The spiky things are the flowering tops of grass trees. The flowering cycle is stimulated by bushfire. Wilsons Prom was affected by the February bushfires which damaged 25,200 hectares (50%) of the park.
Wilsons Prom is the southern most tip of the Australian mainland and the national park covers over 50,500 hectares. Wilsons Prom is a 3-4ish hour drive from Melbourne. We decided to stay in Foster (where we stayed in 2007) which is a nice little town about 45min from the park. We were originally planning on going to Phillip Island but there was some car racing thing going on so we decided to save that for another time.
We arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday and went straight to the beach. Squeaky Beach is probably my favourite beach (so far) for a few reasons. One is the wow factor. It has brilliant white sand and crystal clear water. Growing up, all the beaches I went to were covered with rocks/sticks and had seaweed and gross water. Swimming here can be hit and miss though. There can be strong currents and big waves. We were lucky that the two days we were there the water was pretty reasonable (we enjoy doing more jumping in the waves than actual swimming). We tried to do a bit of swimming at Tidal River on the second day but the water was pretty cold so we got out and went back to Squeaky Beach (otherwise Tidal River is the ideal swimming spot for safety reasons).
The cool thing about Squeaky Beach is the sand is made from rounded grains of quartz and when you walk on it, the grains rub together and squeak (a lot like really cold, packed snow does).
We managed to see some more wildlife on this trip and I got to cross off two more "quintessential Australalian animals" off my list.
We saw emus both days and besides crossing an animal off my mental list, I got to highlight it in my bird book! (I bought a bird book in 2007 and highlight birds I've seen in the wild). It goes without saying that they're HUGE. It was pretty weird to see them lumbering across the road and it's kind of hard to link them as being birds since they are SO massive and don't act like typical birds (y'know, sitting in trees and flying around!).
We also managed to spot an echidna on the side of the road. Once it figured out that we had stopped the car and had gotten out it quickly made it's way into the bushes on the side of the road.
We picked a great weekend to go as the weather was fabulous and HOT (all the locals were saying that it was unusal for it to be so nice in November). When we heard the weather forecast we decided we wanted to be somewhere near the water so this trip definitely satisfied our being near the water requirement (we looked into going to a few other places but I think everyone had the same idea we did and we couldn't find anywhere to stay).
In other news, it looks like the weather in general is on the upswing and after weeks of me complaining about the cold (it's cold in the house when you don't have a furnace!) the house is anything but cool today.