some movement. Every now and then they would turn their heads but sure enough their heads would be down and buried before you wanted to be done enjoying their silly faces.
We stopped in a beach town for a coffee and to walk along the sand. You could see the storm in the ocean approaching the coast which had turned the sky into a cloudy cotton factory and the water into a quickly rotating hue of light and dark madness. We then ran away from the storm.
Up ahead we stopped to explore some more. We walked down a slightly off-beaten path and came across the (only) Australian native goose, the Cape Barren, located in southern Australia and which gives Cape Barren Island its name (an island above Tasmania). These geese immediately were unique to me as they have almost a neon green seeming beak. It looked like they had freckles (not so much “spots”) on their feathers and the full grey color of their feather was super matte and soft looking. I have never loved and been so excited about the appearance of a goose so much.
We followed a path that walked along the coast on what seemed a grassy hill the whole way. If you took a closer look, there were these tiny purple/pinkish flowers scattered in what seemed a minuscule garden of succulents that gave an Alice in Wonderland vibe to it. I wish I could of Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ed myself and walked through it all. Along the way the ocean was alive and well giving beautiful panoramic views (I have no movie reference for that sentence, I’m sorry).
We drove along looking for a place to sleep. We ended up on side roads and back roads getting distracted by the wildlife and scenery. We saw an unknown species of bird fly away from on-top of a tree, its wingspan looking that of an eagle; it was impressive to say the least. We saw many echidnas burring their nose into the grounds. We saw families of kangaroos, some babies and some seeming bigger than a grizzly bear. We saw a wombat wiggle its butt across the road.
It became late in the night and finally, we found a spot that seemed deserted. Our eyes too heavy to continue on and our bodies aching to sleep in the trunk of a compact car (that is when you know you could not care less; you just want to sleep).
Good morning achy, uncomfortable, smelly sunshine!
Enter more rain. To the peninsula southeast of Melbourne we headed to Wilsons Promontory National Park. On the long drive into the park we saw a wallaby that parked himself on the side of the road helping himself to a snack. We became almost an arms reach from it and therefore it became almost an arms reach from me giving it a, probably very unwanted, hug.
There was a secluded cove-like beach area and on the sandy path into this cove, there were ants about 1 inch long and fiercely combative. We could not help but notice and analyze them. We would flick some sand in their direction (no need to worry, it was doubtfully the amount of a pinch of salt) and their reaction was to basically stand on their back legs and flail their arms at us. The beach was empty; just the two of us (and the ants). It was silent; just the sounds of waves crashing. Although it was grey and gloomy if it were blue and luminous the detachment from society may not of been met as well. Off the coast and into the camping area, there were rainbow colored parrots flying around and gladly landing on those who chose to share their lunch.
Headed towards a hiking trail of which I regretfully forget the name of. At this point it was raining just enough to piss me off but not enough to keep me inside. I sadly left the camera and took my eyeballs instead (with the addition of Pasquale’s phone to save the day and capture at least one physical visual memory (say that 10x fast)). The hike up was completely switchbacks so just when you thought you have made it, you are not even halfway there. We finally reached the last leg of it and had to climb up a staircase made from rocks completely on the ledge with a sad excuse for a handrail. Also it was wet, so the slippery rocks made for a true heart pumping climb.
Finally, we had arrived! The summit was worth it, as it always is. I watched the fog come in and out with the wind. I watched the colors of the ocean change with the clouds above and wished myself a happy birthday from the top of a mountain in Australia.