Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Coast of Spencer Gulf

When we left the Mount Remarkable National Park (still visible in the background, above) we entered a very different landscape. The spinifex has replaced the trees and the horizons have receded. We are now driving along the coast of the Spencer Gulf toward Port Augusta.

There are two large indentations in the southern coast of Australia in South Australia, St. Vincent Gulf where Adelaide is located and Spencer Gulf with Port Augusta at the northern apex.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mambray Creek Campground

After leaving the lush farmland, we headed past Port Pirie, toward Port Augusta and stopped at the Mambray Creek Campground. As you can see the landscape is changing. This campground is nestled in a valley in the Mount Remarkable National Park that isolates it from all outside noises. We spent a delightful night with very little rain (getting drier as we head west) and no wind.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Barossa Valley

The journey across the eastern portion of South Australia was just a drive through one fertile valley after another. This is the Barossa Valley, famous for its wine.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Torrens Valley

After leaving the Grampians in Victoria, we headed into South Australia and fertile farmland of the Torrens Valley. With the clouds still chasing us, we had some dramatic skies with the occasional rainbow.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Plantation Campground and the Grampian Mountains

Although the clouds came and went on Phillip Island, as we drove back inland at the beginning of our westward journey, we found solid cloud cover. When we arrived at the Grampian Mountains, we found a delightful place at the Plantation Campground. It is a government parkland and the camping is free. Sitting at the foot of the Grampian Mountains with the fog and rain coming and going, we pitched our tent for the first time.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

An Experiment

Since we continue to have limited internet, I am trying an experiment. Even though I am now able (at a local restaurant) to post things from our trip across the country, it is still awkward. Since I know that not everyone is an Instagram-er or a Google+-er I am going to try for a couple days cross posting the instagrams photos to the blog.

This is likely to end up with multiple entries in Google+ or something odd so I'll need to check it out to see how it works. If it looks too confusing, I'll stop. Just a few days of experiment to see if this is better, worse, or simply different. what do you expect from an experimentalist?

Patience, please.


I am sorry to disappoint you with no photos of the penguins. Cameras were not allowed. We went out at dusk in the portion of the island block to vehicular traffic and sat on the beach with night vision monocular to watch the penguins come out of the ocean, waddle across the beach, and head off to their burrow.

It was a magic experience that everyone should have. The penguins really are tiny, perhaps 12-14 inches high. And contrary to the notion we have of the penguins in their black and white formal suits, these little guys are dark blue on the back and white on the front. Thus, they are ocean/sky colored on the back and sand colored on the tummy.

On the way back to the penguin center to get our car, we walked. We could listen to the penguins fussing at their neighbors or spouse, or just generally being talkative.

A magical evening not to be missed.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Grey Fantail at Rhylls

On the northeastern coast of Phillip Island is the community of Rhylls and a nature walk near the shore. We did part of this once before and visit the mangrove in the water's edge. This time we walked a portion of the more upland trail and found a grey fantail to pose for us.

I don't normally lead with a shot of a bird's behind but this is a good butt shot and I couldn't resist.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

Swan Lake

Also near the far end of Phillip Island is Swan Lake. Although the flock of dusky moorhen above is enough to suggest that this place is not a haven for swans, think again.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Nobbies

After leaving San Remo and the pelicans, we drove across Phillip Island to a place called the Nobbies. It is a headland on the end of the island with some interesting rock formations.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Pelican Feeding

South of Warburton, just at the base of the bridge leading to Phillip Island is the small town of San Remo. Every day at noon, there is a pelican feeding by one of the local fishermen. He give a good description of the birds and feeds them for perhaps half an hour. At the end he tossed the last bits in the water for a frenzy.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Near Warburton, Victoria

So we begin here blogging the saga of our drive across (most of) Australia. We have had some trouble with getting wifi. Our host somehow thought that 5.5GB of data/month would be more than enough (well, it is for him!) and in the first two days we burned through half of that. So we are limited to using our phones at the house (we have have unlimited slow data there) and seek out wifi at cafes.

We are currently sitting at a cafe on the street facing the Indian Ocean. Really, it is just across the street and the foreshore park. But before we got to the place of shorts, T-shirts, and exotic oceans, we started in the goldfields of Victoria. Our first stop was at Warburton. Near there we found the Donna Buang Forest Gallery.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We Have Arrived!

We have survived the long drive across the continent. I failed to take note of the odometer before started, but we've put somewhere north of 4,000 km on the ute since we left Castlemaine.

There are hundreds of photos for me to process before they get posted. We had a great adventure and I'm looking forward to telling you all about it.

The photo above is of the street we are living on for the next few weeks. We are one block from the beach on the Indian Ocean. Really looking forward to exploring the area.

Stay tuned...more to come

PS... Just a thought for our friends on the east coast of the US. First, I hope everyone is OK after the passage of Irma. Secondly, we are as far awa from you as we can get and still be on dry land (except for a couple of islands off the coast here). We are as close to the opposite side of the world from you as *we* can get.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Saying Goodby to Castlemaine

As spring slowly arrives and the days lengthen, we experience a time of variable weather. Of clouds and clear sky. Of chilly mornings and warm-ish afternoons. And these sorts of clouds basking in the golden light of sunset.

We say our goodbyes to Castlemaine and the goldfields as we move on to other vistas and adventures.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

B&W Retrospective

Once in a while I feel the urge to see what looks good in B&W. So, I go back and find some images to reconsider. Here are some photos you've already seen in color and a few, like the one above from Hanging Rock that you've already seen in B&W.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Moolort Wetlands

Not far from Newstead, between there and Maryborough, is a man-made lake called Cairn Curran. Around this lake are various places to look for birds. The trees that remain in the water make roosts for the birds that live there. Above, we see a Pacific Black Duck and a Little Black Cormorant.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The Castlemaine Botanical Garden

We've had a lot of rainy cool days lately, but during a recent spot of sun, I visited the Botanical Garden here in Castlemaine. such a garden is a standard fixture in every town of any size in Australia. Just like the bowls club, veterinarian office, and place to wet your whistle, it is an iconic part of small town life here.

I'm not entirely sure who we have above. I believe it is some sort of Mallard-mix. He's missing the band around the neck. Ducks are quite promiscuous and there are variations that span the gamut.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Lawn Bowling

I stopped by the Castlemaine Bowling Club to watch for a while. This is a significant game for Australians. Every town of any consequence has a bowling club.

Sunday, September 03, 2017


Although I posted before about the shopping arcades in downtown Melbourne, I thought you'd like to see a few more shots of the place. We visited recently with our friend Cathy Eckman to show her a few high spots.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Hall's Gap

Alongside the road we found a lizard. He seems to be a young bearded dragon of some sort (probably an Inland Bearded Dragon such as we have seen before).

Friday, September 01, 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Maternity Tree

Just off the road between Talbot and Maryborough, is a really old, large tree with an open space forming a shelter at the base of the trunk. This is the maternity tree. According to the Talbot Indigenous Heritage Web site:

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Making Tracks

We have reached the end of our current house sit and we are about to embark on a grand adventure.

Bull Gully Rockwells

We visited the Bull Bully Rockwells not far from the road between Maryborough and Talbot. According to the information on the Talbot Indigenous Heritage website:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Victorian Goldfields Railway

To celebrate my birthday, we took a train ride on the Victorian Goldfields Railway. This is a steam engine that pulls five cars between Castlemaine and Maldon. We purchased 1st class tickets and rode in what seemed to be the club car.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Vaughan Cemetery

This cemetery is an interesting place, nestled on the side of a hill and the bottom lands next to a stream. Here we find this marker with the text engraved on it in two different directions. I don't think I've seen this before.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Vaughan Springs

Just south of Castlemaine is the Digging National Heritage Park where much of the local gold was dug. It is a beautiful area with hills and bush.

Saturday, August 26, 2017


A couple hours north of Castlemaine is the Terrick Terrick National Park. At the edge of this is the very small town of Mitiamo. We drove up here to see what we could see. Although the images are not very clear, we saw White Necked Herons have a feed in the fields.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Old Castlemaine Gaol

On top of the highest hill in town sits the old Castlemaine Gaol. The view from here is nice, but I'm pretty sure that none of the involuntary residents were unimpressed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Drive in Country

We took the ute to Ballarat for some work today and when it was done, we decided to drive west about an hour before heading home. Along the way we found some idyllic sheep farms.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dr. Blake Exhibit

In Ballarat, a bit southeast of town is the Sovereign Mine. At the same site is the Gold Museum. In there, is a good historical description of the rise and fall of gold mining in and around Ballarat. We may yet return to visit the mine to see what it was like.

However, much to our surprise, the museum was also hosting a special exhibit on the TV show The Doctor Blake Mysteries. This was fun. Above you see me behind Dr. Blake's desk with (a cardboard cutout of) him beside me.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Pennyweight Flats Cemetery

On a hill, not far from the mail Chewton Cemetery, we find the historic Pennyweight Flats Cemetery. This was on land selected for its worthlessness as a gold source. Since a pennyweight is a very small amount, the cemetery was named to be a nearly worthless place.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Chewton Cemetery

Just east of Castlemaine is the small community of Chewton. From the local paper/magazine we can tell that it is a vibrant, close-knit place. It also houses a couple interesting cemeteries.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

North British Mine

Just on the edge of Maldon are the remains of the North British Mine. Much of structure that remains is related to the heaters and crushers required to extract the gold ore from the quartz in which it was imbedded.

Friday, August 18, 2017


The town of Maldon is a delightful place. It was designated as Australia's first notable town in 1966 and is a great place to visit to see a very large collection of well preserved 19th century buildings in a small place. The 2011 census put the population at 1,432 but it was not always so small.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


In the town of Newstead are all sorts of cool buildings. The first one we came upon was this tiny church.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Newstead Cemetery

We are settled in in Castlemaine with our house sit and looking about for things to do. Of course we are starting looking about for cemeteries. The first on our list is in Newstead.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ballarat CBD

Naturally, before we left Ballarat, we had to visit the city center. Although we've never watched the show, we're told that the Doctor Blake Mysteries (available in the US on Netflix) is filmed largely along Lydiard Street to take advantage of many fine Victorian buildings that remain from the gold rush days. It seemed fun to visit and get some images for our friends who know this show so everyone can see what it really looks like.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ballarat Old Cemetery

After a restful evening in Ballarat, we decided to see a bit of town before we left. Naturally, our first stop was the Old Cemetery.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lake Wendouree

After our drive about northern Tasmania, we boarded the ferry and had a quiet evening crossing the Bass Strait. This time, however, there was some stormy weather in the middle somewhere and we were awakened to some moderate tossing and turning. When I woke up to make a visit to the men's room, I found that I had to hold onto things to walk the 1 meter to reach the necessary.

By the time we landed in Melbourne, it was a calm mostly sunny morning. We drove north and west to Ballarat for our first night in Victoria. Since it is only about an hour and a half from Melbourne to Ballarat, we had time to kill in the afternoon so we went to Lake Wendouree to have a look about. Here, we got a well posed photo of a Black Swan.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Greens Beach

On the northern shore of Tasmania is a place called Greens Beach. It faces the Bass Strait that separates Tasmania from the mainland and sits where the Tamar River empties into the sea.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Batman Bridge

According to Wikipedia:

John Batman (21 January 1801 – 6 May 1839) was an Australian grazier, entrepreneur and explorer. He settled in the north-east of the Van Diemen's Land Colony in the 1820s, and later as a leading member of the Port Phillip Association he led an expedition which explored the Port Phillip Bay area on the Australian mainland with a view to establishing a new settlement there. He is best known for his role in the founding of the settlement on the Yarra River which became the city of Melbourne, eventual capital of the new Colony of Victoria, and one of Australia's largest and most important cities.
Reports are that John was not a very nice guy and he treated the aboriginals terribly. Nevertheless, there are lot of places where he is memorialized. This bridge across the Tama River is one of these memorials.

Taking care of the park beside the crossing is a rooster!

And his friend the peahen. They were "working the crowd". When a car drove in, these two would come to the vehicle to beg for food.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Traveling North

The day finally came for us to head back to the mainland and leave Tasmania (for now). Driving north across the island took us through the sheep country. In the midsts of this expansive farmland is a small town called Oatlands. Here we find the only operational 19th century windmill in the southern hemisphere.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Another Glorious Morning

I have been worried that you might think that just because the photos of sunrises and sunsets have stopped appearing, that perhaps we've stopped having anything worthy of exposing pixels to light. Au contraire!

For a few minutes the wind died down and the cloudy sky made a very dramatic image in the river.

What!? Another Sunrise?

These morning just keep coming. Don't worry, they stop because we are leaving this place along the river to head inland. But don't worry we'll be back to Tasmania in December.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Fossils at Poverty Point Beach

If we drive around through Huonville to the other side of the Huon River, we are the a peninsula of land  (between the Huon and the entrance to the Derwent) where the village of Cygnet is located. South of there about 10 minutes is the southern tip of this peninsula and a small rocky beach. While the rain shower was coming our way from the west, we were walking the beach in search of fossils. Boy, did we find them.

Monday, August 07, 2017

The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden

There is a large botanical garden in Hobart that is very nice. Even though we are visiting in winter, there is plenty to see. We only walked a portion of it on this visit.