Road trip Sydney to Melbourne – Part IV

June 28, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Hi There,

Welcome to the last part of my journey back from Melbourne to Sydney.

I’ve left Melbourne in the late afternoon after the exhibition has finished and drove for another 3 hours and stayed overnight in a little town called ‘Sale’. Yes you read right. :) I’ve stayed in the Best Western Motel there and I must there is was quiet and clean. The front units were closed due to renovation which was about to start. The manager was a friendly and a chatty guy.

I got up 3am the next morning to leave for West Cape which is part of the Cape Conran Coastal Park. I’m always getting very excited, as you just don’t know what you are going to find there. The drive was on a beautiful and winding country road and soon I’ve turned off to the Cape. It was still pitch dark when I got to the car park and spend the first 10-15 mins orientating myself. It was windy when I got out of the car but not too cold. The coast line was scattered with big and weathered boulders. The large rocks showed deep grooves, cut by harsh winds and rough seas. I’ve climbed up on the higher rocks and was taken by this fabulous view. I was just standing there in awe.

Panorama of West Cape

Panorama of West Cape – Cape Conran Coastal Park

I felt like a little boy hopping for joy around and on top of those big rocks, looking for another angle to shoot this significant landscape.

I had to remind myself however, that I still had another 850km to drive and my next stop was Point Hicks. So I said good-bye to this beautiful place but for sure will be back.

I’ve travelled up the Pacific Highway till Cann River and followed the signs to Point Hicks. The road turned to dirt after 5-7 km but you can drive on it when it is dry with a normal car. However, 4WD is recommended since the surface is like a washing board. The rattling drives you mad! I got to the bottom after roughly 30 mins and the drive will bring you through a government owned camping spot where you can stay for $18 a night. Bush toilets provided and walking distance to the beach. Wild Kangaroos and other critters included. :)

The dirt road was crossing a single lane bridge over a small river bed and there it was right ahead of me and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Speed Humps! Yes, speed humps but not those flat ones where you can just fly over. No, no. You had to cross them very slowly as they were a bit weathered and deformed and more the type to slow down 4WDs. Best was to cross them in an angle, that kept the scrapping to a minimum. They had 5 of them throughout the camping spot and then smooth sailing till you got to the gate to the Point Hicks Lighthouse.

Drift wood at Point Hicks

Drift wood at Point Hicks

The lighthouse was a leisure 1.5km walk from the gate and you always had a wonderful view into the bay.

Here is some info regarding this beautiful kept lighthouse:

Captain Cook first sighted the shores of Australia in 1770 from the Endeavour,and this magnificent point off the south east cost of Australia was named Point Hicks after his second lieutenant on board who discovered this point.
The Point Hicks Lighthouse was built in 1887-88, and was first lit in May 1890. In a break with tradition at the time, the tower was constructed of concrete. The two keepers quarters were built from timber.
The kerosene lamp and clock mechanism were upgraded to electric operation with the connection of mains power in 1965. The light was more recently converted to solar power.
The lighthouse is believed to be haunted by the ghost of former Lightkeeper Christofferson.

A unusual feature of the light tower is its cast iron spiral staircase, which has162 steps cantilevered from the walls, rather than the traditional stone steps which are built around a central column.

Originally access to Point Hicks was by sea. In 1920 a return trip, by land to Cann River, 47 kilometres away from the light station, took two days. By 1946 the journey had been reduced to 36 hours by a combination of horse and jeep. During the early 1950s it was still a 12-hour ordeal. Today, the journey is possible in 50 minutes but is still treated with respect. 30 km of dirt road and a 2km walk will get you there.

The light was known as Cape Everard from 1843 until 1970 when it was changed back to Point Hicks. It seem that there was some doubt to whether this was Cook’s first landfall in Australia, in 1770, because Cook had not taken account of crossing the International Date Line when recording his log. Therefore it was not challenged when the cape was latter named Everard. In the lead up to Cooks bi-centenary research was undertaken and the case was presented successfully to restore the rightful name.

The area remains largely unchanged from the time it was first sighted back in 1770.

Point Hicks Lighthouse

Point Hicks Lighthouse

The wind was incredible there and I had to hide behind the monument to reduce the camera vibration.

It was now really time to leave some rubber on the road and head home with still over 700km to go. I’ve continued up the Pacific Hwy but turned then towards Canberra to see a different part of the country (and the GPS reckoned it was the quicker route then the curvy coastal highway)

Thank you for taking the time and following my journey.

Till very soon…..

Cheers

Rene


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