Road Trip – Days 1 – 3

Our road trip was planned. My wife and I hired a motor-home and we were going to use it to drive to Yeppoon on the central Queensland coast; a return journey of over four thousand kilometres with four weeks to complete our journey.

Like most plans, things can sometimes go awry. Due to a family emergency, day one found us still at home and day two was spent driving for two hours to pick up the motor home, then, what seemed like almost as much time finalizing the paperwork. So, it was late in the afternoon of day two we headed north along the Hume Freeway to start our road trip.

Day 3:

After our first night in the motor home we woke on Sunday morning to a cold frosty winter’s day. At least we had bright sunshine and beautiful blue skies.

Our motor home at Wangaratta North.

Still heading north along the Hume Freeway, we soon turned off to visit the historic gold town of Chiltern.

The Main Street of Chiltern

Chiltern is very proud of its heritage and the buildings, most built in the 19th century, are beautifully maintained. In some ways, walking around this little town was like stepping back in time. The local people were friendly and strangers in the street would smile and say, “G’day”.

Masonic Hall

The Court House – built in 1865

Side view of the Court House

Federal Standard Newspaper Office – built in 1860

Bank of Australasia – now a Tea House with fine food and hand crafts

My wife and I visited the Old Chiltern Bank Tea House (28 Conness Street, Chiltern, Victoria 3683). We were tempted to try the delicious looking cakes but resisted and just had coffee.

The new owner greeted us in a friendly manner and made us welcome. We pledged to return one day for an extended stay and both of us agreed this beautiful old bank would be the perfect place to stay as the bank residence is currently being renovated and soon to be used for accommodation.

The Old Chiltern Bank Tea House can  be contacted here:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheOldChilternBank/about/

Chiltern Vet Clinic

The above photo, now the local vet’s office, has signs that give clues to this building’s former existence – “Kodak supplies” and “Enlargements”.

 

Star Hotel – at the height of the gold rush, Chiltern had 12 hotels

The original Blacksmith Building


Doorway to the Old Blacksmith Building

Athenaeum Museum Annex

Many of the well preserved buildings of Chiltern are registered with the National Trust. So if driving the Hume Freeway in Victoria, I would highly recommend taking a short detour and visiting this historic town.

Please Note: All photographs appearing on my blog were taken by me. They are copyrighted and all rights are reserved. If you would like to purchase a print please contact me by leaving a comment below with your order and contact details. I will then get back to you.

The above photos were all taken using an iPhone 7 Plus.

Views of Lake Corangamite

Lake Corangamite, situated on the volcanic plains of western Victoria, is Australia’s largest permanent salt lake. At one stage its water was five times saltier than the ocean, however after good rains last year it is now considered to be as salty as the ocean.

Lake Corangamite

From atop Red Rock, a sleeping volcano, you over look the lake to the west. From that point there are also good views of the volcanic craters.

Lake Corangamite

Lake Corangamite

Lake Corangamite has never been dry, however, with drought conditions over the past decade or more, the water level has receded. Good rains last winter has ensured the waterline has expanded by about 100 to 200 metres.

Lake Corangamite

Lake Corangamite

Lake Corangamite

Lake Corangamite is one of nine Ramsar wetlands listed in the area. It is considered a vital part of the environment and to birdlife.

Please Note: All photographs appearing on my blog were taken by me. They are copyrighted and all rights are reserved. If you would like to purchase a print please contact me by leaving a comment below with your order and contact details. I will then get back to you.

 

After the Rain

Last year was one of our wettest winters for many years. After a decade of drought, it seemed as though Mother Nature was trying to making amends in just one winter. In my part of Australia winter is the wettest part of the year. However, as winter continued it appeared as though the rain was not going to stop.

When winter became spring (at least by the calendar) the wet and cold weather continued. Spring was disguised as winter.

But, Mother Nature made amends by giving us some of the best showings of our Australian Native trees and plants. I had never seen such displays of beauty!

One of my favourite trees, the Red Flowering Eucalyptus Tree (Corymbia ficifolia) was no exception.

Red Flowering Eucalyptus Tree

Red Flowering Eucalyptus Tree

The Red Flowering Eucalyptus Tree is native to south coastal Western Australia. These photographs were taken in the Colac Botanical Gardens, in regional Victoria. The tree does very well in this area and is also used by the local Council for streetscaping.

Red Flowering Eucalyptus Tree

Please Note: All photographs appearing on my blog were taken by me. They are copyrighted and all rights are reserved. If you would like to purchase a print please contact me by leaving a comment below with your order and contact details. I will then get back to you.

 

Birding at Jawbone Reserve

The other day I made my first visit for 2017 to Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve. I find this Reserve a good spot for birding – especially waterbirds.

On entering the Reserve, my first sighting was the juvenile Black Swans (Cygnus atratus) sleeping in the reeds. There was a strong cool breeze blowing and the reeds gave them protection.

Black Swan

Black Swan

Most of the birds were inactive, the Pied Cormorants (Phalacrocorax varius) were busy preening while others were content to look on.

Pied Cormorant

Pied Cormorant

Pied Cormorant

If travelling to Melbourne I can highly recommend a visit to Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve.

Please Note: All photographs appearing on my blog were taken by me. They are copyrighted and all rights are reserved. If you would like to purchase a print please contact me by leaving a comment below with your order and contact details. I will then get back to you.

 

Sunset at Lake Corangamite

The following photographs were taken last night. It was four nights into the new year, and the signs were there that we could be in for a good sunset.Clouds are an integral part of sunset.

No1 – Golden Clouds

Lake Corangamite

I arrived about an hour before sunset. With the sun still above the horizon it gave the clouds a beautiful golden glow.

No2 – Changing cloud formation

Lake Corangamite

When the sun disappeared below the horizon, the formation of the clouds changed.

No3 – The colour show

Lake Corangamite

We all know that the real show starts well after the sun has left the stage.

Please Note: All photographs appearing on my blog were taken by me. They are copyrighted and all rights are reserved. If you would like to purchase a print please contact me by leaving a comment below with your order and contact details. I will then get back to you.

 

2016 -Coming to an End

2016 is fast coming to an end. I thought it might be interesting to share with you some photographs I snapped over the course of the year.

There is no rhyme or reason to these images, they are more a pictorial diary of my year.

City Skyline

No1 – The city skyline of Melbourne.

During the school holidays I was called upon to look after two of my grandchildren. I snapped this shot from the waterfront at Williamstown, looking across Hobson”s Bay, while we were talking an evening walk.

Murray Street Bridge

No2 – Barongarook Creek Bridge.

I had seen a 19th century postcard taken from almost the same spot I stood to take this photograph. It was my intention to attempt emulating his work.

The postcard photographer would have been standing in the middle of what is now the Princes Highway. There were two reasons I chose to stand on the footpath to take my shot. The first is the busyness of the highway (the main carriageway in and out of Colac) and the tree to the left of the bridge would have blocked out the old Post Office and the old Shire Hall.

Lake Bullen Merri

No3 – Lake Bullen Merri.

This lake is near Camperdown, a small town near where I live. Though reasonably close to my home, I had not visited the area for sometime.

Sunrise Memorial Square

No4 – Memorial Square.

This Memorial is situated on the main street of Colac, near where I live.

Otway Range

No5 – Otway Ranges

The seaside town of Apollo Bay sits at the foot of the range of mountains simply known as the Otways. Here the houses seemed to be dwarfed by the mountains behind them.

Lake Colac

Lake Colac

Lake Colac

Lake Colac

No6,7,8,9 – Lake Colac.

By the autumn of 2016 the lake had almost dried up. No decent rain had fallen for a couple of years and it seemed that Lake Colac would dry up completely for only the second or third time since European occupation.

Lake Colac

No10 – Lake Colac.

However winter and spring gave us some of our wettest months for a long time. And, though far from being full, it, at least, looks like a lake again.

Prince of Wales Hotel

No11 – The old Prince of Wales Inn.

The bridge in the foreground of this photograph was washed away by rushing water after a deluge that lasted all one night and most of the next day.

Storm Front

No12 – Storm Front.

I took this photograph from my front verandah. Just minutes after I clicked the shutter, the heavens opened up and I watched nature at her most fierce. I spent the next few hours in darkness as the electricity failed.

Please Note: All photographs appearing on my blog were taken by me. They are copyrighted and all rights are reserved. If you would like to purchase a print please contact me by leaving a comment below with your order and contact details. I will then get back to you.

 

 

Crested Terns

The following photographs are of Crested Terns (Thalasseus bergii).

These birds are about 43 – 48 centimetres in length; they have a yellow bill and white body with black on top of the head, and when breeding will have a black crest. Their wings are grey.

Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii) gather on the jetty at  Anglesea River in Victoria, Australia.

Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii) gather on the jetty at the
Anglesea River in Victoria, Australia.

Crested Terns begin breeding when about two years old. The breeding season in eastern and southern Australia is usually from September to January; clutches consist of two eggs. They are native to Australia and are carnivores. They will be found in coastal bays and inlets, lakes and large rivers.

They were once known as “sea-swallows” because of their forked tails and graceful flight patterns. Their conservation status is considered secure however in Victoria they are “near threatened”.

Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii)

Crested Tern
(Thalasseus bergii)

Terns are related to gulls however have more pointed bills and slender wings. Juvenile birds are distinguishable by their greenish-yellow bill. They are similar to non-breeding adults but their black cap extends like a collar to the throat sides. They will have a black shoulder and their upper parts are variegated; dark grey and white.

Incoming Crested Tern, (Thalasseus bergii) at the Anglesea River.

Incoming Crested Tern,
(Thalasseus bergii) at the Anglesea River.

Please Note: All photographs appearing on my blog were taken by me. They are copyrighted and all rights are reserved. If you would like to purchase a print please contact me by leaving a comment below with your order and contact details. I will then get back to you.