Category Archives: Destinations

ballarat_botanical_gardens

Let the Sunshine In

Our big day today started, as they often do, with the idea we were going to do something small. Just like last week we jumped in the car and head out looking for a good photo opportunity. But all we could see was fog, it was thick. And you know what you shouldn’t do, fly Elroy in the misty fog, he’s apt to end up quite moist. You should also remember to actually start your GoPro so it captures the footage to make the flying through the mist worthwhile.

So the hope of getting a nice foggy photo was ruined by the fact there was too much of it.

Overlooking Bacchus Marsh - Morning Fog
Elroy in the fog

Given how foggy it was here in Bacchus Marsh, I thought we should head up to Ballarat, in the hope that the lake there might have a little of the fog, or at least a light mist, it would give it quite the ethereal look. As we were leaving the Marsh and heading up the highway it kind of became apparent that our little valley town was alone in it’s fog-filled haze. The sun was beaming and bright.

When we got to Ballarat, which was indeed fog-free, we stopped in at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens to see what was happening. Last time we were there they had a begonia festival on, this time it seemed to be daisy and poppy heaven. Of course I could be wrong, these may well be other flowers, feel free to correct me in the comments.

Robert Clark Conservatory
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens

After this I wanted to go and check out the wind turbines generating clean energy on the outskirts of Ballarat, well they are a little further away than that. We ended up near Lake Burrumbeet and found our way to the massive wind farm at Waubra. There are a whole mass of turbines spinning away in the wind, creating power from the wind.

To say I love these things is an understatement. They are beautiful to look at and when you’re close the steady “whoomp, whoomp, whoomp” is, to me, a calming sound. Others apparently find it noise pollution. There have been many complaints about this wind farm affecting the health of people in nearby regions but I call BS on that. Seems the “Waubra Foundation” who’s was fighting this farm is representing no one who lives anywhere near the town or the wind farm. Seems a cash grab and a tax haven.

Wind Turbine
Clean Energy in the making in Victoria

I launched Elroy and sent him up for a closer look, but didn’t get too close. I didn’t have the smoothest landing earlier in the day with the fog and I damaged one of his rotor blades and well, even a small nick causes him to become less responsive, not to mention the wind farm is, of course, in a windy area so he was harder to control than usual. So he really just went up and then back down. Next month I’ve getting a POV kit for him so I can see what he is seeing and guide him better, can’t wait to make some nice videos then, it’s a little hard when you’re basically flying blind.


Clean Energy in the making in Victoria
Clean Energy in the making in Victoria
Clean Energy in the making in Victoria

After this quick sojourn we head back to Ballarat to catch some of the local footy. They are in first weeks of finals and this was a qualifying finals game. Our local team the Bacchus Marsh Cobras were playing Ballarat Swans in the 2014 B&M Truck Parts Reserves competition, and I’m happy to announce we trounced them. 104 to 52. Looks like they’ll be rematching again next week, but if this week was any indication it seems Bacchus Marsh are headed for the Grand Final.

I’ve decided I need better lenses to capture footy. My 70-200 even with the 1.4 converter just isn’t doing it for me. We were on the wrong side of the ground, all the action was happening on the other side. That is until I went to the other side then all the play went to the other side… seems it’s always the way. We actually left the game at half time and caught up on the scores later. There was so much more to do with the day.

Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh

Our next stop was Mount Buninyong. We’ve been here before but wanted to check it out on this beautiful day. At the top of the mountain (more a hill) there is a lookout tower used during the fire season to keep an eye on the surrounding areas, but it also has a public viewing platform. There are a LOT of steps up and I’m not going to lie it almost kills me walking up them, but maybe I should make it a regular thing to improve the fitness.

You can see the view from the top below. It’s quite nice. Though the weather was great, I would have preferred a less foggy/misty day. I guess the view is worth the stairs. Both the photos below were taken with my iPhone 5S.

Lookout from Mount Buninyong's Observation Tower
Mount Buninyong - iPhone Panorama

After Buninyong we head home via Lal Lal Falls. Again we’d been there before but there is water there now. Only problem with this visit is we went at the wrong time. The afternoon is not a good time to visit these falls during winter, the sun is in the wrong spot and it’s nothing but shadows in the falls. I present the photo below more as a record of the stop and to show why we should have gone there in the morning.

Lal Lal Falls

On the way home from there we came to a massive “dip” in the road. I say that because just before you drive down into what feels like a ravine there is a little “dip” sign. At the bottom of the dip was a beautiful sight: a lush green field with cows and a solitary tree. Because of the dip there weren’t any safe places to stop so we had to do a U-Turn and come back through. It was worth the trouble I reckon.

Cow and Tree on a Hill

And finally, our last stop, was back where the day began at the top of the hill in Bacchus Marsh to show just how fogged in we were in the morning, with a photo showing the view from the same location after the fog and mist had burnt off.

Overlooking Bacchus Marsh - Afternoon - No Fog

The day ended with a mow of the back lawn, it’s nice to have this job to do after so many years of no grass in the yard at our old house, and some TV while eating reheated Pizza for dinner.

It was a full day and a fun day. I got plenty of sun, which should make my doctor happy (I’m low on Vitamin D). Another nice day is on the cards for tomorrow, not sure what we’re going to do with it, it may involve some hammock time with a good book.

Darley v Melton South

Bushwalk • Trentham • Football

This morning started off getting some of my stuff ready for tomorrow. There’s a thing we’re doing for Camera Club, but more on that tomorrow. One thing I did though was set up my GoPro to record photos for a time lapse. Less about what I was capturing and more about making sure I would be able to fit almost a whole daytime onto the GoPro’s card and making sure it would keep going all day. It does and it did, you can see below 3,272 images in a my test time lapse, so we’re right to go for tomorrow.

GoPro Set up and taking photos

Having said that, as you can see, because the GoPro is silver, and we’ll also be shooting through glass tomorrow, we’re going to need to cover the front of the device in something black. Will have to make him a little face guard tomorrow out of some cardboard me thinks.

So while that was all happening, we figured we’d go for a little nature walk, we have so much wilderness around us it seems a shame to waste it. We needed to get out before the rains came so we picked a place and off we head.

We decided to go back to Lerderderg State Forest, however this time we’d go deeper in from our side and looked up O’Brien’s Crossing. Driving along roads probably not intended for our Toyota Camry, we stopped a couple of times where we could find cell signal to check our progress, and we finally made it to the Crossing.

There were a bunch of people camping there by the river. Seems like a great spot for it, but at this time of the year everything is constantly damp and the threat of yet more rain is enough to make me not want to go camping around this season. But it seems there are those who live for this stuff.

David and I went for a stroll along the banks away from the campers, taking in the river and the sites as we went along. It’s always cool to see the cube-shaped droppings of wombats near the water, it shows there’s plenty around that area. We snapped some pics as we walked along before turing back for the car. The walk on the side we picked wasn’t very long and the clouds above were becoming more gloomy.

O'Brien's Crossing
O'Brien's Crossing
O'Brien's Crossing
O'Brien's Crossing
O'Brien's CrossingPossible Platypus holes? [above]

Just as we got into the car the rain came down. As we drove away from the O’Brien’s Crossing it started bucketing down, and thus an end came to our bush walking for the day.

We decided to head out of Lederderg State Park on the opposite side we came in, take a right and head up to Trentham. Folks talk about the place like it’s a little gem, so we thought we’d better check it out given we were not far away. Passing through Blackwood there wasn’t much to look at; a local pub, corner store and a couple of little shops, the main industry in Blackwood seems to be beer and Bed & Breakfast places.

Trentham

Trentham was not far from Blackwood, and if I’m honest I didn’t even notice the other town you pass through to get there, Barry’s Reef, maybe it’s just a one street place, off the main? Arriving in Trentham you could tell it was as everyone says, a lovely little town. Well-maintained period buildings line the couple of streets that make up the main part of town. We braved the rain and walked the sidewalks to see what was what in Trentham. Like Blackwood, Trentham’s trade seems to be food and beverage service, however it differs in that it also has a few nick knack stores thrown in. They were all lovely, but all pretty expensive. Clearly this is a tourist town.

We thought about having lunch in town, but decided against it when a bakery was selling a pie with a side salad for $12. At $12 for a meat pie and salad, there’d better be a bunch of salad on the plate. Another time perhaps we’ll partake, but as we weren’t particularly hungry, we passed on the expensive fare.

There is a store in town, I forgot to get the name of, that had some pretty cool stuff in it. They had a little TARDIS, though when I say little I mean one a kid could fit in, they also had lots of Pinocchio statues, movie memorabilia, and other strange curios. Attached was another store selling homewares and the like. Of particular interest was an indian headdress that I wouldn’t mind getting one day as a shoot prop, but at $100 today was not the day.

Maybe we should have checked out the other attractions, like Trentham Falls, but with the rain coming and going we’d decided to leave it to another day with better weather.

On the way home we stopped in at a little nursery, Blackwood Ridge, off the track. A great little set up, but I can’t see how they do much business where they are given you pass two other “nursery and garden” places before you get to his. But he is relatively inexpensive, so we may venture back there when we have our plans for the gardens at the new house sorted.

After the nursery we found ourselves headed toward a local reservoir and decided to check it out, it’s massive and appears to be open for motor boats and jet skis, one of the latter taking advantage of the short run of sun we had, was hooning along the top of the water. It would be a good picnic place, with a park for little kids.

Finally home, we had the pizza left over from last night (we went to Saprano’s) and we took a look at our photos from the morning while I checked on the GoPro to make sure it was still going.

Deciding we needed to retrieve supplies for dinner, we head off to Foodworks, but took our cameras along to stop at the local footy oval to capture some snaps of the game in progress. It was Darley (112) v Melton South(69) at Darley Park. We haven’t taken photos of any local football but it was a good experience. With our limited equipment (certainly not that of a sports photographer) I think we did all right. David will probably add some to his Flickr if he finds any he likes. Mine, below, are blurry at times, but lets just say it adds to the sense of movement. We’ll probably hit up a few more games to hone our skills.

2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
Still not sure if this dude’s hair is real?

That’s about it for the day, I’m about to turn in, I have a long day tomorrow with the Witness King Tides event, making some money for the camera club, along with other members who have volunteered. It should be an interesting day.

My Bike on the backroads of Werribee

Ride Update

It’s my baby, he’ll be getting a stablemate in about a month. Not sure what type of bike to get though. Will be either a hybrid or a road bike. Still deciding. Need something a little younger (he’s about 12 years old) and in better condition for the 135km Bupa Around the Bay ride on Oct 20. It seems so close now. 😱

I’ve only done a total of 872km in the last 5 months. Should probably be doing more to be conditioned, with spring hopefully we’ll see nicer weather and therefore longer rides.