Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Call of a coastal wilderness
Unspoilt beauty characterises Croajingolong National Park, a wilderness escape ideal for hiking, swimming and camping on Victoria's East Gippsland coast.

Story Margrit Beemster
Photos Michael Griffin

ImageThe echidna scurries across the track as we begin our adventure into Victoria's coastal wilderness area in East Gippsland. Usually when approached these spiky creatures stop and raise their quills in defence as they dig themselves into the ground.

Not so this one! It was on a mission and would require more than a few intrigued humans to deter it from its path. "What an omen!" enthuses our guide and host Janine Duffy of Echidna Walkabout. And indeed it was.

The days that followed as she and partner Roger Smith took us on a personalised visit into Croajingolong National Park were as interesting and exciting as promised.

Bush-walking and exploring without having to carry a pack, set up camp or anything. Just the fun stuff, seeing the most amazing coastal scenery with not another soul to be seen, and being served a delicious meal with red wine around the fire at the end of the day.

ImageThat's my kind of holiday. No wonder the Americans and the Europeans who come to experience these fully-supported guided nature treks, "the real Australia" - in comfort - are Echidna's main customers.

Our visit began with a quick trip to Pearl Point to view the crashing surf against a rocky headland.

"That's Warrigal greens or New Zealand spinach or tetragonia tetragonoides," says Janine, indicating a lush green vine with a pleasant taste. "Sir Joseph Banks saw it on his early journeys here and recommended that people from England settle because there were edible plants like this."

When it comes to native plants, Janine is a wealth of knowledge. We are introduced to beard heath, kangaroo apple, coast ti-tree, coast wattle, coast banksia and even the running postman. Story end

Full story: Issue 15, February/ March 2001

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