Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Easternmost point of Australia

Now entering New South Wales - back to the state where we started this trip and where we would soon fly out from.  We picked and chose our way down the east coast of Australia, and there were sure plenty of interesting things to go see.  Yet another one - Cape Byron!

It was a wonderful place for a run on an excellent loop trail.  Even some beach sand for John:

Follow the sunny brick road:

The bluffs where we would head next - a nice little hike up to a viewing platform:

But first, a little stroll out to the tip of the cape.  Somewhere around here is the Easternmost Point of Australia, so we figured we should try to get as close to the ocean as possible:

Curious patterns etched into the rocks near the water:

So - here we are!

The beach on the north side of the cape:

Looking back at the tip of land from further up the trail:

OK, here's the official spot!  It was our best effort at the "most (something) of Australia" since we bypassed the highpoint (snow and time constraints), the southernmost point (someday we'll get to Tasmania), the northernmost point (difficult to access) and the westernmost point (Western Australia is going to require a whole 'nother trip).

Climbing up to the striking lighthouse:

Excellent timing for the start of a sunset:

Another angle on the lighthouse:

The beach to the south and the general direction of our caravan park for the night:

This sign made me back up and take a picture - sometimes the Australian sign wordings were just different enough to make me pause.  Like for example, this sounds like a command:

I had been wanting to take a picture of this type of "Yield" sign for a while:

More lovely sunset scenery:

Dramatic clouds:

Oh my gosh oh my gosh, what is that - is that an echidna???  I have been looking all over for you!

I watched it from across the road, trying to get a decent photo while still standing there with my mouth dropped open at my luck - and trying to figure out if I could go fetch John and still make it back before it disappeared?  Not likely, unfortunately.  So I would have to document it all myself.

None of the photos are very clear - this little fellow was moving fast and the light was getting low:

While I try to get a less-fuzzy photo, let me just mention that this little creature is related to the platypus of all things.  Both are monotremes, or egg-laying mammals (a rare thing).  I feel very fortunate to have seen both, especially in the wild.  Another fun fact - a baby echidna is called a puggle.  So cool!

Back to the fascination of watching this echidna waddle along the other side of the road - it was working its way downhill, poking into the vegetation now and then to see if there was a way through, but it kept finding a wall.  So it continued down the hill.

It seemed to understand the concept of vehicles, moved over a bit when one came by, and never once tried to walk into the road; neither did it seem freaked out by the dilemma it was in, just continuing on until it found a safer place.

I finally switched to videotaping and that provided a clearer image of this little fellow, and again, not fazed by the cars, more poise that I would have:

OK, so that was awesome, but THEN here's what happened next, and somehow I managed to start the video right at that moment (you might faintly hear me say "oh my gosh" near the beginning of the video) - and if you watch only one video on this blog, this is the one I would recommend:

Gaw, how crazy is that?!  I can't figure out what I mumbled at the end, but it was probably something like "don't give up, little one."  I watched for a while longer but finally had to get moving so John wouldn't be wondering (too much) where I was.  We came back not long later, and it had found an escape route and was gone.

I keep watching these videos over and over, can't get enough of the echidna.

More beautiful sunset to cap off an amazing day:

Ah, one more thing - we were part of the Australian census this year!  Does that mean we're citizens now and can come back and stay as long as we want?

I really do like this country  :)

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