Friday, 18 November 2016

Frog Serenades ...

It was a glorious day yesterday - far too nice to stay at home, so we went out! Our original plan had us lunching at Lake Bolac but given our late start, relaxed pace and school pick-up deadline we opted for Plan B along the way.

Plan B meant we looped around from Skipton to Ballarat via some back-roads, in search of Mount Emu.

We weren't quite sure we'd found Mount Emu, until we went back today with GPS assistance!

Mount seems a rather grand title but we liked the rather pretty hill - both days!

We were a lot better organised this morning, so made an earlier start (in spite of grey skies). After picking up provisions in Ballarat, we had a quick break at Jubilee Park in Skipton (spotted yesterday and noted for future reference).

Bandit enjoyed a short walk around the lake, as did we.

Lake Bolac is about 50km further west of Skipton and we arrived in good time for lunch.  As much as we liked the look of old gums by the water's edge, we were amazed by the size and number of mozzies living in the vegetation beneath them, so chose a better lunch spot.

Some of our outings are prompted by things we see on earlier explorations and we made a few mental notes today. I've already started researching for another day-trip.

We got back to Vaughan's school just in time - and then bought a few items for an early sausage sizzle dinner at our local reservoir.  Many froggies were singing as we cooked and ate - and I realised we had enjoyed morning tea, lunch and dinner all with frog serenades!  How good is that?!  After dinner, Vaughan caught a sleek skink - and we spotted an echidna on the way home too. Gotta be happy with a great day out!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Monumental Day Out!

Back in May, we enjoyed a day exploring. We'd already visited Quartz Mountain when we called into the tourist centre at Maryborough.

The volunteer there gave us some more detailed directions to the Aboriginal Rock Wells, which we appreciated.

While chatting at the centre, I spotted an information sheet about an Aboriginal Shelter Tree but we would have needed to back-track almost to Quartz Mountain to see it, so elected to visit another day.

Our departure today was a lot later than usual and after some quick discussion we started driving to Maryborough, hoping to find at least some sunshine.

Along the way, we detoured slightly to see the magnificent "Maternity Tree" - it was just wonderful, well worth visiting!

From there we went to Dunolly, where the main street has a Welcome Stranger monument.

We had a very late sausage sizzle in a nearby park before heading further to the Moliagul site where the Welcome Stranger nugget was found.  It was a day of monuments. A few metres from the public toilets at Moliagul is a monument to John Flynn, founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  We've had some experience of the Flying Doctor Service at Yowah, so we stopped to read the plaques at that monument also.

Because of our mid-afternoon start, it was late when we were heading home.  We called in to the Goldfields Reservoir at Maryborough for hot beverages and snacks. The wind was strong (and icy) so I shifted the stove into a sheltered area beneath the table - and sat inside a similar compartment myself!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Lake Goldsmith (not Beaufort)?!

Earlier in the year, we dined by Lake Beaufort as the sun set.  Actually it is more accurate to say we sat with a view of the large puddle that had been the lake!

Although there are many references to Lake Beaufort online - my map of Victoria refers to the same body of water as Lake Goldsmith. 

Actually, no - during further explorations, we drove past Lake Goldsmith and it is definitely quite separate to Beaufort.  There were a few houses nearby and a very interesting park (with gypsy wagons), the site of an annual steam rally.  We've just missed this year's event and won't be local in 2017.

Vaughan was at school when Nick, Erin and I headed out for drive with Bandit.  We picnicked in a roadside rest area but found ourselves near Beaufort a bit later in the day, so called past the lake to see it as it should be.  There were many, many happy froggies singing their appreciation of all the water!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Forest Feast Festivities

Erin didn't fancy an elaborate birthday dinner.  She really just wanted a camp oven dinner in the forest - specifically our adaptation of butter chicken, which is actually butter pork (first made during our Kwiambal trip).

There's a pic of a thermal cooked version cheffed when we visited Ironfest in 2012. You can see the added butter and cannellini beans, plus extra vegies.

The weather was amazingly variable throughout the day. There was blue sky, rain, wind and even hail!  We decided to keep preparing and packed a gazebo to set up on-site over one of the existing picnic tables.

Once at the reserve, Erin and Vaughan set up Elmer's awning.  When it was last used, one of the side poles was bent but is still functional (though hopefully will be replaced soon).  You can see Nick lighting our latest acquisition, a new Coleman Northstar Dual Fuel Lantern bought at the most terrific bargain price, due to it being used as a demonstration model. Our original dual fuel lantern was purchased in 2009 for our first camping trip and has served us very well since.  It hasn't been functioning to it's usual high standard though (and neither has our original dual fuel stove, also from 2009) but in chatting to the salesman, he offered the solution - and service kits for both items are to be purchased in the near future when stock becomes available.

What of Erin's camp oven feast?  The fact that there are no photos of the finished dish prove how great it was - and how hungry we were!  (I'd cooked rice in the thermal cooker before leaving and it was pretty good too).  The cake was lovely and the birthday song was sung with great gusto, particularly by Bandit! Erin declared the night wonderful - and it was.  There was even a wombat sighting as we chatted by the fire.  It doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Lake Learmonth

We'd visited Lake Learmonth in March, at the end of a very full day of exploring.

I was surprised at the lake's dryness on that occasion but my research later indicated there had been very little water since 1996!

Given all the recent rain (and flooding) I roused the troops for an after-school visit to see the lake again - with water.  Wow!

I took a series of compare/contrast shots, to show the difference between our two visits.

I turned down a different road to get to the lake-side, so we made a quick stop to admire these bird sculptures.

I particularly liked the balancing ibis. How neat are they?!

Nick set up our small dual fuel stove to boil the kettle for afternoon tea. (The rest of our picnic was set up on a different table and we sat there, just to be safe)!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

First-aid ...

At some stage since our move to caravan living, we decided it was easier to take our dual fuel stove with us to boil a kettle/billy, rather than filling our thermoses before departure.

In more recent times our original dual fuel stove hasn't been working as well as it used to.  (It was purchased in very early 2009, so has done good work over the years).

I wasn't prepared to retire the original but thought we could use a small version for our day-trips, while we decided how to re-tune the larger stove.

Although Nick and Erin had tested the new stove while Vaughan and I were in WA, I was keen to see it in action once home again.

We found ourselves at Mount Franklin the day after Vaughan and I returned to Victoria.  We had a picnic lunch followed by a round of hot beverages, before setting off for a walk up the crater.  Tanya rang when we were at the top, to announce that she and Brett had eloped!  We chatted for a while before heading back down to Elmer - and decided another round of drinks was in order.

I'm not quite sure what went wrong but the billy slipped off the stove and spilled boiling water across the table.  Some splashed on Erin but as Vaughan was closest, it wet his leg.  He stripped off his track-pants and Nick applied some cold water but Vaughan then said he was ok and pulled his pants back up.  There was a bit of drama before his pants were removed and more water was applied - due to Vaughan being anti even semi-nakedness anywhere, let alone a public space!

We probably tipped 12-plus litres of very cold water over the knee, with many trips back to the tank to refill our bottles.  The local hospital was 15 mins away so after ringing, we drove there.  They checked Vaughan's leg and said we'd done the right thing.  (They advised water should be tepid not cold but we used what was on-site). A gel infused pad was applied and held in place with a bandage - which did very good work overnight (and the skin healed fully after a few days).

Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Pinnacles!

Vaughan and I had some wonderful adventures with Nissa - and visiting The Pinnacles was a definite highlight!

We stayed in Freemantle, so the drive up to The Pinnacles was just under 250 km.

Nissa drove a lot of the way, which meant I could take pics and watch for wildflowers.  I was really impressed by the huge areas of grass trees - and of course, driving along the Indian Ocean.  Stunning!

The Pinnacles were awesome! I'm so glad we saw them - just magic!

Nissa and I spent some time in the Discovery Centre before re-joining Vaughan (who had wandered off to a viewing platform).

It is possible to go bush walking in the area but we chose to drive the one-way track, stopping off at various bays to walk short distances and view the formations more closely (some of which are close to five metres high)!  We would have stayed longer but had packed a sausage sizzle lunch, so needed to head further afield to find a BBQ as we were all very much in need of sustenance!