A couple of weeks ago (while I was holidaying at my country estate…aka my parents’ farm), I took a day trip to Kwiambal National Park. If you follow me on Instagram (plug plug plug), you’ve probably already seen a couple of pictures. The purpose of this trip? Well, mainly just to leave the house (apparently well-adjusted people do that from time to time), but also to do some research for some upcoming books…
And look for vampires.
From a couple of metres outside the door, you could feel the cool air from inside. It was like walking into an air-conditioned apartment – where the air-con works, unlike my apartment at the moment. (Of course it broke down in the middle of summer in Sydney.) The other thing that hit you from outside the door was the stench. Gimme some of that guano, baby. All up in my nostrils.
Gladesta Caves, which feature in Deadhead, were partly inspired by the Ashford Bat Caves, and since I plan to write more about these caves soon (tease tease tease) I thought another trip would be a good idea. They aren’t exactly like the caves in my books, though. I don’t think that the floors of the caves in Deadhead were covered in vampire guano. (Do vampires even poo? Do they wee? Why do I spend so much of my time thinking about the bodily excretions of non-existent magical creatures? Do you think vampires carry the Hendra virus?)
Last time I visited I don’t think I actually saw any bats, but this time there were hundreds. Since I was only armed with my phone, I didn’t actually manage to snap any pictures of them, but a couple nearly ran into my face. (Let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard the screams of six children trapped in a pitch black cave with a hundred circling bats.)
While we were at the park, we also did a little exploration of the bush surrounding the caves. It was… Well, you know. The scenery was alright. To be honest, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see emus. There was a sign warning us about them and everything! When they didn’t show up, we were not emused. Heh.
Look, OK, I guess leaving the house occasionally isn’t such a bad thing. My descriptions of Gladesta Caves are going to be a little more accurate from now on…
Complete with a very detailed description of the scent of vampire guano.