Yesterday morning, Linda and Ernie picked me up early to head east to Cape Conran for a fish. We arrived at Linda’s favorite fishing location, where I caught the nice salmon a few months ago, and cast our lines out. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch a single thing but it was nice to be at the beach on such a beautiful, sunny day!
After a few nibbles, the tide started to come in, so we decided to call the fishing off. We headed back to the car and drove off to Sailors Grave, a short section of beach, named to honor those who had perished in the area after wrecking on the Beware Reef, just off the coast in the Tasman. We took the trail along the shore to the various coves and inlets along the coast. I had never seen seashells like the ones I did yesterday. Since Conran is a national park, taking them home would have been illegal...I got home a few of them had managed to appear in my pocket.
After the nice walk and soaking up the rays, we headed a few kilometers west to Marlo, a small town overlooking the flood plain and estuary of the Snowy River. We stopped for lunch at the Marlo Hotel, where we had a beautiful meal overlooking the Snowy, with Carlton Draught in hand of course.
I am very grateful to have met Linda and Ernie, and thankful for everything they’ve done for me since I’ve been here. I will miss fishing with Linda and “stirring the shit” with Ernie; he is certainly a stirrer.
Last night, a few of the teachers from school had dinner with me at the Main Hotel. It was great to see them one last time before having to leave. I had the roo of course, which was delicious. I was keen to try koala or wombat, but I’ve yet to see them on any menus since being here. Actually, koalas are a protected species, so I wouldn’t expect to see koala steak or ribs on any menu!
After dinner and some great conversation, we headed to the pub and played a few games of pool. I really needed Poyma (my best bud back home) to help me out; I was terrible. After a few games, a few of us headed up to Oz Mex for a few more drinks. I really enjoyed the night and it was great to see everyone one last time!
Today, after sleeping in a bit, I started the laundry for the last time here. Once it was done, and my clothes were hung up, Domenic and Sheryl took me to the Den of Nargun, a few kilometers north of Lindenow, where Sandie’s farm is located.
According to the Gunai/Kurnai tribal legends, the Nargun is a half-human half-stone creature that lives under a rock overhang behind a waterfall. The Nargun is said to take uninvited travelers into the den, and could turn any weapon against it back onto the traveler.
The den of this beast is located in the Mitchell River National Park. After parking the car, we hiked downhill along a cliff into the rainforest of the Woolshed Creek. The 15-minute walk down into the forest brought us to the creek, which we followed uphill to the Den of Nargun. The waterfall was small but the pool in front of the den was full and reflected the beautiful red-colored rocks of the surroundings off of its clear water. I was so happy we went!
On the way back, we decided to take the long route, following the creek, almost making it to the Mitchell, before heading back up the cliff face on a trail that reminded me of a Swiss alpine road, weaving back and forth until reaching the top. We walked in and out of black wattle cover before reaching the top of the cliff, where we had a view of the Mitchell River rapids below and the lush, green surrounding forest of eucalypts.
Tonight, Domenic and Sheryl surprised me with a few things they had picked up while I have been here. They gave me a footy jersey, a Driza Bone hat, a couple baseball hats, a shirt from darwin, coasters telling the story from "Waltzing Matilda," and an Aboriginal storybook. I couldn't believe it! I felt like my birthday came early! I will miss Domenic and Sheryl a lot. They have certainly made me feel like a part of their family, and for that i am very grateful!
Today was my final day in East Gippsland. Tomorrow, after Domenic and Sheryl get home from school, we are going to head down to Melbourne for the night. The plan is to go out to dinner in Carlton before retiring for the night at the hotel. My flight leaves Melbourne on Tuesday at 11 in the morning, so I’ll need to be at the airport somewhat early.
This will be my final blog from Australia. I will write one last time when I arrive home to conclude my thoughts and to reflect on my travels but it is hard to believe this post is the last one from Oz. I have loved writing and am looking forward to reading about my adventures in a few years. I’m sure it will convince me to come back!