What’s your dog’s name?

Visiting the pristine Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria last weekend, I was happily soaking up the peace, gazing at the gorgeous vistas, deeply breathing in the natural fragrances, running along Norman Beach, taking dips in the crystal clear waters, and wondering what else makes me love this place so much.

Wilsons Promontory National Park

Wilsons Promontory National Park

Then it hit me – THERE ARE NO DOGS!!! Hallelujah! PERFECTION! And further to that thought; no dog owners trying to convince everyone how adorable their mutt is and how it wouldn’t ever possibly bite or snarl at anyone. Yeah right!

Please Please Please powers of bureauracy never ever ever allow dogs into Wilsons Promontory National Park. No matter how much they try to convince everyone that it would be a fair thing.

What’s not fair is that so many people are not obeying local laws thinking their lovely smelly slobbering fleabag is the exception to the rule. Our beaches are plagued with them. Dog non-lovers (and there are a few of us) are ignored and forced to share our beaches with dogs at all times of the day despite the rules.

Recently I was sitting near two little girls on the beach on a hot summers day and a lady was blatantly walking her dog along the beach without a lead in the middle of the time of day when dogs were not supposed to be there at all. The little girls father was out in the water with his little boy, and a long way away in terms of supervision or protection of the little girls. One little girl said to her sister, “I’m scared of dogs.” The other sister replied nastily, “Get over it.” The point is that the little girl should not have been made to feel scared at the beach. She should have been able to enjoy the experience unthreatened. If something had happened the father was too far away to be of any use whatsoever. But that is another issue.

So beautiful Wilson’s Promontory I will keep returning to have my soul renewed with natural beauty quietly confident that it will continue to be a sanctuary, not only for the Australian wildlife that lives there, but also for the people like me who do not share a liking for dogs.

Gang Gangs

I awoke and thought I was in heaven. I felt at peace. My head was clear after a nights sleep free from The Hum.

A perfect symphony of bird calls rang out from the bush. There were no screeching divas with the absence of magpies, wattle birds, crows, seagulls and corellas. The subtle call of the Gang Gang Cockatoos could be heard. It has a quieter squawk than its cockatoo cousins. It is more of a croak. We had seen three Gang Gangs the day before. They are distinguished by their grey feathers and red crests.

I had slept well in the tent despite frequent interruptions from snarling possums fossicking about for food and the occasional wallaby bounding by.

The Glenelg River in south west Victoria is beautiful. Surrounded by Australian bushland, it is protected by its National Park status, amid the ugly pine plantations that go on for kilometers and spoil this environment. The river is large enough for power boats, but favoured by canoeists and kayakers. There are no rapids but a swift current moves the slightly salty water to the estuary downstream at Nelson. Bream are often caught by the fishermen who frequent this place.

We swam, dived and jumped off jetties, fished, sat, cruised in the boat, cooked at the campfire, and looked for satellites and meteors in the star filled sky. The next day we left the clear hot day behind and descended into the cool dark underground interior of the Princess Margaret Rose Cave to be amazed by the stalactites and stalagmites.

Dead Koalas

I see dead koalas. Probably at a frequency of one per week. Their fat round fluffy grey/brown/white furred bodies don’t flatten easily apparently. Sometimes I glimpse a leathery black nose amid the gory mess as I speed by on my way to work.

The Princes Highway is the A1 highway that loops completely around Australia. This particular stretch of this major highway is rural, coastal, farming, open and bare to the prevailing cold sea winds from the Antarctic. Wind turbines are multiplying along this coastline.

So where do the koalas come from? Go to? Live? There are some treed areas but often I’ll see a dead one in an area that has no native trees, only Cyprus trees planted by early settlers.

I worry about them. As well as being cute in appearance, they are non-threatening and gentle creatures. They are an endangered species. Sure I see lots of other road-kill such as kangaroos, wallabies, foxes, rabbits, and birds. But it is the squashed koalas that upset me the most. I often see a mangled mess of fur and flesh and blood at the end of black skid marks from car tyres. It is far more gruesome than a Twilight movie. (But that’s not hard).

I hope I never see a live one on the road before my car. Would I swerve and dangerously cause an accident? Or would I plough straight through it? I hope I am never tested. A common topic of conversation in this region is about people who have damaged their cars from collisions with kangaroos and koalas.

Then today on my way home from work I was glad to avoid running over a huge snake sliding across the highway. It wasn’t a brown or black snake – maybe a tiger snake. These too are protected species and I’m glad the one I saw lived.