Boy, if you’re not Australian (and heck – maybe even if you are), this title will get you thinking. “There’s a Rosella on my Head at Wilson’s Prom”. First off, who the heck is Wilson, why am I at his prom, what on earth is a rosella, and why is it on my freaking head?!
Never fear, my dear readers, it will all make sense shortly.
I love to play tour guide. And whilst Kelly’s parents were visiting us, we had the perfect chance to see our own backyard through fresh eyes, as well as to explore new areas with our visiting Canadian family as an excuse. One such place we chose to explore is the incredibly popular Wilson’s Promontory National Park – Wilson’s Prom for short.
Victoria as a state has an incredibly diverse variety of landscapes: desert sand, warm temperate rainforest, rolling green countryside, lakes, mountains (not Canadian Rockies mind you, but mountains nonetheless), forests, fields of vineyards and other fruitful produce, and of course, ocean. And Wilson’s Promontory, located SE of Melbourne on a hook of land jutting into the Bass Strait, offers just about everything that Victoria as a whole has to offer – in one beautifully concentrated place.
Since we were there during the week and before peak summer season (which begins around the Christmas holidays), the park was not as overcrowded as it reputedly can get with campers, hikers, boaters, sunbathers, and back country overnight bush walkers. We had many of the popular trails to ourselves, save for the odd group of friendly passers-by.
Hiking to squeaky beach (the home of the original squeaky sand), through Lilly Pilly Gully (Australia’s most southern warm temperate rain forest), around the majestic Mount Oberon, and to various scenic lookouts was the perfect excursion for us. The rainy weather held off for most of the trip, occasionally letting loose when we were back in the comfort of our cottage and happy to watch the lightning show from our cozy vantage point.
And the critters were everywhere. Kangaroos, emus, wombats, wallabies, king parrots, kookaburras, and echidnas were to be found for those patient and observant. It was the crimson rosellas though, who were the stars of the show.
Stopping midday for a drink and a rest, we took a seat outside the general store at Tidal River, the town-which-is-really-just-a-store in Wilson’s Prom. Approaching, we saw a flurry of these red and iridescent blue birds fluttering around the few people milling about. We even saw one on somebody’s shoulder, and thought it odd but neat that this local would have a pet rosella.
Thinking no more of it, we took our seats. The minute we whipped out some roasted almonds for a quick snack though, we soon understood how we too, could have a pet rosella. They swarmed us. At its peak, we had no less than six crimson rosellas all over us – literally. On our shoulders, arms, hands, the table, and even our heads. These were some eager birds, hoping for some handouts.
There is of course signage everywhere advising people not to feed the wildlife. I always thought that was a given, but here outside the general store, apparently these birds are accustomed to more than a few handouts. This is a shame, since in our short time there, I watched people feeding them chips, ice cream, sausage rolls, and even pop. And I’d be lying if I said they didn’t find their way to one of our almonds for their persistence (a lesser of the evils, but admittedly an evil nonetheless). But hey – what can you do when there’s a rosella on your head, shoulder, elbow, leg, and on the table with your bag of almonds? If you can’t beat ‘em, wear ‘em!