You don’t always win the weather game. Sometimes your best laid plans fall on grey days.
Beautiful places don’t stop being beautiful. They take on a different mood, a different character. They are bare-faced without makeup under a sullen, flat sky.
We’re still so spanked by Mt Donna Buang that easy strolling seems like a good idea, so we check out the Lake’s Entrance Information Centre to research the best spots. The charming staff (who are actually very nice) go to some effort to clarify that what we want is walks NOT hikes.
Apparently hiking is going off into the bush for several days with a map, compass and rations.
Is that a real fact?
The Entrance Track is approximately 5km of sandy strolling along clearly marked tracks with the occasional boardwalk that takes us right up to the turbulent sea.
We start by wandering along the Esplanade to Cunninghame Foot Bridge. By the way, you won’t find the Esplanade on your GPS. It’s the Princes Highway and only locally known as the Esplanade.
Across the bridge, the Surf Lifesaving Club supports a large sprawl of family oriented activities. Everywhere we look, there’s kids eating icecream and people furiously pedaling on those dinky pedal boats I remember from school camp.
You can do The Entrance walk in either direction and there’s plenty of places to scoot across to the beach and make the loop shorter. We choose to walk the inside track, hoping the clouds will break by the time we get to the beach.
It’s leafy and pretty and we’re rewarded with regular views across the inlet to Lake’s Entrance.
You can’t tell, but this is the biggest pelican I’ve ever seen.
When we get to the entrance, there are warning signs everywhere. Don’t swim. Rough waters. Drowning risk. I know it’s grey and cool, but I can’t imagine even the hottest summer day tempting a sane person to swim the churning wash of The Narrows.
A group of backpacking girls eye us with wary smiles as we approach the Entrance. At first, I don’t know what their deal is, but soon, the waft of marijuana is unmistakeable. I’m not sure what they imagine we’ll do, miles from authority as we are but we smile back and mind our own business.
The ocean is wild, furious and foamy. We get close to take photos. I run squealing back to dry sand but he gets caught by a wave that rushes up his back and leaves him soaked for the rest of the walk.
Naturally, that moment must be immortalised. Sorry, honey. At least I didn’t take a closeup.
Further up the beach, there is a strange structure in the water. It seems to be part of the sand dredging to keep the lakes open. Lake’s Entrance is a beautiful, man made testament against nature. We fight against the turbulent sea every day to keep it.
As we get closer to the Surf Club, the curve of the beach creates a calmer bay in which to swim.
Unbelievably, people are in the chilly water. They must be selkie, because that water is icy.
The Entrance walk is a pleasant, ambling 5.25km if you deviate off the path and enjoy the various lookouts and historical information boards. You could do it in the recommended 45 minutes, but doubled that by dallying along the way and returning via the sandy beach.