Travelling memories: five moments of freedom (2)

As I’m publishing this article, it’s been now six weeks since the beginning of the lockdown in France, due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s absolutely necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, but it’s also very weird to be stuck at home for such a long period, especially for me who used to travel so much! So in order to take my mind (and hopefully yours) off this alarming situation, I decided to think about all the moments when I had this amazing feeling of freedom during my different trips, and to tell you the story behind five of them. Here’s the second one, with a couple of days in Wilson’s Promontory National Park in Australia at the end of October 2016.

📷 For more pictures have a look at my gallery of photos of Victoria.

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Australia in a vanMy Australian adventure began at the very end of June 2016. I spent my first days between Byron Bay and Brisbane, then flew to Cairns in the North of Queensland where I bought a van and started a three-month road trip that lead me to Melbourne at the beginning of October. My plan was settling down there for a little while, finding a place to live, working for a few months… but it wasn’t so easy. The first couple of weeks were really difficult: I struggled to find a job, and after such a long time living my best life alone in my van, it was hard to go back to bunk beds and hostel dormitories. For the first time since I arrived in the country, I started to feel a little bit depressed, but suddenly everything cleared up: within 48 hours, I moved into an amazing shared house and was hired as a barista in a luxury tea house! I was supposed to start working a few days later, at the beginning of November, so I decided to enjoy this last period of freedom with a trip to Wilson’s Promontory National Park, three hours South-East of Melbourne.

After getting stuck in the traffic for quite a while, I eventually arrived at the entrance of “Wilsons Prom” (the nickname of the park) at the end of the afternoon, just in time to watch a beautiful sunset. It was the first time since I was in Australia that I could admire the sun setting over the ocean, a sight impossible to catch on the East Coast!

wilsons-promontory-breakfastA single road winds through the park until a place called Tidal River, where the Visitor Centre and the only campground can be found. The price for the night was ridiculously expensive: around 60$ for an unpowered site! It was absolutely out of the question for me to pay such an amount, so I slept in my van close to the entrance of the park instead and drove back to “The Prom” (another nickname; yes, Australians really love shortening names) in the morning. I stopped at the same spot where I watched the sunset on the previous evening, but this time for a good breakfast (eggs, bacon and cheese on a toast). It felt so good to begin the day like that, free, on my own, staring at a great view!

Wilsons Promontory

There are many trails starting from Tidal River. I chose to hike on the beautiful coastal path leading to Squeaky Beach, a gorgeous place in the middle of an unspoiled natural area. The sand here is so pure that it literally “squeaks” under the feet. It was a real pleasure to walk barefoot on it!

I kept following the coastal path a little bit further until Picnic Bay, a place that I found appropriate for lunch. Most of the visitors stop at Squeaky Beach, but this was in my opinion the most beautiful part of the trail!

Wilsons Promontory, coastal walk

I did a second hike in the afternoon until the summit of Mount Oberon. The path leading there was a bit long and boring, but I was rewarded with a stunning 360° panorama. I could have stayed there for many hours, staring at such a beautiful view, so perfectly happy to be here.

Finally, Wilsons Prom is also a great place to spot wildlife; a lot of kangaroos live there, but I especially remember this beautiful (and not shy at all) kookaburra, an iconic Australian bird with a song halfway between a monkey scream and a human laugh, as well as the one and only wombat I ever saw!

I left in the evening, with a lot of beautiful memories in mind. These couple of days were the perfect transition between two periods of my life, and it was exactly what I needed. The tough weeks I had gone through since my arrival in Melbourne were now completely forgotten, and it felt again like everything was possible with a lot of good things coming. The future proved me right!

Don’t miss my first article about these “moments of freedom”, dedicated to the beginning of my road trip in America in April 2018!

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