Dayna's Blog

Holidays, walks and who knows what


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Drive-by Photography (Inverloch) – May 2013

On Sunday we drove Stephen’s mum to Inverloch, a small beachside town about 2hrs south east from Melbourne, for a Devonshire afternoon tea at the RACV Inverloch Resort. It was her surprise mother’s day outing, postponed from last weekend.

Well, that was the plan. That changed when we were met with this:

P1070238

When I called to make a reservation (thinking one would be needed) did anyone mention, ‘By the way, the view will be almost completely obstructed by a giant white tent right outside the window on that day’ – I think not.

Here’s the view from the driveway as we departed:

P1070239

So we had a late lunch at the pub back in town instead. At least it was warm by the gas fire.

Although bereft of (the usual) walking photos or (the hoped for) magnificent vistas to share, don’t think my camera returned home unused.

The challenges of performing decent photography from a moving car are many – although, please let me stress, I’m never in the drivers’ seat when the camera’s in my hand.

The main challenges I find are:

– Glare from the dashboard or light, generally from your clothes, reflecting on the inside of the cars’ windows. Rental cars are terrible for dashboard glare.

Reflection from clothes Reflection from dash
– Bugs/dust/rain on the glass, not to mention getting your timing right with the windscreen wipers

Rain Bugs
– Trees, bushes, guard rails, sign posts, electricity/phone poles and overhead wires all hinder a good shot

Railings
– Bumps and dips in the road – and the more you zoom, the worse it gets.

I’ve had plenty of practice at drive-by photography – not that I’m claiming to be perfect at it! – there are still many missed shots. My camera beeps often, as I point and focus, but less often is the shutter sound heard. Stephen will often hear a quiet ‘meh’ of disgust or resignation as I fail to get the shot I was hoping for.

Our drive on Sunday brought an additional challenge… photography from the back seat of the MINI. (We couldn’t very well ask Stephen’s mum to clamber into the back, despite her offer to sit there!)

Usually, the majority of my drive-by photos are taken through the windscreen. That’s a lot trickier to do from the back seat. And the side windows are smaller and fixed, so if they get dirty you can’t wind them down to get a clear shot. On the up-side, I did have unimpeded access to the window on the other side of the car (quite an unusual occurrence, you’ll understand) and still had the roof window in the back for interesting clouds.

Here are some of my better shots of the day:

I’m sure Stephen will be disappointed if I don’t at least mention the Kilcunda Bridge (trestle bridge photo above) – but I’ll save a better description for when we do that walk. It’s a rail trail (an easy grade), but not a circuit (so not particularly convenient) which is the main reason why we haven’t walked it yet.

The pirate mini-golf photo isn’t particularly brilliant, but I wanted to include it as it’s something different to the usual windmills and things I usually associat with putt putt.

One very brief stop we made was at the carpark at Eagle’s Nest (aka Eagle’s Rest) – a prominent rocky outcrop on the way out of town – where I took a photo of the pirate caves. One day we might even make it down to that beach. There’s another access road to that beach. We won’t have to swim or climb around the cliffs.

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So that was our day. Not particularly eventful, but a nice drive all the same.

: )

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National Rhododendron Garden, Olinda – May 2013

Still in pursuit of trees with leaves changing colour to photograph, Stephen suggested that we visit the National Rhododendron Garden at Olinda in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne. He was tipped-off by a post on Parks Victoria’s facebook page.

The Dandenongs are a popular place to visit of a weekend, and with the weather so fine and unseasonably warm on Saturday we weren’t the only ones up there. (I can only imagine it would have been much worse on Sunday, being Mother’s Day!)

The gardens are well sign posted, so easy to find. Fortunately we found a car park once we arrived. The mountain ash around the car park are stunning by themselves, even though (being eucalypts) they don’t change colour.

It’s easy to walk in the entrance (which, unusually for a Victorian Park, is through a gift shop) and get awed by the view and forget to keep walking. Luckily Stephen was there to prompt me to move on. There is a lot more to see.

Even though I’m categorising this (for now at least) as a weekend ‘walk’, I didn’t think of it as a walk, per se – more just a photo opportunity! We followed the main loop track and probably only walked about 2km – give or take. There’s a map on the Parks Victoria page (linked above).

We will have to go back in spring when the Rhododendrons are in flower – that looks beautiful, too.


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Mt Macedon – May 2013

Mt Macedon is under an hours drive west of Melbourne. It’s stands quite high above the surrounding plains and the memorial at the top is guaranteed to be at least several degrees cooler than Melbourne or even the towns near the base of the range. Today for example the maximum temperature reached in Melbourne was 14.5oC. When we reached Macedon (the township at the base of the mountain) it was 9.5oC. At the top of the mountain, it was colder again. Nice in the sun, but even so, foggy breath no problems! Northface jackets and beanies required today!

Incidentally, this is a walk that we’ve done before. We chose this walk today because we were hoping to get some nice photos of autumn leaves.

We joined the track up the mountain on Bawden Road. The road has been widened there just enough to allow a couple of cars to park without causing a traffic hazard. It’s a pretty steep walk through Macedon Regional Park up to the summit where the memorial cross is. The track is not wide, and quite eroded in parts. Some parts get quite slippery in wet weather, too.

From the summit we walked along to Cameron’s picnic area for lunch before heading back. The a walking track extends another 10km or so along the range, but we’ll keep that for another day.

Here’s my map and stats – you’ll see that my start and finish points are different. This is because my watch couldn’t connect to enough satellites to fix my location until I was halfway up the mountain. It certainly wasn’t a fast-paced walk, but it was a cardio work-out on the way up, so hopefully it evens out.

O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail – April 2013

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There was a 1 page write-up about the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail in the Yarra Valley Tourist News magazine we picked up at our (regular, but not exactly local) fruit barn. The whole trail is 30km long, but there are several joining points so you can do as much or as little as you like. Stephen suggested that ANZAC day would be a good opportunity to take a walk, so we headed off at about lunch time towards a small town called Warburton, about an hour east of Melbourne.

(Click on a photo to view as a gallery)

It’s a pretty cruisy walk because it’s so flat. We chose to walk the section between Dee Road and Youngs Road Carparks which is 14km return. It’s quite a popular section! We passed numerous other walkers (many with dogs, some with prams), cyclists and saw evidence that a horse had also been along here – a trail for everyone, you might say.

My only disappointment during the walk was that my camera battery went flat after the first couple of kilometres! Yes, I forgot to recharge the battery the previous night. Still, Stephen had his camera. I resorted to taking photos with my iphone – not as good, but better than nothing.

A pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Here’s our map and stats – the timing graph clearly shows the reduction in the number of stops I made to take photos in the return trip back to the car. Consequently, it was a faster average pace, too.

: )

This gallery contains 30 photos


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Organ Pipes NP – April 2013

We’ve been talking about checking out the Organ Pipes National Park ever since I started visiting Melbourne somewhat regularly back in 2009.

I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve driven by it, but in our defence, there’s not much to see from the road because it’s mostly below the level of the surrounding Keilor plains. I have probably taken off over it from Melbourne airport just as many times for that matter, and looking down, marvelled at how the land just seems to fall away into these gullies and chasms.

P948 - Old sign from road

Organ Pipes NP from the Calder Freeway – easy to overlook

The catalyst for this (our first) expedition to the Organ Pipes NP was a post on Parks Victoria’s Facebook page saying “Ranger Joe” had – at considerable personal effort – made two new tracks with hand-held tools. Due to various factors using machinery wasn’t possible.

It’s a small National Park of just over 120 hectares (~300 acres) although the walking tracks that we found seemed to be concentrated to an even smaller section of this area. The geological feature, the basalt ‘organ pipes’, that gives that park its name was formed by very slowly cooling lava a few years back (about a million years, give or take) that spilt into vertical columns as it cooled. The other park features have also formed in the same way. Parks Victoria have put together a very interesting history of the park here.

P944 - Park Entrance

Organ Pipes Nation Park (I didn’t get a photo on the way in)

We found we weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the lovely autumn day. There were quite a few cars in the car park. And it wasn’t long before we realised just how close the park is to Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport!

P902 - Watching planes take off from car park

At the car park, watching a plane taking off

It’s when you’re heading towards the city that you really appreciate how close the two places are…

P949 - New sign from road & airport

The end of Tullamarine’s east west runway is only a couple of kilometres from the NP

So if peace and tranquility is what you’re after while communing with nature, you’d be best to chose another spot.

P904 - Park infomation buildings

Park information display & visitor centre

P906 - Top of the hill

Heading down the management track

Not sure if this is the proper way to go down, but it’s the way everyone else was going down & coming up, so…

P907 - type of rock in area

I guess this is volcanic rock and soil. Looks tough to grow on.

P910 - Wedge-tailed eagle

A wedge-tailed eagle

We were quite pleased to see three Wedge-tailed eagles today. That’s always something special for us city-folk.

P911 - path

Walking track

We’d reached the bottom of the hill. This is what the track is like – pretty cruisey. There are a lot of dead trees in some parts – I’m not sure if that’s Parks Victoria killing off non-native species or something else. The eucalypts looked healthy enough.

P913 - Rosetta stone

Stephen in front of Rosette Stone

First landmark ticked off within about 1min of getting to the bottom of the hill – the Rosette Stone.

P915 - Rosetta stone close up

Close up of Rosette Stone

Instead of forming vertical columns, here the basalt has somehow formed a structure that looks like the spokes on a wheel.

P916 - RG10

Is it a bird box? A possum box?

We saw lots of these boxes. I don’t know what RG stands for. River Red Gum? Sugar Gliders have been reintroduced to the area, so maybe some of the boxes are for them. Not all the boxes are the same size – nor have the same sized holes, nor are all the holes located at the front of the box.

P923 - RG12

RG12 – obviously for a different species than for RG10

P929 - Bird box with logo

This one had a logo of a wedge-tailed eagle with words that I couldn’t make out on the front.

There are (or at least used to be) bat roosting boxes in the park. We didn’t spot any today, but I hope there is still good populations of bats in the area. There were 7 species of micro bats recorded by R Irvine & R Bender in 1995 – see ‘Initial results from bat roosting boxes at Organ Pipes National Park‘.

Next attraction on the bill (about 100m or so away) was the Tesselated Pavement. (Pavement – how exciting does that sound?)

P918 - Tesselated pavement w Stephen

Stephen carefully approaching the Tesselated Pavement

P920 - Stephen on Tesselated Pavement w creek

Pavement conquered!

These stones were formed in the same way that the formation known as the Organ Pipes were (that we’ll get to next), but have been worn down from the top by the action of the creek flowing over them.

P922 - stones further along creek

More of these basalt rocks up around the bend that are exposed but aren’t so eroded

P926 - Creek

It’s quite nice along the creek

P930 - creek & bird box

There are 6 amphibian species reported in the park’s management report (from 1998)

P934 - Stephen pointing at Organ Pipes

Stephen’s found the Organ Pipes!

P936 - Organ Pipes w reflection

Each ‘pipe’ would probably be up to about 50cm across

We’d now ticked off each of the ‘must see’ features of the park. Still no sign of the new tracks. There is another path that follows the creek around further, but it appears to be a dead-end, so we headed back up to the car park.

P937 - maintenance track back uphill

Heading back uphill

It’s not too steep walking back up, and not too far. Our whole walk had taken almost right on 45min. Here’s a map of our route.

P945 - field next to park entrance

View to the left exiting the park

Although it was only a short outing, we left feeling like we’ve now ticked that park off the list, and slightly disappointed that there weren’t any signs indicating “new tracks this way”.