Saturday, January 14, 2012

Croajingolong National Park

Back in the States over the course of the past year that we've been preparing for this trip, we probably checked out every book the Denver Public Library system has to offer about Australia. Kids' books about the animals, culture, and geography helped the boys wrap their brain around where we would be going, and I read tons of travel books, blogs, and articles about budget travel, national parks, and can't-miss destinations. One of the books Sam brought home was a 30-year old coffee table book on Australia's national parks. For Sam, Croajingolong National Park in Victoria seemed particularly interesting because of the nature and wildlife (we have since learned that it was deemed a World Biosphere Reserve).

Part of what makes road trips fun is children arguing and playing slap and tickle stopping at interesting places on the way to the main destination.  I see all kinds of art galleries and local shops that I'd love to check out but with the kids it would be cumbersome and simply take too much time.  That being said, the Eden Killer Whale Museum was a no-brainer; we stopped and had a look.

Jackson reading about Old Tom, a killer whale that worked with whaling ships to bring in  baleen whales
the whaling boats are teeny compared to the size of the whale!

It's easy to look out from the quaint little seaside town of Eden and imagine its former incarnation as a whaling hub.  The museum was great and made me want to reread Moby Dick and In the Heart of the Sea.

We then arrived at Croajingolong National Park and got a decent spot right across from the campsite hosts, who were two fantastic young guys who immediately invited our boys over for a game of soccer (they had been playing cricket but switched over to something the boys would be familiar with). This game would be the highlight of Jackson's stay here; he lives for experiences like this.

The weather wasn't great--overcast and a little chilly, so we took a short hike through a beautiful path to the beach instead of heading to the river for a swim.

The beach was gorgeous, but incredibly windy and desolate.

On our walk back, a fellow camper pulled us over to her campsite, where this guy had been hanging out for a couple of hours...
Australian water dragon
We woke up the next morning to more grey skies, and I was feeling a little ready to move on. It's an ordeal to unpack the tent/mattresses/bedding/table/chairs/coolers and set up shop, so staying two nights usually makes the most sense. But did you happen to catch that really interesting Freakonomics show on NPR a few months back, The Upside of Quitting? That was in my mind as I explained my theory to Sam that given another bad weather day, we should cut our losses and head out early. We needed to cover a fair amount of ground the next day to make it remotely possible to snag a first-come first-served campsite usually booked months in advance at our next destination, and this would cut the drive in half. And besides, these days of camping without showers coupled with the lack of swimming because of chilly weather? It all made for four smelly boys. I, of course, did not smell but you won't see any pictures of me because I was looking very rough.

Two Librans don't make decisive decisions all that easily, but when one is an attorney decision do tend to go one way more often. :) We decided it would be best to head out early, so we packed up camp in record time so we could still make the hike to the Point Hicks lighthouse tour as planned before heading out.
Sam and I didn't miss our calling as lighthouse keepers. Ascending the 162 steps to the top was fine, as long as I willed myself not took down.
Just watching the kids look down made my stomach queasy.
Sam said he felt horrible. :) The top, though, was a beautiful view (again, looking out was fine and I just never looked straight down).

And then we were on the road again.  It is endless entertainment reading maps and road signs; the names Australians have come up with are nearly always giggle-inducing. A road called Bunga Pinch??  Sam said he's had that happen to him before and it was very painful. Ha!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Annie, glad to see you guys are having such a great time. We are at Steamboat Springs for the weekend. We splurged and are staying in a nice apartment, currently praying for Tebow to produce a miracle - it is 28 to 7 with 1.17 to go in the second. (Does it sound like I know what I'm talking about?) I am loving this experience - even with a difficult four year old this is the best thing I have done in a very long time. Wishing you guys lots of fun, love Jo and family xxx We are loving folowing your blogs!!!!