Another Aussie Picnic

The comment on the previous post about how much nicer wallabies would be at picnics, versus ants, reminded me of another picnic I had in Australia, this one on my third trip Down Under.

Friends and I spent the day at Wilsons Promontory National Park, a splendidly gorgeous area perched on the southernmost tip of the Australian mainland. The park is in Victoria, just across Bass Strait from Tasmania. Mountains, beaches, wilderness, and wildlife (including a fair number of wombats) filled our day. When we stopped for a picnic lunch at one of the designated picnic sites, we learned that here, the sight of food draws things on wings. We were particularly besieged by crimson rosellas, the parrots that are clinging to my two friends in the image below. Holding back a bit, but still eager, were the sea gulls—and with these fellows around, you definitely wouldn’t want to leave the table unattended. The wattle bird, in the final photo, was happy for a handout of sugar.

So while not every picnic site in Australia offers this much built-in entertainment, there are certainly a fair number of places where you can expect company.

Crimson Rosellas and Picnickers

Aussie Sea Gulls

Wattle Bird


Filed under Australia, Geography, Nature, Travel

12 responses to “Another Aussie Picnic

  1. hope you guys had fun 🙂
    I’m sorry if this question might sound like a stereotype of australia but aren’t there many poisonous animals there that could ruin a nice picnic?

    • It’s a good question, because people do talk a lot about the poisonous critters in Australia. While Australia does have some impressively poisonous animals, there really aren’t any more poisonous snakes, spiders, or what not than you find on most continents. Even Illinois, here in the US, has rattlesnakes—but how often does anyone see them. I can’t think of a single continent where I would plunge heedlessly into deep grass or thick shrubs—if there aren’t critters (and some critters don’t have to be poisonous to spoil your day), there might be broken glass or a rusty can.

      Somewhere like a national park picnic ground, you have little to worry about. If you’re out in the wilderness, you just take the same reasonable precautions you do anywhere you’re wandering away from civilization—watch where you’re walking; wear boots if you know there are likely to be snakes; avoid areas with posted warning signs. In Australian history, the famous deaths have pretty much all been from thirst, not snake bites. On the bright side, you don’t have the range of insect-borne diseases you find in some other places.

      So find out what you should or shouldn’t do: don’t pick up cone shells on the reef; don’t stick your hands in holes you can’t see into; don’t go into the water if a sign says there are crocodiles, sharks, or jellyfish (though jellyfish are only an issue for about one month out of the year, and only in the far north). Poisonous things do exist, and you do want to take them seriously. However, in four trips to Australia, I’ve seen two snakes, both pythons (so nonpoisonous). On the other hand, in South America, Asia, and the American Southwest, I’ve seen more snakes than that. Besides snakes don’t hunt people, and most snakes will hide or try to get away from you if they know you’re coming.

      So yes, we had a lot of fun on that picnic, without any worry of poisonous animals.

      • thx for your answer 🙂

        I think you’re right, one can’t just be afraid because of the possibility of finding a threat and should enjoy the outside world. People in other areas live in more dangerous places and still go out bare foot :P.

        • Absolutely, localguide. If you’re not paying attention, you can get hurt anywhere. After all, most accidents occur in the home, because people stop being careful. Take reasonable precautions, of course, but don’t just stay home. (As I pointed out to people who asked me how I could fly after 9/11: most of the people killed just went to the office. Staying home is no guarantee you’re safe.)

  2. Oh, you’re spoiling all the fun. I like people elsewhere to think that we Aussies are extremely brave, facing immense dangers each day we step from our front doors! That’s how Bill Bryson makes it look!

    • No disrespect intended to Australia’s venomous denizens. You do have some impressively toxic creatures. Nothing as scary as the spitting cobra, mind you, and just about nothing (nonhuman anyway) that would rip into your tent if you were camping. However, if you’re looking to get bitten, Australia can definitely offer some unpleasant options. 😉

      • Yes, you’re right…we have no bears, mountain lions, tigers or large predatory creatures of that ilk (on land anyhow). Just the sneaky little ones. Had a red-belly black snake slither past my friend and me the other day when we walking by the rive running through Berrima but, like most if not all snakes (except perhaps the spitting cobra!) it was more keen (if that’s possible) to get out of our way than we were out of his. BTW you might like to see a pic of my little summer-regular house friend:

        • Love the lizard. I have a photo of a blue-tongued lizard from outside Adelaide — with his mouth open, so you can see how aptly he is named. Probably keeps a few of your bugs under control, I’d imagine.

          • Good one … I’ve seen this one’s blue tongue but not managed to capture it.
            Yes. I like the fact that it’s here, for the bugs as well as because it’s
            chosen us!!

  3. hehe whisperinggums, you sure look brave to me, there’s nothing poisonous or dangerous where i live, the only exceptions beeing bees and wasps but that’s only dangerous if someone is allergic…

  4. Actually, both of you are brave — Australia has 7 of the 10 most poisonous snakes (though, as noted above, they will generally try to get out of your way), but the number one most lethal animal in the world, based on number of deaths per year, is the bee — so you see, localguide, you need to be careful, too. No flowered shirts or strong cologne near the bee hive. 😉

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