Seems I’ve hit the start of the holiday coast and towns. Phillip island really has that feel to it, and as I was to find out, so do many towns along this section of Victoria’s coast and heading up into NSW. I quite liked it in the Phillip Island region, rolling green hills and rugged coastlines interspersed with beautiful white beaches. Though I realize my liking the area possibly relates directly to the fact that it was off season, if I was there in the middle of summer I probably wouldn’t have liked it so much.
As it’s a high tourism area there aren’t a lot of free camps around, especially not when you’re in a large van like I am, not exactly discreet. Though on the upside, caravan parks can be cheaper in the off season and they tend to become a little more spacious. This park I stayed at just out of Phillip island had no other vans staying there and it was $16 a night for a powered site, take my pick of about 30 odd huge grassed sites.
The coastline around here had some crazy rock formations
The bubbly formations in the rocks were fascinating, but it wasn’t just the bubble patternation, there were interesting forms and shapes everywhere you looked. I love spending time looking at the different structures, wondering how they were formed, the bubbles above I guess were originally bubbling lava, but there were plenty I had no explanation for.
As often happens with more rocky areas a long the coast, rocks mean shells, well interesting shells anyway. Areas of pure wide open beaches normally only have cockle type simple shells, while the rocky and reef areas account for a wider variety of shells. Sometimes.
This is the raw shell grit on the ground as I found it in a small bay while having a walk. Collected and sorted it looks more like this.
Not the nicest or most interesting collection I’ve had, but nice to see a bit more variety and ease of collection after the areas around Melbourne which were quite baron. There were a couple of bays and beaches down this way where there were a ridiculous amount of limpet shells, I had no idea there were so many varieties, and that a random grit sample could contain such a large concentration of them.
I really must try and arrange them somehow, with most of them upside down in the photo above they really look very unexciting.
The coastline here at Phillip island had some very rugged areas, I have no idea how these guys got out to fish here (see bottom of picture) there didn’t seem to be any obvious way out onto the headland.
Of course the island here is well known for a few things, formula one racing is perhaps the most famous and I stopped at the track for a look through the fence. There were cars racing at the time while I was there and I recorded some video, but it really wasn’t very exciting, well at least not for me.
The island also has a “penguin parade” where every evening the penguins come in from the ocean and head to their burrows for the evening, cool I thought that might be nice to see and I noticed their trails on a few of the beaches I visited during the day. Then I discovered that it was at least $25 for a ticket to watch this parade, something which happens naturally every day. You were allowed to watch them at one place and they close off the other sections of the island where you might see them every afternoon, for their safety of course. No thanks. There was also the Nobbies Centre out on the end of the island, I struggled to comprehend what the place was about. A massive building housing a cafe a gift shop filled with things like stuffed Pandas and the interactive Antarctica experience? It really was tourism for tourism sake, there was nothing special there, and the massive monstrosity of a building was being expanded as a multi million dollar government initiative.
Still, on the up side, I did see this in a car as I was leaving the area.
I left the island and continued heading east trying to cover a least a bit of ground, I had to be in Queensland in about 3 weeks for my van modifications. First stop was a lovely free camp on the bank of the snowy river.
It was a lovely spot, beautiful green grass and my own private little jetty on the river. Fish were jumping constantly catching insects, which made it difficult to get a clean reflection on the water, but man, what a lovely free camp, kicking back on the jetty with a glass of wine watching the sunset.
Strange to have such magnificent natural surroundings when you know that only an hour down the road on the way to this spot, I stopped on the road and took the following photo. The view was similar on both sides of the road too.
I visited the coastline all along this section up to the border of N.S.W., Marlo, Cape Conran and Mallocoota. Crazy colours, layering and twisting and buckling over millions of years, and then breaking down and weathering have brought about the interesting rocks at the start of this post.
I stayed in a great camp site at Genoa just south of the NSW border. The tiny town has a huge grassed area with a toilet block, and BBQ available for up to a 72 hour stay for a gold coin donation. I stayed for my full 3 days driving out to explore the surrounding areas from this base. They also had a resident rag tag group of chooks who hung around the camp wandering from van to van looking for scraps.
Just as well I moved from here, on the last night it poured and continued pouring with rain all day. I had a puddle a couple of inches deep outside my door and it looked like things were going to get worse. I drove from Genoa onto Bega where I’m currently typing this blog while camped at the showgrounds. The weather is shocking, it’s barely stopped raining for the last two days. Today was terrible, I decided I had to leave to go and explore the surrounding areas but there are roads closed in much of the local national park, I walked along the beach collecting some shells and got drenched. I’ve just checked the weather and it’s not stopping, there’s a big front and constant rain forecast for the next two days.
Ahh the joys of caravan life. I’m on a pretty terrible site, with a real slope to it and I’m under some old oak trees, so I hope no limbs drop with this storm front coming through tonight. I parked up here to escape a man I met back in Eden on one of my recent day trips. We chatted for a while at a lookout back a Eden and all was well, he was a priest heading to Queensland with his wife to help at a priest training centre. But then things started to slip. Comments about “those violent Muslims”, and then the person they helped turn straight again, who had turned gay because he had too many overbearing women in his life. He was doing well, a bigot, sexist and homophobic within about 3 minutes of conversation. I tried to point out a few simple home truths to him, but realized the futility, so said “all the best” and left. As I walked away he commented “is that your car?” My brother bought one of those, I told him it was useless, would never pull his van, blah, blah, blah….
So I arrived here in the Bega show grounds and guess who is the only other person here?
Luckily Sue, a lady who I met a few camps back pulled in here as well, she’s good value and a down to earth person so I’ve been having a bit of a laugh with her over the past couple of days. She scored well, parked her little camper van in the cow pavillion, quite apt I told her, but a great flat spot under cover for $10 a night.