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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We hit the road looking for our first stop, Lorne for lunch, before we would make our evening stop in Apollo Bay to spend the night. I’ll leave the overview of the trip for the last post of this series so that I can concentrate on the actual places we went here. We had lunch by the beach in Lorne which was nice, the weather was warm and sunny, and we got pies from Grandma Shields Bakery of which I am a fan (although having to pay for sauce is not something that I do like). We were a bit tired already (haha and some of us a bit cranky too!) and decided not to push our luck too much and so did not stop at the pier this time.
From there we carried on along the Great Ocean Road which is a treat even if you’re driving (although as usual, it would probably be nice to be there around sunset or sunrise), for a bit more than an hour to Apollo Bay. I’m going to be perfectly honest when I say that Apollo Bay is quite underwhelming and not somewhere that I’d be spending too much time in the future. Both the accommodation and the restaurant we had dinner (take away) were disappointing. The Seaview Motel, the name of the motel is not a lie, but you have to look pretty hard to see the sea, the rooms are perpendicular to the road (and the sea) which means you have to look out to the side and you might see the ocean, and on top of that, there is a newer, nicer looking accommodation right in front which would have better views.
We got a take away pizza (can’t remember what) and pasta (puttanesca) from La Casalingo (rated fairly well on urbanspoon) and I could definitely do better myself, just like some cheap take away here in Melbourne, but it wasn’t cheap at all. So, overall I would pass on Apollo Bay. From there we basically got up really early (thanks Oscar) and moved on as quickly as possible, heading down to Princetown and Port Campbell National Park via the Great Otway National Park.
This is when the weather turned to shit and hopes of a photographic dream with fluffy clouds, blue skies, and amazing scenery were blown away by the Antarctic winds and washed down the drain by the “Summer” rains. Whatever, we had to make do, and at least we still had the scenery, if not the weather. The Great Otway National Park is pretty cool, the trees that line the road going toward the Cape Otway Lighthouse are very interesting and have great textures. The Lighthouse itself is not particularly interesting, and it is extremely windy up the top. After that we went down the road to Port Campbell National Park and visited Loch Ard Gorge.
I’ve seen the Twelve Apostles before, and Gibson Steps as well, so I wanted to see something else and maybe scout some sunset/sunrise locations. Loch Ard Gorge was well worth it, and finding the Geology Walk which took us past Island Arch and the Razorback which I decided looked like a great spot for sunset. With the weather the way it was, I didn’t expect many people to show up later, as I was having a look at Loch Ard Gorge just before sunset, a tour bus showed up so I hurried over toward the Razorback to capture what I could. I got to try some multi-exposure shots as well as long exposures which I think turned out quite well. There even ended up being a tiny hint of a sunset and some interesting clouds, it definitely was not a waste of time (and I finally got some good use out of my tripod!!).
The next morning, the body clock got me up about 45 minutes before sunrise, I decided to head to Gibson Steps rather than the Twelve Apostles because I thought it would be more secluded, it was empty, but I don’t think there would have been many people (if any) at the Twelve Apostles either. Again, I experimented with the same techniques from the night before, and also added in some auto-bracketing for good measure. Almost lost the stupid lens cap off my DA 21mm lens, but got some nice shots I think (again, a hint of a sunlight and clouds and the flowing water gave me some interesting elements to work with).
After that, we left for Portland via Port Fairy, but not before stopping along the way at The Arch and London Arch, both very worthwhile although I do prefer The Arch myself (but I may have missed something at London Arch). We did skip Bay of Islands, but seeing it as we drove past I must say, it definitely looks like somewhere worth visiting next time, it was raining quite persistently the whole day which made it hard to spend the required time at these great sites.
We stayed at a self-contained cottage in Princetown which was pretty nice, although the fridge froze everything we put in there (the fridge, not even the freezer). There is a selection of DVDs to watch and a couple of separate rooms which meant that we didn’t need to tiptoe around while Oscar slept in the evening. There is a stock standard pub in Princetown which is where we had dinner. I’m not sure where we had lunch, it was in Port Campbell, but the name of the restaurant escapes me, it was modern Australian cuisine I guess (it may have been The. Karoa, it’s next door to Frying Nemo any way), it was not bad, but nothing special.
I’ll leave it at that for now, next time we’ll be heading into South Australia and to the brink of Kangaroo Island.
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Total kilometres covered, 3, 411.2, from home here in the suburbs of Melbourne to the southwestern end of Kangaroo Island (via the Great Ocean Road), Adelaide, and back again (via the Grampians), it was a heck of a lot of driving (for me anyway). The weather was pretty horrible for the first week or so (until the last day on Kangraoo Island), and then a bit too hot (considering we had a six-month old, was bloody good otherwise), I think if I learnt one thing from this trip, it is not to go anywhere where the main attraction is hiking, during Summer. I snapped a lot of photos (for the first time in ages) and tried some new techniques, which worked some times and not so much others, but live and learn.
Just a short post here, I will be adding much more content for this trip including about twenty photos hopefully over the next week or so and over the xmas break. Hopefully I will get the photos up here in a timely manner and over a couple of posts to spread the pictures out, I’ll be taking my time as usual with the flickr shots as I don’t know when I will be going anywhere next. Good to get away from home and work for a bit, but it’s pretty good to get a break from all that driving too, and settle back into some form of routine.
I’ll also be adding some reviews of the accommodations, some good, some not so good, which I will probably also add on to tripadvisor at a later time.
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Well, any way, that’s pretty much it, not sure when I will post next, or what, maybe just some random thing with some photos, White Night maybe.
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Hey, it’s not the first time I’ve ever been on the Great Ocean Road, I mean I’ve lived in Melbourne for over thirty years, that’d be crazy, but this time I actually went down to see the Twelve Apostles as well (that was a first). Unfortunately I was the one driving so I couldn’t really enjoy the scenery as much winding along the beautiful coastal road. From Melbourne we stopped in Lorne for a break, and Apollo Bay for lunch (word of advice, don’t bother going to La Bimba, let’s just call them Lord of the Flies) before reaching our destination of Port Campbell National Park to see the Twelve Apostles, which is just a name, they’re actually just big limestone stacks in the sea, not the apostles of Jesus Christ, also, there aren’t twelve of them.
It’s a lot of driving in one day, I would definitely say too much for one day, take a night at least cos there’s plenty to see down there and if you don’t want to see anything, just go and relax on the beach, it’s nice. Leaving at about 8.30am we didn’t arrive at the national park until about 3.30pm (that’s including lunch of course but still), and then we only spent an hour or two there, I would have preferred to see the stacks at sunset, sunrise, or any time in between as the light would have been a lot less harsh and much more conducive to some artsy photography (cos that’s what I do).
It was actually a really nice day, very sunny but not too hot (I did manage to get sun burnt a little), stupidly none of us remembered to take sunscreen so let that be a lesson to you. Yeah, I was very impressed by the scenery, and will go back one day but definitely staying overnight so that I can pay a visit at a time more conducive (I can’t believe I used that word twice in one post!) to clearer photos and less tourists, more towards twilight and after sunset and before sunrise for those sweet long exposures.
The other thing is, we didn’t even visit London Bridge or Loch Ard Gorge so there’s plenty more for me to see definitely and to photograph, next time I’ll go on my own terms :D. We took the inland road back to Melbourne which only took about 3.5 hours and with pretty much no traffic is probably the way to go (to avoid the stress of traffic jams), but there are a lot of lookout points on the road, so if driving towards sunset, it might be worth it. I took my big tripod and didn’t even use it, so I reckon that’s going to get some heavy use next time. I’ve got another post lined up for next week or whenever I’m bored next but after that I don’t know, haven’t seen Anchorman 2 yet, would like to, will have to see if I can make it.
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Hey, another post inside of two weeks, unbelievable right? Well, I was really hoping to post something last week but in the end it wasn’t to be, as the Spurs went down in seven games to the stupid Heat. And then we lost our semi-final this past Sunday having gone an undefeated 14-0 during the regular season, which was disappointing enough, but I had to be doubly disappointed with my own effort, as I was pretty much a complete non-factor which is going to sting me until we get back playing again in a couple weeks, and certainly it’s going to smart until we get back to the finals with a chance to right these wrongs. Any way, back to the point of this post, these photos were taken in the past month or so, the first two taken in mid-May down at Point Nepean National Park right near the tip of the peninsula, and the last three just this past weekend down at Cape Schanck again.
I really like the Cape Schanck Lighthouse area, and I definitely think that there is more to explore, I only had a brief look around Pebble Beach, but taking that peak, I reckon that there is certainly more to see with a bit more time to wander around. So I’ll probably head back down there later in the year with my tripod at the ready to snag some interesting shots, the sea scape is great with a big blue sky and the blue sea. The orange clay (?) of the rock on the edge is very vivid and provides a great contrast to the blue everywhere else. The waves crashing on to the rocks and the lighthouse are also some great subjects to pose around, I’m hpoing to wander around the corner down there and see something really great and photogenic, let’s hope so for next time. The food down that way is also a treat, all around a great part of Victoria I say, and reasonably close too.
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Some more pictures that I took over the past few months that I didn’t feel were quite up to my flickr standards, as I’m trying to get a bit more picky about what I put up there (I’m nearing 1,000 photos, so it’s taken a while). In no particular order, from a few locations around Tasmania and Victoria (southern mostly). The Toora one is quite good but I took another one quite similar and it was a panorama so I put that one on flickr. These were mostly selected for flickr initially but after looking at them and working on them I decided that they probably weren’t quite up to scratch or were similar but not exactly the same as ones I chose to put on flickr.
Speaking of which, after the recent announcement that all users would be receiving one terabyte of space and the pro accounts would be discontinued or at least grandfathered with an ads-free account becoming the new paid account type, I was trying to decide whether to keep my pro account. Having looked at the updated flickr now using my account and other non-pro accounts and trying to work out what the difference is, the only difference I can see is the lack of stats (which I don’t find that important or interesting). At first I was wondering where the ads were, then I realised that I have adblock plus on, and so that “feature” (?) is irrelevant for me, so in all likelihood (with the only feature that I lose from my pro account being stats which I don’t pay much attention to) I will give up the pro account and just go with the free account. I was only paying $25 per year, and now it will be nothing, and there’s no way I would ever use up one terabyte of data.
In terms of the pictures, hope you enjoy, I’ve already pretty much given up on panoramio, so should be posting more pictures to here than before which is a good thing I think. Except that wordpress seems to choke on iphone photos (well, the portrait orientation ones any way), it is mostly more usable and nicer. Hey, no stolen pictures this post, they’re all mine. Yeah, it’s been a while, I really should try to post more, but will leave it at that for now, and see if I have anything in the works coming up.
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