Sunday, April 06, 2008

Another Holiday, Another Bunch Of Photos !!

Hey there, everyone !

We got back from a 9 day camping holiday on Friday ... we had a lovely time, but it is always great to get home, and back into our own beds.

I have spent much of the weekend washing, and doing housework ... it really needed doing !!

Thought you might like a run-down on our trip, along with a few (well, quite a few !!) photos. I have reduced the size of the photos before uploading, as to upload them in their original size takes ages !! Hope they are big enough to enjoy !!

We left home on Thursday 27th March, heading north, toward Murray Sunset National Park, and the Pink Lakes area. It was raining when we left ... not a good omen. However, it stopped not far out of Melbourne, and what remained was blue skies and sunshine. We stopped in Bendigo for breakfast (McDonalds !), and continued on our way.

Early afternoon, we arrived at the National Park, and began exploring, trying to decide which camping area we would prefer. Both had their pros and cons, and we ended up choosing the second one we came to, due to the cleaner facilities (only a lone pit-toilet, but it was clean), and flatter camping areas.

We began unpacking the car, but stopped quickly, due to being surrounded by feral bees !! Quite scary, and very annoying. We didn't want to start our holiday with bee-stings, so we re-packed the car, and decided not to stay there !!

We explored the area, taking quite a few photos. This first one is of one of the salt lakes, which are, really, pink (although it doesn't really show up in this photo).

Apparently the pink hue is :due to the red pigment beta-carotene (the colour in carrots), secreted by the alga Dunaliella salina. During winter, highly saline ground water seeps down from the surrounding country into the lakes. The water evaporates during the intense heat of summer leaving shimmering salt beds." This following photo is a piece of the salt, held in Chicky's hand, showing how pink it actually is. Beneath the salt layer is black soil, really black like tar !!

Another photo of the lake ...

After exploring, we jumped back in the car, and got back onto the highway, in order to find ourselves somewhere to stay the night !! We ended up just over the Victoria / South Australia border, in a town called Pinaroo. The tiny caravan park was lovely, with clean amenities, and lovely grassy sites. We weren't to know, though, that all night long, the trucks would zoom past ... it felt like they were driving just outside our tent !! Didn't get much sleep ... oh well, life goes on.

Next day, we headed to Renmark, deciding to stay there an extra night ... 3 nights, rather than 2 ... we phoned ahead to check if that was OK .. it was !!

On the way, we had a lovely lunch in a bakery in Loxton ... yummy !!

On arrival in Renmark, we found our caravan park, and set up camp. We had a great site, right on the banks of the river. This is the view from our camp site ... (in the distance is Renmark township and the Renmark Hotel).

It is a beautiful part of the Murray River, really, really wide, and just serene. The following pic is the view through our tent front door ...

We had lots of birdy visitors ... ducks of various varieties, wild turkeys (annoying little critters), sea-gulls (why on earth they appear in the middle of the country, miles away from the coast, is beyond me !!), and this friendly pelican. He just sat there, for hours, posing for photos, preening, and just being a beautiful fellow (or girl, who knows !!). He was waiting for food, and came quite close (actually, that is frightening, as their beaks are very imposing !!).

Toward evening, we scored a magificent sunset ... I think I took way too many photos of it ... here are a couple of them (looking toward Renmark Hotel again) ...

On the Saturday, we had a lazy day, hanging around the caravan park ... the weather was a bit iffy ... we even had a little bit of rain ... nothing drastic, no damage done. It wasn't cold, thank goodness.

Next day, we went for a drive, along the Murray, exploring the lookouts and viewpoints. This photo is taken from the Murtho Forest Lookout ...

Monday, we packed up camp, and headed for Lake Mungo. We stopped in Mildura, and had a yummy lunch at Pizza Hut !!

Arrived at Lake Mungo mid afternoon, found the camp area, and set up camp. Then headed off to the lookout and "Wall of China" area. It is absolutely stunning here, and we were very lucky with the weather. You may remember, in September 2006, we travelled with some friends in this area, but were unable to stay here due to the high winds. We did, then, get some interesting photos ... although the sand was blowing through them all. This time around, nothing but blue skies and sunshine !!

This photo is of an Echidna, who was digging for it's dinner ... it was there for ages, and was quite big.

We explored the area, whilst waiting for the upcoming sunset. Lake Mungo is an archaeologically significant part of the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area. 25 to 45,000 years ago the lake covered 135 square kilometres and was about 10 metres deep. It was one of a series of freshwater lakes in the area. The lakes dried up about 14,000 years ago. They are now a huge source of fossils. The original native vegetation was destroyed by overstocking of the properties, and later on by introduced animals (eg. rabbits). Now, the weather is continuing the erosion, producing the amazing formations that can now be found. Following are a few photos taken around the area ...

This photo shows the camping area. We are really, really happy with the tent, it is so roomy, and so quick and easy to put up and take down. Shame we have so much stuff, other than the tent, which takes time to pack into, and onto, the car !!

The next day, we climbed the dunes, and continued to explore. I was amazed at the little pockets of vegetation grown in the sand.

More photos around Lake Mungo ...

This was the highest sand dune in the area ... I climbed it !!! Aren't you proud of me !?!?! It was quite a climb, initially I didn't want to do it, but took on the challenge ... and, I could actually still breathe when I arrived at the top. It was quite a climb !!

Here, there, and everywhere, these pademelons grew ... the birds like the seeds, but I don't think they are edible for humans !!

As we explored some of the historical buildings in the area, I came across this birdy ... haven't had a chance to look him up yet, but he sure was cute ...

This was a shed in one of the properties left in the area ... it's structure fascinated me, as in the time it was built, there were no power tools, everything was done by hand. It is a beautiful old building.

A view from inside the same building ...

These little birdies were everywhere around the campsite. The hang out in large groups ... apparently, according to my Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, it is an Apostlebird. They are fun little birds, but got really annoying (they were very loud !!), as they came really close (cheeky buggers!), and seemed to hear from a distance whenever any food came out !!

On the morning we packed up, Wednesday morning, it had gotten very windy, and very overcast. We decided to skip breakfast, and get packed up ASAP. Fortunately, we were just stuffing the last items into the car, when it started drizzling. The rain didn't take hold at this stage, fortunately, as the roads out get very boggy when wet, and are usually closed to traffic with heavy rains.

Had a quick breakfast in Mildura, and decided to skip the next national park, due to the change in weather and high winds (and, potentially, more bees, as it was near the Pink Lakes national park !!)

We decided to head for Horsham, and on the way it got even windier, and we drove through a wicked dust storm ... at times we could barely see the road !! The following photos are the view through our windscreen ...

We overnighted in a nice motel in Horsham (didn't want to risk putting up the tent in that wind, and it was also raining quite heavily by this stage). A bit of luxury didn't go astray, either.

Next morning we decided to swap our powered tent-site, for a cabin in the caravan park in Halls Gap in the Grampians. The weather had turned very cold, and was still yucky !!

We explored the Grampians, as we headed for Halls Gap. The area was hit quite badly by the storm the previous day, with bits of trees and bark all over the roads. We stopped at McKenzie Falls ... simply beautiful.

The Grampians were quite devastated in the 2006/2007 summer bushfires. It was evident everywhere we went. I am still amazed (I know I have said this before) at how the bush regenerates after bushfires.

A view from the lookout ...

We spent a warm night in the cabin, then packed up, explored a bit more, then headed home a day early. It was too cold and wet to do much walking or hiking, unfortunately. The following is a view from the car, as were started travelling through the Southern Grampians.

We got a small taste of the wonderful area known as The Grampians, and have decided to come back again soon for an extended camping trip, in order to explore all the areas we were unable to this time.

All in all, we had a great trip, we are happy with our tent, and had a lovely time. It was a nice bonding time for the three of us. Fortunately, we enjoy each other's company ... mum, dad and daughter !!

So, that's about it from me this time around. Hope you have enjoyed my holiday run-down. Back to the grindstone tomorrow ... I am working Monday, Wednesday, Friday this week. Hope to be by for a visit soon. Look after yourselves, in the meantime.

Take care,


Autumn said...

Hi Meow
I have been reading you via blog lines so haven't always taken time to comment, but wanted to say hi and tell you how nice the photos are. It looks like you had a good time on holiday. We are planning a few days in June, and I can't wait.
Take care

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A super set of pictures. It is good to get home though.

Dick said...

Your photos are good and give us a view of your area that we'd never have without them. It sounds like your weather isn't the greatest but that seems to be happening all over the world. We are planning a RV trip east of the mountains, leaving 3 weeks from today, and it is still snowing in the mountains we have to cross to get there! Will our spring ever come?

Clare said...

Wow it sounds like you really did some exploring :). What a fab set of pictures. I loved the sunset ones and that pelican was very kind to pose for you lol!

Hope you are caught up on the housework now.

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Really love the photos...makes me want to head back come to Australia and travel the place... live all of 33 years in Australia... moved and married in the US and have seen 95% more of the US then Australia... one day I will get back there to do some real touring... take care

Cecil said...

Hey Meow! It was good to hear from you... yes, our weather has been bad.. and we are looking at some bad storms and more rain the next 2 days.. we don't need anymore water.. or tornadoes!! yoor pictures are great!! So pretty..sounds like you had a good time with your family... I'm glad you stopped by! Hugs... Cecil

Gattina said...

Happy to hear from you again ! I see you have had wonderful holidays, the landscapes are just beautiful, especially the moonlike one ! In a months I will go for a week to Greece on a roundtrip. I never had been in Greece.

Tink said...

Wow, great pictures and story! It seemed as if I was there too. Thanks for taking me on that trip!

Merle said...

Dear Connie ~~ I enjoyed the trip with you three. The photos are really
beautiful. We have a lovely country and thank you for showing us parts of it. I loved the pink lakes and the sunsets and all of them. Thanks for your visit to my blog and all is well with me - thanks for asking. Take care, my friend and settle back to work again. Love, Merle.

Pearl said...

So very glad you stopped by...I missed you!!
Looks like you had a wonderful time on your camping trip.
That pelican has a lot of character. I bet he could tell some stories.

Enjoyed all your photos.

LZ Blogger said...

Connie ~ Very COOL pictures here. The camp ground area looks almost EXTRA-worldly! Very awesome! I also liked the one of the piece of salt. ~ jb///

Dawn said...

I just love looking at your pictures. I feel like I'm traveling with you. They are just amazing!

Stinkypaw said...

Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi Connie,
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
I've just read about your amazing holiday. The photos are superb. Thanks for sharing with us.
Next time you are in Bendigo, please let me know. We could meet up in Macca's!
Cheers for now,

Heather K said...

Hi Connie
good to hear from you! It looks like you had an amazing holiday...albeit very busy! The pictures are so pretty and offer a huge variety of scenery. you had a very busy sounding holiday.
good to hear from you. Have you heard from Melinda? She's been off for a long time...kinda wondering how she's doing.
take care

Greeneyes said...

Hello Dear friend ,
I really enjoyed this post , I always do but this one with all the pics and may I say Bravo , loved the pics awesome part of the planet you live on (LUCKY YOU!) The pic "from the lookout" what a beautiful pic you took there it is georgous .I missed you while you when you were gone ,this post fills me in on your travels and tells me all the fun you were having , with your "Itchy feet" bet they dont itch as much right now after all that travelling ;)
Chicky has certainly grown !! She must enjoy your trips , I WOULD HAHA.
Well I hope you and yours are well and we are playing catch up , your it !!LMBO!


Melinda said...

Hi Connie,
What great photos, it sounds like you had a fantastic time !! It was so nice you visiting us whilst we were on the houseboat it was such a shame you couldn't stay the night with us. It would of been fun.

Take Care Love Us

Anonymous said...

I heard through the clarevine that you wanted an invite to my blog, I'll send that, it's a little rude at times...oh already knew that?

Sonia said...

It was good to hear from you! Thanks for your visiting on my place.

Love and enjoyed so much your photos! Sounds you had a great time!

Many hugs!

Dick said...

I am sitting here in our sunroom, inside temp is mid-70s at 5:10pm Wednesday, using the laptop PC connected to our system through WiFi and listening to a new CD by The Seekers, a folk music group with origins in Melbourne in the early to mid 1960s. Do they still play music locally there? Their two best known songs, at least here in the States, were probably the theme from the movie & song by the same name, "Georgie Girl" and "I'll Never Find Another You." I realize this group was well known probably before you were even born but thought that maybe with the Melbourne connection you might be familiar with them.

Aunt Jo said...

Hi Meow! I haven't been here for a while! You have had an adventure. I loved all the beautiful pictures. I sure do want to see Australia some day.

Meow (aka Connie) said...

Hi everyone, thanks for all your comments on our holiday. I love going on trips, and I love taking photos ... and I love sharing them with you.

It is Thursday afternoon as I write this, and I have one more work day remaining, then it's the weekend again ... yay !!

Hope you all have a great remainder of the week.

Take care, Meow

Merle said...

Dear Connie ~~ Thanks for your comments and I am glad you are pleased with the award. I will pass on your message to Vicki and Peter
next time we talk. Thhe waiting must be awful, but at least the doctors are being very thorough. Take care, my friend, Love, Merle.

Devil Mood said...

I am amazed by the beautiful photos!
You're so lucky that you get to travel to beautiful places so often ;)

Jeanette said...

Hi Connie,You sre traveled a lot of Ks on your trip, great photo's love the sunsets, thanks for letting me tag along..
Btw Ive left you award at my place please enjoy.. take great care,,

megz_mum said...

Sounds like an amazing holiday! Lovely photos also

Debbie said...

Wow this is what vacations are about! The view from your tent was stunning along with the sunset. I was amazed at the pink water that was just too cool.

Your pictures as always make we want to come for a visit! They are lovely as always!

Phil said...

Hi Connie, What an amazing trip that must have been. Those are just fantastic pics.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Thanks, Connie, for sharing your holiday and especially pictures. I love to vicariously travel the world!

Renae said...

Hey Connie :-)I am feeling much better now. The dentist certainly does hurt the mouth and the wallet!! Love the photos !! Take care...Cheers !!

Alex said...

looks like an awesome trip

Gina E. said...

Gosh Connie, how long did that take you to do?? It's taken me all weekend to put a few photos of our Darwin trip on a blog, and I had to create a new blog to do it! Your photos are fantastic as usual, you must have a great camera (as well as being a crack photographer). Give me some clues on Tuesday, okay?

No_Newz said...

My gosh, it's beautiful there!!! Great photos! Thanks for taking us on a virtual holiday. :)

Saur♥Kraut said...

Echidnas are awesome!!! Thanks for sharing all those great pics. I've never heard of 'feral' bees before - aren't ALL bees feral? Are they like the africanized bees that are coming up through the USA from Mexico? They're quite dangerous.

Alex said...

peekaboo, I see you.

Michael Manning said...

MEOW: I am still trying to get your audio back on to Tom Jones! Happy 20th of April!

Gwen said...

Hi Meow.
I missed you in Melb, but I sure loved hitching a ride with you on your holiday,
Great snaps,and I remember having lunch at the Renmark on our travels

Greeneyes said...

miss you


Puss-in-Boots said...

Hi Connie...thank you for that lovely holiday. Your descriptions are so good I can actually see what you are writing about...the photos helped, too.

Pity the weather was so unpredictable but who can predict the weather these days?

Anyway, glad you had a lovely time and got to explore another part of our wonderful country. Lovely photos, too.

Alice said...

Yeah, the problem with holidays is that when you get home you have quite a bit of catching up to do. Always good actually getting home, though, I agree.

Wow! I never knew that salt lakes were actually pink: learn something new everyday, I guess.

Sounds like you had an amazing time. The pictures are breathtaking. I've missed your site, Meow, I really have.

Damn, it's good to be back!

See you again in a few days, I hope. xxx

Justine said...

Gosh! That looked just terrific.
How interesting!

We were around Halls Gap in 2005 and it was also in recovering from bushfire mode. An enviro science friend of mine told me some of the fires there have been so hot they have wiped species out, so its important to have frequent fires so there is less fuel and they burn "cooler", cos even though lots of the natives tolerate or even need fire they do have temperature limits.

(ps, no i haven't re-kindled my blog... maybe one day... never say never!)