Taking-in the Stunning Sand Dunes at Woodside Beach.
After soaking up the gentle morning sunshine and incredible views of Wilsons Promontory National Park, cradling my coffee from the Tidal River Visitor Centre after a less-than peaceful night, I trepidatiously stepped back into Hilda’s boat-like interior. My boyfriend, Alejandro, and my first jaunt into Vanlife had not gone all together too smoothly… but he was keen to get going and prove the events from yesterday wrong.
Lunch Break at Port Albert.
The drive from Wilsons Prom to Port Albert went relatively smoothly (luckily for the Australian bird populations.) And by the time we reached our destination — that we randomly selected from the road map on which we were marking our journey — we had worked up quite the appetite.
Stopping at Port Albert Wharf Fish & Chips for — what else? — fish and chips, we then took a stroll along the Old Port Walking Trail to Port Albert Wharf. Once our legs were adequately stretched and we had admired the very pleasant view, we hopped back into Hilda in quest of destinations on the road-less-travelled.
Soaking up the Sand and and Sea at Woodside Beach.
The sun was making a steady journey towards the west as we turned down — once again — a random side road in hopes of finding a secluded beach. Hilda, being a minivan, was not exactly built for off-road adventures. While the single-lane dirt road we found ourselves on was not exactly driving in the rough, it certainly was not as streamlined as the paved highway. As our trusty van bumped against the road’s pits and falls, suitcases strapped to her roof sliding precariously, I realized we did not have space to turn around even if we wanted to and had no choice but to see where this crudely cut road took us.
We were not disappointed. While at first we found ourselves in a sandy public campsite surrounded by densely growing trees, after parking Hilda and eagerly kicking our toes in the warm earth we came upon Woodside Beach. Generous stretches of sandy dunes cut through baby blue skies — rising up so that while we could hear the ocean, we could not see its crashing waves.
Not a soul was in sight.
We took our time exploring the dunes and admiring the ocean, but knowing it was late in the day and that we had quite a bit of ground to cover before nightfall we — albeit begrudgingly — settled back into Hilda and made our laborious way back to the highway. We had no plan for where we would sleep that night (living out of a van is certainly freeing from the stress of having to book places to stay) but knew wherever it was that we had to setup camp before darkness settled in.
The adventure continues in #Vanlife: Chapter Three, which will be published next month.
In the meantime, satisfy your wanderlust by reading about the glorious seascapes in Newcastle, NSW.
Photos and text by Sarah Comber.
*Editors Note: This trip and these photos were taken prior to the Australian bushfires.