We have been planning this trip for ages. My friend from Melbourne has promised to drive us to Wilson’s Prom and we set off at 6 am. It’s a much swifter journey than any of us thought. We experience dawn on the move. Gradually the roads slow and wind and Wilson’s Promontory hovers into view.
It’s a wonderful wilderness space, full of forest and surrounded by sea.
Almost exactly one year ago the area was devastated by floods and huge swathes of it are still cut off for reparation.
There is a massive site for camping, and although I cannot see the appeal of cheek by jowl pitches near the shop (I guess families probably like the convenience) there are some gorgeous wooden cabins which are staggered through the bush and isolated pitches which are surrounded by trees which seem very appealing. We ask about staying the night but it is a holiday weekend and everywhere is full to capacity. Shame!
Just a little way from the campsite is an estuary, which opens onto a wide sandy beach. I had forgotten how well Australia does beaches! We stroll over the river bridge and follow the path to Squeaky Beach.
I love the feel of this place. It has less boardwalk and feels more natural than many of the National Parks we’ve visited in Australia. There’s plenty of evidence of wombat claws clearly scratching for food along the path. At every scratch there is a poo dropping marking its presence. I places the earth is carved into deep ravines by the flood damage. I love the ancient tea tree, whose grey bark weaves together to create a tunnel, so eerie that it should be in a story, and the boulders, streaked in red as is scared by rusty rain rushing over their surface.
My Melbourne friend climbs energetically over boulders like a mountain goat. I have always admired this agility and enthusiasm. John and I take a more sedate route.
Squeaky Beach is white sand which, of course, squeaks as you walk on it. Clusters of families sit on the near end, we walk along the beach to the huge boulders at the far end and enjoy a picnic.
As the day progresses my friend and I catch up. Strange that I know his house so well but it has been several years since we spent much time together.
As we drive out of the National Park we notice a dead wombat, road kill! He looks comfortable by the side of the road, poor thing!