Autumn Outings – Hanging Rock, Macedon Ranges

About 70km NW from Melbourne in Central Victoria, not far from Mount Macedon (a former Volcano) is Hanging Rock, a 105m goliath and distinct rock formation. Hanging Rock is a mamelon, created approx 6.25 million years ago by stiff magma pouring from a vent and congealing in place.

Hanging Rock contains numerous distinctive rock formations, including the “Hanging Rock” itself (a boulder suspended between other boulders), the Colonnade, the Eagle, the Flying Saucer, Stonehenge and Morgan’s Blood Waterfall, amongst numerous others. The highest point on Hanging Rock is 718 metres above sea level and 105 metres above the plain below. It is quite steep and access is via a Ramp or stairs.

Of course Hanging Rock is famous for other reasons, mainly the iconic movie made by Peter Weir in 1975 – Picnic at Hanging Rock (Original novel written by Joan Lindsay in 1967). The plot focuses on a group of students from a girls college in 1900 who inexplicably vanish at Hanging Rock while on a Valentine’s Day picnic. It also explores the outlying effects the disappearances have on the school and local community. The book is entirely fiction, but written as though it is a true story, corroborated by ambiguous historical references. It quickly reached Urban Legend Status, with so many different theories on what actually happened to the girls, from being murdered, to UFOs and Time Warps. The plots, the intrigue, all shot beautifully with a haunting soundtrack. A must see if you never have. Considered groundbreaking for it’s time for the Australian Film Industry and the book is still considered one of the most important and classic novels of Australian literature.

I visited here in my youth and I seriously do not remember so many trees, it is quite difficult to actually see the rock formations until you are quite close. I also don’t remember ever seeing so many tourists. Way back when, I went with a few friends and I don’t think there was very many other people. If you stood still and quiet, you could hear cicadas and the wind move eerily through the trees and sigh as it moved through the rocks. All I heard on this trip with parents yelling and children laughing (or screaming).

There is a racetrack (for horses)and expansive picnic and sporting grounds, as well as a cafe and tourist centre, none of which were here my last trip 30 plus years ago. They also use this as a outdoor concert venue, but for the life of me (after visiting) I can’t think why? I guess this can be crossed off my Bucket List, as quite frankly I think I preferred You Yangs from a photographic point of view (I also didn’t have to work so hard to get to the rocks, call me lazy!), but Moth had never been.

Excerpts from the movie and the trailer can be seen on Youtube.

~ Julz

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Hot or Cold

This week’s CFFC is Hot or Cold, I took a bit of a trip down memory lane, some of these shots were from New Zealand; where we saw snow and steaming thermal pools. But also days at the beach, days in the sun or snow and of course hot flaming steel wool.

Oh I have another shoot coming up shortly with flaming steel wool………keep a look out.

~ Julz

Autumn Outings – Tieve Tara Gardens, Mount Macedon

On a lovely sunny Autumn weekend, possibly the last for awhile,  we decided to head to up Mount Macedon. We had tried to visit here on our Outback Adventure, but random events meant driving on through, with a promise to return soon.

The Gardens “Tieve Tara”, nestled in the Macedon Ranges truly is a jewel in the crown; especially in Autumn. This is a spot I have been wanting to visit for quite a while, but there always seems to be some reason I could not. The Gardens are only open during Autumn and Spring. We were here I think, a week too late, most of the trees have suddenly lost their leaves in the cold snap of the week before, but there was still a fair bit of colour and of course all the fresh leaves on the ground.

Originally purchased in 1854 by W.  Christian and set up as an Orchard.  It has passed through several families and as been partially destroyed by bushfire on at least two occasions, the current owners purchased the property in 1995. The original gardens were laid by local landscapers Taylor and Sangster. The previous owners (Wade) built the now existing residences and extensively landscaped the former horse paddock into the bottom lake and conifer beds, as well as the cottage gardens.

The current owners extended the gardens even further, adding the second lake, the rose walk and arbours, Treasure Island children’s play area and the fountain and bog garden. The Gardens are located at 751 Mount Macedon Rd, Mount Macedon, VIC 3441, entry cost is AUD$10.00.

We spent a lovely few hours here in the Autumn sun and then we headed back into the township for a wonderful lunch at the Trading Post Cafe. After lunch we visited a few galleries and shops and then headed off to Hanging Rock, but I will leave that for another post.

~ Julz

Share Your World – 30th May, 2017

What is the most famous landmark or building you have ever seen? Tricky…how famous? I’ve been to Ayers Rock (Uluru) twice, I have seen the real Eiffel Tower, Coliseum, Pantheon, Leaning Tower of Pisa, London Bridge and heaps of stuff in UK and Europe (when I was a kid), I have seen Flinders Street Station loads of times, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Great Ocean Road……I’m not sure which is more famous?

Do you like long vacation or lots of mini-vacations? Both, love longer ones, but they cost more money so I don’t get them very often, but the shorter ones are great and of late we have been doing lots of them, just this year I have had a few mini vacations already 🙂

What is your favorite National or State Park? I don’t really have one, National Parks in Australia seem to be a little different from other countries, they don’t actually seem to like to get people to visit, sounds strange I know but one way to keep a park pristine is to keep everyone out! I do visit the Mornington Peninsula National Park a lot, so I guess that would be one and I loved Mungo Park.

DSC_9658-PanoDSC_3288-Edit-Edit

What is your fantasy vacation? A Caribbean Cruise. My daughter had an assignment at school to design a holiday with a huge budget, so we planned this really cool holiday to USA Miami, Disney World and then this Caribbean Cruise that stopped at all the islands, I always thought it looked amazing, I would love to stay at Atlantis Resort………looks so cool,

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Actually last week I am very grateful for my Hubby and my Friends, who kept me sane during a trying week, nothing major just a lot of little annoyance which could have kept me side tracked. I did have a lot of good things happen as well. I had a few pieces m=nominated and winning awards on various Facebook Art Groups, so that is always nice, I got banner pic twice on Foto Arte II.

I had a fantastic Workshop on Sunday the first of many for this year, and hopefully they will all be just as good. I did have one mishap, just after everybody left I was cleaning up and putting everything on this one table, I must have overloaded it and one end collapsed and dumped everything on the floor……….fruit and broken glass and knifes all thrown around………….fortunately my camera was not on there too, something else to be grateful for.

I have some very big plans for workshops this year and I am finally getting some specifics nailed down, so that is VERY exciting. I have another new model coming this weekend, I hope it ends better than the last one. Who BTW was back on that same website asking for work? Never has answered my question of why she never turned up? Go figure some people are so RUDE!

I hope you all have an amazing week…

~ Julz

Our Coastal Adventure – Inverloch, Day 3

After such a big day the day before we allowed ourselves a small sleep in and a leisurely breakfast. We again headed out to Eagles Nest and Cape Paterson, to see how they differed at High Tide. Eagles Nest was still quite visible, but much more treacherous to get to. I stayed up top and took a few shots from the lookout with Wilbur, my legs were so sore and the thought of climbing all those stairs up and down (whoa poor me lol) almost had me in tears 😛

On a pure whim we headed inland towards Wonthaggi, and visited the excellent State Coal Mine (free entry); we did not do the underground mine tour (you had to pay for that), but spent several hours wandering around up top. Very interesting indeed, lots of lovely displays and it was nice seeing a part of our history. Some of the Pioneer Settlements we had been to of recent years were of settlement history in Australia’s past, this settlement was in our childhood and could relate to a lot of it. We even stopped for a Devonshire Tea (No Cream) on the way out. Even the house felt so familiar, it could have been my Grandmother’s house from my childhood; not the same but things FELT so similar.

Hubby even found a new cat to talk to, he seems to find them while we are away of late 🙂

Then on another whim we decided to drive to Korumburra, this time to visit another Pioneer Settlement Village, I guess we were in the mood for some history today. Moth had never been and I have not been in over 30 years; boy has it grown. We spent hours here, wandering the grounds and replica buildings and it’s all FREE!

We finally left the area and headed back to Tarwin Lower and then onto Venus Bay, a sleepy little beach side peninsula with Bass Strait on one side and Anderson Inlet on the other. Long stretches of sandy beaches, open to the high winds off Bass Strait and at low tide (when we were there) Anderson Inlet is just sand bars as far as the eye could see; with tiny little mud crabs scurrying everywhere you walk.

We drove back into town, grabbed a coffee and a quick rest and then made the nightly walked into town from our hotel for dinner; back at the Invy Espy Pub for a good old fashioned Roast Lamb, like only a pub can do, heaped up and lashings of gravy. Followed this up with a yummy lemon sorbet (dairy free of course) for the walk back to the hotel.

We had been so lucky with the weather during these first three days, light winds, a little cloud and approx 20-24C each day, with the nights a little cooler. That changed at around midnight, with fierce winds and rain……….so much rain. We awoke the following morning to grey skies and even more rain, we went back to bed and had a sleep in, eventually getting back up for breakfast and then to pack up and check out.

We had planned on doing loads of stops on the way home, but the weather was so awful we ended up going straight home, we arrived even before lunch time. It was a lovely three days and at this time of year you can expect anything from the weather, so we were fortunate to get what we got. We were leaving the fourth day, just a little earlier than planned.

~ Julz

Read about Day 2 here

 

 

 

 

 

Our Coastal Adventure – Inverloch, Day 2

My Post title probably should read Walkverille, we spent so much time here; such a beautiful place. So we rose at 5am and drove back to Warratah Bay, I was so taken with this spot, I knew I wanted to shoot a sunrise there and this day may be my only chance on this trip. So we drove in the quiet, calm of pre-dawn and found ourselves on the beach with a few early fishermen, taking their boats out.

DSC_0274

The water was almost at High Tide, and I used my stick from my sunset shoot

DSC_0208-Edit

Sunset from last evening

It wasn’t the worlds most amazing sunrise, but I felt calm and energised, these photos cannot convey just how stunning this spot is.

We headed over to the Bird Rock track (the promontory on the right on the images) and climbed down to visit this side of the bay – OMG! What a goat track, so steep and so difficult. We couldn’t access too much at High Tide…….looks like we need another visit.

The weather was closing in on us a little bit, so we thought we would head inland; we visited Toora, Fish Creek and Foster and then out to Agnes Falls. Agnes Falls are reportedly Victoria’s Highest Falls; whether by actual height or altitude I am not sure. It is a 200m walk from the car park, but again quite steep and my legs really sore from yesterday and this morning’s visit to Bird Rock. Of course by the time we made it to the falls the sun came out and made shooting difficult. I was also having focus issues and some of my long exposure shots did not work 😦

Due to the trees and position of the safety rail, we could not see (nor get down) to the bottom of the falls, a little disappointing, but such a pretty spot. We then headed back off toward Inverloch and stopped at Toora for a lovely breakfast and met my new friend Wilbur the travelling Wombat. The idea is to take photos of Wilbur all over the pace and use the hashtag #Visitpromcountry, I use #Wilbur as well. I might need to set up his own IG Account?

By now the tide was almost out at Warratah Bay……..so off we went again! Did I mention we were really taken with this spot? 🙂 We still had not explore the Lime Kiln remnants on the beach.

P.S. I just received a message from the Visit the Prom people that my image of Wilbur at Eagles Nest won their April competition and they are sending me a prize! Cool.

Fascinating, we then walked pretty much from one side of the bay back around to Bird Rock again along the beach at low tide (there was no way known in hell I was climbing back up that Bird Rock track again!).

We spent a lovely afternoon pottering around the beach and rock pools, we watched a guy bog not only his 4WD, but his boat trailer as well, that was at least an hour of entertainment right there, various other 4WD attempted to drag him out, he got out the 4WD at one point and then went back again for the trailer and bogged himself again!

We finally gave up and left, I assume he got out eventually 🙂 . We drove back to the motel and had a rest and shower before an early dinner, which was a very ordinary pizza 😦 and then, because it had been such a long day, a very early night….aka passed out while watching TV!

~ Julz

Read all about Day 1 here

 

 

 

Awake Australian and New Zealand Get Together, 2017 Pt 2

Day 3 – St. Kilda

Another cool and cloudy morning had us all meeting in St Kilda near the Esplanade, the Sea Baths (really just a fancy gym), the Pier, the Markets, Acland Street and Luna Park. We all ambled around the beach and walked the pier, grabbed breakfast and coffee at the end of the pier and chatted while we watched the world pass by. We wandered along the foreshore to Luna Park and then onto Acland Street. Mostly we split off into smaller groups and chatted amongst ourselves, switching between different groups. A long leisurely lunch in one of the many cafes and restaurants found along that stretch of road. All too soon it was time to depart, some went on to more exploring of Melbourne.

Day 4 – The Dandenong Ranges & Workshop

So far I had been playing tourist along with everyone else, while others from the group played Host, Day four was my day. A very early start for some to catch trains and drive from various locations to meet in Belgrave by 9am. I only live 15 minutes away, but still I had lots to do.

This morning myself and co-host Tony Stephenson had arranged some fun……we had two models (Mel and Jess) and we did Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella at Glen Harrow Estate. This was all sprung on everyone last minute and much excitement. They knew we were doing a workshop, but had no idea what! We split into groups and spent approx one hour with each model in various locations, some had never done this sort of thing before, so it was a chance to learn to work with models and create concepts. Such a fun morning.

We then headed off to catch the iconic Puffing Billy steam train as it crosses the old trestle bridge in Selby. We continued onto Olinda (after much confusion and getting a little lost), for coffee (and yes more cake…….I have not seen so many people eat so much cake lol). Eventually wandered around some of the shops and then onto our next stop; RJ Hamer Arboretum. I have photographed in today’s locations several times and it was lovely to share with all my new friends. Wonderful views of the valley and Dandenong ranges from here. We had a long lunch with many laughs and a great BBQ, fungi hunting and looking for Autumn colour. We departed ways with many people from here, some already heading home, some off to explore more areas of the Dandenongs and further afield. Our small group went off to Cloude Hill Gardens, for a bit of a wander through the Nursery and then yes……..more coffee (and cake by some, I think the rest of us were finally over cake lol)

By the time I dropped my companions back at the Train Station for their journey back into town it was getting cold and dark, and I made my way back down the mountains to home.

I have not even looked through all the images and there is already discussions about next year’s event. I am foot sore and exhausted; but it was such a great event, sure there are things we may need to change in future, but we are off to a fabulous start. I am sure, as are many of the others, that lifelong friendships were formed and strengthened during our short visit together; some even follow this blog, as I do theirs – Julie waves ‘Hi’ and gives Smiley faces………..they know who they are 🙂

~ Julz

 

 

Our Coastal Adventure – Inverloch, Day 1

It felt like we had barely been home from our Outback Adventure and we are off again. We left Melbourne in pleasant sunshine as we headed off down toward Gippsland and the Surf Coast; not so far to travel this time, only about one hour from home. Once we arrived in Inverloch we headed into Main Street for a wander; a fairly decent sized and busy little seaside town. First stop was the Information Desk (we usually have an Information Booth/ Visitor Desk in most towns across Victoria, great for tourists) for some local maps and info from the very helpful guides there, then lunch at Paul the Pieman, wonderful sausage roll and coffee; they even made Gluten Free bacon and eggs for Moth (no toast, lol). Our first port of call was Eagles Nest in between Inverloch and Cape Paterson and spent a few hours there at low tide. This spot has been on my local bucket list for some time, and it was wonderful, however even at low tide, was treacherous to walk out too (I’m a clutz, remember), no incidents today, but no long exposure shots either, the thought of walking up all those steps just to get the tripod? No Thanks. Actually everything along here is lots of steps and steep tracks. We then headed to Cape Paterson and checked out the surf beach, lots of lovely rock pools to explore. We started to scout out the lay of the land; stopping at The Oaks, Twin Reefs and Shack Bay….all quite pretty and all with LOTS of stairs to climb down to get to the beach, so as much as my camera may have wished to visit, my knees and hips did not. Shack Bay did have lovely views of Eagles Nest in the distance. We also climbed down for The Caves, but the tide was turning and you really need the low tide to visit, so we took a few pictures and vowed to come back at low tide (although we never did). The Caves also had much easier access to the beach, but still plenty of stairs; I was going to regret all those stairs in the coming days. We found this cool little marsupial mouse like creature, they were everywhere called Antechinus, resembling a mouse or shrew.

We then left this area and decided to check out our Hotel, a gorgeous little Boutique Hotel and so luxurious. Headed back into town for a late lunch at Inlet Pizza and Fish and Chips….lovely chips and gravy. We then headed out to Tarwin Lower to visit Cape Liptrap. This area is stunning and we spent a lot of time here over our short visit. First stop the Cape Liptrap Light House; yes folks I found another Light House! We arrived as the sun was just starting to get low, and the glow from the lighthouse was lovely. True, it’s not the prettiest lighthouse we have seen; but such a lovely spot and easy access with a short 500m (approx) walk on flat gravel track from the car park, heaven!

We saw a sign that mentioned Lime Kilns at Walkerville, the lady at the Information Desk mentioned we might like Walkerville for photography too; so that was our next stop. We ended up at a secluded little cove called Warratah Bay; what a slice of heaven – stunning. I decided to stop here and do some long exposure shots on the beach as the sun got even lower and then a reverse sunset (sunset was behind me) but the light and colour reflected in the clouds was gorgeous. So still, calm and pretty, we needed a low tide to explore more; we would be back.

We then headed back to the room at dusk, we only saw one black wallaby and a few wombats and foxes that had been hit by cars, but not much other wildlife. We grabbed a coffee and changed and then headed back out for dinner, at the Invy Espy Pub; amazing food but a very long 1.5 hour wait for our food, this place was busy! Eventually walked back to the rooms for an early night………we planned to be up early for sunrise back at Warratah Bay! But more on that next post.

~ Julz

Monday’s Musings…

I am writing this from our hotel in Inverloch, grabbing a quick rest after a very long day. We were up at 5am to shoot sunrise back at Warratah Bay….paradise. We acually visited this spot 3 times in 4 days.

We have been visting this little stretch of coastline for three days and still two days to go. I hope the weather holds out. 

I am exhausted and sore, so many stairs, everywhere we go. Steep slopes and stairs 😣 my legs are so sore. But what an amazing area. Will post more soon. 

Until next time…happy snapping

-Julz

Our Outback Adventure, Day 8

Swan Hill – Melbourne 337 kms 3.5 hours

Our last day, so we treated ourselves to a small sleep in and rose late, visited the Pioneer Settlement again to see what was missed the day before. We ran into many of our friends who had not managed to visit the settlement, day before. We had a fun horse drawn carriage ride around the old town and then bid goodbye to our friends and Swan Hill. We stopped at a few spots on our way to Bendigo; Lake Boga, Bridgewater and a few others.

We were going to spend one more day touring and spend the night in Bendigo, but ended up cutting our tip short, due to expansive severe storms heading that way. Crossing the Great Dividing Range we literally passed from clear blue skies with fluffy white clouds into black skies and turbulent winds. Massive thunderstorms threatened us with lighting in the distance and huge dust storms. Areas reported hail and torrential rain, we made it home just before the rains hit. We received a months worth of rain that evening!

 

All in all, it was a wonderful trip, amazing scenery, wonderful weather, good friends and far too much sitting (long stretches in the car) and so much dust! One good thing about the storms…washed most of my car clean 🙂 (Still took Hubby over 4 hours to clean it!)

We had not even edited all the photos yet and everyone has been excitedly discussing where we should go for our group trip next year! I need to get over this one first, I still have a very full month ahead of me too.

So we did Melbourne – Maldon – St Arnaud – Mildura – Broken Hill – Silverton – Mungo – Swan Hill – Melbourne………2,490kms of mostly dirt road. I have no idea how much fuel, I didn’t think to keep a total. And you know what I just realised? Apart from fuel and food…I did not spend a cent! No shopping, what a good girl am I 🙂

Personal Highlights for me had to have been Silverton and Mundi Mundi Plains, as well as Menindee Lakes, I did enjoy Mungo immensely and just the open road and open country side; I love the Australian Outback, almost as much as I love the open water. I just didn’t realise til I was out there how much. I felt a sense of calm and bliss, at no stage did I feel stressed or anxious. As much as it was tiring and lots of travel I came home completely relaxed and happier than I have been for months.

Til our next adventure (very, very soon) safe travels and happy snapping…oh and our next trip? We are heading for the ocean again, this time out past Gippsland, but more on that in a week or two.

~ Julz

Day 7