2005, Friday 26 August: Wyperfield National Park, Victoria, Australia
Lake Wonga in morning mist, Wyperfield NP. RELATED PHOTO GALLERY
I went to Wyperfield National Park, in the far north-west of Victoria, pretty much blind - there's little or no information in the guidebooks. Based in and around Melbourne on a week-long jaunt from the UK, I didn't have time to get out to the more classic outback regions of inland NSW or Queensland. Nonetheless, I was still determined to make it to the most characteristically Aussie backcountry I could plausibly reach, and Wyperfield seemed to fit the bill.
Poring over maps while still at home gave me no real conception of the vastness of the Australian interior. What on paper seemed a few feeble centimetres from metropolitan Melbourne, turned out to be a gulf in landscape - and several hours' driving - when measured out on the tarmac of the road.
Arriving late at night and camping, I woke up early to find I had the National Park to myself. The loneliness and quiet were almost eerie as I went for a drive round the rough bush roads just after dawn. The overnight mist was still rising as I reached the dried-up bed of Lake Wonga, and in a magical moment I got out of the car and walked down onto the lake. I felt I was in Eden, around me there were emus foraging in the gum woods, while several mobs of kangaroos were grazing on the dewy grass further out on the flat lake bed.