Although I had planned to climb Mount Bogong, one look at the Razorback from Mount Loch convinced me that it just had to be done. The Razorback is an iconic route and the most frequently used to get to the top of Mount Feathertop. The path starts near the village of Mount Hotham and follows a ridge most of the way along, though it’s not as sharp or hair-raising (or should that be hair-cutting?) as the name might suggest. The views seem to go on forever in all directions, as you can see in some of the pictures below. I’d already been up Mount Feathertop, so I simply walked along the ridge for about 8k or 5 miles and returned the same way.
After quite a strenuous walk the day before, I decided to drive further up the Great Alpine Road to Mount Hotham to do a relatively easy walk to the top of Mount Loch @1,865m or 6,119ft. The route followed quite a wide and easy track for maybe 3k or 2 miles before turning off to the summit.
As well as an excellent base for walking, Mount Hotham is also, perhaps better, known as a ski resort. Though I found it strange that the village was situated towards the top of the mountains and the ski pistes ran down into the valleys. Well, I was ‘Down Under’! 🙂
I guess there’s only a certain amount of the big city a mountain man can take. So, with Joanne and Aaron going back to work after their holidays, I took off for a few days to the Alpine National Park. My aim was to climb (well, walk to the top of) the two highest mountains in the state of Victoria – Mount Bogong (@1,986m/6,516ft ) and Mount Feathertop (@1922m/6,306ft). My base for the next 4 nights would be a sleepy little village called Harrietville, which sits at around 600m/1,969ft, just below Mount Feathertop. So it was my first challenge – where I took the Bungalow Spur route to the top. (See map / last pic). I’m afraid I have no idea what all the plants are called, but I found it fascinating to see all the different shapes, sizes and colours. There was also clear and quite eerie evidence of the bush fires which had swept through the area 10 to 15 years ago. Thankfully the whole area is recovering well, as you will see.
On my way to Harrietville, I stopped off at Beechworth, which is an old gold mining town. There, I called in at the Burke museum and had a wander down to lake Sambell.
Although I went to the NGV the first week that I was in Melbourne, I went again to re-take some pictures and, if truth be known, to get out of the 42 (107) degree heat. The Gallery is another ‘must see’ (and free) venue, if you ever visit Melbourne, and it isn’t just about paintings, as you can see from the images below.
My daughter Jo, wasn’t with me the 2nd time, but I’ve included a picture taken with her phone, as she happened to be wearing a dress which blended in nicely with the artwork entitled Flower Obsession by Yayoi Kusama. Visitors were handed a flower to stick onto the walls, floor, furniture or wherever they felt was appropriate.
It was perhaps appropriate that the first picture I took with my new camera was of Rod Laver (or rather, a bust of him) outside the magnificent arena which bears his name. He was a childhood hero of mine and I’ve been a fan of tennis ever since. One of my ‘claims to fame’ (if you can call it that) is that I played at Wimbledon as a youngster. Not on the main courts you understand, but on the outside, red shale courts in a schools tournament. (I thought I’d mention that here, as I may never get another chance!)
So, even before I’d set off to Oz, I’d bought myself a 3 day ground pass, for what I thought was a bargain price at 120 AUD (i.e. 96 USD or £67). With this I could attend any 3 days in the 2 weeks of the tournament, excluding Saturdays and Sundays. I had other plans for later in the first week, so I ended up going for the first 3 days. My thinking anyway was that many of the best players would be on the outside courts early in the tournament and so it proved. I managed to see eventual Quarter finalists, Sandgren and Edmund as well as one of my favourite players, Verdasco. A big advantage of watching on the outside courts is that you can get really close to the action to appreciate the speed and skill of these great players.
It was not all about the tennis though as there’s plenty of other things going on, especially in what they call “The Oval”, where there are various stalls and some musical performances. I really enjoyed a local singer (well, Tasmania is quite close) called Hugo Badel. And the fun didn’t stop there, as I discovered when I got back to the Melbourne city centre. (Note: The venue is within easy walking distance, though there is also a tram). The James Squire pub was giving away a free pint to anyone who had been to the tennis! So there are no prizes for guessing where I went each day… Well, the temperatures had been as high as 42 degrees C (or 107 F). Cheers James! 🍺🍺🍺
Look at any guide book to Melbourne and you will almost certainly see the MCG (also known simply as “The G”) in the Top 10 ‘must see’ sights. And, I can see why. With a capacity of just over 100,000, it’s a magnificent stadium. It’s the largest in the southern hemisphere and the 10th largest in the world. (The Rungrado stadium in Pyongyang is the largest with a capacity of 114,000, to save you looking that up! 🙂 )
By pure coincidence, the England cricket team were playing Australia at the MCG in the first of five One Day Internationals while I was there and my daughter, Jo had bought tickets for us both as well as Aaron (for his birthday) and his dad, Rod. England had lost the Ashes series 4-0, so Jo and I were not expecting great things. But, thanks to a magnificent 180 runs from Jason Roy, England chased down the 305 total required with 7 balls to spare. 😁
England went on to win the series 4-1, so some pride was restored in the England camp but, like many Australians, Aaron and Rod were not best pleased.
The photos below were taken on my and Jo’s mobile phones.
The Mornington peninsular and Portarlington sit on opposite sides of Port Phillip Bay, south east and south west of Melbourne respectively. During our day trip to the former, we stopped at three different places to taste 8 sorts of cheese (made from either sheep, goat or cow’s milk), 4 types of cider and more varieties of wine than I can remember! 😉
It was Aaron’s birthday while I was there and his father, Rod, came down for a few days to help him celebrate and share in the fun.
The following day we drove out to the annual Mussel festival at Portarlington. The weather wasn’t great, so we don’t have many pictures, but I can confirm that the local craft beers are very good and that it’s a fabulous day out. This was where I lost my camera, so the below images are, again, courtesy of Joanne.
About a week into my holiday, I lost my camera. 😪 It was my own fault, I put it down somewhere and when I realised I hadn’t got it, about 20 minutes later, I ran back, but it was gone. We reported it missing, but it never turned up. So, I lost all my pictures of Melbourne Zoo (including some fantastic butterflies), Mornington and our Great Ocean Road trip. Luckily, my daughter, Joanne, had taken her camera along, so we have her to thank for the images below. A big thank you too goes to Aaron, her partner, who drove us all the way to the Apostles and the Loch Ard Gorge before driving all the way back to Melbourne.
En route we stopped off at Bells Beach, Aireys Inlet, the Erskine Falls and Kennet River (Grey River Road) for some wild Koala spotting.
In case you are wondering how I’ve managed to produce 2 posts already – read on…
While wandering around the Botanic Gardens, my (now lost) camera suddenly stopped taking pictures. I noticed this when I went to review an image and the the camera simply said “No images to display”. It appeared to take pictures, but nothing was written to the SD card. I’m not sure what happened but, fortunately, I managed to recover all the pictures I’d taken up to the last one shown yesterday, by downloading them to Aaron’s laptop, formatting the SD card, then starting all over again. So, luckily, those images were still on his laptop. The rest, as they say, are history!
You may be pleased to read that I purchased another camera for the remainder of my holiday… 🙂
The Melbourne planners are to be congratulated on their design for the City. The central grid system makes navigation extremely easy (though rather annoying when you have to cross the roads and wait for the green man) and there are many parks, gardens and other green spaces dotted around to allow for relaxation and/or recreation. I saw many joggers/runners out training while on my way to the Royal Botanic Gardens, which is easily reached on foot (or tram if necessary) from the ‘CBD’ (Central Business District). To get there, I crossed over Princes Bridge and walked through the Alexandra Gardens, the Queen Victoria Gardens and the Kings Domain. The Botanic Gardens are free to enter and are well worth a visit.
As mentioned in my post on Jan 1st, I’ve been away for the past 3 weeks, visiting my daughter Joanne, in Melbourne, Australia. For the first 2 weeks, I stayed in a wonderful Airbnb, called BigOldFamilyHome in the Northcote area. My sincerest thanks go to Sandra and Andrew for being perfect hosts. For my 3rd ‘week’, I took off to the Alpine National Park to do some walking, but more of that later…
In this first, introductory post, I thought I’d show you a few pictures, mainly of the Docklands area, which is being redeveloped. Though I was advised that maybe upto 2/3rds of the apartments currently remain empty.
One of the many pluses of visiting or living in Melbourne is that tram travel in the very centre of the city is free. The area is more or less bordered by the old style City Circle line trams – see pics 2 & 3.