This drive down the coastal highway is simply spectacular. The drive has it all. There are miles and miles of Old Growth forests with trees that reach the sky and lush green ferns covering the forest floor. The highway in places hugs the edges of cliffs and bluffs high above the Ocean providing incredible vistas of blue seas, white sand beaches and sandstone sea cliffs. Then with a series of twists, curves and hairpin turns you are back at sea level as a river has cut its way thru the bluffs to reach the sea and a town has built up around the natural harbor.
The route meanders thru several national parks and past numerous pristine beaches and picturesque light stations. I will let the photos speak for themselves but would like to remark on a couple of special moments. First is Pebbly Beach in the Murramarang National Park, this beach is simply beautiful. The lush green vegetation grows right up to meet the sandy beach. The beach itself is in a small cove and on both sides of the U shape are sheer sandstone cliffs rising to the bluffs above. There is a large shelf of rock extending out from the base of the cliff that offers a wide pathway to the point on the left side of the U-shaped cove during low tide.
Photos of Cape Schanck Light Station
I walked the uneven rock slabs to the point thinking there would be more beach around the corner. Instead I found a tumbled mess of bus and house size boulders to scramble over as the oceans waves crashed against the rocks cooling me with the spray. Again, hoping to see more beach on the other side of the rocks – only to find a half dozen Japanese tourists with huge seven-foot heavy duty fishing rods and reels casting into the raging surf from the rocks. I watched in amusement as they caught tiny 3-inch goldfish on these giant rods and reels designed to fight huge tarpon or sharks.
On my return trip back to the beach I looked more carefully in the pools left by the departing tide and could see all manner of sea life just hanging out waiting for the tide to come back in and offer escape. The best part was finding the blow hole I had missed on my hike out to the point though.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Pebbly Beach though is the sunbathers. Seems kangaroos enjoy a day at the beach as much as women. There is a resident mob (what Aussies call a group of Roos) that hang out at this beach. Watching the kangaroos laying around sunning themselves was like being back in Florida watching all the snowbirds flocking to our beaches. And as I was paying for my parking a beautiful red parrot landed on the pay box with absolutely no fear of me. Just a fantastic way to spend a solitary morning.
Lunch, then Wilson’s Promontory National Park
The second moment I would like to describe is my afternoon in Wilsons Promontory National Park. This Park is on a peninsular just north of Melbourne offering a number of interesting hikes, beaches, bluffs and coastal hills to explore. The hike I chose took me to Sparkes Lookout high above the ocean. The rocky crag offered incredible views in all directions. The view was spectacular but even more interesting to me was the 3.5km walk in thru a grove of large old trees twisted and contorted by decades of strong sea winds as they grew (photos attached).
I have always thought of Australia as an arid semi desert. But From the Blue Mountains west of Sydney to the Coastal Highway between Sydney and Melbourne to the drive from Melbourne to Mount Gambier I found incredibly lush forests and woodlots.
Attached are my photos of the three day journey from Sydney to Melbourne.