Thursday, June 30, 2016


The night were cold as usual, but either my swag has gotten warmer, or I'm acclimating better to the temperature of the night. Really helpful that I have a mat underneath me and thick oilskin canopy to trap as much heat in as possible. Disadvantage was that I had a bit of due on the in- and outside.
We set of after some breakfast for the next camp site closer to Brisbane, from which we could access the city easier by train. Driving through the city on motorways and normal roads trying to keep up with a car you need to follow is a bit on the exciting side. Luckily Chris still has his blue eski on the roof which is easy to follow.
We reached a caravan site in Durra (outskirts of Brisbane) and got an un-powered site for two cars, so we all got it cheaper (10$ each). Parked, got the tents/vehicle set up for the night and did a wash before walking about 15min to the nearest train station. We seem to have ended up in the industry sector, but none of us minded. Got a GoCard, a tap on, tap of card. Every state has it's own, so you can pretty well start a collection. Try getting every one of them, except one from the NT (no trams there) and maybe TAS, but not to sure about the last one. After buying one we got on a train that took us towards the city. We exited about halfway along because Jana had heard of a place that does really good milk shakes. To get there we walked up and down about three hills and ended up in front of a florist, which also sold milk shakes. Ordered a few and after consuming them found out we could have saved us the hilly walk as there was a train station a lot closer. Eh, a bit of exercise has never harmed anyone.
We got back on to the train and went to Brisbane proper. In Brisbane we got some pictures printed out and went to have a look at a free ferry that goes along the Brisbane river. We took a look at the ferry when it came in and left. Really small (maybe for 25 people) and a long queue of other people in front of us.

Went back and had a look through the shopping centres and bought a card game in the end (phase 10). Went back on the train, walked to the camp site in the dark and after some dinner played phase 10 until late in to the night.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lamington National Park

Woke up in the morning a lot warmer than the one before. T-Shirt and socks most likely helped a lot. And a nice warm shower after breakfast was just the right thing for the morning.
As Chris and Jana were both going to Lamington National Park today I decided to tag along, as doing the walks with other people is most likely more fun than alone. Said good bye to Simon and headed of. We drove for quite a while and after passing through …. we carried on for a bit longer. Chris pulled over and sort of asked where we were as we seemed to have gone a bit to far. Turned around and went back to Canungra where we then turned of towards Lamington. To get there we travelled along a really windy road. The closest resemblance would be a pass in the Alps somewhere, just with a lot narrower roads. We got stuck behind a really slow driving vehicle towards the end, but got to the top in the end. At the top we went to the tourist information and asked what walks could be started mid afternoon (our time of arrival) to which we then got directions for a tree top walk and a waterfall.
We took the wrong turn for the tree top walk and ended up walking past the end of it, but doubled back and did it. Fun for those of us who aren't afraid of heights. 
After the tree top walk we carried on to the waterfall, which took a while of walking. It's surprising how late it can appear in a jungle like forest. Due to the canopy, everything is a lot darker, double so once you get in to valley and the temperature drops, too. We reached the waterfall in good time, but had to do some clambering over wet rocks to get to it in the end (which mostly went without a hitch). Pictorial waterfall, but after a few pictures we left again, as time (and the sun) where against us.
On the way back we stopped at the tree top walk again and climbed right to the top on to a platfrom. We couldn't do it before as there where so many people lining up for it, but the second try yielded better results with no one else there. The view was rather... pointless actually. All we could see was the branches. I guess it sort of can be an educational thing on the different layers of trees, but no view. Went back down and walked back to the cars (playing some table tennis on the way and feeding some birds). Hopped back in and set of for a camp somewhere near Brisbane. Chris has got an app that shoes all the camps in Australia, one I will be getting as well (probably).

After just managing to follow him along a packed motorway and city in rush hour (he had a blue eski on the roof which helped immensely) we got to a camp site and had some dinner before heading to bed.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Springbrook National Park

The night was spent in stages of cold and not cold in the swag. The sleeping bag I got is good until about 5°C (they say) and the night was four. Funnily enough it was still warmer than some nights in the hostel. Just when the shoulder pocked out of the bag it got cold fast and my small toe couldn't be felt in the morning. Will have socks on the next night.
Once up in the morning I had a fast breakfast and after getting some directions from the Simon (manager) I set of towards Mt. Nimmel. A bit confusing as Mt. Nimmel isn't actually a mountain, it's more of a hill with a lot of mansions on it. Mansions because of the view. If you built your house right you had a clear view down over the Gold Coast. I could think that especially at night it would be rather spectacular. From the road you had a decent view, but there was always a tree or some housing in the way.
Soon after I carried on to Springbrook, a mountain village about half an hour from the Gold Coast. It borders one of the national parks (named Springbrook, wow!) and has some really good waterfalls. First of I drove to a lookout called “The Best of All”. It gave a really good view over an extinct volcano that was massive. Only the crater is left today, full of farms and villages and the lookout is situated on what used to be the lip of the crater. 
Coming back I took a walk around Purlingbrook Falls which has a large waterfall dropping down from the edge of the crater in to the surrounding valley. Got some really good pictures there, as the sun was also just the right angle to make a waterfall appear at the bottom of the falls. After about 6km of walking and seeing various fauna, flora and people I was back were I had started, and hungry. Cooked up some soup at the picnic site they had there and enjoyed some nice warm lunch. Temperature wise it is still cold in the day to. Must be acclimating to Australian temperatures, never used to think that 20°C was cold.
After lunch I drove on to a tourist place called Canyon View and was greeted with a stunning view over the surrounding mountains and the Gold Coast in the distance. Spending some time there I realised that they also had some walks going around. One was two kilometres, another one four and the last one 17. As it was mid afternoon and the sun goes down at about five I wasn't game enough to walk the 17km track, but from what I heard from others I didn't miss to much by doing the four. Passed three waterfalls, two above and bellow them and one bellow. You had to walk under two of them, but I got lost close to the first one and ended up on the other side of it (somehow). The second waterfall walkway was situated so that you did get a bit wet walking underneath it, but no massive drench. Carrying on I met no one for a while before encountering a group in front of me who had stopped. We both had the worry that we were doing the 17km one backwards, but some quick thinking on how we were situated geographical solved that problem (we were still on the right path). Reached the car again after a while and drove back to the camp-site after having an ice.
The two Germans where still there (Chris & Jana) and both of them are visiting Lamington National Park tomorrow, so I'll tag along with them. The weather is better now and I was recommended to have a look at it from both Iain and Leanne.

Dinner in the evening and then some camp fire warmth against the cold before going back to the swag for some sleep.  

Monday, June 27, 2016

Computer & Camping

The previous day I had decided to wait out for a job result. I have sent of a resume to a place about 300km west of Brisbane, but they haven't answered back yet. As I don't want to spend all of my money on hostel accommodation in that time and put my swag to good use I looked for a camp site somewhere near by.
Prior to leaving the hostel I made good use of the free WiFi, though. The Australian Tax Year is coming to an end and I have quite a substantial amount I could get back. Means a few hours of sitting down and scrounging all payment information from the last twelve months together. Online banking makes those things a lot easier. And the previous blog wanted writing, too which took a while.
After completing all those things I visited the nearest supermarket for some food shopping and some lunch. Completing that I was of out of the Gold Coast. The cheapest camp site I could find in the Gold Coast was just as much as the hostel, so I went out further. The best one around I could find was one near Mt. Nimmel, about half and hour drive out from the Gold Coast. Nice place, with rooms (if you need it), powered and un-powered sites. Taking one just for my swag was fairly easy and later at dinner I got talking to the manager (Simon), two Germans passing through to head up north and two English people going down south. The Germans have got the better idea, fleeing from all the cold and wet up northwards.

Gold Coast & Brisbane

Spent a whole five days in the area around the Gold Coast now, so here comes the blog.
Waking up the next day I was a bit frozen, as the temperatures had plummeted. The Gold Coast always seems to show the warm side of things on pictures (who wouldn't) but they do get winter were it can get cold. The usual Ozy philosophy of not knowing what insulation is seems to still hold true. My planned swim for the day also went belly up as it started raining a bit throughout the morning and the cold wind wasn't making the sea any more appealing.
So I wondered how to spend the day. Had a bit of a walk around again, all packed up. In the end my decision was to go to the cinema, as a few movies had recently been aired that I wanted to watch. Prices were good, too, so that helped in that regard.
So a lot of the day went away with watching Independence Day: Resurgence and Warcraft (first movie is top).
In the evening I got back to the hostel and met up with a Dutch guy who was my room-mate for the night. He had been out whale watching and had met up with two Australian girls who he was going out with that night. As I had nothing planned to do I tagged along and the night went haywire from there. Long story short (as I will NOT be going in to details) I ended up coming back to the hostel at 2AM somehow, after getting lost for a while in the city. Really nice to see my bed.
The next day I contacted Aaron, a guy I had met in Alice Springs a couple of months before and lives near the Gold Coast. Agreed to met up with him the next day and then I was of to Brisbane to met some family. Due to Simon, Julie, Alex and Rhys flying to Hawaii, they where getting their complete house painted in that time. So I booked in to a hostel in the centre of Brisbane and drove out to met them. Julie was home, so we had some tea and talked a bit until Simon came home from work. So our extended family has managed to pretty well span the world. Only continents missing are Africa and South America, that is unless we have some more family there that I don't know of. Once Simon got back we went out for some dinner at a steak house with some of the best meat I have had in Australia so far. We picked up Alex from the swimming pool on the way who is an avid swimmer. After a delicious and stuffing dinner we went back and after a few more hours, I said my goodbyes and drove back to the hostel. The bad weather once again seems to have followed me, as a storm was ripping through Brisbane and driving took some extra attention, due to various hazards on the road which needed avoiding.
Back at the hostel I got a thin sheet for the night which met I was an ice block by the morning.
The next morning I left to meet up with Aaron and picked him up mid afternoon, before heading back to the previous hostel. Once the hostel stuff had been dealt with we went searching for some food and had a few drinks in an Irish pup whilst I got the rules of Rugby explained to me. Another very popular sport in Australia.
The night where then spent in a mix mash between going out and meeting some people and playing poker.
The next day the played poker money was then spent in a surfer s club between all the people that had played whilst watching a lot of expensive cars driving past (including the new electric Tesla cars, which look very interesting). The evening was then preoccupied with a bit more poker and some hot chilly (as in a 12/10) and I said goodbye to Aaron who was heading back home before going to bed in the hostel myself.
All in all the Gold Coast seems to be the ideal place for anyone that loves city's and I can see the appeal of it. I did end up going swimming at one point, which was sort of a highlight for me, as most oceans I had been so far in Australia are to dangerous to safely go swimming. The only people in the water where two Kiwis and me, as 20°C is to cold for Australians.

A lot of things summed up in to one, the Gold Coast is a fun, clean and beautiful city.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Border - Gold Coast

The next day wasn't spent with a lot of driving, more a short journey to the Gold Coast I had heard so much about. From beaches to city life I had heard a lot of good things about it. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The worry that I would be found and “shot on site” didn't happen and I woke up to a lot of birds doing a racket. Once I leave Australia it'll be something I miss, I guess. For the moment I just lay in my swag with no rain dropping down, cursing a few bird names I knew about (which probably aren't even the ones doing the racket).
Once my mind had woken up fully and my stomach also got up, I left the warmth of the swag to make myself some breakfast. Quick and simple porridge, as I am on a diet (sort of) at the moment. That will most likely get in a bit of disarray once I get to a city full of good looking restaurants and lots of beer.
After finishing up I packed up my swag and nicked out of the property once no one was in site. Hitting the road again, I passed along winding road through the semi-jungle scenery of southern Queensland with the mountains of Lamington National Park to the left and some more hills to the right. I stopped in front of a very country looking school (wood & old looking) and gave my 2nd cousin Simon a call. Simon wasn't available at home, so I have his wife Julie a call. Had a bit of a chat and a promise to met up somewhere soon, as the whole family was heading of to Hawaii for Grandmas sisters golden wedding anniversary. Yea, family getting more and more complicated the further it branches out. 
I passed a big dam lake once I carried on driving. From all that I have heard a lot of the East Coast has gotten a lot of rain for it's time of year, with dams flooding and the prior mentioned lake being chokers full. A lot of dead trees sticking out of the water, meaning it would most likely be a very interesting scuba dive to go down to. Then again it is a dam lake, so not this time. After passing the lake I got to more urbanised country, with houses popping up everywhere and the skyline of the Gold Coast appearing in the distance. Soon the quiet country roads turned in to three paved highways with all sorts of cars on them, not only four wheel drive vehicles. Getting to the centre of the Gold Coast wasn't to much stress and at the end of the day I booked in to a Hostel before going down to the beach for a walk. Looking at the beach I knew I had to go for a swim at some point. Sandy beach as far as you can see, with the ocean on one side and a bustling, modern city on the other. After enjoying the scenery and walk back to the hostel for some sleep.

Simon gave me a call, too and we agreed to meet up on Friday night, a day before their flight to Hawaii.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sydney - Queensland Border: More Rain

Considering that I got from Sydney nearly to Brisbane not that much has happened. Only today I really got to do stuff again.
So yea, from the start. First plan was to stay in Sydney for maybe a day or two. That was sort of ruined by me catching a cold and Katherine being kind enough to let me stay as long as I needed. So in that week the only real thing I did was go to Vivid in Sydney with Cameron, Brendan, Alexander and Nicholas. Basically a giant light show that goes to close for a month, with various building in Sydney being lit up. Good to watch, but there were heaps of people. The day I had arrived in Sydney was also the day Sydney had one of it's worst storms of the year. A lot of houses near the coast were lost and bridges were underwater.
After recuperating from the cold, I left Sydney relatively late in the afternoon and managed to get out of the city proper, which was a nightmare. Rush hour in city's, got to love it. I crossed a Ria on a ferry and camped by the side of said water not long after. Drove until I reached the end of somewhere were no one lived and just pitched my swag. Rain had been forecast, so I made sure everything was watertight. The morning greeted me well rested (thanks to the swag) and a light shower happening outside. Driving further was interesting, as I just lay the swag straight in to the car, in an attempt to dry it. Drove for most of the day with nothing really happening as the rain had hit again. Did a beach walk here and there and had a look at the Lakes National Park near Forster, before I headed past the tip in the neighbouring town in to some forest and pitched my swag again. A few four wheel drives came past. I think I ended up along some park trail they where having fun on, but no one bothered me. Slept the night again, with drizzles of rain and some creature making a noise outside. Being in Australia especially you don't just run around the forest, especially at night. Would hat to meet a King Brown or even Taipan. 
In the morning I woke up with no rain, but just heard the first few drops come down. As I didn't want another wet swag in the car (it left heaps of puddles the last time) I packed up as fast as I could and headed of for some breakfast at a pie shop. The rain once again reached biblical proportions and after a day of driving, literally sliding round corners and nearly getting squashed by a truck pulling over, I reached Coffs Harbour. At that point everything was underwater outside, so I booked in to a Hostel and spent the night there.
Really good Hostel (Aussitel Backpackers, if anyone wants to stay), a lot people even in the quiet season, but quiet rooms and lots of free activity's and advice. Not to mention the friendly staff. The first morning I slept in rather late and whilst checking out had a look at the various brochures for activity's. I wasn't game enough yet to do skydiving (also, they have that all year round up the coast) and didn't want to wait a few days to go scuba diving (with nurse sharks! I might actually go back to that and book a few days ahead), so I booked in for a whale watching tour the next day. So I stayed another night with the Hostel. In the afternoon a woman came round wanting two boys for moving furniture. One had already volunteered, the other was a girl which she didn't want to take (boys job ;-) ), so I jumped in. Spent the afternoon moving furniture from a shed in to a truck with a Frenchman (who spoke very good English) and ended up delivering some to the local brothel (well, checked that of the life list). After that a night at the hostel playing pool and having a few drinks.
The next day whale watching was on. Never seen whales before, so I was in for a bit of a treat. Humpback whales are just migrating from south to north and they come just past the coast. It took a bit to find some, but then we saw the blowhole like water coming out of them. Tried catching up to some, but they where swimming to fast to reach with the boat we had (a catamaran with the motors running. If we had sailed we would have caught up, but I'm not sure everyone on board was ready for that). In the distance we could see a few jump straight out of the water and come crashing down and we got a few tail close-ups before having to go back to the harbour.
And before setting of I had a crocodile burger. Didn't know what to expect from crocodile meat. Still don't. 

After that driving. Brisbane is only about four hours drive from Coffs Harbour, but I did a detour inland to Lamington National Park. Sugar cane is getting more prominent the further I drive north, but the temperature is improving. It started getting dark towards the evening rather fast, so I ended up driving up the next best dirt track that didn't have a gate blocking it's entrance. Turned out there must have been a gate there once, as I ended up camping along someone's driveway. I don't think the house is being lived in quite yet and they must have another entrance, as this one doesn't look used. Oh well, it didn't rain in the night, so I was thankful for that.  

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Cooma - Sydney: The Great Flood

Yup, rain again. Absolute downpour, but no sign of snow or sun. All the food stores were closed, so I had to get myself a temporary breakfast from one of the supermarkets.
My goal for the day was to get to Sydney, to stay at either Iains or Katherins. So I set of out of Cooma with two possible options. Take the main road to Canberra and then get on the freeway to Sydney or take backtracks to get to Wollongong. Not being the largest fan of the main roads I took the backtrack towards Braidwood, through some small settlements and forests. A bit of a risky thing to do in hindsight. The first few kilometres were all right, with sealed roads. After passing through one of the last towns it turned to dirt road. Now, driving through the outback I was rather used to them, but this was in mountainous terrain with a storm blasting through the entire area. Most of the track was all right with only the occasional branch having been dropped. The only other lifeforms I saw were drenched Kangaroos jumping near to the road. Other than that the rain was my only companion. All went well until a small town called Jinden. Town is probably to generous, farming community fits better. Well, as everyone probably had 4x4 in the area, you don't always require bridges. The first floodway I got to was not to much underwater, with the creek just crossing the top a bit. The second one was an entirely different thing. Now, it may sound a bit weird for all 4x4 drivers out there, but 20cm of water is rather high for something like a Subaru. As I didn't want to drive the hundred of kilometres back to Cooma to get on the main roads again and I had seen a few farm around (in case of trouble) I gave it a try. After all that build up of anxiety it wasn't to bad actually. Wouldn't try much higher than that, as water and petrol most likely don't mix well.
A few more floodways were in the way to the nearest main road, but none as bad as the previous one. At some point I even got a tarmac road again, on which I saw my first Wombat (not alive, unfortunately).
Arriving in Braidwood I gave Katherine a call if I could crash at her place for a while, to which she had nothing to object. The original plan had been to stay at Iains for one day and then go to Katherins, but just go to her straight away and save making an extra bed.
Then it was back towards Sydney, this time on main roads. I didn't want to take my chances with the back road down the mountains to the coast and Wollongong. Passing through Goulburn I got on to the Hume Highway (M31) and had some intense bad weather driving. Forester handled it well, but no relaxing. Arriving at Campbelltown I turned off and was greeted with rains on a biblical proportion. Main roads being flooded, football pitches under water and driveways drenched through. Should have installed a propeller on the car, too. But in the end I got to Iains no problem, them living up in the mountains is most likely a positive thing in theses conditions. Said hi to them and had some dinner whilst talking about what we had all done in the year since I had been there last. Also met Cassie (Leannes daughter) who had been in Nesselwang with mum and all over Europe whilst I was in Australia.

After tea I said goodbye and drove to Katherins with Angus for the night.  

Saturday, June 4, 2016

(Not so) Snowy Mountains

Well, the receptionist was right, for the most part. Woke up and had breakfast in a pie shop before setting off in my now washed car, courtesy to the rain. As I had been lounging around the past few days I wanted to get a few kilometres done today, so I set of early and drove a lot.
First thing was to cross a dam over the Murray river, one of the main rivers of Australia. Seems like the people around here didn't like the forests in the valley to much, or just wanted the water. Trees upwards of the dam looked like they had been burnt and when that failed, drowned. For a couple of kilometres there were dead trunks rising out of the low water level. You do create a new biotoop, though, and get energy.
Driving along the Murray Valley Highway (B400) was a good choice on my part, as it wasn't very busy and I had some good views of the surrounding. Would have been better if not for the clouds. Getting closer to the taller mountains they were shrouded in the water vapour.
Reaching Khancoban (weird names all throughout Australia) it was up in to the Snowy Mountains. The first challenge was passing a building site taking care of potential rock slides along the road. I got lucky and was just able to nip through before they closed down the road for quarter of an hour. Then along windy mountain roads with not a lot of traffic behind, in front or the other way. Had a couple of stops at lookouts, but most of the time I was driving. Two guys where behind me in another Subaru at one point, but they went past and that was pretty much it for people most of the time.
Thinking that most of the mountain was just forest and National Park I was surprised when a station appeared in the middle of the mountains called Tom Groggin Station. Must be rather remote, but then there was company chilling along the roadside. A mob of kangaroos had decided to rest next to the road, so I snapped a few pictures of them. 
Carrying on I got to the Alpine conditions, the area where the treeline stops. Not to far away at that point was Mount Kosciusko, Australia's highest mountain. Couldn't see it for all the sheets of rain and thick clouds passing through, but Australia's largest ski resort is also up there somewhere. A year prior I had applied for a job there, but been to late to get it. I met the two guys from before again, who were just heading of for a walk somewhere in the wilderness, packed accordingly of course. Still didn't envy them. Passed a town which exists nearly entirely of ski lift and then got to the Australian highlands. I guess so named after the Scottish highlands, as they look vaguely familiar. Mostly bare of trees, some shrubs and grasses, lots of rocks and not to forget the torrential rain coming down. Yes, all good reminders of Scotland. Passed more weird named towns (Crackenback?!) and drove through Jindabyne. Carried on to Cooma and had some lunch in a Subway. Consulting the map I ran in to a bit of a problem. The next larger settlement with guaranteed accommodation is in Wollongong, about 400km away. As I did want to see what I am driving through I opted for the night in Cooma. With the rain still coming down and not supposed to let up anytime soon, I'm reluctant to get the swag out, even if it is waterproof.
Declined a small room in one of the pups and instead opted for a cheap motel. The owner was born in Berlin and lived there for 19 years before moving here, so we both brushed up on our German.
Got an own room now, with TV and fridge.

Went to a restaurant in the evening for some dinner and had a couple of beers before going to bed.  

Friday, June 3, 2016

Mansfield - Albury

Once again a late get up for me. Most likely due to the nice warm bed I had. After some breakfast I was off to pick up the swag.
In the shop I decided to give a try building it up, as I had never really had a go with swags yet. Fortunately I did, as my special commission (a central support bar) turned out to be about five centimetres to long. With the workshop in the back it was a matter of minutes to get that fixed and I had a fully functioning swag.
Set of through the mountains with only a short term plan of where to go. My main goal is Brisbane, how I get there I don't really mind. Advantage of having an own car. Driving towards Whitefield was alright, the road was windy, fun and sealed. Detoured of a short distance to a lookout called Power Lookout which had a good view over the valley I was heading in to. Turned of the main road in Whitefield and took a back road towards Mount Buffalo National Park. (Interesting Information: I have been following a really good astrophotographer for a couple of years now and he does most of his pictures in that are). 
Passed a lot of wineries and then cattle farmers and it started raining after a while. The scenery was still really nice, with creeks, lakes and mountains around. Somewhere along the way I had to cross a dam, one of the first I have seen in Australia. Water does not seem that much of an issue in this part of Australia. The locals seemed to rejoice at the rain, though, as bonfires were going up everywhere.
Reaching Myrtleford I carried on straight through and took the country road opposed to the main highway. At a crossing further along I had to make a decision. Use the new swag on a camp-site somewhere along the main road through the mountain or take a night in Albury. Camp-site would be cheaper, but it had started chucking down the rain. So I opted for the night in the YHA in Albury. Don't regret it either. It took me a while to find it, but the rooms are nearly all empty, so I now have a four person dorm to myself (again) and free WiFi. Plus it has started bucketing down the rain outside. From what the woman at the reception said it isn't looking to good for the weekend either.

Well, see how it goes.  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mount Buller

Woke up in the morning nice and warm for the first time in a while.
After getting stuff done at Michaels and Morgans I headed off to Mansfield to order a swag. I had thought on it for the night and decided that it is probably a good buy, as it beats a tent in a lot of things. As I was commissioning something a bit more special I had to wait for a day for it to be finished, but I didn't mind that.
As I hadn't been up any of the surrounding mountains yet I set of towards Mount Buller but took a left turn prior to that, towards Mount Stirling. After driving uphill for quite a bit along windy forest paths I got a bit to far out for my liking. As I had gotten up rather late to, I turned around and stopped for a timelapse test in the forest.
After that I headed up towards the Mount Buller settlement. Basically a tourist settlement at the top of the mountain with expensive accommodations and bars. The road to the summit had been closed, due to the snow canons already being partially on and the staff getting everything ready for the winter season. Parking as far up as I could I didn't mind the extra exercise to get to the top. On the way I got my hands on some snow after not seeing any for one and a half years. It was such a nice reminder of all the sports I loved doing in winter that I enjoyed the cold numbness that came with the freezing wind blowing over the hands and the cool felling of the snow. Reaching the summit I had a cold wind blast around me, but got some really good pictures of the sun setting towards Melbourne. Also a really good view over the rest of the Australian Alps from the top of Mount Buller. 
For the most part I was alone at the top, but waiting for the sun to set I was greeted by five people my age that where working in the resort and a guy came up with his puppy dog.
After watching the sun go down, we all walked back down together. Most of the others where from Australia, but one girl was from Poland. Had a quick round of pool and a beer before heading back to Michael and Morgan. A few friends of theirs were coming round for dinner and I was running a bit late. Had some fun driving down the windy road and seeing how fast a two litre petrol motor can accelerate. Arrived back and only saw a kangaroo on the way, all the other animals they warn about (deer, koalas, lyrebirds) had decided to stay of the roads.

Had a fun night talking about a lot of stuff, but said goodbye to everyone as they had to get up early for work and then went to bed myself (the rabbit is still crazy).  

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Mining Towns

The day I head back of in to the Outback. Not that I had thought I would. Being close to the coast (in Australian that means until about 400km away) I was prepared for sealed roads and lot's of other cars.
Nope. Following the C511 through the Australian Alps it quickly turned back in to gravel road and a solitary Subaru driving along it. I'd even say it was more of a shock than the real Outback, as I had been prepared that time. The good thing in the Alps is that you definitely will not die of thirst, The things that get you here are the cold. Fortunately for me it's a cold I am more accustomed to. Whereas Melbourne, the West and Lower parts of Victoria had a wet cold weather, this is snow cold weather (means a lot drier) and I can cope with that. Even liked it, made me feel like autumn back at home.
I stopped a few times to get some pictures and due to the fast internet the night prior I wanted to try my hands at an HDR timelapse. Couldn't work out how to set my camera and had no ways of finding out (no mobile phone network). Carried on driving and turned down towards a place called Big River Road. After driving along that for 10km and not finding anything it was getting a bit to of the “official” road, so I turned round and headed back to the C511. Along the way I saw some weird bird I have not been able to identify yet. About 40cm tall, black/grey and a long feathery tail out it's back with a curl on the end. Seen a few of them and they don't seem to fly.
Carrying on I passed gorges, rivers and lot's of forest. At one point I got back in to mobile service area, no idea as to why, there wasn't a soul around for another 30km. Looked at the information I needed for the HDR and then carried on looking for a good opportunity.
After a while I got to a remote mining town called Wood Point and went to the pup for some lunch. Having no breakfast I was ravenous and finished of a whole plate of sangers, mash and beans in no time (a cookie to who can guess what a sanger is). The pup and town where actually really interesting, as I had never seen one of the mining towns hidden deep away from everything before. Sort of felt like I'd crossed the Pacific and ended up in the Yukon area somewhere. The woman behind the bar was really friendly, though and extra heated up everything to get my my lunch. And finally I am in the Australian parts where they appreciate good insulation and wood fires. Take the gumtrees out and plant pine trees, force everybody to drive on the right side of the road and let them speak German and you'd be at home. Minus the fact that there are Gold mines in these mountains. I didn't go digging, though. I passed a clay targeting ground, so that was a big encouragement to not piss of the locals. 
Passing the local A1 gold mine I winded my way through the mountains, managed to get in a timelapse and ended up in Mansfield, the nearest local city/town. Passing so many campsites in the mountains and not liking the tent I had got a few months prior (it's to small) I am looking in to purchasing a swag (Australian tent with a mattress in it). Found a shop where they make it themselves and am very interested in getting one.
Fuelled up and left for my accommodation. Now, the funny part. When I was at Buckys the other day, his daughter Morgan had rung up and offered me an accommodation in Merrijig, near Mount Buller. I had her and her boyfriends address, but no contact number. Bucky was still at work, so I just ended up knocking on the door saying “hi, I'm me. You got a bed free”. A bit more than that, but that portraits it pretty well.

After some beers and burgers (and a crazy rabbit) it was of to bed with a fire crackling nearby.