“This is my carefree, this is my freedom – this is MY HAPPY.” Coco J.Ginger
A couple of days ago, on the first day of the Australian summer, my brother and I took a Canadian friend on a lightning trip to Wilsons Promontory – so he could see a place that is very close to our hearts before he heads home. So, for this week’s blog, I’ve decided to take a break from US National Parks to share some photographs that I took a bit closer to home.
I think we (my family) must be creatures of habit because whenever we take overseas visitors to The Prom we always do the same two walks. We hike up Mt Oberon for the incredible views across the ocean, the peninsula and offshore islands. And then, if time permits, we hike from Tidal River to Squeaky Beach to get up close and personal to one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches.
But then, I guess, why wouldn’t we, when these places are so amazing?
While I love the views from the top of Mt Oberon, I tend to enjoy the walk from Tidal River to Squeaky Beach a lot more. First, it’s less of a climb (with fewer switchbacks) and second, the scenery is more diverse. The walk starts at the picturesque Tidal River, which is a unique colour due to the large number of tea trees in the area. The water ranges from a deep-yellow to a dark brown, resembling the colour of black tea (hence the name ‘tea tree’). There is also ‘whale rock’ – a couple of huge boulders sitting one on top of the other – which, from certain angles, resembles a whale.
The trail leads 2.5km (one way) across the headland that separates Norman Bay and Leonard Bay, before descending to Squeaky Beach. It’s an easy walk, at first through cool and shady forest, and then, across a more exposed and rocky section. There is also an optional detour to an outcrop at Pillar Point (a further 0.7km) for more great views.
As we got closer to Squeaky Beach, we were lucky to see the last of the spring wildflowers dotted amongst the coastal heathland.
Squeaky Beach has brilliant white sand, which, as the name suggests, squeaks as you walk on it. Why? Because it has rounded grains consisting of almost pure quartz, which rub together causing the sand to squeak. This is always a delight for visitors, if it works. But I’ve discovered that the sand doesn’t squeak so well when it’s wet, particularly after heavy rain.
At the northern end of the beach, there are some great rock formations that are also fun to explore and scramble over. We spent a leisurely hour wading in the brisk waters and sitting on the rocks enjoying the view, before heading back. By then, the late afternoon sun was casting its golden light across the landscape. It was a fitting end to a great day at The Prom. Here are a few more photographs.