Monday, 31 December 2018

tiger moth

Up, up and away. When you drop in on family and your brother in law is a pilot and aircraft enthusiast you never know where you might end up.

On route to Kangaroo Island we stopped at Nhill to catch up with Colin's sister and brother in law, Ali and Brian and their family. Amidst the chin wagging, cricket watching, finding out about the work Ali has been doing with the Karen people (Paw Po), Brian very kindly offered to take us each for a ride in the 'Tiger Moth'. Brian's father, Len, is also a pilot and an avid aviation enthusiast and recently purchased a Tiger Moth. It is on display at the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre. It is an amazing experience to be flying in something that looks so 'flimsy', to hear the whirring of the propellors and feel the force of the wind, to look over the side and your view is unencumbered by windows. It is flying at its most elemental and we both feel so fortunate to have had such an experience. (a very big thank you to Brian for taking the time and doing all the safety preparation before hand!)

clipping on the go pro

last minute adjustments

getting ready for take off

looking out the front (I had to hold the camera up high to take this
as you cannot see out the front because you are sitting down lower)

but you can see out the side and over the wing

flying over Nhill

beautiful lines created by skilled farmers

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Alpine Country

A few pics from our recent excursion into Alpine Country.

Harrietville; first time in the new tent and trying out our sleeping mats. All good, but not my preferred mode of accommodation! I'll take the caravan any day. There isn't really a way to be comfortable in a hiking tent and on a sleeping mat, even though I opted for the 'comfort deluxe'. Oh well it was only for a few nights and the aches and pains slowly dissipate once you get moving in the morning.

figuring out the 'jet boil' and accessories
We hiked along the 'Razor Back' from Mount Hotham to Mount Feathertop, well almost all the way. We stopped short to ensure that my sore knee would make it all the way back and be ok for another day or so. The views were stunning so we didn't feel like we were missing out on anything by not doing the very last couple of kilometres.

starting on Mount Hotham means the views are amazing right from the start
around, up and over
and it just keeps going
around another bend
its a rocky path at times
heading into a section of snow gums.
the snow gums are ghostly white and mostly dead due to a previous bushfire
taking it in 
how's this for a view

We camped at JB Plains Hut Camping Ground and had the whole area and the long drop to ourselves.

Colin loves to tinker with things
a long drop on a lean 
early morning mist
the early morning mist was amazing ten minutes before this photo was taken.
It took me that long to dash to the car and get my camera and get back, bummer missed it.
Reminder to self, always keep a camera on hand!
amazing spider webs in the morning sun. I couldn't get any closer to take a photo
because the afternoon before a snake had slithered into the grass right near this tree
right after it raised its head/body when Colin had carefully walked past it.

From the heights to the plains - the following day we took it easy with some walks around Dinner Plains.

luscious green (hope there's no snakes in there)
golden wildflowers
a dam with tadpoles and croaking frogs
 the obligatory cup of tea and piece of fruit cake

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Maria Island

Wombats, wildlife, old buildings and beautiful scenery is just the beginning on Maria Island.

Day 1

Within minutes of walking off the ferry a mother wombat and her baby crossed our path. It was a scramble to get a quick snap. Despite searching over the coming days we never saw another baby wombat. We did however stalk wombats with laden pouches hoping for a glimpse. What we did glimpse (with much staring at wombats nether regions - wombats pouches face backwards so they don't fill up with dirt when they dig) was a tiny little hairless foot poking out of a pouch. It was an amazing sight, almost like a glimpse of something in utero. Wombats are hard to take photos of, they are eating machines and rarely lift their heads from the grass they are nibbling.

We also saw plenty of kangaroos, wallabies, pademelons (some with babies in the pouch), cape barren geese, native hens and a lot of other birds. We glimpsed a Tasmanian Devil at dusk most evenings as she came out of her den under a building close by. Wildlife encounters are plentiful on Maria Island and is one of the things that makes it so special.

The Painted Cliffs is a short stroll and can only be accessed at low tide.

It was a bit drizzly when we arrived but luckily the sun made a brief break through the cloud cover and we saw the cliffs in all their glory.

The stormy skies were an added bonus to a beautiful landscape.

Day 2

We set ourselves the task of climbing Mount Bishop and Clerk.

the beginning of the ascent
Mount Bishop and Clerk in the distance
the last hour or so was over rock - hard and slow work
almost at the top
well done Jo, little mountain goat
photo time, there were views of the Tasmanian mainland and Freycinet peninsula
My knees were not too happy with the rocky descent.

Day 3

A quieter day spent exploring the old buildings, learning about the convict heritage and walking to the fossil cliffs.

a fossilised shell

the silos
the millers cottage
inside Howells cottage
the ruins of the religious instruction building

we stayed in the old penitentiary
once there were over 60 convicts in this room

Day 4

A 'sore butt' kind of day as we hired bikes and rode to the other end of the island. The coastal path was an easy and beautiful ride.

we rode past four mile beach

Mount Maria in the distance

We rode to the Isthmus and decided to leave the bikes behind when we hit sand. Keeping an eye out for snakes (there were some slithery marks across the sandy track) we made our way to Shoal Bay - white sand, blue water and no one to be seen!

There was a bit of resting, lunching, sun baking, digging and oyster shell skimming.

I asked Jo why his butt wasn't sore, he said it was and his knee was too 'but the joy of riding keeps me going'. I managed to find some joy in riding on the way home too - downhill and fast with the wind whipping my hair. (downhill means you don't have to pedal and you can use one leg to lift yourself slightly off the seat and relieve pressure on your butt, the wind was whipping my hair because my helmet slipped off my head and down my back - more because of the wind than my speed I think! Although I did think to myself as everything was flashing by that lucky my sister used to be a nurse and if I came a cropper she would be able to patch me up).

Maria Island is a stunning place and the wildlife is truly amazing. Thanks Carla and Jo for letting me tag along.