Just some stuff I want to share with you

Posts in category Australia 2009

Well I have taken some time of to see a lot of the smallest continent, which seems rather big to me.

Heading west

I left Melbourne on my way to Adelaide. It’s going to take about 6 days to get there and on today I will drive to Apollo Bay. Today I will start to drive on the so called Great Ocean Road. But before I get there, I first need to get out of Melbourne. And that wasn’t easy. Again, Tom Tom failed to help me and the local road works didn’t help either. After quite some time, I managed to get out and to get on the right track.

Well, after quite some time I got to the south coast. And one of my first stops was at Bells Beach, a known name for anyone who is into surfing. For all the others: click on this link

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This was one of many stops today. The scenery is just too nice to go on without stopping every now and then. Here’s an impression:

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And for those who don’t know where they are:

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It’s difficult to show how this road looks like. But I’ll try anyway. Have a look at these:

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All this stopping resulted in me arriving after sunset at Apollo Bay. It was a nice drive out here. I will stay two nights here before I will go on to the next part of the Great Ocean Road. More on that later.

The track of today:

Friday 1 May 2009

Back on the big island

Well, if you have looked at the dates of the previous posts you probably have found that the blog is way behind by now. It’s been quite difficult to keep it up to date and over the last week or so I just couldn’t keep up. There were just too many days without Internet access or I just ran out of time doing all sorts of holiday-thingies. In order to get back in sync, I will make the next few posts quite brief.

Wednesday 29 April I left Tasmania and flew to Melbourne. I planned this stop in Melbourne to prepare for the next part of my holiday: driving to Adelaide. So it’s all about washing, doing some shopping and find out what’s interesting along my route for the next days. Well, the best source for the last part was the visitor information centre here in Melbourne. They provided me with lots of maps and leaflets of things to do and see.

I stayed 2 days in Melbourne and saw only a small part of the city. I will be back here in just over 2 weeks and by then I will have a better look at this place. I will not include pictures in this post, since that’s quite time consuming. Just follow this link and this one. They will bring you to the pictures I took during my stay in Melbourne.

Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 April 2009

A long drive

Today I will have to drive back to Hobart. It’s going to be a long day, since there’s a long and winding road between Strahan and Hobart. The day started great and I had to go back to Strahan harbor to take the pictures I couldn’t take yesterday anymore. It’s already quite busy here; there’s a boat leaving for a cruise on the river and some people have booked a nice flight over this area. That must be good fun, since there’s no wind and the cloud level is quite high.

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After all those pictures it was time to leave this place. And as I said before: it’s a long and windy road. Initially it’s more or less like yesterday; trees on both sides. The difference: it’s going up and down and constantly turning.

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And again, there are some “scenic lookout” signs and therefore I have to stop and fill my memory card with images like this:

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Hey, that’s a familiar image… On short final for runway 09.

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Then I get closer to Queenstown. This place is famous and not for good things. As a result of the copper mining here there’s substantial damage to the environment. At a lot of places the trees are gone and nothing will grow here anymore. But let’s start by (hey what a surprise) go up to a local lookout.

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It’s quite a town here. Then along my way the first signs of the mining and the results became visible.

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As I mentioned in previous posts, this country is big. And Tasmania is no different. For today this results in the following info from Bloke and Sheila: turn right after 222 kilometers.

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Well, I did some homework before I left Strahan. And I found out that I need to stop a certain points along my route today. And this is the first one: Nelson Falls. It’s massive…

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Back on the road, the scenery changes. I have reached a plateau after going up and down for the last few hours. And these are the new views.

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Next planned stop: Donaghys Hill.

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Some more snow on my way.

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After this I got to Derwent Bridge; just a few houses, a pub and a gas station on this road to Hobart. But it is also the home of “The Wall in the wilderness”. Unfortunately you can’t take pictures inside the building, but believe me, this is worth stopping for.

A few more nice shots on my way from Derwent Bridge on to Tarraleah.

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Then I run into the hydro electric power stations here. Most of the electrical power on this island is generated by this type of stations. So, what do you need? Well in reverse order: a power station, a lot of pipes to transport water from a high lever to the power station, a reservoir with the water and in this case: canals to transport the water to the reservoir. And all the pictures you see are from the Tarraleah hydro power station.

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By now it was getting late and this road goes on and on and on. Therefore I decided to switch from tourist mode into driver mode. I wanted to make sure that I still had some time in Hobart to pack my suitcase again and being well prepared for the flight to Melbourne tomorrow. No more pictures from here on and that’s not a bad thing; it’s not that interesting anymore along this road till you get closer to New Norfolk. But by then it was getting dark and that would not result in good shots.

It’s been a long drive, but it was beautiful. Now it’s time to leave this island and go for the bigger one that’s a bit more to the north…

The track of today:

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Away from the mountains, on to the coast

Yesterday I had all sorts of weather. Blue skies, snow, rain and wind. Last night it rained and while I was sleeping it must have snowed again…

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Therefore I drove back to the car parks this morning to take some more pictures of the mountains hoping they were white on top. And they were.

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Time to leave this place and head on to the west coast. The route isn’t that exciting. Long roads with trees on both sides. And it goes on and on and on. So when I noticed a “scenic lookout” sign, I deviated and stressed Tom Tom again. I ended up at this dam.

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And then it started to rain again. It’s a strange day today. From here the views aren’t getting better. It’s a boring drive to Strahan.

As I got more or less into Strahan, there was another lookout sign. It took me over a long dirt road and eventually I ended up in the middle of nowhere. There’s a camping site here, but it doesn’t look that good. It’s probably the combination of the poor weather and the fact that the season is over. There’s nobody and nothing here. But then, it allowed me to take a picture of the famous lighthouse…

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After all that it was time to move on to Strahan. By the time I got there it was already getting dark. I noticed quite some people walking around the harbor and they were obviously not locals. This place is all about tourism. There are all sorts of cruises and other day trips you can book here. Well, the day is over again. It wasn’t the best day I must say. Again, it’s probably the combination of the not that inspiring route and the poor weather. Well, you can’t have fun every day…

The track of today:

Monday 27 April 2009

Walking, walking and walking

Guess what I did today. Yep you are right: I did a whole lot of walking.

The weather is not too bad this morning. It’s dry, about 10 degrees and the wind is quite strong which makes it really cold. But by adding enough layers of insulation, that problem can be solved. At 9.00 the visitor centre opens and the weather forecast for today is available. It’s as clear as my coffee. It can rain, it can snow, there’s going to be a lot of wind. Okay… Let’s just start walking and when the weather gets bad, I can always turn around.

Based on the information I got from the visitor centre yesterday I will start at the Ronny Creek car park, walk to the Crater Lake, then to Marions Lookout and go to the Dove Lake car park via Wombat Pool and Lake Lilla. This should keep me going for about 3.5 hours and should show me all the high lights of this place.

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As you can see, the first part of the track is a nicely build boardwalk. It’s good to get going and the views are pleasant as well.

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Further on the track you will get more trees, it’s getting a bit steeper and there are some nice small waterfalls.

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The next part of the track will take you above the trees and gives a great overview of the area you have gone through. The colors are fabulous.

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After about 45 minutes I got to Crater Lake. The colors are fantastic. I met some people that come here every year especially during fall because of the colors and the fact that by then there are not too many visitors.

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After a bit more climbing I got to Wombat Peak. From here you have an overview of Crater Lake and you can already see Wombat Pool, Lake Lilla and Dove Lake.

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Now it’s time to get up to Marions Lookout. This is not a nice boardwalk; it’s a steep climb and by now the wind is making it very cold. But up there the views are really good.

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By now there are some clouds coming in; the bad weather is on its way. When I leave Marions Lookout, it’s starting to snow. Yes really: snow. You know: the icy wet stuff. Looks like rain, but isn’t…

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By the time I got to Wombat Pool, the snowing stopped. It’s raining now… This limits the possibilities to take pictures, since my camera is not waterproof and the combination of the wind and the rain doesn’t help either.

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On to Lake Lilla. I am going downhill again and on my way I see more and more trees and bushes coming back into the scenery. After some quick shots at Like Lilla it was time to move on. It’s stopped raining and now it started to RAIN… By the time I got to the car, the temperature dropped to 2 degrees… Well it is 13.00 therefore lunch time.

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The first walking track of today:

After lunch the weather improved. The rain stopped and there was even some sunshine. I got back in the car to drive to the Dove Lake car park. On my way I noticed that some mountaintops were white now…

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It was cold (about 2 degrees) and the wind was much stronger, making it unpleasant out there. But I still had the Dove Lake track on my to do list. I didn’t trust the weather. There were some more clouds building up between the mountain tops. Therefore I thought to wait a bit and see what the weather was going to do. In the meantime I walked to the boat shed of Dove Lake and took some pictures here.

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Then I started to walk back to the start of the Dove Lake track and just wandered up it for about 15 minutes. The weather couldn’t decide. There was sun, the wind was still strong and cold but by now it was dry. I decided to just go for it.

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After 45 minutes it started to rain again. But by now I was walking on a part of the track that was covered by a lot of trees. “Rain Forrest” they call it and today it was absolutely correct.

The rain wasn’t too bad and by now I was at a point where there was hardly any wind. So although it was wet, it wasn’t that cold anymore.

Some impressions further on the track.

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After that it was a nice walk back to the car park. The rainfall was increasing and there were more clouds coming in. So it was time to get a move on.

By the time I got to the car park it wasn’t very pleasant out there anymore.

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There’s only one road in and out of the park. Therefore on my way back to the lodge I passed the Ronny Creek car park where I started this morning. Here are the before and after views.

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The second walking track of today:

Although it looks like I have walked up to Lake Hanson, that’s not the case. It’s just a glitch in the GPS recording. I could try to find the one wrong coordinate, but it’s too much work. So just ignore this little side step…

All in all I have been walking for just over 5 hours I guess and I enjoyed the scenery. Looking back I would rank the parks I have visited like this:

  1. Blue Mountains; here you have it all. You can go for some real bush walks or just be a tourist. There are a lot of tracks out there ranging from easy to extremely difficult.
  2. Cradle Mountain; it’s more limited then Blue Mountains. There are fewer tracks for the average tourist and there are for sure no other things to do out here. It does offer some real extreme walks for those that want to go for several days.
  3. Freycinet National Park; this is more a holiday paradise. It needs sun and a lot of people. There are beaches and there are some walks. It’s more the place you would visit to relax I think.

That’s it for Cradle Mountain. Tomorrow I will leave this place and head to the west coast; to Strahan to be precise.

Sunday 26 April 2009