Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thurra River to Mallacoota, Croajingolong National Park - October 1997

We had a little wild weather on day 2 of this stroll.
I’ve decided to break out the scanner again and digitise a few of these old photos before they turn to dust. These are my rather vague and perfunctory memories from a walk I did years ago with Sam and my mate Dave. Croajingolong National Park is a long way from Melbourne, but the effort of getting there is richly rewarded once in the park, this National Park is a wild stunner. Having said that you’ll largely have to take my word for it as my old photos are pretty ordinary really. I’m thinking another visit to Croajingolong National Park should be in my medium term future, maybe an epic Lake Tyres to Eden walk might throw up a bit of colour for my blog…we’ll see?
Dunes near Mueller River.
Day 1 Thurra River to Gale Hill 10 kilometres
Our first day involved an incredibly long car shuffle before we even set forth on the track, not that it mattered much as we didn’t have a great deal of distance to walk today. Leaving the car at Thurra River we headed to the beach and turned left…and that was about it really! Well there was a couple of river crossings, but both Thurra and Mueller river were only knee deep wades so there wasn’t any real issues there. There were also a couple of rocky outcrops to cross but even these were pretty easy, the main issue there being the Redbelly Black Snakes seemed to like sun baking on them. So after successfully negotiating the river crossings and avoiding stepping on my serpent mates we were really left with a march east along the sand. Arriving at the turn off up to the spring at Gale Hill we headed up, managing to find the damp spot covered with some timber. After removing the timber we dug out a bit of sand and sure enough a bit of cool clear water started to trickle in. With some water safely found we set up camp and settled in for a lazy afternoon.
There is never a shortage of snakes down my experience anyway.
Near Gale Hill on day 1.
Day 2 Gale Hill to Easby Creek 14 kilometres 24 kilometres total
Waking on day 2 of our Wilderness Coast Walk we were again blessed with a nice sunny day. After breaking camp we set off on our eastward journey again. The walking today had a lot more rocks to negotiate and almost immediately we crossed Petral Point, a large rocky point that was easily negotiated. After Petral Point it was another few kilometres of beach walking before we followed some poles up through the dunes to cross the back of Rame Head, the first time since starting the walk that we were more than a couple hundred metres from the water. After checking out the lookout over Rame Head we again dropped to the sand at Fly Cove before picking up the track to the Wingan Inlet Camp.
I'm thinking this is Rame Head but that may be a Feral fact?
Our original plan had us camping at Wingan Inlet but with the car camping area very busy and the tide being fairly low, we decided that we should cross the mouth of Wingan Inlet and camp on the other side. So after filling our water bottles we retraced our route back out to Fly Cove and headed towards the mouth of Wingan Inlet. Unfortunately our luck with the weather ran out about now and we found ourselves stripping off to wade across the mouth of the inlet, in some fairly heavy rain and strong winds. This wade can be pretty dodgy but today it was only waist deep, although we did wade a fair way out towards The Skerries. After arriving on the eastern side of the inlet we rock hopped our way along the now slick rocks, thankful to arrive at the sand again near Easby Creek. With the rain still coming down and the wind howling, we decided that the small camp just inside the coastal scrub here was a good spot to stop for the night, spending the last few hours of the afternoon snoozing in the tent.
Rock hopping around to Easby River the weather had turned.
Once safely past the rocks big Dave had a bit of a lie down!
With the combination of a very high tide and a strong storm surge, the waves were breaking a long way up the beach.
Day 3 Easby Creek to Benadore River 13 kilometres 37 kilometres total
Waking up next morning the rain had mostly passed us by and with a fairly short day in front of us we were in no real hurry. After a bit of a beach stroll where we had to dodge the occasional rogue waves washing right up onto the dunes, we arrived at the turnoff that would take us around behind Sandpatch Point. This was our second substantial detour away from the coast on our journey east, apparently it is possible to round Sandpatch Point at sea level but it is meant to be very rough and slow going. After another an hour or so crossing a mixture of coastal forest and heathlands and another close encounter with a sun baking Redbelly Black Snake, we dropped down some steps onto the sand again. Wandering up the beach we soon arrived at Benadore River and after a bit of exploring we settled in for the afternoon at the very comfortable camp on the western side of the inlet. This was our favourite camp on the walk and it came complete with a full suite of bush furniture to kick back on.
I'm thinking that this is climbing away from Red River as we climbed behind Sandpatch Point, although once again that could be another FF.
Our day 3 camp at Benedore River was a nice one.

We even had water views:)
Day 4 Benadore River to Quarry Beach 18 kilometres 55 kilometres total
In theory we had another very easy day in front of us today as we were only planning on walking to Shipwreck Creek. Leaving camp we crossed the closed outlet of the Benadore River and again headed inland a bit, this time crossing behind Little Rame Head. The walking behind Little Rame Head is once again across open heathland largely and I always enjoy walking this kind of country, I love the wide open views this type of vegetation allows. After an hour or two we hit the coast again at the beautiful Seal Cove only to almost immediately hard inland along a series of old overgrown 4wd and walking tracks as we made our way across to Shipwreck Creek.
This guy was asleep beside the track as we dropped down to Seal Cove, old mate didn't seem too concerned with us though.
Now as I mentioned earlier, Shipwreck Creek was our original planned camp tonight, but arriving at the chock-a-block car camping area at lunch time we quickly decided that hanging out here for the afternoon wasn’t really our best option. After dropping down the access road to grab some water where it crossed Shipwreck Creek we set off along the Old Coast Road. Once again the next few kilometres had some nice views across the low heathland before we touched the coast for the last time at Secret Beach before walking an old 4wd track back to the car at Quarry Beach.
Approaching Shipwreck Cove.
The Dirt.
We walked around 55 kilometres on this medium grade walk, I’d guess that the total climbing would only be around 300 metres over the journey as well, so it’s not overly taxing. Having said that we did this walk a long time ago, back in the day the tracks were sometimes very overgrown and not always well sign posted. None of the river crossings or inlets were bridged so they required a bit of a plan. Drinking water was also an issue, particularly at Gale Hill where we had to dig the sand out of a soak. The other things you need to keep an eye out for when walking at Croajingolong is the local fauna, I’ve never walked there without coming across snakes, although they are usually the fairly docile Redbelly Black Snakes, there are a lot of them. Ticks are also an issue here so you need to check for them fairly frequently. On this old walk we used a set of John Chapman’s notes out of Lonely Planet’s 1997 edition of Bushwalking in Australia. Having said all that I think Parks Vic have spruced up this walk a bit and the marketing department now call it the Wilderness Coast Walk, so I’m guessing things may be a little different on the ground now. Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, I’ll have to get back to write up and photograph this walk properly in my medium term future.

Relevant Posts.

Mallacoota to Merrica River, Nadgee Nature Reserve, 2004.
Haycock Point to Barmouth Beach, Ben Boyd National Park, 2010.
McKillops Bridge to Snowy River Bush Camp, Silvermine Walking Track, Snowy River National Park, 2017.

This is a beautiful part of Victoria.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Anakie Gorge Circuit, Brisbane Ranges National Park - June 2018.

The track up Anakie Gorge follows an old road cut in the 1870's when Lower Stony Creek Reservoir and the Geelong pipeline were being built.
It’s been a couple of weeks since my big bike crash and, with the bruising having gone down a fair bit I figured it was time to head out on a bit of a rougher walk. The Anakie Gorge Circuit (or Ted Errey Nature Walk as it’s also known) is not a particularly rough walk really, but it was certainly harder than anything I’d been doing recently. So anyway that’s how I found myself re-setting my GPS, locking the ute and, somewhat gingerly, shouldering my pack and setting off from the Anakie Gorge Picnic Area early last Saturday. Incidentally, is it just me or is this spot the a pain to find? I’ve been here a few times over the last thirty years, but I don’t think I’ve managed to arrive at the car park once without some form of navigational embarrassment.
Leaving the Anakie Gorge Picnic Area things were fairly quiet this morning.
I seems that most of Victoria has been burnt severely in recent years and the Brisbane Ranges are no exception, the land here was badly burnt in 2006 and I haven’t been back to the Anakie Gorge section of Brisbane Ranges National Park since. Last time I was over here my main memories were of the Koala’s grazing in the Manna Gums down near the creek and grass tree in the drier county above the gorge, so I was interested to see how the country was recovering. Leaving the car park this morning I set off into Anakie Gorge along the dry Stony Creek under a blue sky, keeping a close eye out for Koala poo, yep my life is exciting!
Blue Sky above the gorge, always a good thing in my eyes!
These old tunnels in Anakie Gorge aren't the usual old mines, they're the tunnels for the old pipeline.
The start of today’s stroll had me walking the easy track into the gorge for about a kilometre before I left it and climbed up into the dryer country above. The track up through the gorge was originally cut way back in the 1870’s when the pipeline supplying water to Geelong from the Stony Creek Reservoir was being built, now days the old track makes it very easy to pass through the surprisingly rugged topography. After 15 minutes or so I arrived at the turn off for the Ted Errey Nature Walk and started climbing out of the gorge, thankfully climbing out of the shade into the weak winter’s sunlight. This short steep climb is actually the roughest section of today’s stroll but really it’s pretty reasonable, the good news this morning was that as I was now in the sun the surrounding bush looked a lot better in my photos.
I was still well and truly in the shade down in the gorge this morning.
Once I started climbing it wasn't long before I walking under the weak winters sun.
Climbing out of the gorge I was starting to get some more extensive views.
The 2006 fires killed a lot of the bigger mature trees here.
The Grass Trees loved the fires though.
Apart from the warming sun on my back the other good thing about this climb is the number of lookout points. Arguably the pick of the lookouts is Nelsons Lookout which is a few hundred metre side trip off the main track. Nelsons Lookout allows for long range views out to the rugged country to the north and west, the Lower Stony Creek Reservoir which was visible nestled in a valley, was where I was slowly making around to. After leaving Nelsons Lookout I rejoined the circuit track, walking along a burnt fence line to arrive at the next lookout, Bellarine View. Looking out across rural land to Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula, Bellarine View is situated right on top of the Rowsley Fault. The Rowsley Fault is the geological feature that allowed for the creation of the Brisbane Ranges around a million years ago when the land to the east sank and the land to the west rose, which created the Brisbane Ranges in the process.
Looking out towards Melbourne, the flat land marks the edge of the Rowsley Fault.
Nelsons Lookout.
Cinnamon Fungus is a big problem over here.
Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula from Bellarine View.
The You Yangs.
The walk now slowly meandered it’s way around to the west and then north as I headed for Lower Stony Creek Reservoir. Now when I say the track meandered it’s not an exaggeration, on meeting the gravelled Switch Road the track dives straight back into the bush to complete a loop around Aqueduct Track before once again arriving back at Switch Road again a few hundred metres to the south this time. After crossing Switch Road the walk then arcs around to meet Outlook Track which I followed around to the imaginatively titled Outlook at the end of another short little side track. Being a little further into the park this lookout probably supplies the best perspective of the Brisbane Ranges National Park, the rugged ridge lines receding into the distance. Standing at the Outlook this morning it wasn’t just the rugged country that I was checking out, the approaching dark clouds also caught my eye, with rain forecast to arrive around the middle of the day I was thinking that maybe I’d be getting a little wet before arriving back at the ute.
Leaving Bellarine View I started a meandering journey over to the Outlook.
Aqueduct Track
Me and my mates at the Outlook.
Being further into the park The Outlook showcases the rugged nature of the Brisbane Ranges a little better.
After leaving the Outlook I passed through another boot cleaning station (Cinnamon Fungus is a real problem out here) and started to descend back towards Anakie Gorge. Like the climb out of the gorge earlier, the drop back down is a little on the rougher side, the track drops to cross a bit of a gully on some interesting duck boarding before climbing a spur and making the final descent down to meet Stony Creek again in Anakie Gorge. Once back in the gorge there was a choice to be made, head left up to check out Lower Stony Creek Reservoir or head right and start walking back to the ute, I went left. Now remember I said that this was the first real walk that I’d done since my stack couple of weeks ago, well it was along here that I had sudden reminder of that fact. Doing a little off piste work as I looked in vain for an interesting photo I somehow managed to trip on a little sapling and ended up face down on the ground, fuck me! It’s not that I’m generally clumsy, I managed to walk to Canberra and only go arse over once or twice, but of course Murphy’s Law would come into effect today! Thankfully I landed head first today and didn’t tweak my old injuries but I still wasn’t overly impressed with my clumsy effort.
Dropping back down to the gorge I crossed this interesting section of duck boards.
Walking up Anakie Gorge the concrete retaining wall of Lower Stony Creek Reservoir eventually blocked the valley. Dropping my pack on a rock I stopped for a bit of a break, surprisingly the surrounding ridges were now lit up by the sun again…maybe that rain would hold off after all? After climbing up the steep side of the gorge I was able to see into the reservoir, with long grass growing where the water should of been I’m thinking that the dam has been fairly dry for a fair while.
Lower Stony Creek Reservoir Wall.
Lower Stony Creek Reservoir looks like it's been pretty low for awhile.
After exploring around the dam wall for awhile I grabbed my pack and started off back towards the ute through Anakie Gorge. Like I mentioned earlier the walk though the gorge is fairly easy, following a very good track, complete with stepping stones and bridges to make the numerous creek crossings easier, although with the creek bone dry on this visit they weren’t really needed today. Now I was back down near the creek the vegetation was a once again a little greener, it was along the creek that the Koala’s use to graze the Manna Gums, but on this visit I didn’t manage to see a Koala, now while I was hardly conducting a thorough search it looked like the numbers of Koala’s along here are somewhat diminished. Judging by the thick regrowth of saplings through the gorge I’m thinking the lack of mature trees might be the issue for the Koala’s.
The bushfire regrowth in the gorge was prolific. 
Arriving back at the turn off for the loop walk, the rain was imminent.
The walk through the gorge is a pretty easy stroll for the most part.
Less than an hour after leaving Lower Stony Creek Reservoir I arrived back at the Anakie Gorge Picnic Area, while the car park had been more or less deserted when I set off this morning it was now standing room only, no doubt being fairly close to Melbourne’s western suburbs adds to it’s appeal. Now while I didn’t have any good luck when it came to Koala sightings today I did have a bit of good fortune. Yeah, the predicted rain arrived around an hour late and I was comfortably ensconced in ute, driving home when it did finally start to rain.
You'd be braver than me if you crawled in here to explore.
There are stepping stones and bridges to facilitate the many crossings of Stony Creek through the gorge.
The Dirt.
This is a nice enough walk, although I’m thinking early Spring might be the time to do this one, the wildflowers would be out and with a bit of luck there might be some water flowing down the creek. According to the GPS I walked 13.1 kilometre and climbed 469 on this medium grade stroll. As far a walking notes and maps go there is a fair bit of stuff published for this walk, I carried Mr Chapman’s notes from his Day Walks Melbourne book today but Mt Tempest, Mr Thomas and Mr Daly have also published versions of this stroll. Parks Vic have also got some free stuff online as well. For the most part this walk follows good well sign posted tracks, it’s only on the climb into and out of the gorge that things get a little steeper and rougher. There is a nice picnic area at the start or end of the stroll as well as one at Stony Creek Picnic Area at around the 9 kilometre mark.

Relevant Posts.
Yankee Gully, Brisbane Ranges National Park, 2014.
Boar Gully, Brisbane Ranges National Park, 2016.
Sutherland Creek, Brisbane Ranges National Park, 2018.

Anakie Gorge Picnic Ground was deserted when I got back....
....but the car park was very busy.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Little India & Kampong Glam, Singapore - December 2017

This must be Little India.
This post goes all the way back to our super relaxed visit to Singapore late last year, our days over there were spent walking around the different neighbourhoods, taking in the sights and smells. Little India and it’s nearby Arab precinct, Kampong Glam certainly fulfilled the sights and smells part of the equation too. As was our custom on this trip after breakfast at Marina Bay we jumped in a taxi and headed off the days exploring, getting dropped off this morning on Serangoon Road in Little India.
Even in Little India things were pretty calm, pretty much like everywhere in Singapore.
As a rough guide for this stroll we were using the little Lonely Planet Pocket Singapore guide so after jumping out of the cab we wandered along Buffalo Road for a few minutes. Buffalo Road features a lot of colourful houses and shops complete with side walks over flowing with produce and plenty to stimulate your sense of smell as well. We were fairly early in the day on this visit but Buffalo Road was still a hive of activity even at this early hour.

Buffalo Road
Retracing our route a little we made a short side trip to check out the very colourful Tan House, you need sun glasses to check this place out it’s that colourful, understatement isn’t a feature that the citizens of Little India seem to appreciate! The Tan House’s full name is the Tan Teng Niah and it was built in the early 1900’s by Mr Tan Teng Niah for his beloved. The Tan House is now one of the last surviving Chinese villas in Little India.
The Tan House

Continuing on Sam and I headed through the Tekka Centre Wet Market, this place is an assault on your senses, particularly your sense of smell. We were there a little late for most of the action in the wet market but there was still a bit happening in the late morning, early mornings would be the go if you want to get the most of the market though. The Tekka Markets were actually established way back in 1915 nearby. The current Tekka Centre Wet Market was built here in 1982 and after a bit of a reno in 2008 lives on in it’s current location.
Tekka Centre Wet Market
Tekka Centre
Leaving the Tekka Centre Wet Market we emerged onto Serangoon Road for a short stretch before turning down Campbell Lane to go and check out the new Indian Heritage Centre. The Indian Heritage Centre was only opened in 2015 and the $12 million building houses a museum that celebrates the Indian heritage and history in Singapore. Leaving the heritage centre we made a short side trip north west along Dunlop Street to check out Thandapani Co, unfortunately the trader wasn’t open today so no photos there.
Campbell Lane
The very modern Indian Heritage Centre.
Turning around, we meandered our way back down Dunlop Street to the Abdul Gafoor Mosque. This world heritage site dates back to 1907, but was spruced up a bit in 2003. From what I can see the mosque was open to the public but I’m never overly comfortable wondering into these places of worship while people are praying and going about their rituals, so today we were content to stay outside and take in the Indo-Saracenic Style of architecture (this post would be pretty anorexic without Wikipedia;).
Dunlop Street
Abdul Gafoor Mosque

Now I should be waxing lyrical about the Sungai Road Thieves Market about now but when Sam and I headed over to check it out we found that it had been bulldozed, maybe there were too many thieves… although that may be another Feral Fact? Not to be perturbed we headed over to the exotically titled Kampong Glam as we started meandering our way back to the CBD and onto Marina Bay Sands. As I mentioned earlier Kampong Glam is an Arab precinct of Singapore. After checking out the substantial Sultan Mosque we wandered down Bussorah Mall past it’s palm trees and colourful old building to Beach Road, our route back into the CBD.
Meandering our way down to Kampong Glam.
Sultan Mosque
So much to explore, so little time:)
Maybe we should try this colour scheme for Melbourne's public housing?
The Dirt.
The described walk is probably less than two kilometres and definitely falls into the easy category, although if like us you are walking back to your accommodation it’ll add a few kilometres, in our case it was around another three kilometres. Now these distances are pretty small but don’t forget that Singapore is pretty close to the equator so if you find humidity a bit taxing then factor that in. As I mentioned early this walk is roughly the city stroll written up in Lonely Planet’s Pocket Singapore Guide, the little guide and map gives some basic information and enough directions to get you around without getting lost, however if you want anymore than basic information then you’ll have to do a bit of research online. As you would expect there are plenty of spots to eat and drink on this stroll, the hawkers at the Tekka Centre are the Feral pick I suppose.

Relevant Posts.
Singapore, 2017.

Maybe Mr Faruk has spent some time in Australia?

Time to head back to the hotel.

Mushroom Rocks, Baw Baw National Park - June 2016

I mentioned in my last post that I was heading out and doing a snow walk next and indeed that's how it turned out. The weather in Me...