I was so excited to take Rosemarie and Scott to Fraser Island. We used the same company as when I went with Natasha in 2017, Fraser Dingo 4WD, who prepared us an epic 4 day/3 night itinerary. We had a blast!! Prepare for a lot of pictures!!

The trip did start out a little stressful. It took the guy a bit longer than expected to go over all the safety information and itinerary with us, and then we didn’t follow their advice of going to the close grocery store for supplies, which resulted in a serious race to get to the ferry in time. We made it, but like… barely.

Scott letting the air out of the tires to prepare for driving on sand.
Me supervising Scott letting the air out of the tires. :D

Our first stop was Lake McKenzie. It has got to be one of the most pleasant places for a swim in the whole world. I just love that the sand is so soft, with no rocks, and the water is beautifully clear. 10/10, maybe 9.5/10 when it’s windy.

That night we camped in Central Station, in the forest. I recognized the exact campsite I stayed at in 2008! We set up camp and made dinner while getting laughed at by tons of kookaburras, and getting our ears buzzed off by seriously loud waves of cicadas. None of us had ever experienced that before, it was crazy, borderline painful. There were also tons of mosquitos so we decided we were just going to stay on Melbourne time and went to bed quite early.

The second day was going to be our only possible beach driving day, so we had to get up very early to maximize our chances of making it to the Champagne Pools, something that I didn’t get to do in 2008 OR 2017 and was dying to do.

Despite the 4WD guy making it sound extremely treacherous, we made it up to the Champagne Pools with no issues whatsoever. I actually really enjoyed the bit where I had to keep up speed to make it through the deep soft sand. Exhilarating! Rosemarie did ask if I wanted to the passage again just for fun and in hindsight maybe we should have!

Us dumdums didn’t realise there was a second parking lot so we drove back down and parked on the beach and walked back up!! Doh.

Me being a whale.

The Pools were awesome. Nice shallow spots protected by rocks, so when the waves crash in it splashes up and bubbles around you. It’s not safe to swim in the ocean anywhere else on Fraser so it’s extra special that this place exists. 10/10. Amazing.

The trail up to Indian Heads was closed for maintenance so we didn’t get to go up there, but it wasn’t whale season anyway so oh well.

Rosemarie and I on a “hike” at The Pinnacles that turned out to be about 20m long, hahaha. Good thing I brought snacks.
Maheno shipwreck.
No one wants to see a shipwreck from above!!!

We actually stopped at Eli Creek on the way up the beach first thing in the morning as well as on the way back down. I had such fond memories of it we didn’t want to risk missing in it so we did a couple loops first thing in the morning. We were the only ones there and it was REFRESHING. And of course Rosemarie loved it as much as me so we stopped there again in the afternoon and did another few laps. 9/10, needs to be longer.

Then our last activity for the day was Lake Wabby, in the dunes. We had to walk in from our beach campsite for that evening so it involved quite a bit of sand walking, but we all survived and the lake at the end is a pretty unique reward. Scott was very surprised that the lake was literally right at the edge of the dune. There are some huge fish in it as well. We had the whole lake to ourselves for quite a while too, since we were there so late in the day. I did some hill sprints to keep up my fitness. This was Scott’s favourite lake. I give it an 8/10, fish nibbling a bit and hike too long.

Visitor to our beach camp site. Scott chased him away with our Dingo Stick.
Stir fry on the dune by our beach camp site at the end of a huge day.

To be continued….

We took Rosemarie down to The Prom for a camping weekend. It’s one of my favourite places in Victoria. I was excited for her to see wombats!

We saw this blonde one on the side of the road almost right away! I wonder if he is elderly? He looks like he’s been through some stuff. Rosemarie was surprised how big it was.

We did the Wildlife Walk at dusk the first night. We saw lots of kangaroos hopping around and a few wombats munching on plants. Got lots of great pics. We couldn’t find any emus though, even though a lady told us they saw tons right before we got there.

Tidal River and Bear Gully campgrounds were fully booked so we stayed at a private campground in Yanakie. It was nice, the sites were pretty spread out.

Tongue Point hike. That water!!!

Little photoshoot at Norman Beach. The weather was beautiful but none of us felt motivated enough to swim, haha.

Picnic lunch and a wade in Tidal River.

Of course we’re going to play some games! Kub and Sagrada. Waiting for sunset.

I complained all the way up Mt Oberon. I hate walking up hill!

Made it! It is a nice view. Legs dead.

Then we spent 2 hours playing Carcassonne in the car at Squeaky Beach waiting for full dark because I had heard that the aurora australis forecast was pretty good that night and we were in such a great location to look south. Unfortunately it was super cloudy. We waited as long as we thought we could, but we were all so exhausted from such a big day we gave up around 10:30pm and decided to head back to the campground (45 minutes drive).

After 30 minutes of driving I kept looking out the window because it looked like the clouds were clearing and I could see tons of stars. Scott said he would turn around and drive back if we wanted, and Rosemarie agreed, so we did a u-turn and drove 30 minutes back to Squeaky Beach. … And straight back into full cloud coverage. So frustrating. We saw SOOOO MANY wombats on the side of the road though… like 25. That kept us alert.

We still at least got out of the car and walked down to the beach to see if we could see anything at all, but nope, way too cloudy. So we gave up again and drove 45 minutes all the way back to the campground and passed out immediately out of pure exhaustion.

We only wanted to do flat walks the next day haha. Lilly Pilly! We got lucky and saw an echidna! I haven’t seen one since I’ve been back in Australia. My friend told me I should have lay down on the ground to get a better picture. Next time. Rosemarie asked why Australian animals are so ROUND.

And then we drove home via Gurneys Cider, which was great, as usual. I probably bought a few too many to take home considering I almost never drink any more.

Awesome weekend!!

OK maybe I should do some blogging again… especially considering we had such an awesome summer!

So around Christmas last year, we realised that instead of waiting for ScoMo to open the border to tourists, we could just buy Rosemarie a Working Holiday Visa and she could come visit right away. After a couple days of back and forth messaging and research, she booked some flights to come visit us for six weeks, starting from the middle of January!

She arrived with an entire hockey bag full of treats!! Best sister!!
Scott for scale.

We weren’t expecting Rosemarie to show up so quickly so Scott and I were quite busy with work for the first couple weeks. But we used the time to get organised (Perkins love a list!) and Rosemarie cooked us lots of elaborate foods. Looking back, we still managed to squeeze in A LOT of fun stuff between all our commitments.

New steamer with 400% more capacity!
Homemade shrimp har gow with garlic Chinese broccoli.
Rosemarie made radish cake! It was delicious. With bbq’d zucchini from the garden and homemade chili oil (unpictured).
We also played lots of games, of course. We were excited to play some games, like Orleans, with three players for the first time ever.
Rosemarie beat us at everything.
We went for a walk in the hills, looking for lyrebirds, didn’t see any. Went for a swim in Lysterfield Lake afterwards.

We got cheap grounds passes for the Australian Open one night, which ended up being quite fun! We watched a couple games in outdoor court 3, walked around a bit, had food truck food for dinner, tried to get in to watch Nick Kyrgios’s match but didn’t realise you had to pre-reserve your seat. The spectators were rowdier than I expected. It was my first time being in crowds for quite a long time, which felt weird, but I kept my mask on as much as I could and that made me feel better.

Rosemarie and I went to Gumbaya World on my day off. It was horrendously windy, which made waiting in lines for the water slides quite unpleasant, but the water was very warm so that helped. They also have animals so we got to see kangaroos and wallabies and koalas and birds and stuff. We went on a swingy ride that was too EXTREME for Rosemarie. She has gone soft. I got a big dent in my car from someone else’s car door.

We went to the South Melbourne Market to try Agathe pastries. Verdict: very nice, but I think I like Lune better because they have savoury options as well.
I also had a fancy oyster.
Rosemarie and I deciding which family pie to buy, we decided on Beef Burgundy and it was great.

Rosemarie learned how to do weightlifting! She came with me almost every single session. My pal Bach coached her. It was cool to have her there and I think she enjoyed it quite a bit.

Rosemarie took a sneaky pic of me doing my squats.
More games.
Australia Day beers with some of my Discord friends.
Scott prepared classic Australian birthday treats to celebrate Rosemarie’s birthday at his parents house. Top left is chocolate crackle, top right is fairy bread, with a slice of Vienetta (he didn’t make that).
Brunch at a nearby cafe, Jake and the Beans Talk. My breakfast gnocchi put me into a coma.

Unpictured:

  • Went out for parmas with more Discord friends.
  • Phoenix Weightlifting AGM where I got elected Ordinary Committee Member.
  • many pies

We crashed Scott’s cousins’ camping site in Walkerville for a night after Christmas. We weren’t there for long but had a lovely time hanging out with the cousins and their kids. We hiked up to the lookout, looked for crabs in rock pools, identified birds. I love that area.

South Australia finally decided to open their border, JUST in time to squeeze in a quick visit to see Cassia before they moved to Spain. By chance we already had a few days booked off at the same time to go camping at Bear Gully, but we cancelled that booking and decided to roadtrip to Adelaide instead, via Little Desert National Desert, which is about half way between Melbourne and Adelaide.

One of the creepier giant things in Australia. Near Grampians National Park.

Tis indeed a dry place. SO MANY FLIES.

Thank goodness it also had a river flowing through it because it was FLIPPING HOT when we were there. The water felt amazing and also gave us a break from the flies. We spent many hours floating on our water hammocks (in our full body bathing suits), something that I have been craving for the last couple years.

Camp shrimp stir fry.

We went for three short hikes. We were hoping to see different birds due to the different landscape and area but spent most of the time swatting flies instead. Some of the hikes had information sheets available though with lots of fun facts, which I enjoyed.

We learned about the Malleefowl, an endangered bird that makes stupidly complex mound nests out of sticks and sand and then lets it decay and compost to get it to the exact right temperature to incubate the eggs. Didn’t see any, as expected.

We decided to stop in Dimboola for a post-hike ice cream. I noticed an error on their sign post…

This guy was waiting for us back at camp. What a ridiculous bird. How can a wild bird be so big??????

Scott spotted this guy from the car as well. I had to get a friend to help identify. It’s a red-rumped parrot, even though we can’t see the red rump at all. He also had a beige female friend as well, but I cropped her out of the pictures haha.

There were a few Eastern Rosellas flying around camp too, but they were hard to get a good picture.

The campground was very quiet the second day so the bouncy boys came a bit closer. Scott took those pictures before I woke up.

We left fairly early the last day to get a good start on the rest of the drive to Adelaide. We didn’t know how long the border check and required covid test would take.

Quick photo stop at the Pink Lake of course! So salty!! Crusty AF! So cool!