After the grape picking had abruptly ended we still had 3 weeks before my Mum and Dad arrived in Melbourne for their holiday, so we decided that we would see some of the South East of Victoria. This way we would be able to head straight to New South Wales after my parents left. We packed up and headed towards the Gippsland area heading mainly through the hilly country nearing the Victorian Alps. We stopped on the way at Toorongo Falls, which had a scenic walk via Amphitheatre falls it was quite a damp day and the walk covered rainforest with lots of ferns and greenery. As we had, had a fairly steady drive around the countryside we camped at Harriers Swamp in Hooley Plains State Park, we were the only campers and it felt a little scary especially when the camp fire we had lit and the thought we'd put out reignited when we were trying to sleep.
The following day we drove to Lakes Entrance in an area known as the Lake District, Australia's largest inland waterway system. The lakes are actually shallow lagoons separated from the ocean by an area of sand dunes known as ninety mile beach.
Lakes Entrance was a nice place we stopped in the centre and then walked over the Cunninghame Arm inlet fotbridge to ninety mile beach, we sat o the beach for a while readng our books, but it was cold, we had jeans, trainers and raincoats on, we must have looked a right pair! Altough there was some crazy guy sunbathing in shorts, so maybe we didn't look that bad! It ddn't take long for it to be too cold for us, so we eaded back to the main street and warmed up with a coffee. We then drove to tyres beach where we sat and watched the beach and chiled out. We had fish (gummy shark) and chips for tea at Jemmys lookout where we watched the sunset over the lakes and the sea.
On our second day in the area, we stopped at some of the small towns which was nice to be away from the tourist area. I'm not quite sure how we found Metung, but we are glad we did. The weather was much brighter and it made it all the more picturesque. We parked up by the side of the massive lake and wee able to walk along the boardwalk all the way to the small shops and the other side of the lake. There were people fishing and lots of boats moored up. A very relaxing place it was a shame we cold only stay for a couple of hours. Our next stop was Eagle Point Bluff and Paynesville where we had some soup for lunch, there was not much there apart from some good lookouts. We headed on to Seaspray and Golden Beach which was really remote area hidden behind the sand dunes of ninety mile beach. We found a camp ground at Paradise Beach, it was still quite cold but we managed to sit on the beach for a while. The next day we drove a little way to the Lakes National Park, we were really disappointed as we could only drive a short way as we did not have a 4x4. There was only 2 places to stop and neither of these were really appealing s we turned round and headed out. We had lunch at another national park Tarra Bulga and then went on our way to Agnes Falls. The road to the falls was quite winding and as we turned to go down one of the roads we noticed trees and branches all over the road, the storm must have blown them down, we gave up and decided to find a place to camp nearer to Wilson Promontory National Park.
We woke up and it had been pouring down, but we decided to go into the national park anyway even though we knew we'd be out walking in it. The Prom as it is known is is on the South Coast, it has everything great beaches, wildlife and bushwalking tracks. The information centre here is excellent and there is lots of camping, you can see how people an stay for days. We only had the one day so armed with the short walk guide, we headed towards the telegraph saddle car park, the start of the Mount Oberon walk. We were geared up with warm clothes and rain jackets in anticipation of the rain. To reach the summit took about 1 hour, but it felt good to be out and active. Wayne freaked a little as we got nearer to the top as the wide track we had been on turned into a smaller set of steps up the face of the mountain. I made it to the top on my own and Wayne followed slowly behind. The view was well worth the walk, we had great views of the bays and the sandy beaches below, it was however very open and very windy. The walk back down was also not too bad but 10 minutes from the end it started to rain really heavy, I suppose we were lucky that it did not happen on the way back. We drove back to the information centre and had a hot noodle soup for lunch to warm us up, while our clothes dried on the van heaters! Once fed, watered and our clothes dried we thought we'd try some shorter walks. This actually turned out to be good as we could get to view a lot more than on the other walks. We had good views over Squeaky Beach, Tidal River and Norman Bay. We also stopped to take a look at a memorial that had been erected in honour of all the national park rangers across the world that have died in the line of duty. As we made our way back to the car park it started to rain, however we did meet a guy who told us that there were live Koala sightings on the Mornington Peninsular on our way back. We took the name of the town as we had not yet seen a wild Koala and wanted too, although the day before we had seen a dead one on the side of the road. We drove up to Normans Lookout where we cooked some dinner and then watched the sunset, it was not that spectacular and we were hoping for it to get better, we gave up and the rain came down, again!
On our way back to Melbourne we took a coastal drive which was over before it begun, but we managed to watch some surfers. Our next stop was Wonthaggi, an old coal mining town, where we visited the museum. The rides down to the coal mine were not running and most of the place seemed as though it was shut down. But it had some good information on the town's early days and its history. We then drove to the Mornington Peninsular and the town of Somers in pursuit of the Koalas. We found the area the guy had mentioned and had our lunch there. After we took the Koala walk along by the beach, looking in every eucalyptus tree we could find, we couldn't find one sign of a Koala, gutted!