What a joy to listen to the forest wake up without the sounds of other people. It’s probably different in the high season, but we enjoy the solitude.
We’d pre-ordered breakfast which was supposed to be a continental breakfast but turned out to be a cooked one. Because we were the only guests eating we just got whatever the staff were having. Fine with us.
We relaxed (not difficult) until our first tour at 10.30. Again, because of the time of year, we couldn’t do the tour we would have preferred. No matter. We were taken on a trip to and through several lava tubes … fabulous formations, spectacular colours, fascinating history. Worth the trip just on their own. There were 2 other couples on the tour with us. One staying in a motor home and the other had driven in for the tour and were then heading south.
After lunch and (possibly unwisely) a beer we decided to do the moderate hike with moderate climb to the rim of the Kalkani Crater. At least it would be if you were a bit fitter than us, it wasn’t the middle of summer and you hadn’t had a beer. Luckily we took plenty of water and had plenty of time.
We cooled down with a swim before our early dinner with the limited option: a choice of steak, potatoes and salad. Or nothing. Excellent steak. Stu thought it was the best he’d had in a long time and asked about it. It comes from the local property. I don’t suppose we’ll see it in our shops anytime soon.
Our 6pm Wildlife at Sunset left at, um, 6pm with us as the only tourists. And yes, there was wildlife. Some we’d seen before and others we hadn’t or see rarely.
A pair of wallaroos together dramatically demonstrated the difference between the male and female in size, colour and shape but politely refused my request to pose together for a photo.
Red-tailed black cockatoos – lots of them – just starting to arrive on their migration.
The aptly named pretty-faced wallabies.
And antilopine wallaroos – so named because their heads looked like deer heads when seen above the grass. I can easily believe that. A lot of kangaroos and wallabies look like that.
Then we had the “sunset” part of the tour. And on this lovely clear evening it was a beautiful sunset, though quicker than we’re used to at home due to being further north. We weren’t expecting the bubbles and nibbles so that was a nice surprise.
The highlight of the day, and the main reason we (or, at least, I) wanted to stop here, was our last stop after dark.
Standing in the mouth of one of the lava tubes as 300,000 microbats leave for their evening feeding, watching them fly straight at you then turn at the last minute, feeling the wind from their wings as the almost brushed past was just wonderful.
And on top of that, the night tigers and spotted pythons were waiting in the trees to try to catch their own dinner.
The only thing that would have made this day even better would have been seeing one of the snakes actually catch a bat.
The whole trip was worth it, if only for this one experience. And we were only 2 days in.