Mount Mitta Mitta …

AKA Mt Mittamatite is a little over 1000 metres and has its very own web page. Dogs are welcome on a lead and fires are permitted in the fireplaces provided. Camping is possible at the summit and at Emberys Lookout. There are no bookings and no fees. There is an aircraft navigation facility on top.

The view from Emberys (above) is impressive, it is a popular launching site for the hang gliding fraternity. You have to work a bit harder for a view at the summit.

I was hoping for more mist and less cloud. I’ll have to go back.

The weather was closing in with a vengeance. Yesterday’s snow was the start of a southerly outbreak which was only going to get worse. Time to head for home.

Cabbages …

The subdued early light shows off the plumage of this heron to perfection.

White-faced Heron

Today we wake in the Lake Tyers Forest Park. Tonight we will be in Merimbula. The population density in the intervening country could easily be the lowest in coastal south east Australia. We will be passing some of my favorite places, the Croajingalong and Ben Boyd National Parks. These are denied to us today because we have the dog.

One spot than we can visit is the Cabbage Tree Flora Reserve. Baron Ferdinand Jakob Heinrich von Muller is credited with discovering this isolated pocket of palms in 1854. It is said to be the only patch in Victoria and it is the most southerly occurrence of any Australian native palm.

Livistona australis

They grow quite tall, 20+ metres, along the creek surrounded by the wet forest .

As well as being scenically splendid this place is usually a birding hot spot. Not this day, the only creatures flying around were the mosquitoes.

The next port of call was Eden, watch out for the snakes, the first place of note in New South Wales. There is an old joke about spending a week in Adelaide one Sunday, you can do it in a Saturday afternoon in Eden. It does, though, have a very fine harbour.

We arrived in Merimbula just in time to catch the sunset.

Merimbula, NSW

 

A Jaunt to the East …

Living in western Victoria there is some splendid countryside in easy reach but it’s nice occasionally to have a little variety.  My home is just on the inland side of the Great Dividing Range. Great it is, but in length rather than height. It sweeps off to the east and then heads north. Its highest point is in southeastern New South Wales at Mount Kosciuszko which stands 2,228 metres (7,310 ft) tall. From there it continues north to the tip of Cape York in Queensland. It’s total length exceeds 3,500 kilometres (2,175 miles).

Whereas my part of the world is pretty dry, the Great Dividing Range catches a lot of rain.  East of Melbourne, especially, it supports a lot of forest and that means a very different suite of birds.

I took the wife, the dog and my trusty camper trailer and spent a few days making a circuit of South East Australia.

We spent a couple of days in Melbourne at each end of the trip, in between we covered about 1400km in five days.

On day one we stopped for lunch in Sale. At a picnic spot by the lake the local avifauna consisted of an unruly mob of mostly rejected pets. They were quite happy to provide a close encounter so I sat down with a little bread and tried for a wide-angle close-up. It was hard getting them to pose nicely, their manners were appalling …

Whilst this guy was peering down at me I noticed that there were some much better behaved ducks on the water. Just a few feet away there were half a dozen Freckled Duck , not at least interested in the feeding frenzy nor all that bothered by my presence.  They are Australia’s rarest waterfowl. A photo opportunity not to be missed …

Freckled Duck

Our camp site that night would be in the Lake Tyers Forest Park. A beautiful spot where the dog is legal and so is a campfire.

There are several designated camp sites reached by Tyers House Road just east of Nowa Nowa.It was a crisp and starry night.

Kangaroo …

I woke up this morning to find a bunch of Eastern Grey Kangaroos at the back door. They were gone in a flash but I found this one again a little later and she was a little slower to flee …

Joey is getting a bit big for riding around in the pouch, the style is typically untidy. It is probably sharing the accommodation with a much smaller sibling fastened on a teat and there may be another sibling in utero in a state known as embryonic diapause.

Despite the heavy load, when it’s time to go it’s time to go …

Waterfalls on the Wannon …

I’ve been having a bit of a run around western Victoria and one of the highlights has been a visit to a couple of waterfalls on the Wannon River. They’re about 9km apart 16 km west of Hamilton and they’re well signposted off the Hamilton to Mt Gambier Road (B160). You can camp in the Wannon Falls Scenic Reserve.

The Wannon arises in the Grampians beneath Mt Abrupt and flows into the Glenelg River which reaches the sea in the far west of Victoria.

The geology of the falls is quite different. The Wannon Falls tumble over a hard lava bed between 1 and 2 million years old lying on top of softer rock. It’s a single drop of  30 metres into a plunge pool.

Wannon Falls

The Nigretta Falls tumble from shelf to shelf on much older rock (~400 million years) that is hard from top to bottom making it rather more spectacular to watch.

Nigretta Falls
Nigretta Falls