I know, I know, it’s been a long time, well, Oscar was sick for about a month from Anzac Day until his birthday, and we’ve spent the past month recovering from that really. Plus, it’s been really, really cold lately, so getting this post in the darkest, coldest period of Winter, you should consider yourselves very, very lucky. I decided to take a day off and head to this state park northeast of Melbourne, just past the Yarra Ranges National Park, I’d read about it on a bushwalking blog that I occasionally visit, and it looked good, but because this was a “spur of the moment” type deal, I didn’t really check what it was going to be like and just hoped that it was going to be clear and beautiful. Well, it wasn’t, it was misty at the top, and the view was a white-out, when I was up there anyway. It might have cleared up later, but I doubt it. The terrain reminds me a bit of the Grampians, but it’s a bit closer to where I live, but also, the good views here seem probably a bit more challenging to get to.
Driving there takes about two hours from my place, and then it’s ten kilometres (past a lot of curious kangaroos) up to Sugarloaf Saddle Carpark where you can do a number of pretty hairy trails. Considering my lack of experience and preparation, I went with the shortest, yet still quite challenging Canyon Track which is basically from the carpark to the peak of Sugarloaf Peak, 40 minutes one way, and involves some scrambling/climbing (or I just went the wrong way!). I was planning on climbing up to the peak and then walking along the Razorback track for a bit, but the view was completely obscured by cloud/mist so I decided just to head back down and look for a track that might give me some running water shots. Also, the rocks were a bit wet, and considering how dangerous climbing up and down that one little bit seemed, I thought better not risk any more in those conditions.
So I made my way back down to the car and then drove back down to Cooks Mill, where there is a Little River Track, which you would think, would meander along a river side. You can certainly hear the river, as you start the trail, but after only about 50m or so, it veers onto a track that just looks like unsealed road, there is a clearing to the left, and basically a muddy walk for about a kilometre or so before the road joins back to the track. This is a nice track with greenery everywhere and the sound of water running, as well as the occasional kookaburra sighting and constant kookaburra calls.
This track was also meant to be 40 minutes to it’s end point, Ned’s Gully, but after about 50 minutes I didn’t seem to be getting any closer, so I decided to head back, I didn’t have any food or water, it was probably only about five more minutes, as the walk back only took about 35-40 minutes with a brief stop for pictures by the river. I then stopped just past the bridge leading in and out of Cooks Mill to take a couple more pictures of the river before heading home. All in all, it was a worthwhile trip, if for nothing more than scouting, also got to drive through the Yarra Ranges National Park which is a treat in itself (no pictures though unfortunately), but I’m not sure I’ll be taking the little one there for a while, just seems a bit too challenging for him, but maybe I’m being over protective. So maybe I will head back out there in Spring time or something, at least the tracks seem easy to follow, even for me!
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Hey, finally, work has finished, and it’s the xmas holiday break, finally I can get on my arse and do this. If you did stick around because of my last post, well, you’ll be glad you did with this doozy coming your way. Without a single doubt, this was the absolute highlight of the trip, by the time we arrived in Mürren, the weather had finally turned for the better, and the sun was out and ready to keep us warm and happy. We only had two nights in Mürren arriving pretty early in the morning and leaving in the afternoon, so two and a half days (sort of). I wanted to do some hiking and take in some lakes and mountains from the best perspectives (that only hiking can get you, I suppose flying or rock climbing can give you some pretty spectacular views as well), but my pregnant girlfriend was apprehensive about it all.
So in our two days there we managed to:
So yeah, a really beautiful place with so many things to see, I don’t think I’d get tired of the mountains even if I could afford to spend a month there, it was a bit disappointing not to get a good shot of mountains with a lake so that’s something to aim for next time. Definitely worth the price of admission, it’s also very peaceful there, small population, Mürren is a car-free (only local traffic for delivieries and supplies I suppose) town and so the atmosphere is one of quiet serenity (for me any way) and a really nice place to go at the end of our trip, wish I could’ve spent more time there.
Accommodation, Food, and Transport
Well, as I mentioned in the previous Switzerland post, we were using the half-fare card so were paying relatively normal prices for train tickets around the place (it’s worth it just for the Top of Europe pass which costs about 200$ bux AUD).
We stayed at the Hotel Alpina in Mürren which is a ‘budget’ option (still not cheap at all) but does have all of the amenities you should need (including a great view of the Alps from your room balcony, should you pay for it). We were put in room number 1 (or 2) which was good in that we could access the wifi in the lobby from our room, but was bad because we had to walk past the toilet to get to our room, so it was a bit smelly (the walk, not the room). Breakfast buffet provided with a decent spread, I’d recommend it if it has a good buffer in prices from the other hotels in the area, nice, friendly staff too (although no kettle in the room).
Pretty much all the hotels have restaurants where you can get normal food although I didn’t get to try much of it due to my Em’s little worm! 😀 OK, one more stop in Europe (Paris) but I won’t bother with that one because we’ve already been there twice now, and we didn’t do anything on our last visit other than a bit of shopping, so last stop on our whirlwind, whistlestop tour, not in Europe, but Hong Kong, for one night, and one night only, what did we do? You’ll find out next time (if I can be bothered), so stay tuned!
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