Gippsland

...now browsing by tag

 
 

Tarra Bulga National Park and Aussie wildlife in the wild

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Tarra Bulga National Park is a mountainous region of cool temperate rainforest which once covered most of Gippsland until European settlers cleared most of it in the mid 19th century.

Access is via Traralgon from the north (2.5hr drive from Melbourne)  or via a windy narrow two-way bitumen road from the south along the Tarra Valley which is not suitable for caravans, but which takes you to other picnic areas en route such as Tarra Falls (not an easy photograph) and Cyathea Falls (a short circuit loop walk accesses this small waterfall), the remote Tarra Valley Caravan Park (this is as far north on the Tara Valley road that caravans can access – they can’t go further north to the NP), and then access to coastal Gippsland including historic Port Albert (Gippsland’s first port, established c 1850) and Wilsons Promontory  (The Prom).

If you are coming from the south then a short detour to Victoria’s tallest waterfall, Agnes Falls is well worth it:

Agnes Falls

Olympus mZD 12-40mm f/2.8 lens at 17mm.

Tarra Bulga NP has a nice open picnic ground and nearby tea rooms. The picnic ground has a variety of birds including the very friendly crimson rosellas which you may find end up sitting on your shoulder while you try to eat:

rosella

The flighty wrens and robins are much harder to catch such as this flame robin which was about 10-15m away and required cropping:

wren

and even the Laughing Kookaburra likes you to keep your distance of about 10-15m:

kookaburra

on the road near the picnic ground was this poor wombat who appeared to be coping well despite a limp from past trauma:

wombat

The main attraction though at Tarra Bulga NP is the historic suspension bridge within the majestic Eucalpytus regnans rainforest (the tallest flowering plants in the world) – if you walk the full circuit “scenic track” it is a pleasant largely shaded 2.8km circuit walk with total ascent of 129m (mainly up graded path rather than steps) which will take just under 1hr allowing for time to get a few pics.

suspension bridge

suspension bridge

If you have the time to also visit Wilsons Prom you can complete your Aussie wildlife in the wild experience with a few more such as this cute kangaroo joey feeding at dusk:

joey

or these emus:

emus

and if the prevailing winds have been westerlies, you may find the beaches covered in these small beautiful but painful Blue Bottle Portugese Man’O'War jellyfish which will give you a painful sting if your skin touches the tentacles which can measure some 1m in length:

blue bottle

and nearby, this Sooty Oyster Catcher was taking a bath:

oystercatcher

I hope this has inspired you to get out and go for a drive, or better still stay for a couple of nights or more and explore the region.

We had an amazingly tasty and healthy lunch at the Port Albert Cafe and Wine Bar – the owner is a brilliant chef who obviously loves her cooking, the crispy duck with mango and cashew salad was awesome and the many cake options for dessert (or take with you for your NP walk) make it well worth the visit – unfortunately she has the business up for sale so make sure you get there before she has moved on.

Most of the above photos were taken with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 lens, or for the birds, the Olympus mZD 300mm f/4 lens using a Micro Four Thirds Olympus OM-D E-M1 or E-M5 camera.

Outdoors in Victoria in Spring – it pays to plan your photography trips

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Victoria in spring is a highly variable season – it could be quite cool, wet and windy, there can be thunderstorms and damaging winds, or beautiful sunny days progressing to warmer or even hot northerly wind days preceding the next cold front which always comes from the south-west or west.

This week I had a variety of short holiday options to consider:

  • head west to the beautiful Grampians
  • head south west to the Otways and Twelve Apostles
  • head north to the Murray River region
  • head north -east to alpine areas such as Mt Buffalo
  • head east to alpine areas such as historic Walhalla or further east to remote bush walks around Licola
  • head south east to Wilsons Prom again

I was leaving on Wednesday morning.

The weather was forecast to be beautiful and sunny on Thursday but with strong northerly winds in western Victoria hitting Melbourne in the evening then south Gippsland and the alpine areas overnight on Thursday, followed by a strong cold front which would make conditions more dangerous and more miserable on Friday and Saturday.

The northern areas of Victoria had already been flood affected and recent wind storms had caused further road closures so northern Victoria was not high on my list.

Snow had been forecast for the alps at the start of the week and most of the alpine roads are still in seasonal closure until end of the month so, the alpine areas for solo bushwalking were not a great option.

With the cold front coming in from the west, western Victoria was not going to be the best option as it would shorten my “nice weather time”.

So I headed off eastwards with no fixed destination, although Walhalla was my first priority, with camping gear and camera gear, range of clothes for whatever weather I was served up and some freeze dried food in case I ended up without access to a cafe for dinner (most close early in the countryside).

As I drove I saw the beautiful puffy clouds and I realised that with a bright sunny day forecast for the next day with possible strong winds coming, the cold forests would not be my best option, but the lovely beaches of the Prom would be optimal – hence I took my time meandering around the South Gippsland countryside in occasion rain showers exploring the beautiful rolling hills around Mirboo North before heading to Tidal River where I set up camp.

Mirboo

Three cows on a hillside

Mirboo

Rolling hills from Loves Lane on the way to Mirboo North

Mirboo

On the Grand Ridge Road circuit past Mirboo

Mirboo

Dilapidated building in Mirboo – presumably a town hall.

Convoluted decision making but in the end, the best decision, it was awesome down there – see my previous blog posts.

The weather makes an enormous difference to landscape photos:

  •  clear blue skies associated with a high pressure system to give the summer relaxation feeling or spaciousness to your image allowing your subject full attention, but which give very harsh midday shadows in the Australian summer
  • small puffy cumulus clouds which precede the high pressure system and which make for great sunset photos or lovely high contrast dramatic dark monochromatic skies, or a more subtle, dreamy look
  • wispy cirrus clouds after the high pressure system passes to create beautiful dramatic high contrast skies
  • storm fronts of the incoming cold front or thunderstorm systems
  • boring stratus clouds preceding a cold front which make the sky look ugly in most landscape images but are great for shallow depth of field work outdoors such as portraits, etc where the sky can be excluded or used as a white backdrop

Examples:

The Big Drift

Lovely cumulus clouds in the distance at the big drift

The Big Drift

Small puffy cumulus clouds in the late afternoon

The Big Drift

Lovely swirly cirrus clouds follow a high pressure system and precede the stratus clouds that envelope the sky before a cold front hits.