Tag: australia

Ormiston Gorge

The final stop on our trip along the West MacDonnell Ranges was Ormiston Gorge. The Gorge is another beautiful gap in the ranges with a permanent water hole big enough for swimming and a nice camp site next to it. It feels a little bit like Ellery Creek but there are fewer people and it has the Ormiston Pound walking track is a round trip that takes you in about 3 hours around the Western elevation along the Ghost Gum Lookout and back through the gorge. The track provides many good viewpoints of the gorge and the Ghost Gum Lookout

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Ochre Pits

After our stay at the Ellery Creek Big Hole, we went on to visit the Ochre Pits further west. The colorful ochre outcrop is an important and cultural very significant place since ochre was used on a daily basis and from this rich source it was traded over the whole continent. The pits are just a short walk away from the car park. The about 3 meter high ochre walls are featured with a colorful wave pattern turning gradually from dark purple to light yellow and back again. This was definitely our favorite spot in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Picture gallery

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Ellery Creek Big Hole

After the stop at Simpsons Gap, we drove on to Ellery Creek looking forward to a cooling swim in the summer heat. The water was surprisingly cold but very refreshing. It was very nice to swim all the way through the Chasm. In the late afternoon, we started the Dolomite Loop Walk, a 3 km round trip around the hilltops with beautiful views of the landscape. After the hike, we started to set up camp and turned on the BBQ. The camp site was again almost empty, only one guy who was moving from West Australia to Melbourne stayed overnight.

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Simpsons Gap

After spending most of a day and a night in a swimming pool in Alice Springs, we started the second part of the trip to explore the West MacDonnell ranges. Simpsons Gap is one of the first sights when starting the trip from Alice Springs. There is a waterhole in the middle of the gap which does not carry a lot of water in summer. The No Swimming signs seemed a bit out of place at this time. Being so close to Alice Springs, it can become quiet a busy place. Eventually, we found the gaps and creeks further away (Ellery

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Arltunga – Abandoned gold mining town

The last item on the agenda for the East MacDonnell ranges was the abandoned gold mining town of Arltunga. This was the official first township of the European settlement in central Australia. It was about 600 km from the nearest settlement away and the trip took at least a week in the old days. The gold rush that lead to the township happened around the year 1900 and did not last very long. There is not much left of Arltunga, there is a museum with a one room exhibit about the history of the place plus lots of miners equipment that

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Perentie dreaming site

On the way to Trephina Gorge, we passed a significant site of the Perentie Dreaming. The rock narrow rock is very impressive, it reminded me a lot of the rock formations in the Warrumbungle NP in NSW. There is a short trail around the rock and there is not much else to see. Definitely worth the stop on the way along the East MacDonnell ranges. Picture gallery

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Trephina Gorge

Trephina Gorge is located in the East MacDonnell Ranges. There is a campsite close to the gorge and a walking trail that takes you around the gorge in roughly 90 minutes. The red cliffs on either side of the gorge are very impressive as well as the views into the country. The camp site was completely empty, the only sign of action was the posted weather forecast (next days all in the forties..). We had a good time though – we arrived in the afternoon and went on the trail just before sunset. Another good thing along the way is

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A trip to the Red Centre

At the end of the six months in Victoria, we decided to go on a trip to the Outback right in the middle of summer. We had a great but very exhausting time with most days over 40°C. Our rental car with the AC quickly became one of our most favorite places during the day and there were a couple of things we learned right away. First, it is obviously incredible hot almost all the time. It is easy to drink a lot of water so stocking up right away after arrival was a very important thing to do. We usually drank

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Melbourne street art: Blenders Laneway

Here are some pictures taken in the alley next to the Blender Studios in February 2013. The alley is still covered with lots of beautiful paintings, posters, graffiti, stickers, and even some installations. Here is nice temporary one. I assume the paintings change frequently over time with people trying to fill out the few remaining open spots on the walls. It would be great to come back anytime soon! Picture gallery

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Platypus scouting at Lake Elizabeth

The last stop on our road trip from the Grampians (Gariwerd) to the Great Ocean Road was a very special one. Since the failed platypus scouting in Gippsland, we still had some unfinished business and several travelers along the way told us, that the chances to spot a platypus (or two) would be at least realistic at Lake Elizabeth. The lake itself is fairly new – after heavy rain in 1952, a landslide blocked the East Barwon River and when the surprised folks living nearby went to discover why the water stopped flowing, they found a brand new lake. For

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Koalas at Kennett River

The dozen houses that make up Kennett River are located between Lorne and Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road. This is another sure spot to see a bunch of koalas, so quite a lot of people take a break here on the way to the Apostles. Right across the road of the Koala Cafe, there are a couple of gum trees with koalas doing what they can do best – eating and sleeping. There is also a good chance that parrots and rosellas are hanging out in the trees, waiting for snacks from the visitors. What’s special about this

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Triplet Falls walk

When we started the walk to the Triplet Falls in the Great Otway National Park, we were not expecting too much since it has not rained for a couple of weeks. Indeed, it took us some time to make out the three different streams of the falls. In the photo, the center fall is a bit hidden behind the trees. The walk itself is very pleasant and takes about 1 hour round trip. It has some steep parts which are a bit slippery when it is wet. As a nice extra, you will find a rusty logging boiler and an

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Camping at Blanket Bay

Going east on the Great Ocean Road, we spent a great night at the Blanket Bay campsite in the Great Otway NP. I tried staying there twice before, but there are only about 20 campsites and they were already full both times. This time we had more luck and it proved to be one of the best camping experiences on the trip. We arrived in the late afternoon, after spending a good time with koala watching along the Lighthouse Road. While we pitched the tent, a young koala was walking around the campsite and spent a couple of minutes on a

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Koalas at Lighthouse Rd

Going down the Lighthouse Road from the Great Ocean Road to Cape Otway provides many good spots to see some koalas up in the trees. I would say it is impossible to not see any koalas on this road. We ended up parking the car a couple of times to walk around and look out for them. They are usually quite high up in the trees, so pack some binoculars if you have them around. We were lucky to see a mother koala climbing in the tree with a young one. We also saw a hungry koala enjoying the eucalypt

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Twelve Apostles viewing platform

Here are some photos taken from the viewing platform next to the visitor center. We happened to pass this place twice about two weeks apart. Luckily, we had a sunny day and a cloudy one. Since it was summer, it was more enjoyable to hang out on the cloudy day. Especially the beautiful orange colors of the cliffs are more intense in the cloudy daylight. This spot must be the second most crowded place in Victoria after Melbourne downtown. Picture gallery

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Twelve Apostles at sunset

We pitched our tent in Port Campbell for the night and then headed out to the Twelve Apostles for the sunset. It’s a nice experience to go down to the beach at Gibson Steps since it makes you grasp the Apostles’ size much better than by looking at them from above. Also, there are far fewer people around than in the daytime, which makes the visit much more quiet. Here are some pictures from the stroll on the beach between the Gibson Steps and the viewing platform for the Apostles. Picture gallery

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Great Ocean Road – Western part

Coming from Childers Cove, we joined the Great Ocean Road east towards Peterborough and Port Campbell. There are several viewpoints with short hikes just off the road. The coastline features steep cliffs and there are quite a few Apostles scattered along the shore. Here is the view of the Bay of Islands. Between Peterborough and Port Campbell is the turnoff towards the Grotto, a small inlet that ends just beyond an natural rock arch. Past the main view point lies the Loch Ard Gorge, where the waves are calmed by the long gorge and eventually hit a sheltered sand beach.

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Swimming at Childers Cove

After watching the wildlife at the Tower Hill Reserve, we made our way further east to the beaches of Childers Cove. There are two beaches pretty close by and both are stunningly half moon shaped and swimming is thus a bit protected from the open sea. The place has the big advantage that it is a bit off the main track to Warrnambool, the Great Ocean Road, and the last few kilometers are on a gravel road. It is pretty popular with the locals, but you will not find the GOR tour buses here. Lucky for us, we were the

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Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve

On the way to the Great Ocean Road we made a stop at the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve just a few kilometers east of Port Fairy. The reserve offers a couple of hiking trails around an inactive volcano and there is a good chance to get really close to several animals. There is an information center that has great coffee so we took some and scouted for koalas on the nearby meadow packed with gum trees and picnic tables. It was the only time, that we walked around just with our sandals since the heat reached 40C again and we did

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Budj Bim (Mount Eccles) NP

Back to Australia, after exploring the Badyuk caves and the tumulis we had one more volcanic adventure on the list before driving down to the south coast in Victoria. The Budj Bim NP was highlighted in our guide book as being a hot spot for koalas. Also, the history of the landscape and its importance to the original owners, the Gunditjmara people, is very interesting. As with the last spots we visited on the road trip, the volcanic eruptions of Mt Eccles had a large impact on the area. Rivers and streams were blocked and turned the area into a swamp

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