While out walking in Melbourne’s western bayside suburbs today, I spotted these enterprising lads, who obviously decided to take the short cut from Altona across to St Kilda. Hope they packed their snorkels! I opted for the longer route, and took in a fine 8km stretch of the Williamstown to Altona Foreshore Trail, a shared cycle/walk path which winds along the coastline from Williamstown Beach across to the fabulous off-leash PA Burns coastal reserve in Seaholme. While the Foreshore Trail itself is on-leash for dogs, (it runs parallel to the Jawbone Conservation area), the parks at either end of the walk are both off-leash, so plenty of exercise for everyone – particularly those whose dogs like a good run (or in the case of these kids, swim) beside the bike.
Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category
Posted in Art, Bellarine Peninsula, History, Otway Ranges, Uncategorized, Wales, Wildlife, tagged Altona, beaches, bicycles, cycle paths, dog beaches, dogs, Foreshore Trail, Melbourne, Port Phillip Bay, Travel, walking with dogs, walks, Williamstown on 04/01/2013 | Leave a Comment »
OK, so strictly speaking, this has nothing whatsoever to do with walks – well, except that I was walking past my post-box this morning, when I saw that I had an unusual delivery and couldn’t resist taking this photo. A tiny adult ring-tail possum (about the size of a man’s fist) had taken up residence and curled up inside for it’s daytime nap! It seemed most content for the whole day, opening its big boggly eyes at me each time I went past, and grooming itself contentedly in between snoozes (they’re nocturnal) but showing no signs of wanting to decamp, even when the postie delivered the mail mid-afternoon!
Posted in Birdwatching, dog parks, Dogs, Melbourne, Places to Visit, Travel, Walking with Children, Walks, Walks with dogs, Wildlife, tagged boathouses, bushwalking, dogs, Melbourne, Travel, walking, walking in Melbourne, walking with dogs, walks, Yarra River, Yarra River Trail on 08/28/2012 | Leave a Comment »
There were once 7 historic boathouses lining the banks of the Yarra River – popular in Melbourne’s Victorian and Edwardian eras, when people took their pleasure most seriously with days out for genteel boating and cream teas by the river. There are still two magnificent boathouses left on the Yarra today, and even more pleasingly, they are surrounded by wonderful riverside walks along this beautiful green corridor through the heart of Melbourne. In some parts of Yarra Bend and Fairfield Parks you can feel a hundred miles from the city, surrounded by remnant river gums, native grasslands and beautiful escarpments, though the hum of traffic is always in the background. Probably the best way to take it all in is to take the riverside walk all the way from Fairfield Park Boathouse to Studley Park Boathouse, some 10 kilometres away, crossing the pipe bridge in front of Fairfield Boathouse and turning right beside the river to walk beneath the Eastern Freeway overpass, past the beautiful Bellbird Picnic area and around Yarra Bend to end up at Studley Park Boathouse.
Public transport isn’t great here, so either do it as a return walk (20km) or a full day circuit by crossing the river again at Studley Park boathouse and continuing left along the river, turning right at Dight Falls to follow alongside Merri Creek, and right again to follow the main Yarra Trail back towards the Pipe Bridge and boathouse. Alternatively, arrange for a car shuttle, but make sure you include time for a bit of boating on the river and definitely a cream tea at either end! A fantastic spring walk full of bush, wattle and birdlife – smack in the middle of the city. Dogs are fine on this walk, and there is plenty for them to smell along the way, though they must be on lead and keep an eye out for speeding mountain bikers!
Posted in Bushwalking, Dogs, Great Ocean Road, Otway Ranges, Places to Visit, Travel, Walks, Walks with dogs, Wildlife, tagged bushwalking, Great Ocean Road, Lake Elizabeth, Lakes, playpus, rainforest, Travel, tree ferns, walking, walking with dogs on 07/10/2012 | 7 Comments »
The circuit walk around Lake Elizabeth, just outside of Forrest, is like descending into some forgotten prehistoric forest. Formed in 1952 after a massive landslide dammed the East Barwon River, this newly-formed natural lake was undiscovered until an expeditionary team was sent in to find out why the river had stopped flowing. It is estimated that the lake originally held more than 1000 million litres of water, and those living downstream were understandably a little nervous! The dirt road down to the start of the walk takes you through towering eucalypt forests and then descends into wet tree-fern lined gullies. From the car park, you climb steadily beside the river and then down into the valley that hides this peaceful lake, which is home to shy platypus. The circuit walk takes you along the shoreline, past a small ‘beach’, underneath towering tree ferns and extravagant mosses, across duckboards through the reeds at the northern end and back again, with wonderful views across the pristine lake along the way. Dogs are allowed, as long as they remain on lead, though if you want a chance of spotting a platypus, I’d suggest leaving them at home, and timing your walk for dawn or just before dusk – you can also take guided canoe trips on the lake to get up close and personal with the wildlife. Regardless of the time of day though, and whether you decide to walk or paddle, it’s a very special place.
Posted in Bushwalking, Coastal Walks, Dogs, Great Ocean Road, Places to Visit, Travel, Uncategorized, Walking with Children, Walks, Walks with dogs, Wildlife, tagged Bushwalks, Great Ocean Road, humpback whales, National Parks, Otway Ranges, Separation Creek, walking, walking with dogs, whales, Wye River on 07/09/2012 | 1 Comment »
Well, now that the Geelong, Bellarine and Brisbane Ranges book is tucked up with the editors (it’s due out before Christmas!), it’s time to get going on my next two projects: Melbourne for Dogs (well, for their owners actually), and Best Walks of the Great Ocean Road and the Otways. While it was pretty (err, VERY) cold this weekend, the forecast was for clear skies, so Indie (my furry companion) and I headed down to the Otways, for a weekend of dog-friendly turbo-walking. Understandably, there are quite a lot of restrictions on walking with dogs in the Great Otway National Park, but there are some great areas you can take your dog – it’s just important to check with Parks Victoria before you head off. We started off at Wye River, south of Lorne and took Paddy’s Path above the Great Ocean Road to Separation Creek, then clambered back along the rocks. Not only was the sea calm, but there were two humpback whales making their way down the coastline, no more than 30 metres off shore – what a bonus!
Posted in Bushwalking, History, Places to Visit, Travel, Uncategorized, Walks, Wildlife, tagged Brisbane Ranges, Burchell Trail, bushwalking, Century Mine, gold mining, gold rush, Steiglitz, walking, Yankee Gully on 06/30/2012 | Leave a Comment »
It just goes to show: just because the weather forecast is for hail, squally winds, thunder storms and all day showers, that’s no reason not to get out for a walk. Deb and I decided to brave the elements today for the final 12km day of the 3 day Burchell Trail in the Brisbane Ranges, expecting flash floods and worse, only to be rewarded with sunshine, mild weather and no more than a 30 second shower all day. Mind you, the minute we hopped into the car at the end of the day, the heavens opened up and the hail came raining down. But even after that we were rewarded with this spectacular rainbow. How lucky can you get!
Day 3 of the Burchell Trail starts from the peaceful walk-in Old Mill campground, and wanders for almost a full circuit through the southern part of the Brisbane Ranges, near the historic goldmining ghost-town of Steiglitz. There is lots of evidence of the area’s former gold rush days. The banks of Yankee Gully, on the second half of the walk, are dotted with old mine shafts and earlier in the day you can detour to take in the very deep pit of the famous Century Mine. There are a number of glorious picnic spots and camp grounds by the creek crossings, and most of the trail is single track, away from management tracks – it was incredibly peaceful.
It’s relatively simple to turn this into a one day circular walk, which we did today, by leaving the car at Fridays Camping Ground and walking an extra 1.5km along the road at the start, making for a 13.5km total walk. The Burchell Trail markers are, as always, somewhat random and not at every track junction, so you do need the 1:30,000 Brisbane Ranges National Park (Meridien) map to keep you on the right trail. Don’t let this put you off a fantastic walk though. I can’t wait to come back in spring when all the native orchids are in bloom. I am writing the Burchell Trail up in more detail for the Best Walks of Geelong, the Bellarine and the Brisbane Ranges book, so hope that more people will be able to enjoy this wonderful walk.
Posted in Bushwalking, Places to Visit, Travel, Walking with Children, Walks, Wildlife, tagged Australia, Ayers Rock, backpacking, bushwalking, Kata Tjuta, National Parks, nature, outback, outdoors, The Olgas, Travel, Uluru, Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, walking on 06/07/2012 | 2 Comments »
Perhaps the most spectacular walking in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is at Kata Tjuta – just 90 km from Uluru through spectacular red dune country. Sitting on the landscape like a group of huddled sisters, it’s no wonder Kata Tjuta translates as ‘Many Heads’. The rock here is very different to the coarse sandstone of Uluru – it’s a munched up conglomerate which once formed part of the sea bed – yes, the land in the centre of Australia was once covered in ocean. The mind boggles! Large boulders are spewed out from the rock at irregular intervals, looking much like glacial moraine spattered over the land. Here there is the opportunity to wander between the towering walls of the impressive Walpa Gorge, to again find permanent waterholes carved into the base of the rock. But perhaps my favourite walk of this whole weekend was the Full Circuit walk which climbs for 8km up and through the aptly named Valley of the Winds, then descends treacherously down through a gap in the rocks to walk out around the dry back country, with huge domes of red on either side of you. In the late afternoon it was nothing short of magical. The walk is closed off at the first lookout point (Karu Lookout) when temperatures are forecast to reach 36C, so winter is the perfect time to pull on your books and head for the Red Centre.
Posted in Bushwalking, Places to Visit, Walking with Children, Walks, Wildlife, tagged Brisbane Ranges, Burchell Trail, bushwalking, long distance walks, Travel, walking, walks on 06/03/2012 | Leave a Comment »
Friday was just glorious in Melbourne – once the ice had melted off the windscreen! The rest of the day was crystal blue skies and not a breath of wind: perfect winter walking weather. My erstwhile walking buddy, Deb, volunteered to brave a car shuttle with me so we could do Day 2 of the 3 day Burchell Trail, which runs north to south for 39km through the little-visited Brisbane Ranges, south-west of Melbourne. This is a fantastic walk for those wanting to get away from it all – we didn’t see another soul for the entire walk. On this section, which runs for 15km from Little River Gorge camping ground to the Old Mill walk-in camping ground, the orange flash trail markers are a little erratic, especially where they have been washed away along Little River in recent flash flooding, so it does require a level of confidence and sound map reading to keep on track. However, the paths themselves are quite clear – a mix of management vehicle tracks and fantastic ridge climbs with big views. The unexpected bonus of the day was Little River Gorge – every bit as spectacular as nearby Anakie Gorge. Really looking forward to going back and walking the other two sections, which I will be writing up for the new Geelong, the Bellarine and Brisbane Ranges book.
Posted in Bushwalking, Places to Visit, Travel, Uncategorized, Walking with Children, Walks, Wildlife, tagged Aboriginal rock art, Australia, Ayers Rock, Ayers Rock Climb, camels, National Parks, Northern Territory, Travel, Uluru, Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, walking, walks on 05/31/2012 | 4 Comments »
I had the fantastic good fortune to have a long weekend for my birthday up at Uluru-Kata Tjuta (Ayers Rock and The Olgas) National Park in the Northern Territory last weekend. I have wanted to visit there for many years and all the stars were finally in alignment. The weather is just perfect for walking there at the moment – blue skies and 20-21C in the day, down to freezing at night – which means getting up for the obligatory sunrises involves many layers, gloves, beanies, scarves – not what you think of normally in the middle of the desert! The flight into Uluru via Sydney is absolutely spectacular, taking you across the red ‘channel’ country and expansive white salt lakes – you can really see where the imagery in the Central Desert ‘dot’ paintings comes from when you see the land from above.
I kicked off with a 12km sunrise walk around the base of Uluru itself, and chose a guided option so I could learn about the Anangu creation stories of this incredible rock, which is thought to extend for 6km beneath the earth.
It really is worth taking this stroll with a guide, so that you can understand a little about Country and about how important it is NOT to climb Uluru, which is a sacred place for the Anangu and which causes hurt and sorrow every time someone climbs it. At least then, you can make an informed choice about whether or not you choose to climb the rock. The base walk, though, is more than fascinating – I didn’t realise there were lush groves of river red gums and permanent waterholes at its base; ‘teaching caves’ full of rock art and stunning gorges. There was also a family group of button quail wandering around under foot and we saw both eastern red kangaroos and wild (feral) camels as well.
The Red Centre has had 3 years in a row of exceptional rainfall, so the land is looking just incredible at the moment – perfect timing for a visit if you can manage it. The colours of Uluru are everything you have imagined and much more – I was overwhelmed.
While it can be expensive at the Yulara resort, just outside the National Park, and the only accommodation option, I stayed at the youth hostel in a lovely warm dorm with lots and lots of Americans, and there is also a campground, which means you can have an affordable visit. One of the ‘Only in Australia’ moments for me had to be when a bloke wandered into the pub with his camel for a drink in the evening. As you do!
Posted in Bushwalking, Places to Visit, Uncategorized, Walking with Children, Walks, Wildlife, tagged Boar Gully, Brisbane Ranges, Burchell Trail, bushwalking, eastern grey kangaroo, grass trees, gum trees, kangaroos, National Parks, walking on 04/30/2012 | Leave a Comment »
Well, having finally resolved my technology inadequacies, yesterday I managed to persuade my daughter to come for a wander in the Brisbane Ranges, just an hour’s drive from Melbourne to the south-west of Bacchus Marsh. I have no idea how this absolute gem of a place has stayed so ‘undiscovered’ for so long. In just minutes, you can be walking out in pristine bush, with not another person in sight and nothing but the sounds and smells of the bush. We headed up to the Boar Gully campsite, the location for the start of the 3 day Burchell Trail, which traverses a good length of the Brisbane Ranges National Park on it’s way to Fridays Campground. From there, we walked back across Reids Road, along Farm Track and then joined Spring Creek Track in the very North West tip of the Park, and did a series of loops following the contours of the creek below. It was a gentle wander, with just the occasional eastern grey kangaroo thumping through the bush, groves of towering grass trees – some over 2 metres in height – and some impressive bushfire regeneration in the ironbark woodlands. I can’t wait to go back in the spring to see all the wildflowers. Just what I needed to get my mojo back!