Wilsons Promontory and Lakes Entrance, Australia (8th Jan 2008)
As soon as we clambered onto our Oz Experience bus we realised we were in for a treat as our driver/guide was, well, enthusiastic puts it lightly! There were around twenty of us on the bus and our nightmare came true when Gollum (as he referred to himself as) handed the microphone back and demanded we all give an introduction to ourselves. We contemplated faking being asleep but for fear of being caught out we braved the public speaking. It seemed Gollum was quite a fan of 'organised fun' as the next activity was bus bowling, using semi filled water bottles as skittles and the bus walkway as the lane....as cheesy as it sounds it was actually quite a bit of fun, especially for Mark as he got one of the only strikes.
Our first stop for the day was a place called Foster which is a pretty non descript town where we were told to get together a bit of a picnic lunch as we would be eating at the beach a little later in the day. An hour or so later we drove into Wilson's Promontory National Park and almost straight away we were ushered off the bus and onto a little track which lead us to an opening where we were treated to our first sightings of kangaroo, there were so many of them, some closer than others, some happily sat alone while others hung around in groups. The park is one of the most popular in Australia and with more than 80km of walking tracks, wonderful beaches and abundant wildlife, it's no wonder. The next stop was one of the many camp sites in the park where we disembarked and prepared ourselves for a bit of a scenic walk towards the beach. It wasn't as painful as we expected as a gradual incline lead us to a spectacular view of our destination, Squeaky Beach that we kept in sight as we weaved our way down the hillside. We were told that Squeaky Beach was named as such because of the noise the sand particles make when stepped on and of course Mark being a bit suspicious of this explanation, soon went stomping off just to make sure! At the beach we tucked into our lunch and chose to watch other people plunge into the freezing ocean rather than jumping in ourselves.
As overly enthusiastic as our guide could be sometimes he did really know his stuff and was always telling us about the history of the places we visited and the animals that inhabit certain areas. He also told us that on our visit to Wilsons Prom we had visited Australia's most southern point which we both through was pretty cool. When we got back on the bus we were informed of the next game of the journey...'Bug Splatter Bingo' which comprised of a table drawn on the windscreen which we could choose a box to put our initials in and whichever box had the most bugs in it at the end of our trip won! Our final stop for the day was a little town called Lakes Entrance which again is pretty much what it says, the entrance point to an area with numerous different lakes that is packed out in high season, campervans, caravans and cars lining the streets. When we reached our accommodation we were firstly surprised to find it was quite like a holiday camp set up and then were secondly surprised when we were told that there were no mixed dorms on site at all...tea was just as questionable as we had had to order it earlier in the day and when we arrived we were ushered to the back of an establishment that appeared to be nothing more than a seaside takeaway! Still peckish, 6 of us (we finally met two other couples Keith and Gail from Ireland and Sam and Johnny from Norfolk!!) went for a wonder and surprise surprise Mark spotted the golden arches which managed to settle his hunger pangs. On our way back we encountered a mini golf course and all thought 'sod it' and had possibly the best two hours we have had for a while!! Whilst Kara's game started off horrendously but vastly improved thanks to two spectacular 'hole in one's', Mark's game slowly deteriorated much to his anger and frustration....to the point where he wanted to check the scoring sheet forgetting the fact that he had been the one keeping score! All in all it was a pretty good way to end the day, and prepare us for the inevitable fun and games to be had in the morning!