Water everywhere, endless beaches and then mountains
22.02.2017 - 24.02.2017 19 °C
90 mile beach (22-23 Feb)
We started heading north (not much choice when you’re at the southernmost point) and ended up at ninety mile beach. Gippsland Lakes are a system of coastal lagoons separated from the Tasman Sea by the coastal dunes of Ninety Mile Beach. The area covers over 400 square kilometres of waterways. We found a free camp at between Seaspray and Golden Beach behind the dunes on Ninety Mile Beach. This magnificent beach is really ninety miles (145 kilometres) long and has endless waves and pristine sand. How good is it to light a fire for a BBQ and to listen to the crashing sound of the waves a few metres away.
We walked about 800m to the rusty wreck of the Trinculo on Ninety Mile Beach (see photo). The Trinculo ran ashore here in 1879 on the way from Albany to Newcastle. On the way there an Australian fur seal exited the ocean right in front of us and crawled up to higher ground. Within one minute of finding a comfortable spot, he/she was asleep (apart from the occasional scratch or wave that then followed). The seal couldn’t be less interested in us (we suspect it was exhausted from hunting fish) which allowed us time to study it up close. Just another perfect day along this coastline.
Lakes Entrance (23-24 Feb)
What a surprise this area was. We knew very little about the area, and soon discovered that Bairnsdale (a little inland from Lakes Entrance) had a population size of 15000 plus. In Lakes Entrance there are 22 caravan parks (!) and more boats than you can count.
In Bairnsdale we had a unique experience of visiting St Mary’s (Catholic) church, with painted walls and ceilings (like those in Europe.) The stories told by the volunteer guide held us mesmerised for over an hour. These included that the paintings were done by an Italian artist that arrived in 1932 (during the Great Depression) looking for work in exchange for lodgings and food. So the priest employed him to paint the ceilings. Two anecdotes: He painted little angels (cherubs) all over the ceilings. When the bishop discovered (upon his inspection) that they were all naked, he insisted that ribbons be panted in strategic places… when you look closely, you’ll find that one doesn’t have a strategic ribbon… an act of defiance by the artist! Also, in the one front wall scene (depiction of hell), there is a painting of a half-naked lady with (devil’s) horns. It turns out the church housekeeper and the artist didn’t get along (she believed him to be a free-loader), so she ended up in the painting (see my photo).
Then it was off to cross the Snowy River (stopped at the mouth for morning tea) and (after an amazing rainforest walk of 1km) into New South Wales. See the amazing little cottage that was refurbished to be the Visitor Information Centre.