Monday, January 25, 2016

St Kilda Pier

A spontaneous drive to St Kilda one afternoon, turned into a lovely walk along the foreshore and the iconic St Kilda pier and a chance encounter with one of the locals. 

The beautiful old Kiosk sits proudly at the end of the historic Pier...
St Kilda Pier Kiosk...with great views back to St Kilda's Luna Park and Palais Theatre...St Kilda Pier 
...and a fantastic panoramic view of the city skyline.
St Kilda Pier views of MelbourneThe Pier is managed by Parks Victoria and is the home to a colony of Little Penguins and Rakali. I'd never been here to watch the Penguins come in at sunset, I'd only ever seen them at Phillip Island.St Kilda Pier Little Penguins
I was thrilled to find this guy just chillin' under a rock right next to the walkway. It's amazing that they live so close to the city, surrounded by hundreds of people all day, every day.
St Kilda Pier Little Penguins
We watched locals fishing off the pier for a while, soaked up some sea air, then headed back to shore. 
Leonardo de Cormoranto entertained us on the way. "I'm the King of the World", he shouted.*
*may or may not be entirely true.
St Kilda Pier Cormorant
What: St Kilda Pier 
Where: St Kilda
Why: historic pier, city views
How Much: FREE
Grab a coffee at: The Snug Public House

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Alexandra Tramway Museum

Our visit to Alexandra was short and sweet. The lovely lady at the Visitor Centre told us a few different places of interest to visit in the area, but with only an hour or so to spare, we gathered a pile of brochures for next time and headed off to the Tramway Museum.
Alexandra Tramway Museum
Once the town Railway Station, the Museum in now a fantastic collection of steam, diesel and petrol engines and carriages, as well as a historic display of the timber and logging industry.
Alexandra Tramway Museum 
The entry fee allowed us to explore the grounds, inside the Museum and do a 3 lap ride on an old  train.

Alexandra Tramway MuseumThe little train took us past old wheels, tracks, information boards and these old huts in the centre of the circuit, which are replicas of the single men's huts used in local forest sawmills.Alexandra Tramway Museum
The amount of engines on display was amazing. 
From this fab old tractor...
Alexandra Tramway this cool old Bedford truck, which is now being lovingly restored.
Alexandra Tramway MuseumIn a timber town like "Alex', it's no surprise that there are some talented woodworkers around. A group of them have formed a Guild, whose workshop is located inside a large shed on the grounds of the Museum.
They practise their art and teach others this wonderful woodworking magic, turning lumps of timber into bowls, plates, and household items. They also make these bilibies for charity. We chose a cute little guy with lovely lines on his face. I think he's smiling.
Alexandra Tramway Museum
The Museum is also a good spot to start or finish the Rail Trail, which goes to either its end in Mansfield; or to Yea, where it extends all the way to Tallarook.
Alexandra Tramway MuseumThe clock was ticking, so we packed our brochures in the car, and bid farewell to Alexandra - until next time. 

What: Alexandra Tramway Museum
Where: Station St, Alexandra
When: Museum open and train services on 2nd and 4th Sundays and some Public Holidays, but you can wander around the grounds every day.
Why: historic railway, timber industry
How Much: $5.00 on open days

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


When you're just passing through a town, on your way to another destination, it's often  nice to stop, hop out of the car and stretch your legs for a bit.
Sometimes the town is as pretty as Jamieson.
History abounds in this old gold mining town. 


Even the bus shelter is a replica of a miner's hut...
Jamieson...complete with hitching post.Jamieson
The beautiful old Post Office began operations in 1864; its Maple Tree is one of the many significant trees in town. There is a Self-Guided Walk available for both the Significant Trees and also a walk of the Heritage Buildings.
Murals cover the walls in a nod to the Jamieson of yesteryear...
...and it was the Jamieson Chronicle office that printed the famous "Ned Kelly - Wanted for Murder" posters in 1878. Of the original posters, one remains here in Jamieson, the other is at the Old Melbourne Gaol.

After our walk around town, we relaxed with a picnic on the banks of the Jamieson River. Shallow sections were great for wading in and the river opened up to a  deep waterhole, where a group were diving off the rocky bank on the  other side.Jamieson

What: Jamieson Self-Guided Walks
Where: Jamieson
When: Daily
Why: historic buidings, trees, river
How Much: FREE to walk around
Nearby: Mansfield

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Our visit to the High Country was made even better by basing ourselves in Mansfield for a few days. It proved to be not just a great town to explore in itself, but a fantastic central location for heading to many nearby places of interest, like Mt Buller, Lake Eildon and Jamieson. 
Mansfield, Mt Buller
Brimming with history, such as gold mining and high country cattle droving, the town also played a big part in the Ned Kelly story. At the Court House, the declaration was made that Ned Kelly was an outlaw, after the killing of three policemen at Stringybark Creek. 
Mansfield, Ned Kelly Country
There was plenty to see as we wandered around town. From Rail Trails that take you all the way to admiring public art depicting life in the High Country.
Mansfield, High Country
Mansfield, High Country

From visiting country pubs...
Mansfield, High Country dining on local produce.
Mansfield, High Country
From walking, fishing and boating at the crack of dawn...
Mansfield, Lake Eildon sipping chilled wine and witnessing spectacular skies at sunset. 
That fresh mountain air is good for the soul. We're already planning a return trip.
Mansfield, Lake Eildon
What: Mansfield
Where: Mansfield
When: Daily
Why: historic buidings, mountains, lakes
How Much: FREE to walk around

Monday, January 18, 2016

Stringybark Creek, Tolmie

After turning off the main road near Tolmie, the bitumen turned to gravel for the 10km drive to Stringybark Creek, past pine plantations and through rugged bushland. 
A picturesque clearing greeted us, with picnic tables and barbecues surrounded by giant trees. 
Stringybark Creek, Ned Kelly
The setting wasn't so peaceful back in 1878, when bushranger Ned Kelly went from being a petty thief on the run from the law, to being the most wanted outlaw in Australia after shooting and killing three Mansfield police officers. A stone monument is erected here in their memory and another in the Main St of Mansfield. Their graves are located in the Mansfield Cemetery, but I didn't visit that location.
Stringybark Creek, Ned Kelly There's a great information board at the picnic ground, as well as a few boards around the circuit loop track, telling the story of Ned and the Kelly Gang and that fateful day at Stringybark Creek.
We wandered the track, which took us to the Kelly Tree, the site of the Shootout and back to the picnic ground. We were lost in thought as we imagined the place as it was back then. There was only a few other people there on the day we visited, the peace and quiet was wonderful.
Stringybark Creek, Ned Kelly A metal plate memorial to the police officers was placed on a tree in 1985. The tree has since grown around the plaque, but you can still see part of it. The  tree is known as the  Kelly Tree, but is not the original tree.
Stringybark Creek, Ned Kelly
The Shootout Site felt a little more eerie. The information board showed sketches of where each person was standing and the events that unfolded. 
Stringybark Creek, Ned Kelly The area later became a goldmining site and there are old mine shafts dotted around the place.
Stringybark Creek, Ned Kelly For a place with such a dark and dramatic history, it is a beautiful place to visit. We saw and heard many birds, and saw lots of huge wombat holes, but no critters were wandering around.
The scenery and wildflowers were stunning.
Stringybark Creek, Ned Kelly
And I couldn't resist  buying this book when I returned home, as each visit to a Ned Kelly related location make my interest in the story grow.
Stringybark Creek, Ned Kelly book

What: Stringybark Creek
Where: via
Tatong-Tolmie Road.
When: Daily
Why: Australian history
How Much: FREE 

Nearby: Power's Lookout

Friday, January 15, 2016

Power's Lookout, Whitfield

I hadn't heard of Harry Power before, but legend has it that a young Ned Kelly spent a good deal of time with Power and picked up a few tips as his bushranging apprentice. 
Powers Lookout, Whitfield  Bushrangers of Kelly Country The dense bush in this area was home to Powers and enabled him to elude police and he had secret camp sites scattered throughout the mountains. The high rocks with views across the mountains also gave him a good vantage point to spot unwanted visitors from.
That same position probably helped police capture him, as well.
Powers Lookout, Whitfield  Bushrangers of Kelly Country
The first lookout was just off the main road at a visitor carpark, looking down on the farms below and across the mountain ranges; from Mt Buffalo plateau across to Mt Hotham; to infinity and beyond.
Powers Lookout, Whitfield  Bushrangers of Kelly Country
The higher lookout was a bit of a climb, but well worth it...
Powers Lookout, Whitfield  Bushrangers of Kelly Country
 ...with views down to the King Valley.
Powers Lookout, Whitfield  Bushrangers of Kelly CountryA camp fire setup at the car park - just hang your billy on the hook and pop your snags on the hot plate.
Powers Lookout, Whitfield  Bushrangers of Kelly Country
Wildflowers were abundant and the site is home to many varieties of eucalypts.
Powers Lookout, Whitfield  Bushrangers of Kelly Country
Powers Lookout, Whitfield  Bushrangers of Kelly Country
We could hear a Kookaburra laughing somewhere in the trees, but I don't think it was this one...Powers Lookout, Whitfield  Bushrangers of Kelly Country
There's Ned Kelly Trails and Touring Routes you can follow if you are interested in all things Ned related, this is just one of the locations associated with our most famous bushranger.

What: Powers Lookout
Where: Mansfield-Whitfield Rd, Whitfiels
When: Daily
Why: Australian history
How Much: FREE 

Nearby: Stringybark Creek

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mirimbah Park

Mirimbah, at the base of Mt Buller is a must-visit destination for many reasons.  On the way to Buller, it's the only fuel stop before you start the ascent up the mountain. It's also the place to load yourself and your mountain bike on the $20 shuttle bus, in order to access all the trails up there.
Delatite River at Mirimbah ParkOn your descent it's an even better place to stop, as the heat from a Summer day in the Valley below has the mercury rising much higher than the cool Alpine temps on the mountain and the sound of the water flowing over the rocks of the Delatite River is like a siren song.
Delatite River at Mirimbah Park 
Once you dip your toes in that cool mountain water, it's very hard to get out.
Delatite River at Mirimbah Park
We found ourselves a nice big rock to sit on and spent the next hour just chillin' in the river.
Delatite River at Mirimbah Park
The smooth river pebbles were great for throwing in the water, seeing who could make the biggest splash......and the small flat rocks had us competing for the best stone skimming distance. I managed 4 skips!
Delatite River at Mirimbah ParkWe shared the river with others who were swimming, and floating down the rapids on tubes. Some had actually lifted rocks aside to create a narrow path a good distance down the river, just wide enough to fit an inflatable tube/donut through.
Delatite River at Mirimbah ParkThis guy wasn't doing anything too strenuous, just sitting around looking pretty...Delatite River at Mirimbah Park
Cyclists were also plentiful along the banks, having just hurtled the 12km down the Delatite  or Klingsporn trails of Mt Buller, crossing log bridges along the way before arriving here at the park to relax and revive before jumping in their cars parked nearby, or taking the shuttle back up to do it all again.
Delatite River at Mirimbah ParkThe park itself was a great place to stop for a picnic, with good facilities, lots of shady trees and big grassy lawn areas. 
Delatite River at Mirimbah Park
What: Mirimbah Park
Where: Mt Buller Rd, Mirimbah
When: Daily
Why: river, picnic
How Much: FREE during Summer
Nearby: Summer at Mt Buller