We’ll be in the car for a good while, love, so say now if you need the dunny.
It’s a lovely spot, Warning Point. Pretty views out over the ocean, but quite a drive along the coast road to get there. If we’re lucky we’ll see the whales migrating past, just like your travel book says. I reckon what they charged you for that book is daylight robbery, but people do like their little souvenirs. You won’t see the whales up close like in those pictures though. Those have been taken from a boat, but they don’t tell you that, do they? I guess tourists are gullible the world over.
I usually avoid anywhere the tourists go because they’re a bloody nuisance with their great big backpacks and all their posing for photos. And to see how they go soft in the head for a cuddly toy koala- they have no idea how vicious the little buggers really are.
It was nice of you to look us up, love. I suppose as your dad and I are only second cousins it’s not like we’re particularly close relatives, but the thought behind it was well meant.
I see you’ve inherited the famous family nose. I bet they called you Beaky at school, did they? Oh, I can see by your expression they did too. I knew it! Children can be so cruel. That nose skipped me by, thank goodness.
Don’t mind me though. You should know that I’m the kind of person who says what they think. What you see is what you get. No frills. I hope you’re not the easily offended type, are you?
Never mind. Look over there at that wattle growing up on the ridge. If you see anything bright yellow at this time of year that’s what it’ll be. About as bright as that top your wearing- you certainly won’t get missed on a dull day, will you? I suppose you young folk like to stand out a bit. But it’s a nice enough top if you like that kind of thing.
The whales move up north around the time the wattle’s out, so you rocked up on our doorstep at just the right time of year. Although honestly, didn’t you fancy a proper organised tour? I really have no idea why you’d want to be reliant on an old girl like me to show you around.
There’s a bush walk tour from town you could try. Always best to go into the bush in a group and walk at the back, that way you avoid being the one to stumble over the brown snakes. They do love to sunbathe on the path. I’ve even had them come into the backyard before. Deadly bite- you’d probably not make it to hospital even if you were lucky enough for the air ambulance to reach you in time.
That reminds me, I should probably have mentioned to you this morning not to wander about barefoot outside. If it’s not the snakes the spiders will give you a nasty bite. You wouldn’t be the first or last visitor to these parts to go home with an amputation after a bit of blood poisoning. But I suppose no one would be talking about your nose then, would they love?
See that building on the hill? That was a restaurant owned by a French family, but it’s empty now. When the French started all that nuclear testing out at sea folks around here weren’t best pleased, I can tell you. People all over were boycotting cheese and all sorts, and some of the local hippies took a disliking to the restaurant. So the owners kept finding broken windows and punctures in their tyres, and they just moved on in the end.
Of course I don’t mind anyone making an honest living, and I don’t give two hoots where you come from, but French food is very fancy, isn’t it? All those herbs. I tried French food once, years back it was, and it kept repeating on me terribly.
I’d say you like your food though, love, am I right? You’re a bit too old for it to be puppy fat. Big boned, maybe.
That’s very kind of you, love, but we like plain food. We just eat normal tucker. If you really insist, you could shout us a meal at Chuck’s Diner. They do a smashing steak and chips on Thursdays. The food there is just beautiful.
I’ve lived here all my life, love. When I was a girl we used to go mushroom picking over there. You had to be careful though- I knew a boy who accidentally poisoned his whole family by picking the wrong ones. A terrible tragedy. All over the papers. He wasn’t the sharpest tackle in the box and I do recall him standing in cowpats to warm his feet up. But he came from a poor family and didn’t always have shoes, so can you really blame him? He never deserved to die in agony like he did. The father though, he was into the grog and a nasty piece of work he was too- very heavy handed with the wife, you know? He got his comeuppance alright.
Back then this route was nothing more than a dirt track. It’s a shame they had to put all those houses in over there. A few years back the bush fires swept right through, and it was all so sudden. The authorities never even advised anyone to evacuate, and if you ask me someone should have gone to prison for that. A woman and her daughters tried to save themselves by jumping in their pool, but she died from the smoke. The daughters survived but their lives were ruined really.
Some owners moved back with the money from the insurance, so all of these houses are new builds, although if it was me I don’t think I could- I’d always be a bit worried. But then, folk are pretty tough out here. Not like your kind of people, you know, from the city. I daresay you’re a bit soft from creature comforts, are you?
Anyway. In the floods the river rises right up to those boulders over there. It doesn’t look like much now, does it? But it can change in a moment. A few years ago a foreign family came canoeing down this river, and they all drowned when the water rose. They couldn’t swim, of course. Not one of them!
I don’t suppose you’re a strong swimmer are you, growing up where you did? It’s not your fault really, probably a Pommie thing. I guess you don’t know any better when you’ve been raised a certain way.
Are those fellas down there fishing? So many people have drowned doing that. You stand there on the rocks and it just takes one freak wave and your gone. Although we do have a spare rod, love. So if you fancy your luck you’re welcome to take it out for the day, you know, to do your own thing for a bit.
Take a look up there, will you- it looks like there’s been a rockfall. There are often landslides falling onto this road. The whole hillside is slipping into the sea, you see. A motorist was killed here once after heavy rains.
Speaking of which, it looks like the clouds are rolling in now. They did mention we’d get the arse-end of the hurricane from the Solomon Islands, but I was thinking it would blow in tomorrow. Don’t you worry, I’ve driven in conditions you wouldn’t believe. Been driving since I was 12, and I know these roads like the back of my hand.
So here we are, Warning Point. I see the parking lot is completely chocka, so I’ll pull up back here. They’ll all be here to see the whales, but you’ll be lucky to see a thing with this rain starting.
Honestly, I’ve never seen so many folks up here. It never used to be like this. Look at that, a whole coach load of them over there!
What people don’t realise is that this whole section of coast is completely unstable. The authorities should really cordon off the edge as that crowd is actually standing on an overhang. All it takes is a bit of erosion and down it will go. We’ve had some terrible storms this year and who knows what damage has been done underneath. But it’s definitely the best place to see the whales from, so you’ll want to get over there right away if you’re up for seeing them. Especially after we’ve driven all this way.
No love, I’m going to wait here in the dry and catch a little shut eye. You take all the time you need, and don’t rush back.