Cape Woolamai and When Things Go Wrong

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The other week I finally found sometime to head out on a little day trip and found myself struggling to choose a place to go! After a little research I decided on heading towards Phillip Island to a place called Cape Woolamai, and I am so glad that I did. Not only is the destination beautiful, but I was put in a situation where I learnt to remain calm, something that is important when travelling.

After a month long period of hectic work schedules I felt I needed that day away from the city with just me, myself and I. I can’t express this enough, everyone needs to allow themselves the time to travel alone, even if this mean just spending a day in the car driving away from your home for a few hours. I never thought I would like travelling alone, but since experiencing travelling in groups or with one other person I much prefer the solo road. So I packed a backpack of day essentials and drove down the South Gippsland Highway out of the city. There was a little trouble before arriving to Cape Woolamai but is something I am able to use as a learning curb.

Cape Woolamai is situated about an hour and a half from Melbourne, tucked away on the south-east point of Phillip Island. The drive there is also one of the most beautiful I have personally driven in Victoria. It is in Cape Woolamai that Cape Woolamai State Faunal Reserve lays. It is there that you can enjoy beautiful walking track that take you through to some amazing views looking out to the Bass Straight. Cape Woolamai offer three walking tracks, each different lengths and each covering a different part of the Reserve. Each track is marked with a different marker with a 4km, 6km and a 6.6km track to choose from, all fairly easy tracks to hike. Tracks are open all year round and can be down in most weather, but most likely best in the spring and warmer weather.

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I didn’t get on the road until about 11am and the weather seemed a little cold, but in my mind I was expecting it to warm up a little, oh boy I was wrong! As I headed further away from the city, getting just pass Cranbourne, the weather turned for the worse and I had my fingers crossed that I was heading away from the rain and into the clear. Luckily for me I drove into the clear, although the weather wasn’t amazing, there was no rain. So, rule one I learnt from this trip, ALWAYS check the weather of your destination. Especially when the plans are outdoors, although that shouldn’t ruin your experience. I am the person who is rain or shine so I wasn’t overly fussed.

As I drove further on the South Gippsland Highway I was amazed by the beautiful scenery, in between these small country towns, whose names would make you chuckle a little. Just outside of the Tooradin is a perfect spot, on the side of the highway, where canola fields fill the landscape. It is quite beautiful, although I’m not sure that parking on the side of the highway is the safest of options, but it is worth it!

It was after this stop where my bad luck started to kick in.

I have been to Phillip Island area a lot and I always drive pass a beautiful bend at the turn off for Kooramburra and I have decided, next to the Grand Canyon, that this view is one of my favourites. The rolling hills and the forever green pastures. Every time I drive pass I try to find an opportunity to get a snap, but never have the time or my camera, and finally I got that chance. Turning down a small road from the highway I drove along slowly to try and find the perfect spot. As I found a spot where I could get my camera out I drove right into a ditch where my car became stuck. With one long sigh I mustered the energy to remain calm, because what is the point in getting angry? I tried reversing and I tried accelerating, no use. So I pack my backpack with my camera and phone and purse and began a long walk to the closest house, where humans may be. I couldn’t have picked a better place to get stuck because the scenery is beautiful and I enjoyed the walk. I came across a dairy and a house where, thankfully, where an old farmer and his wife sitting in the lounge. He came out and we got in his tractor and drove to my car where he ever so kindly pulled me out. He even told me that this road actually had the best views of these rolling hills, he was right!

I found a really stunning spot that had the best view where I had a little photo shoot. I couldn’t have been happier!

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Another 20 minutes drive, with beautiful views of the sea, brings you to the San Remo-Phillip Island bridge that connects Phillip Island to mainland Australia. The first town you pass on the other side is Newhaven and just as you pass the chocolate factory is a turn off to Cape Woolamai. Driving with your windows down, the salty air makes for a perfect start to a stunning place. Head pass the first car park to the second, and final, car park where the surf life savers club is and the start to the Cape Woolamai hiking tracks. Even from the car park the views are breath taking.

My original plan was to attempt the 6.6km Beacon Track which is approximately three and a half hour trek, but unfortunately I left it to late to complete it. Nether the less, what I witnessed was amazing enough!

All three tracks begin at the car park, and at first I was confused, all the tracks require a walk along the beach to the ‘Magic Stairs’. Even with the wind and cold, a walk along the beach is nice is always nice. When you come to the stairs there is an amazing view of the cliffs and rocks at one point of the cape, perfect photo opportunity. The stairs lead you to higher ground where, what seems like, vast shrub land, accompanied by the birds of Cape Woolamai.

I only walked about a kilo meter in to a spot that overlooks my tracks back to the car. A little hazy due to the weather, but simply amazing. It was then I realised I hadn’t enough time to walk any further before having to walk back so I sat a little, appreciated my view then headed back, along the beach with the seagulls.

Cape Woolamai is a perfect day trip, noting you need to leave a little earlier than 11am from Melbourne and not get your car stuck on a country road. Not only is the destination perfect, the journey there is breathtaking. Put this on your list of places to see in Victoria, and remember when things don’t go to plan, remain calm and enjoy the scenery!

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