Berry Picking and Jam Making – December
Following on from 2018’s successful jam making social event, we returned to the same berry farm. The weather on the day was good to us, sunny but not too hot. Unfortunately the cool weather in the weeks prior had delayed ripening of some fruits. Thus the Blackberries were a bit under done. Young-berries were however ripe and relatively plentiful and the Raspberries were more numerous than the preceding year.
Once we picked enough berries, it was back to Sandy and Alan’s place to make the jam.
See newsletter #15, February 2020 for the full trip report
Grampians – November, Cup Weekend
Saturday morning we took a drive to Promonal to look at the glass blowing place. In the afternoon we had a drive along Mt Difficult Track. This is an easy to medium track with multiple creek crossings. We stopped and did the Heatherlie Quarry walk. Meredith cooked the communal roast back at camp.
Sunday we had an early start and headed along Rosea Track and across to Homestead Track. Homestead Track has one of the best lookout in the park. We stopped here form morning tea.
Then we went along Henham Track, Moora Track and Sanders Track. We had to detour around an impassable bog hole. Then along the Victoria Range Road and stopped for lunch and a climb up Mt Thackeray. We then went up the Goat track to a lookout followed by a meander back to Halls Gap for ice creams.
On Monday we had a bit of a sleep in and then went north along an unnamed track. We ended up at Mt Zero campground and had a short walk up some of Mt Stapylton. We then went to the cave of Ghosts. We returned to camp via another unnamed track that had an amazing stretch of pink flowers on it
See newsletter #16, March 2020 for the full trip report
Point Hicks – September, Grand Final weekend
We used our day off for the Grand Final parade and went for a trip down to Croajingolong National Park and stayed at Thura River. On the Friday we took a drive to Mallacoota. We visited Gipsy Point (about 12km from Mallacoota). There is a very nice spot overlooking the Genoa River. We drove down to Bastion Point where we saw about 4-5 dolphins in the bay. We had lunch at Mallacoota, and then had a drive down to Sandy Point. Many of the tracks around the area are closed. We drove down one track until we found a large tree across the track. On the return, someone with an eagle eye saw a small piece of paper that said the track was impassable.
That evening it rained so we had no fire. Cooking was done under the done tent we had brought.
Saturday we did the walk to the lighthouse. Fortunately the rain had abated. The walk to the lighthouse was extended by a few kilometres as the road to the walk car park was closed. So we had to walk from the campground.
We arrived at the lighthouse for the 1pm tour. It was blowing a gale. The tour was very good. There are 168 steps to the top. Everyone made it!
While doing the tour, the ranger mentioned a shipwreck not too far from the lighthouse. We walked down the track for a fair bit but we did not find the shipwreck. It seems that we took the wrong track.
That night we had a good fire and relaxed after a long walk.
See newsletter #14, January 2020 for the full trip report
Painted Silos of the Wimmera – September
It was a beautiful sunny morning as we all gathered at the Highway park in Stawell to begin our trip. While we waited some walked around the wetland. First stop was Rupanyup where we had lunch, explored the chain saw sculptures and other murals in town and visited the silos. We stopped in Minyip to check out the murals in the park and around the town.
Sheep Hills consisted of the silos and another closed pub. We took the back roads into Brim. Another little town with a closed pub but this one was up for sale.
At Rosebery we checked out the silos before a visit to the Murray Sunset Galley. This was an old church that had been converted into a gallery and café. A quick stop in Hopeton for those who needed fuel and we were on the road again to Lascelles. We made our way to the pub and booked into our accommodation. We enjoyed a meal at the pub.
Sunday morning, we made a leisurely start. Some went across the road to the Drovers Hut. This is the former Station Masters house and is now an amazing gallery of quirky sculptures made from corrugated iron.
We had planned to use the BBQ at the cabins for breakfast but there was a slight problem as the gas bottle was empty. We had to relocate to the picnic shelter in the park. Patchewollock was our first stop. This included the giant Mallee fowl, the old railway buildings and the magnificent painted silo.
We stopped in Sea Lake for morning tea, to get lunch and to explore the town. Some great murals are to be seen. The last stop on our tour was Nullawil. After viewing the silos and taking group photos we found the local park for lunch.
After lunch we also said our thanks and goodbyes and people moved off as they were ready
See newsletter #12, October 2019 for the full trip report
K’gari (Fraser Island) – June/July
We arrived at Rainbow Beach in preparation for catching the barge across to the island. The following day we all packed up and headed off to Inskip Point to catch the barge across to K’gari. The barge ride is quite short, approximately 20 minute or so. No one got bogged at Inskip point.
Disembarked off the barge onto the island and started by driving on Seventy Five Mile Beach until we reached the inland track that would take us to the campground. We drove along the Southern Lakes Scenic Road, Birrabeen Road. We stopped at Lake Boomanjin where we had morning tea and walked to the lake shore. We arrived at Lake Birrabeen, there were amazing colours to be seen. We turned onto Wanggoolba Road which took us to our campground Central Station. We sorted out campsites and then it started raining – a lot.
The next day we all headed to Eurong in the morning where some got fuel, cuppa and some souvenirs. We caught up with the ranger to find out what roads and sites were open and closed. Many of the roads/bridges/sites on the south-west side of the island were closed. This made planning for the rest of the trip pretty easy as there was pretty much a 1 to 1 activities to days relationship.
Our next stop was Stonetool Sandblow which was just beautiful. It was named after Aboriginal artefacts found in the area. We then headed to Lake Wabby. A bit further on someone got a flat type. Just as it was being changed, it bucketed down with rain.
All this water made for an interesting trip back to camp, as the track we had to travel down had large flow of water coming down it. This made for a unique video as the track was essentially a river with large puddles from time to time.
The next day we drove to Central Station where we did the boardwalk which goes along the Wanggoolba Creek. There were amazing stag ferns near the entrance. We even managed to find a snake, a night tiger, which is a brown tree snake. Poisonous and can make you sick, but not necessarily deadly.
We then headed to Pile Valley which is a tall forest of Satinay trees. Then continued on to Lake McKenzie where we had lunch behind a dingo fence.
After lunch we headed to Kingfisher Bay Resort. We did this in the afternoon, so on the return trip we encountered many tourists buses. Visit here late morning and leave early afternoon to avoid the buses.
The next day we packed up and to headed to our next camping spot, Dundubara. We had a stop at the Maheno on the way though.
The next day we headed south taking in The Pinnacles, and a stop at Eli Creek. We then headed inland along Woralie Road and stopped at Lake Allom to watch the turtles.
The next day we did a trip to Knifeblade Sandblow and then into the township of Happy Valley, followed by visiting Lake Garawongera. We did a walk and then had lunch.
The following day we packed up anbd headed to our next campground at Waddy Point. Once everyone had set up camp, we then went to check out to see if the Ngkala Rocks were passable for going to Sandy Cape tomorrow. The bypass was in good condition and we were able to get through. We went to Orchid Beach where we had lunch. We then headed to Wathumba Creek on the Western side of the island via Wathumba Road.
The next day we headed off to Sandy Cape lighthouse. A couple of people got stuck in some soft sand near Ngkala Rocks, so they had to let out a bit of air from their tires. A bit further up the beach we found a wrecked yacht on the beach that had been washed up in April of this year. We arrived at Sandy Cape, the most northern point of the island. It is just amazing.
We continued to the car park and did the walk up to the lighthouse, which had amazing views on the way up and pretty ferns. On the way back we ducked into Ocean Lake and did the circuit walk. The lake is a window lake, which is formed when the ground drops below the level of the underlying water table.
The lake had very pretty purple water lilies on it. We then had afternoon tea when we got back from the walk. We headed back to camp, and as we neared camp there were lots of pelicans on the beach and a couple of dingos.
The next day sadly we had to pack up to leave K’gari. No one really wanted to leave. Our first stop was at the Champagne Pools. We took the boardwalk from the car park which a number of viewing platforms along the way. One of the many highlights of this trip.
We had to wait for a aeroplane to land on the beach. We stopped at Eurong for lunch and then headed south to where the barge would pick us up.
That night we had dinner at the Rainbow Beach Pub.
We had 9 nights on the island. 3 at Central Station, 3 at Dundubara and 3 at Waddy Point. More would be better, but this is a good amount of time to see most things and still feel that you had a holiday and not rushing everywhere.
We didn’t have any issues with dingo’s, but we were left them alone and did not feed them. We also ensured that there was two or more people in a group.
See newsletter #11, September 2019 for the full trip report
Portland Dune Buggy Club – April, Anzac Day weekend
We had a few days out at the Portland Dune Buggy Club. The sand was very soft in places and some dunes were difficult to get up. I’m not sure about the other cars, but the two Subaru Forester’s ended up running on about 10psi for the trip. That night we had gale force winds. Fortunately nothing was destroyed.
The next day we went to the eastern end of the park where we found a nice one way track that wound its way through the scrub. It had three steep drop offs which could not be traversed in the opposite direction. So we needed to find another way back. This proved to be more difficult than we expected. We ended up following three other cars who had preceded us through the track. After about an hour of driving around criss-crossing our own tracks, it became clear that they had no idea how to get back either.
We eventually stopped to have a chat with them and we discussed various options. There was a not too difficult looking dune a little way off. The other guys had looked at it and were under the impression it was a ‘No Entry’, but as they had no other alternative they were going back that way. We went over to have look and it was indeed the way out. It was not an easy climb up the dune and each vehicle required a few attempts to get up.
The next day there was a short drive around the western end of the park. We traversed a track that lead to the beach where the mouth of the creek is. The creek was dry and after a bit of investigations, we found that there are car parking signs on the dry creek bed. So we drove down and had a walk along the beach. We went back to camp for morning tea via the creek bed.
After morning tea it was back to the eastern end of the park again. A couple of vehicles wanted to do the tracks from yesterday. The others decided they did not like getting lost, so they stayed close to camp. We went and did the one way section again. Getting back was a lot easier this time.
We then went and had a look around the greater Portland area. We went to Mt Richmond NP. We drove out to the light house at Cape Nelson and froze. We saw a koala sitting by the side of the road. We then went and had dinner at the Royal Hotel. After dinner we drove around the docks before finally heading back to camp.
See newsletter #8, May 2019 for the full trip report
Razorback: Mt Feathertop – April, Easter
This was a trip to go and walk along the Razorback, not necessarily to the top of Mt Feathertop, but anywhere along there has superb views. Some of us arrived on Thursday, while others came up on Friday.
On Friday we did the Oriental Claims walk. The area was named for the company who worked the site for gold from 1876 to 1904. The Pioneer Claims Loop walk was 1.5 km. The walk included exposed cliff faces, tunnels and caves created by hydraulic sluicing operations. Dinner that night was a communal roast.
Saturday was the Razorback walk day. A couple of people decided to get an early start. They were up just after 6:00am, and were on the track before 8:00am. The others left camp at about 8:30, while a few stayed back at camp for a relaxing day.
It was busy out on the track, with about 100 cars already parked on the side of the road at 8:00am. Just about everyone got to the lookout just before ‘Big Knob’. One person from our group got to the top of Mt Feathertop and back. A pretty good effort.
A couple of us got back after dark. Not really the place to be at that time. But the sunset was good.
Interestingly enough, there was a group of about a dozen people walking along with music blazing. They were not in any particular hurry, but apparently heading for the top of Mt Feathertop. When we got back to the car well after sunset, back along the ridge about 2km, there was a few sets of torch lights (probably phones). At least it was summer – I guess!
Sunday we did the second Oriental Claims walk – Ah Fong’s Loop Track. This 1.5 km track follows the track to the original site worked by the Chinese miner Ah Fong did a short walk. Dinner that night was at the Golden Age Hotel.
See newsletter #8, May 2019 for the full trip report
Tallarook State Park – March
We got away to Tallarook for a day trip. We started with a coffee at Broadford cafe. Then made our way to the state park and headed along Jenkins No. 1 track. We then followed Mt Hickey Road up to the fire tower. We then made our way down Magazine Track and stopped at Freeman’s camp for morning tea.
After morning tea we traveled down Wheelers Track onto West Falls Track. The latter track is quite steep and completely clay. So this would be a no-go in the wet. This leads down to Trawool Reservoir, which has an old blue stone dam wall. We went past the dam wall and had lunch at the waterfall. After lunch we drove up East Falls Road to Warragul Rocks. This is a nice lookout to the East.
We got a bit lost on a few tracks here looking for a specific track. We turned onto Red Hill Track where we folded in the driver’s side mirror for an interesting segment of track. It was not especially difficult, but to stay out of the main wheel ruts the vehicle had to keep to the right of the track where there was a large tree. We had afternoon tea at a campground off Army Road.
See newsletter #7, April 2019 for the full trip report
Little Desert – March, Labour Day weekend
We had a few days away at Little Desert for a bit of sand driving. We stayed at Kiata Campground. We started Saturday morning with a walk along Albrechts Mill Loop track (4km). We had lunch back at camp and then headed out for a drive.
We entered the park along Northern Break and then onto Mathews track. Somewhere it became Dahlenburgs Mill Track. We then turned left onto Mallee Track and right onto McCabes Hut Track. Afternoon tea was had along the Wimmera River, which had plenty of water in it.
We started heading back to camp and that is where the fun really began. The sand became deep and the tracks now traversed up and down dunes. A few people got stuck (some more than once) and a few second attempts were needed getting over some dunes.
On Sunday we headed into Nhill for fuel and a coffee. Then went out to the Pink Lake which was on the Highway, just outside of Dimboola. After a look at the lake we headed back into the park for some more sand driving. We turned down McCabes Hut Track and onto Warner’s Track. We found this to be very overgrown, so we turned around and then headed down Pump Jack track. We drove down McCabes Hut Track, and lunch was at McCabes Hut Ruins.
After lunch we followed Charcoal Flat Track, and then inner Southern Break track. The inner track looked to be a bit more interesting that the outer track and was not looking out onto farmland. Afternoon tea was had on the side of the track. We turned onto Salt Lake Track and stopped at the salt lake to have a look. We then headed back into camp to get ready to go into Nhill for dinner. Dinner was at the Union Hotel,
See newsletter #7, April 2019 for the full trip report
Dinner and Movie Night – February
This was a social night out with dinner followed by a movie. The dinner Venue was Benson’s in Belgrave – excellent food, wine and great atmosphere to share with friends. The movie was: Stan & Ollie: a movie about the last stages of the careers of Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy as they set out to connect with adoring fans in Britain in 1953. It was planned to be at Cameo Outdoor Cinema, but the projector was kaput, so it ended up being Cameo Cinema, indoor theatre one.
See newsletter #6, March 2019 for the full trip report
East Gippsland – January, Australia Day
The weather and bushfires had a bit of an influence on this trip. Plan A went out the window and plan B was modified to be plan C. We traveled up on the very hot Friday (47oC). We arrived at Bruthen first and quickly set up the tent before heading down to the Tambo River. The water in the river was the temperature of a mildly warm spa bath. To get any coolish water one had to bob up and down to draw up the colder water on the bottom. We had dinner at the Bruthen Hotel. We had a lovely meal and then we were treated to a spectacular lighting show as the cool change made it way up the coast
Saturday we drove down to Marlo and had a look at where the Snowy River meets the ocean. We continued on to Cape Conran costal Park where we stopped at the pier and watched the boats launch and come in. Then did a short walk to Salmon Rocks.
Sunday we made our way to Stones Creek Trestle Bridge for morning tea. We had a good look around the bridge while we were there. We drove up to Mt Raymond Fire Tower to the lookout. It was a little bit foggy and we had to wait for the cloud to clear for the view. Then we went and visited Palm Track Cabbage Tree Creek (flora reserve) where we had lunch with the mossies, and for a walk to see the Cabbage Tree Palms.
We then proceeded to follow a series of tracks: Falls Creek No 1 Track, Summer Road – which was literally a bush bash as there were many saplings growing in the track. Eventually we had to turn around.
Then we came to Little Cabbage Tree Creek Falls (there was no water in the falls). At some point we followed a track into a logging coup. The main track was obscured by where the grader had made a road into the logging area.
See newsletter #6, March 2019 for the full trip report