Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Longridge Walk, Warrandyte

Parking at the end of Alexander Rd, we headed through the gates of the Longridge Campground. The site is managed by Parks Vic for overnight group camping. 

It looks like a great place to camp with friends or family. You can BYO canoes, fishing gear, etc and there is plenty of open space to kick a ball, throw a frisbee, or just walk the surrounding trails.

Our walk took us across the former grazing lands, to the old 1920's Californian Bungalow farmhouse, perched high on the hill, overlooking the mountains. 
Fun fact: The house was used as a location in the 2013 film, Cut Snake.

We  trudged downhill to the banks of the Yarra, looking across to Eltham and more farm houses. 

We spotted many birds along the way; a few Eastern Grey kangaroos; one previous resident...

...and signs that deer had been in the area, like the shredded bark of this tree.
The fairly easy walk consisted of skinny tracks and gravel roads mixed with steep hills and grassy plains. The views were grand and the sights plentiful. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

100 Acres Reserve, Park Orchards.

Always on the lookout for a new walking trail to explore, I often find them right under my nose. That was the case with 100 Acres. 
I'd heard of it. 
Driven past it. 
Talked to people about it. 
Lived near it  for years. 
Eventually, I went there.
And it was lovely.  

Parking at the far end of the Domeney Reserve, we set off up North Boundary Track, following the fence line. This outer track is used for horseriding around 100 Acres, but we didn't see any. The crunch of crisp Autumn leaves on the gravel path made us sound like a group of horses trampling through.

We didn't really stick to a plan when walking; we mostly just meandered around turning left or right as the mood took us.

At High Track, we followed the path to Candelbark Track and Tadpole Dam. A curious Currawong in a tree overlooking the dam was the only bird we saw there.

A big stone seat on the edge of the dam was the perfect spot for a 5 minute rest.

Sun shining on glistening tree sap; the scentl of fresh pine needles; the sound of the Currawong cry -  all made for a good outing in the fresh air. 

And when the trees blow love hearts at you, you know you're in the right place. 

Where: Knees Rd, Park Orchards
When: Daily                                                     
Why: nature, walks
How much: FREE

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Wombat Bend to Westerfolds Circuit

When the world is a little topsy turvy, it's nice to have your feet on the ground, exploring the great outdoors. 
One of my favourite places is Westerfolds Park. When my daughter was born, I pushed her around the park in a pram. When she was older, she played on the adventure playgrounds with her brother. Later, I joined a friend for weekly walks after the morning school run. 
These days, we just go there on a whim, knowing we're sure to see something interesting each visit and kids are never too old to go on a swing, a slide or a flying fox at the playground.
Sealed paths cover the entire park, allowing access for everyone on foot or on wheels. A few steep hills get your heart racing and your blood pumping, but you feel  so good afterwards.

From Wombat Bend carpark, a short walk leads to a suspension bridge crossing the Yarra. The river is very wide at this point and home to a platypus or two. The bridge is home to approximately 20,000 cockatoos. 
Just kidding. *wink*

Across the other side, a steel boardwalk takes you towards Westerfolds. A myriad
of paths meander around the place - take your pick which one you choose, as they mostly join on to main tracks.
Birdwatchers will love this place, with so many different types of birds to be found. Here's a few that I've spotted.

Ok, that last pic isn't birds, but it fits on the page. The huge mob of roos moves around a bit throughout the park. Sometimes the young males perform a morning boxing match for our entertainment . Thanks, boys!

The lovely old Westerfolds Manor sits high on the hill, with views for days. A perfectly positioned park bench nearby makes a good stop to rest for a few minutes. 

At dusk, back at Wombat Bend bridge, the cockies have gone to bed...

...but this guy is out looking for dinner and you might see him splashing about near the rapids. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

Spirit of Tasmania - Devonport to Melbourne

Up early for a 7am departure from Devonport, on board the Spirit of Tasmania. 
We booked a cabin again for or return voyage and took our supply of ginger ale, ginger biscuits and ginger tablets to our room, just in case we had a rough ride ahead. 
We bid Devonport, and all of Tassie, a fond farewell. 
Spirit of Tasmania Devonport

Spirit of Tasmania DevonportSpirit of Tasmania Devonport 

Again, we scored a 4 berth cabin right at the front (to look out  for icebergs, whales, crazy solo yachtsmen, etc.) and settled in our bunk beds to read and relax. 
We watched a movie in the twin cinema, ate lunch from the eatery, listened to live music in the bar and played arcade games in the dedicated games room.
Spirit of Tasmania Devonport

Halfway across Bass Strait, we sailed past our ship's sister, a wonderful sight to see out in the middle of the ocean. 
Spirit of Tasmania Devonport

Homeward bound....
From our room we spied the city skyline coming into view.  We packed up our things from the cabin and headed down to our car, parked in the lower decks. 
Spirit of Tasmania Melbourne

We had a fantastic time on our road trip, saw many wonderful sights, ate our body weight in scallop pies and seafood chowder and tried some wonderful wines.
Station Pier MelbourneArriving in Station Pier, we queued patiently in rows of vehicles, as each deck was unloaded. A parting look at the ferry in the mirror, and we were off to our home, sweet home. It was an amazing trip, that I highly recommend to anyone. 

Spirit of Tasmania Melbourne
 Travel tips from me to you:

  • book the ferry in advance
  • day sail
  • book a cabin for the sailing journey
  • take your car
  • pack all your creature comforts from home
  • pack ginger products
  • buy an RACV personal membership to get discounted ferry and nat parks tickets
  • buy an Entertainment Book membership for even more discounts
  • stay in self contained cabins 
  • eat all the scallop pies and seafood chowder you can
  • give Tassie a big hug for me

Tasmania Travels - Beaconsfield Mine

2006. For almost 2 weeks, we were glued to the tv. Watching, waiting, wanting to hear some kind of news about the miners trapped underneath Beaconsfield Mine. Todd Russell. Brant Webb. Larry Knight.
The miraculous news that followed - Brant and Todd were alive and rescued.
The tragic news - Larry Knight did not survive.

Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

The mine has since closed down and has been turned into a museum and heritage centre. 

We wandered around the site for a few hours, exploring the interactive exhibits and recreations of the mine disaster.

Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

The workings of a mine are fascinating and I have visited a few over the years, but Beaconsfield is the most modern mine I have seen. 

Beaconsfield Mine TasmaniaBeaconsfield Mine Tasmania
The views from the 'Monkey Cage' were amazing. 
Beaconsfield Mine TasmaniaBeaconsfield Mine Tasmania

The historic buildings and relics provided a glimpse into the past, when the mines were an even tougher place to work. 

Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania
A quick game of Shafts and Ladders and our visit was complete.
Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

Outside, a plaque sits, paying respects to the many people in the community who helped make Todd and Brant's rescue a success and honouring the memory of Larry. 
Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

Across the road, in the rose garden where news crews huddled for 2 weeks, another plaque commemorates journalist Richard Carleton, who passed away during the event. 
Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

Beaconsfield Mine was the last attraction for us to visit on our Tassie road trip and it added a poignant ending to our journey. 
Onward to Devonport for a night before we set sail in the morning.