It’s a family tradition. Every December we take the long journey from Tennessee to a peninsula south of Melbourne, Australia (I have spent all but two Christmas’s with my family down under) and each year, we pick a day and go out just before the sun sets to a place called Bushrangers Bay. To get to the bay, we must walk a long narrow path through the bush (about 1.5 miles) filled with lots of greenery, grass fields, trees, butterflies, and kangaroos.
Seeing kangaroos up close and in the wild like this is incredible. We always spot them about 50-100 feet away, seemingly just as interested in us as we are them. They often are on their way somewhere so we sometimes see them hop perpendicular across the path in front of or behind us.
On this particular trip we got lucky. We stopped in our tracks when we spotted a very big kangaroo ahead on the path. He stared back at us for 30 seconds or so while licking his arms before he started to hop toward us on the path at full speed.
It was as if he was going to ram into us head-on or “box” us out of the way. Once he reached about 15 feet from us, he took a sharp right turn with a spray of dust at his feet. My thoughts: “Aghhh! Awesome!! Crazy!!! Wish I got that on video…”
Continuing on, we hoped to see a few more before we reached the bay. We try to keep quiet as we walk because we like to hear if a kangaroo is hopping nearby and we don’t want to scare them off. As we were walking I was listening closely and heard a rustling in the bush beside me. I stopped and peered closer and there I saw an echidna. It was the first time I’d seen one in the wild. At first he poked up his spikes to “scare me off” but that didn’t work so he tried to “hide” from me by poking his head down and behind a stick. I stayed still to calm him down and eventually he started to walk around sniffing for food. He was a cute little fella.
Further down the path, a stunning view of Australian farmland comes into sight just as we start to hear the crashing waves from afar. The excitement really begins when we’re a little bit closer and catch a glimpse of the beautiful bay. We usually stop to take it all in and snap a few shots before continuing downhill.
Finally the path ends and as we walk out of the tall bush and trees we see the entire bay laid out in front of us. Usually we’re the only ones there. All we want to do is throw off our shoes and run into cool sea breeze, through the small stream, and towards the breaking of ginormous waves. It’s one thrill of a sight and a great finale to the hike.
Hiking to Bushrangers Bay is one tradition I’ll never break!