The next day started quite early, as I had to get up at 05:30 in the morning. The ‘Melbourne-Sydney Safari’ bus would wait for the group at 06:30 and being late would not be the best idea (and a waste of money as well). For me, 05:30 is the middle of a night and I didn’t have to wake up so early since the days of my Japanese exam in December. You can only imagine how hard that was. However, I can proudly announce that I managed to do that. After eating two terribly sweet, low quality mini jam tarts I was ready to leave rainy Melbourne. After half an hour of waiting for the bus, a loud, weird, funny little lady ran out of the hotel, asking other people if the driver had already arrived. Only after couple of minutes we had learnt that the woman was the tour guide and that she totally forgot about the trip. The driver arrived a little later and to our surprise, he was driving something between a van and a minibus. It turned out there were only 10 people going on the ‘Safari’, which let every single one of us to take two seats in the car. Very comfortable I have to say. With our overly enthusiastic and extremely positive guide we were ready to go. What I really enjoyed during the whole trip was that it showed us the other side of Australia – rural, almost abandoned towns, cattle feeding on picturesque, serenely green hills and valleys that looked almost like taken from New Zealand postcards. Something between a greener version of the Wild West and Tolkien’s Shire. Truly beautiful.
Our first stop was at one of the national parks. We pulled off the road and after no more than a minute saw a group of kangaroos, and after that also some emus. It was great to see them in their natural habitat and not in captivity. So, as you can see, all you gotta do to see some endemic Australian species, is to stop on the roadside and walk into a bush. As simple as that, and much more exciting than watching BBC Wild (and do remember that this comes from a HUGE BBC Wild fan). FYI, it’s definitely better to see a living kangaroo than a dead one, just like I did a couple of hours later, when I saw a huge kangaroo lying dead on the roadside. During the whole trip I saw a lot of kangaroos killed in car accidents and I have to admit that it’s never a nice view.
The next stop was Squeaky Beach, which name comes from the sound that the sand makes under your feet when you wander around that beautiful place. I couldn’t actually hear anything but the name must’ve been given for a reason, I guess. The beach and the bay looked amazing even though the day was rather windy and it wasn’t very warm. After strolling on the beach we climbed to the nearest hill and saw a picturesque view on the whole Whisky Bay, called after the whisky-transporting ship drowned nearby a long time ago. Before coming to the Whisky Bay, we stopped at a small bistro for an early lunch. I ordered a ‘home-made beef pie’ but didn’t enjoy it all. The stuffing tasted like a minced leaver, which didn’t actually suit my vision of a home-cooked meal.
All of the small towns on our road looked really charming but usually after getting out of the bus, there was nothing but silence, which I found a little creepy. They seemed abandoned, with nothing going on around. Remember all the small towns from the American movies ? Then you have the idea what a little Australian town in the middle of nowhere may look like.
In the evening we finally reached the motel in Lakes Entrance. The Aborigines who lived there in the past had a legend about the creation of the place. They believed that a long time ago a frog had drank all the world’s water, which made other animals miserable and incredibly thirsty (no wonder !). All of them decided that the only way to make the frog spit out the water was to make it laugh. The animal that managed to do that was an eel. The frog enjoyed the eel’s joke and spitted out all of the water, which created the lakes in the area that is nowadays called Lakes Entrance and is a popular place especially among fishermen.
Even though it wasn’t late, after eating fish and chips for dinner and taking a shower, I went straight to the huge, double bed in my room and immediately fell asleep.