Tag: melbourne

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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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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