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 out 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

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Earth

With Earth day coming up on April 22, our theme for this week’s WPC is Earth. I have just spent eight days in the Australian Outback, where I had no signal, nor internet for at least three of those days and more often than not; little to none on the rest of those days. I can’t say I went without any tech; I had my car, my camera and my tunes…but I did spend a week getting back to nature.

JuliePowell_Daydream-1

Day Dream Mine

Autumn is a magical time of the year in the Outback, days are wonderful and the nights not too cold, tru Spring often has wild flowers, but there is something about this time of year…..the light: the sunrises, sunsets and the evening sky – all magic

~ Julz

Our Outback Adventure, Day 7

Mungo – Swan Hill 349 kms all 2nd rate dirt roads took 3 hours

We rose early and went out to shoot sunrise over the Mungo Plains, quiet and peaceful out in the scrubland and beautiful sunrise it was, it may have started out cool, but warmed up quite quickly once the sun was up. We headed over to the old Woolshed for photos before all the visitors arrived. True probably not that many, but nice to shoot something without people in it at times.

Back to the Lodge for a welcome cooked breakfast, pack and head out of the dusty dirt roads again, this time heading back to civilisation again. We have had no cell signal, nor internet for 3 days! We were all heading to Swan Hill, we went the ‘scenic’ route which was on less than secondary dirt roads and quite rough. We decided to try and find Heywood Lake and ended up on even worse roads, some of which were closed and flooded over!

Our scenic route was actually a short cut (even with detours) and we made it to Swan Hill in three hours! We wandered around town, had some lunch and then visited the Pioneer Settlement for a quick look around. We went out on the Paddle Steamer [PS] PYAP, which barely had 3″ of clearance due to the water levels being so low at this time of year; total water level was 2’3′” normally over 10″ foot deep. So we travelled up the Murray past Murray Downs Homestead and past campsite, houseboats and mighty river red gums (trees). It was such a lovely relaxing way to see the area on the old paddle steamer.

We then checked into our hotel, showered and changed for our last night celebration dinner together at Spoons Restaurant, on the balcony overlooking the river, we saw a magnificent sunset and then after dinner saw the wonderful “heartbeat of the Murray” light show back at the Pioneer Settlement. WOW! what a show, truly amazing and so deserved for all the awards it has won.

This is just a few snapshots off the smart phone……still impressive huh? We all went back to the hotel, a few of us had a night cap and said goodbye…..in the morning, everyone was going their own way. We had spent a week with these wonderful people, old and new friends, we will all see each other again, soon.

Almost done, with only one day to go…

~ Julz

Day 6 | Day 8

 

 

Our Outback Adventure, Day 6

Broken Hills – Mungo National Park, via Menindee Lakes, Pooncarie 331 kms all dirt road, Pooncarie to Mungo alone took 3.5 hours

We were up early this morning, no time to shoot sunrise, although it was lovely, we headed out to Menindee Lakes, off the beaten track, red dirt roads again for miles and miles. This series of lakes is often empty and there are dead trees sticking up out of the water everywhere you look. There is a main weir and feeds off the Darling River.

The Menindee Lakes is a chain of shallow ephemeral freshwater lakes connected to the Darling River to form a storage system. The lakes lie in the far west region of New South Wales, Australia, near the town of Menindee.

-Wikipedia

I was suffering from childhood flashback all along the road to Menindee and later email confirmed I had indeed been to this spot several times as a child. I remember the roads and the paddymelons growing wild on the side (a type of fruit bearing a similar appearance to watermelon but small and round like an orange or grapefruit). I remembered the lakes and the dead trees, wonderful spot for camping and the sunsets were amazing, but alas we were not there for sunset this day 😦

The road from Menindee to Pooncarie was also full of flashbacks; red dirt, blue skies and more paddy melons on the roadside. We saw a few kangaroos, some emus and more wild goats. We had the worst lunch at the Pooncarie Pub……..never visit there again! We finally arrived at Mungo Lodge in a huge cloud of dust. After we settled into out rooms, we were introduced to our last travelling companion to join us and then we were all escorted out to Mungo National Park to visit the Walls of China for a picnic dinner and sunset. I was not at all sure of what to expect,  I did not remember ever seeing or hearing of it before on previous visits. It was surreal, almost felt like walking on an alien landscape. Our latest companion had a drone and took aerial shots of the area, they were wonderful. I think Moth really, really, really wants to get a drone now……..I might just let him 🙂

Mungo National Park is part of the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area. The region abounds in ancient cultural and archaeological treasures, the scale of which is almost impossible to grasp without a visit. Findings include human skeletal material, tools, middens and animal bones, along with relatively undisturbed land-forms spanning several thousand years.

We even managed to fulfil a bucket list item for one of our companions to create light painting orbs in the desert here.

It was a long and dangerous drive back in the dark after a wonderful sunset; cars, dust and kangaroos…but we all made it back safely.

This is where I leave Day 6 and will continue on with Mungo and Day 7 next post…

~ Julz

Day 5 | Day 7

 

Share Your World – 18th April, 2017

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen? I am not really phased by one of the other, if I am scribbling notes I’ll happily use a pencil, but if I am writing to someone, which I rarely do, I always use a pen. I handwrite my Christmas cards in pen, but I am sending less and less, preferring to send e-Cards.

Would you rather be an amazing dancer or an amazing singer? Singer! Although I do like to move to the rhythm as well. But I love to sing, I have said it before; in the shower, especially in the car……..shame I am not very good 🙂

If you were on a debate team, what subject would you relish debating? Why smacking your kids is a GOOD thing. Seriously don’t get me started on the half wits around now-a-days……no fear of chastisement, as they know there is nothing anyone can do. Back in my day (GOD I sound like my GrandMother!) a good smack would whip us into line and we had respect for the person handing out that smack, or in my case, belt. Honestly the world is going down a craphole and most of it could be solved if people punished their children. No I’m not talking about physical abuse, just a simple smack on the bum!

What are you a “natural” at doing? Being creative, photography took a bit to learn, and I am still learning, but it seems I am quite good at that…but it’s the art; the creative, imaginative art that sets my imagination and soul on fire. I have always had an active imagination, now I can play it out on the screen. I used to paint and I was OK, I could never seem to create what was in my minds’ eye when I painted, but digitally I can create almost anything. It’s wonderful, I wish I had discovered it years ago, but then digital art was not what it is today, is it?

DSC_9166

Sunrise of the Murray River, Mildura

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

So much in my life is wonderful right now, I just had a fantastic Outback Adventure, a lovely quiet Easter weekend with family and friends and now on Saturday Moth and I are off on another adventure……..this time we are hitting more of Victoria’s amazing coastline. We are picking up where we left off from the Great Ocean Road Trip and heading East; more Light houses and fabulous coastal vistas. Can’t wait, hopefully I can get some more amazing photography like last week.

On a more boring note, I have finally caught up with two years of taxation stuff and I think I have finally sorted out most of my Photography Catalogue in Lightroom……such a headache, but both of them now seem to be under control……..whew! Now THAT’s a relief.

I hope you are have a fantastic week…don’t forget to visit Cee’s SYW Page

~ Julz

Our Outback Adventure, Day 5

Broken Hill – Silverton – Mundi Mundi Plains, 24 kms

We allowed ourselves the luxury of a sleep in this morning, as we had a free morning to ourselves, we did however miss a fabulous sunrise. We went to Bells Cafe for morning tea, it’s a retro 1960s cafe filled to the brim with retro goodies and decor. I got a lactose free Cherry Ripe Milkshake……yummo!

We then headed back out to the Line of the Load memorial for some more photos.

Next was the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a vital medical service which covers a majority of outback Australia, for which without, there would be no clinics or emergency services.  We did a tour of the facilities and had everything explained from changes in the last few decades due to technology and how operations work. We even saw the hangar where they house the air-planes.

We then wandered around Town for a bit, looking at some of the historic buildings, had some lunch at Thyme Cafe (delicious) and then met the others to head off to Day Dream Mine. Some ventured on the underground mine tour, I had read it was quite rigorous so I stayed above ground.  There is the remains of the old township and smelter, but it is quite dangerous and had to stay on the dirt road….the ground still has many open mine shafts which you could fall into, as well as some of the slag heaps still contain cyanide, arsenic and lead and disturbing them is ill-advised! The ones who did the mine tour all complained how stiff & sore they were from the cramped and difficult conditions they endured down there, for days! So glad I stayed up top. On and no I did not try the fresh scones 🙂

After carefully exploring the area we headed off again to Silverton. This area was used to shoot several Mad Max films, although they had to shoot the last one in Mongolia or something as the area broke out in a sudden case of Spring after some rains and wild flowers dotted the landscape………so very un Mad Max lol.

We wandered around this now ghost town, but as we arrived quite late we could not visit the many galleries dotted around the small town, nor the Mad Max Museum. We did photograph many of the abandoned houses and buildings, we met donkeys and horses, goats and some kangaroos. We then drove out to Mundi Mundi Plains for the most stunning sunset overlooking what could have been the edge of the world. So flat and barren and untamed, not a soul in sight except for ourselves.

We drove back (carefully dodging kangaroos, horses and donkeys) back to Silverton Pub for a lovely dinner, with loads of stories and laughs.

After dinner we went back out to one of the abandoned houses for some light painting in the ruins. No flaming steel wool tonight, too dangerous. True there is not alot left to burn down, but I am sure any damage would not be appreciated.

Some of us were so tired and still had the drive back to Broken Hill in the dark, so we didn’t play all night, even if I wanted to, I had some new ideas I had wanted to try. Oh well, can’t be greedy! Eventually made it back to the hotel safe and sound and that is where I will leave day 5…

~ Julz

Day 4 | Day 6

Our Outback Adventure, Day 4

Mildura – Wentworth – Broken Hill 325 kms (3.5 hours)

We all rose early and met at the Mildura Wharf for sunrise, it was cool, calm and very quiet, with a few sleepy birds starting to stir. We all stood and watched the sun rise over the Murray River, each minute more magic than the next. This truly must signal the end of my Sunrise Jinx?

Finally we decided it was time to leave the wharf, pack up and grab some breakfast and leave for a new day’s adventure. Heading into NSW over the Mighty Murray River, we briefly spent the morning exploring Wentworth.

The Gaol, The Junction, Dock 10; all quite muddy. We then drove out to Perry Sandhills; red, red sand dunes (My photos below just don’t do it just 😦 ) that stretch on for as far as the eye can see. Sand so fine, like talcum powder, we had been warned against taking the cameras and only used the SmartPhone.

We then continued the long 3 hour drive to Broken Hill, saw lots of wild goats, but not much of anything else, apart from road kill 🙂 It was actually surprisingly green with so much scrub grass; I was expecting a lot more sand and dirt and much less grass. We had red dirt, cobalt blue skies and fairy-tale fluffy white clouds and stretches of road that went for miles and miles. We stopped for a late and very quick lunch in Broken Hill and checked into our Hotel (again on a main highway!) time for a quick rest up and then off to explore Broken Hill and the surrounds. We visited the Line of the Load Memorial where all the dead over the last few hundred years were honoured in a memorial. So many lost from rock falls, lead poisoning, crushed under trucks and a few from something as simple as a cut lip (septicemia). Some were never recovered and are still down under the rocks of these now closed mines.

 

We then drove out to see the Rock Sculptures at the Living Desert National Park. Stunning light in the late afternoon, we stayed for Sunset and then some light painting, until we got kicked out by the Park Ranger, as he wanted to lock up for the night (7pm). We drove back into town for a fantastic Dinner at Palace Hotel of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (movie) fame. Apparently there were even some drag queens, but we arrived late and missed them. They have a big festival weekend in September called Broken Heel!

We met up with two more companions who had a horrible caravan incident on the way up and had to limp into town for some repairs. The 4WD and caravan jack-knifed, causing damage to the back drivers side door, they finally got it shut, but now wont open, and punched a whole in the side of the caravan…..daylight could be seen from within…never a good thing. They were shaken up, but luckily unhurt. Apart from graphic tales of how it happened, we also had lots of laughs and drinks, with good friends, until finally we all headed off to bed. I will leave Day 4 here…

~ Julz

Day 3 | Day 5

 

Our Outback Adventure, Day 3

St Arnaud – Mildura – 385 kms  – via Rupanyup, Sheep Hills, Brim, Warracknabeal, Patchewollock, Red Cliffs.

Our Hotel in Saint Arnaud, was on a VERY business Highway, with trucks travelling ALL night, so very short on sleep. We all packed up and headed for Rupanyup for the start of the Silo Art trail, a 200km trail across Victoria’s Wheat Belt featuring giant murals painted on otherwise boring wheat silos, by artists Matt Adnate, Guido Van Helten and others. The art at Rupanyup is not finished yet, but we still decided it was worth seeing. Julia Volchkova is the artist.

This was the first of four silo’s we would see today. These silos are near remote towns with not much else to offer, in some places not even a coffee or toilet! Our next silo was at Sheep Hills with the largest of the artworks painted by Matt Adnate. The thought was that this would bring in tourists and money for these regions; but being so remote I am not sure how it will bring in any money. Most places we could not even get a cold drink nearby?

The silo is the largest — 30m high x 40m wide — and is at the heart of a six-silo art trail through the district. Adnate used 300 litres of house paint and 100 spray cans on the project, which had its challenges, including working at height in heat and wind, as well as a curved surface for a canvas.

~ Herald Sun

We stopped at Warracknabeal for a great lunch at the Royal Pub and continued on. Brim was our Next stop; Silo painted by Guido Van Helten

And then lastly the Patchewollock silos painted by artist Fintan Magee, not my favourite, but still quite impressive. There will be several more added to the art trail by the end of the year I believe.

We Continued up the Woomera Highway; red dirt and blue skies and road that went on for miles and not much else to see.

We kept seeing signs for kangaroos and Mallee Fowl in the area, but never saw any. We finally drove into Red Cliffs and after much confusion and getting a little lost, we eventually found the Red Cliffs in the late afternoon sunshine, perfectly timed with the sun hitting the cliffs. After a brief photo opportunity we headed onto Mildura.

Again much confusion when we arrived at Mildura, as our booking had somehow been cancelled! It is the start of the school holidays and Mildura is a popular spot, but we eventually found alternative accommodation. We all met and had a lovely dinner at the RSL. We all decided on an early night for a Sunset Shoot in the morning.

This is where I leave Day 3, and will pick up on Day 4 in the next post.

~ Julz

Day 2 | Day 4

 

 

Our Outback Adventure, Day 2

Maldon – Castlemaine – Saint Arnaud – 135 kms

We rose early and again drove up to Tarrengower Tower, not as many kangaroos this morning. It was cold and windy on that tower on top of the Hill, but a beautiful sunrise and I think the end of my sunrise curse (I have not shot a good sunrise all year and possibly last year as well!). It was a wonderful way to start our day and the holiday.

We headed back down the mountain, had breakfast and showered, and re packed the car. We then explored what is left of Maldon, which is an historic gold mining town in Central Victoria. I remember it being vastly popular with tourists and many art and craft shops, galleries and various curios shops. Now most of the shops are vacant, for lease or up for sale, as were many of the houses. So sad, it is not the town I remember at all.

We went to the Maldon Dredge and Dragline, which was actually quite interesting;

We had of course already down Mount Tarrengower Lookout, The Vintage Machinery Museum was closed, as was the museum and Porcupine Township. We stopped at the Bee Hive Mine and North British Mine (not much left of either), we never found the other mine sites. We wander the Main street and bought a few yummy treats at the Lolly Shop (candy)

With not much left to see we drove on to Castlemaine, where it was also market day, but not so crowded as Woodend. We stopped at the visitor centre for maps, wandered the market stalls and then went exploring. We visited the Burke & Wills Memorial, Buda House (an historic House named after Budapest, the home town of the Silversmith who built it). Actually I was a bit disappointed with Buda House, the gardens were reportedly fantastic, but perhaps recent storms had caused a lot of damage?

We then went to the Castlemaine Gaol, which was pathetic. Most of it was closed off and the rest was full of catering equipment as they host concerts, parties and weddings etc there. Why they could not store all that stuff in cells, locked away from the public I have no idea. We saw three cells rooms done up for different time periods, there was no real information other than that. We could not visit upstairs or the exercise yard. After visiting old Gaols of Melbourne, Pentridge and Beechworth, this was just such a bitter disappointment. The only bright spark was the amazing lunch we got at the converted Governors Manor Cafe.

The Botanical Gardens and Cemetery were not overly exciting either so we headed out of town towards Chewton for the Garfield Water Wheel. Only stone remnants left. Fabulous spot for some Conceptual Portrait Photography. I managed to get some shots for my Tarot Collection and gave our Wolf Costume a shoot. We have had it since before Beechworth, but still had not used it. We almost scared a young family to death, first when they some across the wolf climbing the rocks, and then when Moth removed the wolf head………poor Master Six went into a panic! I could only stand there laughing.

We then visited the Forest Creek Visitor Mine which was really very interesting. I am not sure if it is the original mining site or it has been moved and re created, but lots of stuff everywhere and information signs explaining what it is and it’s purpose, all along the track.

We then made our way up the Wimmera Highway to Saint Arnaud to meet up with the others. Lots of excitement about our trip ahead. We had a lovely group dinner and then an early night.

I’ll leave Day 2 here and continue with Day 3 in another post.

~ Julz

Day 1 | Day 3