Saturday, 31 October 2015

Day 38 - 31st October

Kurth Kiln Park to Southbank

Distance Travelled - 105 km

Thunder rolling through the skies woke me at about 4.30 am and although it was still mostly dark it did seem that the skies looked somewhat cloudy and overcast with a distinct lack of visible stars. Fifteen minutes later as I tried to get back to sleep the kookaburras let rip with their morning welcome, shattering the relative peace and quiet between the occasional thunder of the early dawn. Got back to sleep but was awake again at about 5.45 am as the thunder came again, this time much louder and bringing with it visible lightning.

I got out of bed and looking around decided that it may not be too long before it started to rain and seeing as things were pretty well dry in regards to the tent it might be a good idea to pack things away early. Managed to get everything packed away and breakfast eaten and coffee made by just after 6.15 am as the first drops of rain started to fall. Sat in the car thankful that I had everything packed away as a heavy rain set in for about 20 minutes.

After the initial downpour, the rain eased off a bit to a light but steady fall and I relaxed in the car with the earphones in listening to some music. About 15 minutes later the rain eased up enough to go for a walk down to the kiln and back to stretch the legs out a bit and remove a little stiffness developing in my calves. I got back to the car just as the rain started up again, not particularly heavy but enough to be annoying if you were out in it. Spent some more time listening to music and watching little streams form outside in the campground and make their way down the slight incline away from my tent site and towards others down the hill.

By 9.30 am I was ready to leave the campsite and start the trip in to the city. I drove through to Pakenham where I found a Maccas to post the blog at. After that I went for a drive through Pakenham to try and find an op shop or two and to generally look around the town. Having no luck finding any suitable books and spent time wandering I grabbed an early lunch on the way out and drove into Southbank.

I parked just around the corner from Lindsay and Heather's and went off to look around. After a short walk I discovered the South Melbourne markets and instantly regretted having had lunch in Pakenham as there was a bombardment of amazing smells spilling forth from the multitude of eateries within the markets. Disappointed that I didn't feel in the least bit hungry, I continued walking through the markets perusing different shops and stalls and enjoying just looking although I was somewhat glad to be out of the crowds by the time I finished.

Walking back to the car I got in and drove around looking for op shops and after searching through a few managed to find a couple of books that hopefully should get me through to Adelaide and beyond. Then I drove the short distance to the Princes Pier and sat in the sun for a while reading before heading back to park the car near Lindsay and Heather's. Having parked the car I wandered off through the casino and out along the walk towards the Polly Woodside museum only to find it closed when I got there. I had remembered at the pier that I had promised Michelle I would send her a postcard form Melbourne for her class and was now having difficulty trying to find one.

Looked at a few other places on the way back but had no joy hunting out a postcard so had to leave that and hope to find one before heading off. Got back to the car and contacted Lindsay and then met up with them at their place. Spent a while catching up and chatting and waiting for Deanne to arrive, which she did not too much later.

We had a wonderful time catching up and talking about various travels and things that we are currently doing and hoping to do in the not to distant future. It has been an extraordinarily long time between catching up with Deanne so it was fantastic to have this opportunity and I am really happy that we were able to make it happen. We had a yummy tea prepared by Heather while we chatted and all too quickly several hours had passed and it was time for Deanne to head off back to her place. Lindsay, Heather and I chatted for a bit longer before we too succumbed to the need for sleep and so went off to bed. I was too tired to write the blog so left it until this morning. Alas no photography yesterday so no pictures to share.

Today I start the trip back to Adelaide travelling to Dimboola to start off with and then I will decide whether to stay there the night as I did on the trip over or whether to push through and get to Adelaide late in the afternoon into early evening. A lot of that decision will depend on what time I get away this morning.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Day 36 - 29th October

Melbourne Ferry Terminal to Kurth Kiln Park, Gembrook

Distance Travelled - 95.7 km

Had a somewhat disruptive night although the sailing seemed smooth enough. There was however, a regular vibration and thuddy noise go right through my cabin and bunk from the engine, waking me up several times. The ferry got in about 6.30 am and my car was on the last garage section to be unloaded so it was close to 7.30 am by time I departed the terminal.

Drove through horrible early morning traffic in Melbourne and started the drive out to Kurth Kiln Park near Gembrook. The kiln was used to make charcoal as a fuel for cars during the war when petrol was being rationed. After the war when it was no longer needed the area became a base for forestry operations and then a picnic and camping area in recent years. There are some of the old forestry houses and the kiln with a couple of associated buildings left on the site.

I found a Maccas on the way to post the blog and then continued on to the park, arriving around 10ish. I then spent the rest of the day relaxing by reading my book out in the sun, listening to some tunes, catching up on a bit of sleep and taking a few photos of birds and the old buildings. There are a few other people here and I had a chat with a couple of them. One of the older couples had a link with Ghooli - a small town about 13km east of Southern Cross - where her dad had worked and then married in Southern Cross. I will have to look up the name when I get back and see if there is any connection to my dad's grandfather who was also out and about that way years ago.

There are a few things on the 'to do' list tomorrow with a couple of short walks available and potentially more photography and lots more relaxing. Saturday I start back to Melbourne to catch up with Lindsay, Heather and Deanne and then become homeward bound on Sunday.

                                                      Blue Fairy Wren at the campsite

                                                        Fairy wren? at the campsite

                                         Old caretakers house near the kiln at the campsite

                                           Old caretakers house near the kiln at the campsite

                                                         Kurth Charcoal Kiln and shed

                                                           Kurth Charcoal Kiln and shed

                                                 Water wheel that was used to operate kiln

                                                    Kiln - converted to black and white

                                                          Kiln - image computer enhanced

Day 37 - 30th October

Kurth Kiln Park

Distance Travelled - 0 km

I don't know exactly, but I would guess there were at least 3 kookaburras singing to the morning sun that roused me from my slumber. Glancing at my watch I acknowledged that it was 5 am and went back to sleep soon after, eventually rising at about 8.30 am.

Relaxing and doing very little was on the agenda today so after having breakfast I settled into my chair and just sat in the sun watching the rest of the morning unfold before me. I enjoyed listening to the many birds in the forest even though I could not see where any of them were. After an hour or so I went and got my book and the camera from the car and sat down again. I read for a while taking the occasional photo if anything came close enough and didn't require me getting off my chair.

About 11.30 am I went for a walk along one of the tracks for half an hour or so and returned to enjoy more sun in my chair before organising some lunch just after 1 pm. Having finished lunch I decided it was time for an afternoon snooze so entered the tent with the ipod and spent the next hour and a half dozing and listening to tunes when i wasn't asleep.

Rising form my nap I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and waiting patiently for birds or animals to come into my photo zone, however none were particularly cooperative. Throughout the later part of the afternoon a steady stream of vehicles came into the park towing a variety of contraptions behind them. Caravans, camper trailers, boats, box trailers, motor bikes and the like all arrived. I think it is a long weekend here and it is good to see lots of people getting out and camping etc although I was a little disappointed with the noise form the trail bikes shattering the previously silent and tranquil surroundings.

Went for another half hour walk about 7 pm and returned to have tea and get ready for the night. Researched a few things on the GPS, planning the trip back to Adelaide and starting to think about whether to do it over 2 days or push through and do it in one. At the moment I am leaning towards 2 days, making each day a relatively easy one. Once I leave Adelaide there will be a few big days of driving so I think it might be good to make the most of a couple of easier days before it.

After finishing with the GPS I started on the blog before sorting the few meagre photos from today, after which it will pretty much be time to enter the tent and start settling down for the night. Tomorrow will hopefully be a slowish start (dependent on the other campers and their noise, I feel) before heading back towards Melbourne and Lindsay and Heather's place in Southbank. We are meeting in time to go to tea about 6.30 ish so I will have plenty of time to relax in the morning before beginning to mosey back in via a few op shops to hunt out a couple of books for the trip back seeing as I have finished the one I bought Tuesday thanks to some solid time to read over the last day or so.

                                                             Birds around the campsite

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Day 35 - 28th October

Lilydale to Devonport Ferry Terminal

Distance Travelled - 146.1 km

After a somewhat disrupted night's sleep, waking up 5 or 6 times throughout the night for no apparent reasons, I finally surfaced from bed at around 8.30 am. Had a very casual morning starting with breakfast and then finishing packing the last few items into the car and tidying the flat before I left. Rolled out of Michelle and Shane's place for the last time on this trip at about 9.45 am.

Drove through to Devonport, stopping at Elizabeth Ton to look at a photo gallery at the bakery there which had some nice photos from around Tasmania. Left there and continued to Devonport arriving not long after 12. Called in at the Antique Emporium - a massive collection of shops in the same building all dealing with antique items - a suggestion from Michelle on how to spend an hour or two. Did just that and walked out with a couple of small items.

After the Emporium I grabbed some lunch and ate it near the Mersey Bluff lighthouse whilst watching a lone whale frolic out in the ocean some distance off. Tried a bit of photography but even with a 300mm zoom it was too far away to get anything decent. Spent a bit more time reading in the sun before heading off to sort out boarding details.

Spent the next hour or so parked near a grassy reserve listening to music and reading before it was time to board the ferry. Got settled in and had some tea before crashing for the night hoping for a smooth sail.

                                            Birds on a rock near Mersey Bluff lighthouse

                                                                        Whale flipper

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Day 34 - 27th October

Lilydale to Cataract Gorge and return

Distance Travelled - 67 km

Woke up unexpectedly at about 4.45am and could not get back to sleep so at 6 am I was up and about in the front yard trying to get photos of the rabbits that frequent the place. I was mostly unsuccessful. Traipsed back up the stairs and had breakfast followed by getting ready to leave for town and left shortly after half seven, driving into Launceston to get the car serviced.

Had the car dropped off and sorted just after 8 am and then walked the 2.5 km to Cataract Gorge. Despite the cool morning I was quite warm after the walk as a significant part of it was uphill. Upon reaching the gorge I was fortunate enough to come across the peacock again who put on another wonderful display of his feathers. He also spent some time sitting on the railing and calling out to anyone who would listen. I tried to get a photo of him calling out, capturing the steam that was evident around his mouth but could not get it.

After spending half an hour or so with him I trundled off around the gardens looking for things to photograph before deciding to just sit on the one of the benches and enjoy the sun. Spoke to a few people as they came and went on their outings and eventually left the gorge about 2 hours after arriving.

Walked back into town and around the shops for a while and then grabbed some lunch. During the time at the gorge I had been notified by the people servicing the car that there was significant other work needing to be done - brakes, tyres, battery. I gave them an extra hour on what they had said for the service and as the place I was dining at for lunch was only about 2 doors down from the service centre I decided to call in and see how they were going. As I walked in they were taking it for the test drive so about 5 minutes later it was all paid for and I was in my way.

Called in to a few more shops and got a book to read for the next part of the trip and then quickly called back to Lilydale Falls in the hope something amazingly photogenic had appeared overnight - not to be. Came back to Michelle and Shane's and after sorting out a few things spent time talking to Shane. Michelle came home and we chatted for a while before enjoying another delightful dinner - burgers tonight - cooked by Shane.

After dinner Shane and I spent time copying documentaries and movies from his computer to one of my drives and he demolished me at Foozball. Then it was time to say our goodbyes. Michelle will have left for work before I get up probably and Shane works during the night so I will have left in the morning before he gets up. It was been an amazing time here and I am very blessed to have friends like Michelle and Shane. Even though we haven't seen each other for quite a few years it didn't seem like anything had really changed at all. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself here and look forward to the next trip back.

Tomorrow it is off to Devonport where I board the ferry late afternoon and travel to Melbourne overnight. Then it is off to find a campsite and some bush photography before catching up with Lindsay, Heather and my cousin Deanne on Saturday night.

                                                              Peacock feathers close up

                                                     The peacock strutting his stuff

                                                    Peacock close up

                                                                  Peacock close up

                                                                  Peacock close up

                                                              Peacock on the railing

                                                   Pink flower on the way to the gorge

Monday, 26 October 2015

Day 33 - 26th October

Rocky Cape Tavern to Lilydale

Distance Travelled - 234.3 km

I slept surprisingly well last night, not waking during the night and not stirring until after 6 am and then finally dragging myself out of bed at 7.45 am. Organised breakfast and then went for a bit of a walk while the tent was drying out a little. Came back from the walk and sat in the car listening to some tunes for a while as the tent continued to dry out happy in the knowledge that there was no rush to be anywhere today.

Finally left the campsite at about 9.30 am and headed off towards Lilydale, stopping on the way to take a few photos at a place on the Hwy called Doctor's Rocks and then again at Maccas in Burnie to post the blog. The weather was very windy but the drive was pleasant with enough sunshine coming through the car to make it comfortably warm and the scenery being not too horrid, for hwy driving, most of the time.

Got back to Lilydale about 1.45 pm and went to get fuel and then continued down to Lilydale Falls where I spent an hour or so walking around looking for things to photograph and revisiting the Falls. There seems to be even less water in the pools now than there was when I visited them the first time. Took a few shots of a farmhouse on the hill and that was about the extent of the photography for the day.

Got back to Shane and Michelle's and after doing a bit of unpacking spent the rest of the afternoon talking with Shane about a host of topics which was good. Michelle came home late after meetings at school and we had a delicious curry cooked by Shane, shared some yummy fudge I bought back from Sheffield and then after a bit more chatting it was time to go up to the flat to begin sorting things for tomorrow, writing blog and sorting photos.

Tomorrow the car goes in for the service and I will wander around town looking at various things until it is done and then it will be back to the house to start organising the car for the trip back to Melbourne on Wednesday.

Doctors Rocks near Burnie

                                                           Doctors Rocks near Burnie

                                                         Farmland near Lilydale Falls

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Day 32 - 25th October

O'Neill's Creek, Gowrie to Rocky Cape Tavern, via Stanley

Distance Travelled - 196.2 km

My eyelids popped open just after 6 am and I managed to doze until 7 am but then my body informed me it was time to get out of bed. I followed orders and promptly got out of the tent. The morning was pleasant enough, somewhat overcast and dreary but much warmer than the day before. I had breakfast and then with the possible threat of rain becoming more distinct, I packed away the mostly dry tent and then went for a walk to stretch out the somewhat stiff and sore muscles in my legs.

I came back and read for a while in the car as Sheffield was only 15 km away and I wanted to call in to the visitor centre there before heading off to Stanley and the centre doesn't open until 10 am. I left at about 9.15 am and drove through getting there just after 9.30 am. I spent some time wandering through a few of the shops and looking at the murals set up in a park near the visitor centre. There were some quite good efforts there and, wouldn't you know it, gave me a few ideas for school.

Went through the centre when it opened and got the info that I wanted and headed off. The drive to Stanley was nice for the first part, travelling through farmland, forestry scenery and other nice backgrounds until I reached Bass Hwy and then it was relatively dreary. Before reaching the Hwy, I went through the small town of Forth and as I was exiting was fortunate enough to see another echidna trudging through the grass and leaf litter on the side of the road. I pulled up a short way down the road and went back camera in hand to take a few photos. After about half an hour of waiting and quietly snapping of exposures as the opportunities presented themselves I returned to the car and the journey to Stanley continued.

As I neared Stanley the wind was noticeably picking up and it started to very lightly rain. I arrived in Stanley and organised some lunch before going through the Cow and Calf Gallery again. Spoke to the owner David for a while about a few things and was very thankful that he was so much nicer and helpful than what I experienced with John Temple in Westbury. I had hoped to do a bit for photography in Stanley before leaving but the conditions had deteriorated too much and it was not possible so I drove through to the Rocky Cape tavern, my campsite for the night.

Set up the tent after booking in and spent the afternoon reading and looking through photos on the computer and listening to music. Wrote the blog early in the hope that I can post it in the pub where I will have tea tonight. After tea it will be an early night as I am feeling somewhat weary. Tomorrow I will drive back to Lilydale and start to sort out things for the trip back on the ferry to Melbourne and then the start of the journey home.

Just got back from tea and there was a problem with the internet connecting so this will have to wait until tomorrow.

                                                                 Echidna near Forst

                                                    A selection of the murals at Sheffield

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Day 30 - 23rd October

Lilydale to Cradle Mountain

Distance Travelled - 226 km

Woke up at about 8.45 am and got up ready to pack the car and head off to Cradle Mountain. The packing went without any hiccoughs and after having had breakfast I departed at about half nine.
I had planned a few little stops on the way, the first of which was at Westbury. The stop here was 2 fold. One was to look at the gallery of John Temple and the other was to look at a wood carving exhibition located in 3 different sites within the town. First stop was the gallery, opening time 10 am. My time at the gallery 10.15 am. Gallery closed. Continued on to the wood carving exhibition. Nellie Payne was the artist in profile., born in 1865 in Westbury, the 12th of 14 children. Nellie started her carving in 1906 after studying at the School of Art, Goldsmith's College, University of London. She continued carving into her 90's with one of her last pieces being finished in 1953. According to one of the volunteers helping run the exhibition she completed 209 pieces of work that they know of, and many of them are not small. She carved many dower chests (what many of us now know as glory boxes) as well as things like a pulpit for her local church, a magnificent cupboard for a school and an amazing screen dedicated to her 7 deceased sisters which is in the local church as well. I imagine many months of work went into each of these items, if not longer.

After having looked at the various exhibits and coming out totally in awe of her work, I headed back to the gallery to see if it was open yet. It was and I had a wander through. There were some very nice photos but after having a chat with the photographer I left somewhat disappointed. He was nowhere near as friendly or talkative or interested as David Murphy in Stanley and I felt a little let down that such a well known Tasmanian photographer was not more willing to chat about his work.

I left the gallery and headed on to the next planned stop, not far down the road at Deloraine. I had been told by a few people that I have met that Deloraine is worth a look so I dutifully proceeded to look around. It has some interesting shops and buildings and it's big claim to fame is the annual craft fair which is on next weekend. After strolling for about an hour, including grabbing a bit of lunch I continued the drive through to Sheffield.

Sheffield is known for it's murals and they look very good. Each year there is a mural competition held in the town with various artists being invited to enter the mural competition. They have a week to complete their mural on a given theme (I think). Spent some time in the visitor centre and then did the final leg to Cradle Mountain.

Drove through to the Dove Lake car park and set off on the circuit walk which was absolutely stunning. Some breathtaking views, gorgeous scenery and tranquil surroundings all made the 2 hour walk seem to pass by very quickly. I got back to the car park, changed the lens on my camera and walked back about 10 minutes to the boat shed. A couple were there having wedding shots done as I walked  passed the first time and they graciously gave me permission to take a quick snap. I spent about 2 hours at the boat shed just watching the scenery and taking a few shots as the light subtly changed, hoping to get that magical moment when all the elements combine to make a stunning visual scene. I don't think it quite got to that today but I certainly enjoyed my time there, walking out at about 6.45 pm.

Leaving the National Park, I went off in search of a place to camp hoping to find one not too far away as I would like to make a very early start to my photography tomorrow. Eventually found somewhere suitable about 25 minutes from the Dove Lake car park near the Moina Tavern. Had tea and wrote the blog before sorting photos and setting up for the night's slumber. Tomorrow I will make an early start and then see what else inspires me photographically for the remainder of the day and decide then what is in store for tomorrow night and Sunday.

 A skink on the board walk on the Dove Lake Circuit walk

A tree growing out of the path on the Dove Lake Circuit walk - computer enhanced

                               Dove Lake boat shed - converted to black and white

                                                        Dove Lake boat shed

                                                          Dove Lake boat shed

                                     Wedding couple - converted to black and white

                                                                     Wedding couple

                                      Dead tree between Cradle Mountain and Moina

Day 31 - 24th October

Cradle Mountain to O'Neill's creek campsite

Distance Travelled - 86.9 km

Ignored the alarm when it went off at 5 am but dutifully arose after the first snooze at 5.15 am. Dressed, packed and was on the road by 5.25 am. Drove the 30 or so km back to Cradle Mountain and walked down to the boat shed and was in place to start photography by just after 6 am. It was a very pleasant way to start the day - pity this type of start to the day can't happen several hours later in the morning.
Spent a while taking photos and then went for a walk along the Dove Lake Circuit. It was very peaceful and I didn't see any other walkers whilst I was out. Went through the Ballroom Forest section of the walk and continued on past the half way mark before turning around and going back, stopping in the Ballroom Forest to take some photos. After satisfying my photographic hunger I walked back to the car and had breakfast at about 8.30 am.

 After breakfast I headed back down to the boat shed to see if the changing sun had improved the scene for photography - it had not. I continued on back to the Ballroom Forest and and past, and decided to start up a steep section of a different path towards one of the lakes. After about half an hour or so of solid, steep scrambling over rocks and tree roots on a what was a very scratchy path I managed to twist my ankle reasonably well so decided to turn around and head back to the car in case it decided to deteriorate too much and make walking difficult.

I got back to the car without issue and sat for a while and read while I rested the ankle. About 11 am I decided to head off to the visitor centre and have a look around there. Grabbed some lunch whilst I was there and then headed over to the nearby Tasmanian Devil sanctuary - Devils@Cradle and have a look through there. Spent a couple of hours wandering around (well more time standing still trying to take photos than wandering) and after accumulating about 100 shots decide to head off.

The drive from Cradle Mountain to the campsite was uneventful but a pleasant meander, watching the country side and enjoying the scenery as it passed me by. Upon reaching camp I set up the solar panel and then spent a couple of luxurious hours sitting in the sun reading and relaxing. Went for a bit of a stroll to test the ankle and was very happy with the mobility and lack of any pain.

Eventually got around to setting up the tent and then started downloading a massive amount of photos (a new record) and then began the delightful task of stitching some panoramas together and sorting out junk photos form slightly better ones. Took a break and read for a while, enjoying the late afternoon sun and then did a few more photos before organising and eating tea.

After tea I went for a short half hour walk along a track from the campsite that basically follows a small stream off into the forest. Took a few more photos and then returned ready to start finalising things for the night's sleep and then started on the blog and finishing photos.

Tomorrow I will drive to Stanley and look at a few things there again before starting the drive back to Lilydale, camping at Rocky Cape again and getting back to Michelle and Shane's on Monday.

                                    Dove Lake Boat Shed - converted to black and white

                                                              Dove Lake Boat Shed

                                                               Dove Lake Boat Shed

                                                             Dove Lake Boat Shed

                                                   Tasmanian Devils at Devils@Cradle

                                                    Tasmanian Devils at Devils@Cradle

                                                  Tasmanian Devils foot at Devils@Cradle

                                                Tasmanian Devils at Devils@Cradle

                                                          Wombats at Devils@Cradle

                                                 O'Neill's Creek - just near my campsite