As I get older, time goes faster and that became clear on a warm summer day as I explored a stunning part of my home state of Victoria. I reminisced how 12 months ago I was in the bowels of the catacombs in Lima and now in the seaside rural community of Loch Sport.
As someone who has travelled across the globe, I know that many of the best places are in fact, on our back door and although these two destinations are thousands of kilometres apart, each is unique for different reasons.
Located approximately 270kms east of Melbourne, the flat and somewhat straight road to Loch Sport from Sale is flanked by tea tree and banksias. At dawn or dusk, the kangaroos, wallabies and even wild hog deer flank the way into town.
Beyond the township at the most easterly point, I journeyed to the heritage listed, Lakes National Park and in particular Point Wilson which is a mere 16kms from the park entrance. This also encompasses Sperm Whale Head Peninsula which I could only appreciate how it was named after viewing an aerial map.
Traditional owners, the Gunaikurnai people, still have a strong connection with the area as well as other parks and reserves in this region and jointly manage the Park in conjunction with the State Government.
Well signposted, the dirt road with few corrugations in early summer, meandered to the Point with glimpses of the lake teasing me along the way. The road is fringed with large coastal and silver banksia, tea-trees, manna gums, peppermint gums, wattle and heath. I’m sure if I’d visited a few months earlier during spring when the wildflowers are at their best, the array of colour would’ve been stunning and may have even spied some of the well-known native orchids.
At the head of the point where Lake Victoria and Lake Reeve join is a sweet little picnic site known as Point Wilson Day Visitor Area with the Point Wilson Jetty nearby. Surrounded by salt water, the opportunity to fish and potentially catch bream, flathead, tailor, whiting, perch, eels and much more would be enticing to the most amateur angler. From this vantage point, I could see Paynesville, Raymond Island and the Banksia Peninsula along with expansive views across the entire lakes region. No doubt during busy periods the waterways would be abundant with jet skis, boats and sailing. I took to the water for a swim with an audience of black swans, pelicans, cormorants and seagulls watching me cautiously.
The day shelter is located on the original Banksia Homestead site where in 1903, Frederick and Sarah Barton moved with their family to farm the area with cattle, sheep and goats. Passed down through the generations, eventually, the property was sold to the then National Parks Authority in 1958. The day shelter has two barbeques, fresh water, seating and toilets nearby. Although camping isn’t allowed here, it’s well worth a day visit whether by car, boat or even bike. It’s known that the eastern grey kangaroos like to frequent the grassy lawn but on this day, there were none. However, I saw plenty in other areas of the park including wallabies, an echidna and an emu. Note: please don’t feed the wildlife.
Over time I’ve become something of a ‘twitcher’ finding birdwatching and identifying enjoyable. Here in the park, there are over 190 different species with my first sighting being five yellow-tailed black cockatoos. A nature trail and lookout tower were also helpful to spot a variety of other birds who feed and roost on Lake Reeve. Even in Loch Sport, I would see black swans, cormorants, pelicans, seagulls, eastern spinebills, blue wrens, wattlebirds, magpies, rainbow lorikeets, eastern rosellas, crimson rosellas, kookaburras, currawongs, ravens and the ever bossy king parrot.
In summer the peninsula is popular with day visitors and holidaymakers. The Emu Bight campground attracts dedicated campers as facilities are basic. Permits to camp are essential and bookings can be made through the Parks office on 13 1963 or book through this link here. Certainly, the mobile network is limited which is the perfect opportunity for people to disconnect from technology and reconnect with family, friends and nature.
There are plenty of walking tracks and although I wandered only a few, they each had something special to offer. There is a 4wd only track and could easily gauge that without a 4wd you’d be in strife quickly. Note: there are seasonal road closures along these tracks from June to November.
To finish off the day, I drove back to Loch Sport via the surf beach only a few kilometres from the park entrance. Crossing the causeway along a straight stretch of road is the Stockyard Hill carpark. For more information on this section of the 90-mile beach including tide times and rips click here.
Down a typical beach track, the 90-mile beach opened up in front of me, its sheer vastness took my breath away. Apart from myself, there was a lone couple fishing from the shore with the obligatory deck chair and esky nearby. With the potential of catching salmon, gummy shark, flathead, snapper and more, I can see the attraction.
On this clear day, I could spot one of the oil /gas platforms named Seahorse that is around 14kms from the shoreline. Later that night, I came back to see the twinkling lights of other platforms offshore.
Don’t be fooled by the stunning blue water and consistent surf sets. It can be treacherous with plenty of rips and undertows. Note: this is an unpatrolled beach.
Later that day, as I watched a few dolphins gambolling on Lake Victoria, I pondered where I would be at the end of 2019. Overseas, interstate or somewhere local. Whether it’s Lisbon or the Little Desert – it doesn’t really matter as long as we keep exploring.
A special thank you to Ray and Brenda Wathall for their photographs which they generously allowed me to use. Also, a big congratulations to Brenda for being awarded by ViewBug a Top 10 ranked photographer for 2018. Great achievement! Click here to see more of her photos.
Now it’s your turn.
What is your experience of The Lakes National Park and Loch Sport?
Leave a comment below.