Tag: australia

Byaduk tumuli lava blisters

Pretty close to the Byaduk caves are a couple of tumuli or lava blisters. The tumuli look like small piles of rocks and came into existence when the lava pushed to the surface. I guess, they are tiny volcanoes. Apparently, this phenomenon is pretty rare — there are only 3 discovered sites on earth with such lava blisters. Since most of the tumuli are on private ground, they are fenced it and can only be seen from some 100 meters away. So it was not the most impressive sight on the trip, but they are sort of on the way to the south

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Byaduk lava caves

On the way from the Grampians to the coast, we stopped at the Byaduk lava caves about 20km south of Hamilton. The caves resulted from lava flowing from Mount Napier that cooled and solidified on the surface. When the lava ceased to flow underneath about 30,000 years ago, the hollow caves were left behind and eventually the thin surface crumbled and opened them up. There are two different sets of tubes of which the first one is easily accessible. It is a bit slippery on the way down, so solid footwear (and of course a torchlight) are a good idea.

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Grampians – Billimina and Manja shelters

After the excursion to the Dimboola Pink Lake, we came back to the Grampians to spend the night on the Buandik camping area. The campground is just in between two important art shelters of the Jardwadjali. The Billimina (Glenisla Shelter) is just a 15 minute walk away from the campground. The shelter looks like a huge chanterelle when you approach it. The shelter is famous for the many red ochre lines in horizontal rows. The meaning of the bars is not known, but people suggested that events or days have been counted with them. There are also some animal tracks

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Dimboola Pink Lake

About 80km north west from the Grampians lies the Dimboola Pink Lake. Very conveniently on a summer scorcher, the lake is right next to the highway and a short path of about 50 meters gets you to the salty shore. The pink color comes from a type of minute algae that generates beta carotene and leaves the pigments on the salt. The intensity of the pink color depends a lot on the current water level. The less water, the more reflects the dried salt a white light thus reducing the pink effect. It was pretty dry when we got there,

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Grampians – Mount Stapylton

After Hollow Mountain, we relocated the car to the Stapylton car park and started the ascent of Mount Stapylton. The walk is about 5km long and has some steep parts. The trail starts over a rocky but flat surface (called Flat Rock) where you have to look out for the markers a bit. After passing Hollow Mountain on the left, the track winds up the Amphitheatre along the Taipan Wall which has very impressive red parts. On the way up, you come across a beautiful rock which looks  a bit like a swan. The track becomes steeper towards the end

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Grampians – Hollow Mountain

The short but steep ascent to the Hollow Mountain in the Grampians (Gariwerd) starts from the Hollow Mountain carpark, which is also the one to visit the Gulgurn Manja shelter. The walk is just 2.2km return but you go up about 200m. A little bit of climbing is required at two steep locations, but it is very short and easy. The trail starts quite flat to the base of the mountain and then leads you up a ledge to the first plateau just below the top. Here you will come across one of the large caves which may have been the

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Grampians – Gulgurn Manja and Ngamadjidj Shelters

After the Mackenzie Falls, we made our way further west and north and stayed for the night on the Stapylton campground. We arrived in the late afternoon so there was a enough time to visit the Ngamadjidj shelter which is just a 5 minute walk away from the campground. At Ngamadjidj, there are several white figures painted beneath an overhanging rock. Ngamadjidj means white person, however, the meaning of the paintings has been lost due to the effects of the European settlement. After the walk, we pitched our tent and prepared a quick dinner. Right in time to be back

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Grampians: Reed Lookout, Balconies, and Mackenzie Falls

On the second day, we crossed the Grampians from East to West, stopping at the Reed Lookout, the Balconies, and the Mackenzie Falls along the road. The Reed Lookout offers great views both of the Northern and Southern Grampians. Since this summer was incredible hot and dry, we could see the smoke from remote bush fires from the lookout. Luckily, the Grampians were not too much affected by the fires but several campgrounds had been closed as a precaution. Also luckily, they were usually closed on the day we left them. From the Reed Lookout, its about a 10 minute

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Grampians: Pinnacle and Boroka Lookout

With our time in Melbourne coming to an end, we hit the road for the last trip towards the Grampians. It was my third time there, and also the most impressive visit since this time we made it to the northern part around Hollow Mountain and the western part with the art shelters. On our first day, we drove to Halls Gap, set up tent and went up to the Pinnacle. While the walk is not too steep, it still gets quite exhausting on a 40C summer day. We passed the Bridal Veil Falls, but only a sign reminded us

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Devonshire Tea: Making apricot jam and fresh scones

On our road trip on the Hinterland Drive in Gippsland, we met David, who runs the Fernholme campsite with a small cafe that offers his multiple-awards winning scones. The scones were indeed lovely, they were much lighter than the usual ones and almost melted on your tongue. We liked them so much, that we eventually researched the secret of such light scones. We found an interesting recipe, that lacked any butter or oil. I am unable to find it again on the Internet, but here are the ingredients 100g self-raising flour 25g caster sugar 150ml thickened cream a bit of

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Melbourne: Penguins at the St Kilda pier

One of the best things in Melbourne is that you can see penguins every night just off the pier in St Kilda. If you arrive shortly before the sunset, a huge crowd will be already on the pier. Shortly after dusk, the first birds arrive from their busy day of fishing in the sea. The volunteers around can tell you a lot about the life of the penguins and they also have red flash lights that gives you a good view of the penguins without disturbing them too much. They estimate that currently about 200 birds found their home in

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Gippsland roadtrip continued: Mushroom rocks and Toorongo Falls

After our stay in the Tarra Bulga NP, we continued inland to the Alpine National Park. One of the highlights of the park are the mushroom shaped rocks reachable by a 45 minute walk. The mushrooms are a little bit hard to find, since you walk among the huge rocks for quite a while and have to keep your eyes open to finally see them. They look indeed very much like huge, petrified mushrooms. We then stopped shortly in Walhalla, an old rebuilt gold mining town in the mountains. Honestly, it did not leave a big impression on us. Most of

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Gippsland roadtrip: Tarra Bulga and Mt Baw Baw NP

Here is the first part of our spontaneous road trip through the Gippsland Hinterland — a story of greedy possums, failed platypus spotting, and ferns in abundance. After we shortened our overnight hike at Wilsons Promontory, we had a couple of spare days and decided to keep on driving inland to the heart of Gippsland. Our first stop was the Tarra Bulga NP, a rather small park that is known for its beautiful rainforest. There are several walks in the park leading to giant mountain ash trees, prehistoric myrtle beeches, and uncountable ferns everywhere. We camped right before the park at the

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Wilsons Promontory: Vereker Lookout and Millers Landing

On the day we left Wilson’s Prom, we took the 4km gravel road just before the park exit to the trailhead of Vereker Lookout and Millers Landing. The round-trip walk going to the lookout first and then down to the landing site is pretty short, it took about 90 minutes altogether and the only uphill section is on the first part towards the lookout. The views are nice all the way along to the lookout, especially since they alternate between the east and west coast. Verekerer Lookout eventually offers a great view of the Darby Swamp. After the lookout, the

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Wombats in action around Wilsons Promontory

Here is a short compilation of my attempts to film the wombats that we happened to run into around Wilsons Promontory. I miss those cute little furry animals already!

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Wilsons Prom day hikes: Tongue Point and Mt Oberon

While we postponed our overnight hike at Wilsons Promontory a bit, I used the time to do some of the day hikes in the park. The hikes were surprisingly beautiful, even though they lack the isolated beaches of the overnight hike to the eastern coast of the park. On our first day, I hiked the trail to Tongue Point starting at the Darby River carpark. Even if you don’t have the time to hike the 2 hours return to Tongue Point, it is totally worth it to just go for the first 10 minutes. The trail leads around a mountain gaining

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Wilsons Prom revisited: Home of the wombats!

In mid January, we planned a week-long overnight hike to the beaches of Wilsons Promontory. It turned out quite different since Bettina became a bit sick just when we were about to leave. Eventually, we stayed the first couple of days in Tidal River to relax and recover, doing some of the shorter day hikes, and spotting animals. It was a great place to hang out, especially in the hours of dusk when lots of wombats came out to eat. Several of these cute animals are used to the campground and even try to get hold of the food stored

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Melbourne street art: Live action at Hosier Ln

On the way to the Share the Spirit Festival in Melbourne, we came across Hosier Lane, one of the most popular street art spots in the city. As it turned out, several street artists enjoyed the holiday to beautify the alley with a new 25 meter long piece. Among the artists were the Meggs, Rone, Wonder, The Tooth, Sofles, Roach and Numskull. Due to the holiday and the live action, the narrow lane was packed with people. Here are about 30 pictures taken at Hosier Lane with awesome graffiti, posters, stickers, installations, and much more! Picture gallery

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Watermelon harvest & Rainbow lorikeet party in the apricots

When we came back from a little trip to Wilsons Prom and the Gippsland Hinterland, we found the watermelon ripe and ready to harvest in the garden. We expected it to take much longer and feared that we would not be able to taste it. Luckily, the watermelon plant had decided to grow only one fruit and this one got ripe in time! It weighed roughly 4kg, tasted very delicious, and had lots of seeds. We ate a good kilogram instantly! Also, the apricots on the tree in the garden went ripe and were almost immediately devoured by several rainbow

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Mountain Goat Brewery: Delicious ale and an awesome tour

The Mountain Goat brewery is located in a factory district in east Richmond. Every Wednesday, they open their bar at 5pm and offer at least one free guided tour around the brewery at about 6:30pm. Taking this tour gave some great insights into the brewing scene of Melbourne. I grew very fond of the Australian beers (still remembering my first Little Creatures) and most likely the only good outcome of the high tax on alcohol is that brewing small batches of beer is a very common hobby. On my first visit to the Australia, I was amazed that you can buy

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