Bound for South Australia

Dear Blogosphere,

when last we spoke I was tackling Mount Donna Buang in the wind and the rain.   Last Sunday in Melbourne it was cold and wet and windy, and not at all like the summer it should be at this time of year.  Today we have summer again at last, just in time as we head off for a week long family holiday in sunny Victor Harbour on the South Australian Fleurieau Peninsula.

More on Victor Harbour later, but first I want to re-visit Donna Buang and the tiny town of Warburton lying peacefully at her feet.   Whilst it was less than clement when I was there on the bike last week, we were there a week earlier as a family during that brief spell of really hot weather at the start of the month.  We had intended to drive out that way in search of a shady rail trail and a light hearted family bike ride but had decided that as the forecast temperature was in the high thirties maybe something less strenuous was in order.  So we went in search of shady walks and the cool waters of the upper Yarra.  We found both, and there are photos to prove it, so I thought I’d share a couple.

The Yarra river at Warburton.

Rainforest gallery, Donna Buang.

The first photo is self-explanatory – a couple of healthy young blokes and their good looking dogs splashing about in the river.  The second photo is worthy of a word or two.  Half way up the climb to Mount Donna Buang there is a thing called the Rainforest Gallery, which is basically a raised walkway starting at the roadside and plunging down the side of the hill and into the lush temperate rainforest.  As I said, the temperature in Melbourne when this photo was taken was in the high thirties.  In Warburton it was perhaps one or two degrees cooler, but down there amongst the ferns and the mountain ash it was positively cool.  The walkway leads you down to the bottom of a gully down which flows the waters of Cement creek, gushing and bubbling and making rapidly flowing water noises, just as you’d expect it to do.

I may have mentioned in that earlier post that the summit of Mount Donna Buang is not all that spectacular.  It isn’t.

The surprise is that all the good bits are at the bottom and half way up the side.

Anyway, back to the present day, and our trip to South Australia.  Tired of the cooler weather of Victoria’s southern coast, and unable to find anything suitable on the NSW south coast, we have headed over to Victor Harbour for a week to see what the beach is like over here.  And maybe check out the Coorong while we’re here.  The fact that there’s a bit of a bike race in the neighbourhood is nothing more than a happy coincidence.

Victor Harbour is 792 kms from Murrumbeena, which is pretty much a whole day’s drive.  Are we there yet?  Along the way there is all sorts of things to be seen from the car window, and some of them just cry out to be photographed.  Unfortunately the kilometers cry out to be covered, and many landscapes just have to be driven through, rather than captured for digital posterity.  Whoever said that “life is the journey, not the destination” may well have been right, but they obviously weren’t working within only a limited holiday period and the constraints of  a long drive.

I did stop to snap some of the wind turbine thingies along the way, that make up the wind farms of Ballarat and Ararat.  I don’t see why people get uptight about these things.  I think they’re majestic, statuesque, and bold constructions that make for a stunning skyline.

Ararat wind farm

I could have stayed staring at the wind farms for ages, but of course I was acutely aware of the ultra low frequency vibrations (the ones that are so low as to be beyond the range of human senses), and just by being there I was risking all manner of ill health for my whole family.  And the risk of seeing rare parrots smashing themselves against the moving blades was ever present too, of course.  We hurried on.

So many other landscapes along the way.  Saltbush, river flats, rolling hills, grain silos, long straight roads heading over the horizon, long straight railway lines running alongside, all that kind of stuff.  You see more of it if you’re on a bike than you do from a car, but of course when you’re on a bike, just as in the car, there is a reluctance to stop and enjoy the scenery, or to photograph it, because one is so focussed on the destination.  There really is some kind of message there….

Wheat stubble

Plenty of wheat fields between Murrumbeena and Victor Harbour, and this was but one.

Finally, after a day of driving and not much stopping we arrived at Primrose Cottage, our little home away from home for the next week.

Primrose cottage

Primrose cottage

As little cottages in the country go it’s quite a nice one, although it is perhaps a bit overfurnished and overly stocked with nick nacks, but who’s complaining.  It has hot and cold running views, alpacas on tap, and all the serenity you could ask for.

Alpacas on tap

The alpacas apparently just got shorn today, so they are not quite a fluffy and cute as they ought to be.  I wonder if that entitles us to a discount?  Perhaps I’ll ask.  On the other hand, the ‘outlook’ is very picture skew, and the cottage owner might well consider that a greater value-add (cottage owners must all surely use management speak these days?) than the length of her alpacas’ coats.

The view from the back verandah

Sunset, Victor Harbour.

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