The skies turned grey. The winds blew cold. The rains came down, and all around Phillip Island the cries of the Wandering Wagler’s could be heard. Maybe that’s just a slightly more dramatic picture than what reality was our first few days in Phillip Island, but it’s pretty close! We were both looking forward to this stop with great anticipation of snorkelling & spending long days on the beach. Upon arriving and checking the weather report we both got a little grumpy. Low 60s on a warm day, with no sunshine for a week. Um, excuse me?! I thought we were in the tropical paradise of Australia! We demand better weather! Our complaining went unheard and the gloomy clouds stayed. We spent days in cafes, only to quickly bolt when the sun peeked through the clouds to try and explore & grab a few photos. Each night we ate as quickly as possible, took long hot showers and ran as fast as possible back to the truck where we watched movies since it was either raining or too cold to sit outside. Thanksgiving rolled around and the wave of homesickness had our moods matching the weather. I was able to video chat with my sister and sweet nieces for a bit, which I think ended up making the longing to be at a table of family & food even greater. So, we drowned our dreariness in some amazing sourdough crust pizza. Not a bad Thanksgiving meal. 🙂 The holidays, we knew would be bittersweet. I wouldn’t wish any of those feelings away, because it is a reminder of how blessed we both are to have wonderful families that we are close to.
Regardless of the bleak start of our Phillip Island adventure, we had a wonderful time exploring the island and surrounding areas.
We went on a hunt for more koalas at the Conservation Centre, stopped in at a local chocolate factory, walked various beaches, explored the Nobbies, visited Churchill Island etc…
Probably our favourites were exploring the Forrest Caves & the Cape Woolamai Hike. Forrest Caves can only be visited at low tide and even then you are not guaranteed to be able to traverse the rocks & waves to actually go inside. We spent several hours there one evening, climbing the rocks and checking the water pools for sea life. The waves were relentless, despite it being low tide. An absolutely incredible display of God’s power as each wave rolled in. Pictures cannot begin to capture the size of the waves. They were at least double the height of Kendall! Considering the only other ‘big’ waves I’ve seen were at Siesta Key or Lido Beach in Sarasota, I was in awe. Unfortunately, this trip has probably forever ruined my beloved childhood beaches for me. They don’t even begin to compare in beauty & crystal clear turquoise water. The hike we did around Cape Woolamai was phenomenal. On them main beach area at the start of the walk, we happened across the Junior Surfing Championships for Australia and that itself was so fun to watch. Those kids were brave and were out there in waves 4 times the size of some of them. I’d love to be cool and have bleach blond hair and surf, but ummmm, SHARKS! My husband on the other hand is ridiculously fearless. (He’s begging to go on a shark dive.Crazy human.) Woolamai Beach in itself was, well, it may sound dramatic, but glorious. Water that shimmering shades of blue and green I’ve never seen before, giant waves, squeaky sand, cliff views…It has it all. Around the corner from the main beach are rock structures called The Pinnacles. Again, I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and to keep from repeating myself, that’s how the whole 3 hour trek was. Every corner filled with something new. An amazing view, even clearer waters, wildlife, a pink granite quarry off of a beach. I think on that walk alone my photo count was at about 600. We went back to the truck stop with our Aussie Life cravings filled.
Truck Stop you say? Yes, you read that correctly. My husband and I have worked out a bit of a system. We try to spend 3 nights free ‘camping’, then spend a night at an actual caravan park or campground so we can shower, then go back to free ‘camping’ again. There was a nice truck stop/travel complex that we stayed at a majority of our time in Phillip Island. There was a Mcdonald’s, charging stations, & clean bathrooms. That’s pretty much all you need when you’re backpacking. That has by far been the nicest free spot we’ve stopped at. Most have only a little outdoor shack with a port-a-potty style toilet, so it was great to be able to sit in a booth an charge our laptop & phones and edit photos. Since the truck stop was on the outer edge of the Island, we were able to stay at a nice caravan park on the far side of the island for a couple of days while we explored things in that area. That’s where we met this hilarious and kind man from Alberta, Canada. He and his wife had retired and decided to see the world and were spending 3 months in the country. There happened to be a nice tv lounge area at this particular park and since both of us were living out of vehicles, we ended up watching a couple movies and a cricket match with them, while swapping stories and such. We also happened to catch the late Sunday Night Football games on Monday morning which gave me a very happy husband. We DO miss our football. I watched most of the two games, but just like at home, my body recognized FOOTBALL, which equals SUNDAY, which means TAKE A NAP. So that’s what I did. 🙂
We’ve spent the last couple of days getting supplies for our next adventure to Wilson’s Promontory. It’s a remote area with no towns and just endless beaches and hiking. We are also hoping to meet up with Landon & Jess for this time and are excited to catch up with them as well.
Oh, before I go. If you ever happen to just randomly fly to Australia and say, visit the Wonthaggi area near Phillip Island, you MUST visit the Book Exchange. We had driven by it several times, and when since I had run out of books to read due to all the dreary days, I convinced my husband to stop in. It’s a used bookstore, where you can take your old books and they give you a certain amount for them or off your bill if you purchase books there. They also have random clothing and a huge selection of dvds. It was book heaven. Everything from collectors items, to old old to brand new. Most books were either $4 or $8. For my fellow book lovers out there, just close your eyes and imagine walking into a little town house, where it’s floor to ceiling, wall to wall of books. Every crevice filled, shelves lining the hallways, not an open spot of wall in any room. I almost cried when I had to leave, and promptly read 2 of the books that I bought. Although, Kendall did say we are going back through that area, or close to it on our way back from Wilson’s Prom….What do you think the chances are that I can drag him back there to exchange more books?? 🙂 Tune in next time to find out if I was successful. (P.S. I picked out a few books for him as well & think I have him hooked.)
We send warm wishes, thoughts, & prayers your way this next month as Christmas approaches. I personally (& selfishly) wish a white Christmas for all of you Northerners, so that I can surf through Facebook & Instagram, looking at all the cozy, snowy, hot chocolate filled photos & feel at home.
Until next time, Friends & Family.