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Ilha Cleft (Skull Rock)
Ilha Cleft (Skull Rock)

Ilha Cleft (Skull Rock)

Parece algo saído de um roteiro de filme; uma grande rocha em forma de crânio que se eleva a meio caminho de um mar profundamente azul em um trecho isolado da costa. Este não é o covil de algum vilão, no entanto, mas uma rocha famosa ao largo do Promontório de Wilson, na costa sul de Victoria. Esta península acidentada é o ponto mais meridional de todo o continente australiano e, ao surfar, fazer caminhadas ou acampar no “baile de formatura”, a Ilha Cleft assemelha-se silenciosamente como um crânio assustador ao largo da costa. Para aumentar o fascínio misterioso da rocha, acredita-se que apenas um punhado de pessoas já pôs os pés na rocha. Os penhascos de todos os lados têm dezenas de metros de altura, e uma enorme caverna do tamanho de uma construção ocupa o centro da rocha. Por mais sinistro que pareça na superfície, entretanto, Skull Rock é um paraíso para mergulhadores nas paredes de granito abaixo. Como parte dos grupos de Anser e Glennie Island, Cleft Island fica no meio do Parque Nacional Marinho do Promontório de Wilson - onde jardins de esponjas coloridas, garoupas e dragões marinhos prosperam nas profundezas geladas. A menos que você seja um mergulhador dedicado, no entanto, as chances são de que a Ilha Cleft será algo que você verá de longe - seja descansando na areia de Norman Beach e jogando ondas fortes, ou curtindo as trilhas de caminhada no interior da costa sul de Victoria.

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Cleft Island, Victoria, Australia

The basics

Cleft Island sits in the middle of Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park on the rugged southern coast of Victoria. Sightseeing cruises along “the Prom,” as the peninsula is known locally, offer the closest view of the rock one can get without expert-level diving skills. It is a true island, surrounded by water on all sides, with one face yawning in a giant chasm large enough to fit a school bus inside. A handful of determined early explorers allegedly scaled the cliffs to set foot inside the cave, but these days it’s mostly occupied by nesting cormorants.

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Things to know before you go

  • Conditions around Cleft Island are often turbulent and treacherous, so boating and diving around the rock should only be attempted by experts or on a licensed cruise.
  • Bring all the food and water you need for the day, as Wilsons Promontory National Park has very limited dining options.
  • Sightseeing cruises may include an onboard lunch and beverages.
  • If you want to stay overnight in the park, Tidal River offers powered and basic campsites plus cabins.
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How to get there

Cleft Island sits three miles (5 km) south of Tidal River—the main visitor information area when visiting Wilsons Promontory. This recreation area is about 2.5 hours from Melbourne and is best reached by car or on an organized day trip. The most common way to view the island is on a sightseeing cruise departing from Port Welshpool or Port Albert.

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When to get there

The rock is best viewed on clear, calm days. Most cruises depart in the morning for the best ocean conditions.

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Exploring Wilsons Promontory

This rugged peninsula off the Victorian coast is as far south as you can go on mainland Australia and a popular day trip for Melbournians. Bushwalking trails span diverse landscapes, from sandy shorelines to temperate rain forests and imposing granite cliffs. Swim in seclusion at Norman Beach or Fairy Cove, take in panoramic coastal views from atop Mount Bishop, or climb the sand dunes at Darby Point. For longer adventures, camp out among eucalyptus groves at the Stockyard Campground.

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