Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Year road trip day 3: Mallacoota

On the third day of our road trip we had a quick look around Lakes Entrance before setting off for Mallacoota at the pointy end of Victoria.

 A yacht just after entering the eponymous entrance

 Synchronised preening near the North Arm Bridge

Nigel No Neck tries to act natural

Our first stop was Marlo, a small coastal town where the Snowy River flows into the Tasman Sea. We saw seals! There were a few people fishing from the jetty and the local seals obviously knew they could expect some fishy tidbits to be thrown their way.  There were two of them and they were very playful. Only one got a fish while we were there because the fisherman only caught one. 

 The mouth of the Snowy River

The man with a baby for a head

We continued along the coast, stopping at Cape Conran and Cowrie Bay. We took a short walk along a trail through banksia scrub to the rocky beach. 

 Old banskia, new banksia

 Slabs of rock with sharp vertical corrugations

 Smooth blue-grey rocks as big as cantaloupes

Beach art (not of our making)

I picked up some small smooth stones from the beach - there's something very pleasing about holding a smooth stone in the palm of your hand - and we hit the highway again, where rolling hills and farmland had given way to native forest on either side. Next up was Cann River for lunch.

 Charming little church in Cann River

We attempted a walk beside the river after lunch, but unlike most signposted walks, the narrow trail was just a narrow path of flattened grass through the bush. We're all for getting off the beaten track, but not if there's a strong risk of a surprise encounter with a snake (especially as we had bare skin at snake height). It was hot and super humid anyway, so I didn't mind getting back into the air conditioned car. 

While zipping along the highway again we spotted a turn off for Genoa Point in the Croajingolong National Park and hung a rightie onto the gravel road.  Like a lot of places we visited on this trip, this was a spontaneous side-trip. I did do some research before we left, which is where I read about Agnes Falls at Toora, but other stuff we saw signposted along the way and decided to visit on the spur of the moment. We also stopped off at information centres to investigate local walks and attractions. Planning ahead is good, but I think the essence of a road trip is to make it up as you go along.

Anyway, this gravel road was rough, rutted and winding and consequently it felt very long. We finally got to the car park for the walk to Genoa Point to find that it would take a few hours to get to the peak and back, which was more time than we wanted to invest in it. 

So it was back onto the rough gravel road again. We did see a goanna, so it was a worthwhile tangent. 

Tree hugger. It was about a metre long

Ready for his close up

We arrived in Mallacoota around 5 o'clock and booked a motel room. Apart from our first night in Foster, we didn't book any of our accommodation in advance. I think a lot of people must have gone back to work on 5 January so we didn't struggle to find a place to stay anywhere. 

We put our bathers on and headed for the beach - First Bastion Point for a view of Gabo Island. This is the island I mentioned previously that is often mentioned on the ABC weather report (which is because it's a shipping reference). In the end we didn't visit it, but we did see it and its pink granite lighthouse in the distance. 

 Teeny weeny lighthouse at far right 

Closer (hazy) view

It doesn't look it from a distance, but the Gabo Island lighthouse is the second-tallest lighthouse in Australia. 

A beautifully refreshing sea breeze was blowing as we walked along the beach to where the sea and the lake system meet, so we didn't end up going for a swim. I did get my feet wet though and picked up some shells. 

There was an information board at a deck overlooking the beach with information on local flora and fauna, including the Gloomy Octopus. The Gloomy Octopus!!! I thought this was hilarious. How do they know it's not a happy octopus? Can you pick it? 

Yeah, I know, it's hard enough to see the thing, 
let alone determine its emotional state

Then we headed to Betka Beach, on the recommendation of our motel caretaker. During a stroll along the beach I found this blue creature. 

At first I thought it was dead, but as my poking finger got closer to it, it started to wave that tentacle around. Consequently I kept my finger to myself. I guessed it was a blue bottle jellyfish, which I knew to be a nasty customer. When I got home I  googled it and discovered a blue bottle is the same thing as a man o' war jellyfish (which isn't actually a jellyfish). Definitely a nasty customer - its stings are extremely painful and, in rare cases of allergic reaction, can cause deadly side effects. They can still sting for hours or days after death so if you see one on the beach that looks dead, no poking! 

Betka Beach also had a lot of rugged rocks, this time with beautiful ochre seams running through them. We were there during the golden hour, which made them even more attractive. 

Looks like the beach artist was here too

Another local 

Betka Beach - mouth of Betka River in the foreground

From Betka Beach we set out on a coastal walk, much of which took us through tunnels of ti tree that were otherwise deserted and quiet. It was a little spooky. 


Dinner-plate-sized spider webs, 
for added spookiness

By now it was dinner time so we headed back into town and ate in the motel restaurant (more scotch fillet and chips for me). Luke had a swim in the motel pool, but I was too tired. Another early night ensued. 

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Good shot of the Sister Anna.