A fortunate series of event (two consecutive long weekends and phenomenal rental car deal) meant that I decided to explore a piece of the New South Wales coast that I hadn’t visited before. Strangely, it’s the most conveniently accessible part from Canberra between Jervis Bay and Bateman’s Bay. I spent the night in Murramarang National Park, which is crisscrossed with fire trails leading to secluded beaches. After climbing all over a rocky headland, I found myself here at Myrtle Beach where there was an impressive shore break. I’ve since learned this is an “unofficial clothing optional beach”, which probably explains why the one person I did see stayed about 5 seconds. A big camera probably isn’t the best way to make friends on a nude beach!
Now…. for something completely different, a break from the Overland Track photos
Lake Superior, the World’s largest by surface area, with some of the clearest, cleanest fresh water there is. Much of the Canadian coast is rugged and offers limited access, but this isn’t one of those spots. As the Trans-Canada highway passes through Lake Superior Provincial park it nearly touches the water at Katherine Cove, where a couple of sandy beaches broken by rocky capes give easy access to the water.
The fist night in the tent was at Lake Windermere, and it was a cold one. At a couple of degrees below zero, there was frost on the tents and on the chicken-wire tread of the boardwalks. In some ways I regretted leaving my boots and socks to dry in the hut overnight – the 200m walk to retrieve them was… refreshing
I didn’t do a lot of swimming on the Overland Track, but I’m told the pool at the base of D’Alton Falls is one of the best places for it. It was a bit slippery getting down, but all the injuries among the group were relatively minor. The shockingly cold water was good for sore joints and pulled muscles anyway. This view is not of the falls (obviously), but looking the other way down the gorge. Dark, damp and mossy, it was very different from the other two visited on the day.
This one was a bit experimental. I’ve tried to combine HDR and panoramic photography before, but to very limited success. Here, however, the situation was calling out for it. The viewing point was just too close to the falls to capture things any other way. With some more careful technique than I’m usually willing to indulge in, though, it all went rather smoothly. This could put a big strain on data storage resources!
Furguson Falls were the second of three that can be easily accessed from the track toward Windy Ridge. They’re a bit rougher than the other two, so not as picturesque, but are easily the most accessible. A little scrambling gets you to rock platforms with great views. A little more over dry rocks and you could easily get to the falls themselves. We were all a bit worse for wear after the falls and slips at D’Alton Falls, so were happy for a few snapshots from the prescribed viewing area.
Mt Oakleigh is the peak in the centre with the jagged pinnacles. It’s quite the distinctive feature from the time it appears in the distance near Lake Willis until it disappears after crossing Pelion Gap. The climb to the top has a bit of everything: suspension bridge, mossy rainforest, steep athletic climb, rocky traverse, and bog crossing. The bog, in daylight, was a joy to cross; spongy underfoot with a clear dry trail through the middle. We would learn later that, in the dark, it becomes a featureless plain to the eyes and a feature-filld maze of sinkholes and streams for the feet.
So, I think it’s time to start getting some of these photos out of my computer and into other people’s. As a result, I’ll do my best to start putting something new up every day. Assuming I keep this up, the best way to be updated (other than checking in incessently) might be the following RSS feed.
First, then, another Overland Track picture…
Climbing up toward Pelion Gap we met another group at the turn-off to these small falls. They advised “It’s not very far and ok if you really like waterfalls”. We decided to have a look despite the warning. The main viewing point was only interesting in that the stream split to form a bit of an island, but the “falls” on either side were just a thin sheet rolling over the rocks. Felling a bit energetic, I followed the lefthand branch around a bit and found this pool.
After a steep, sweaty climb to the top of Mt Oakleigh there was a bit of a wait before sunset. An endorphin-stripping breeze was pushing the clouds away, but the usual Australian eucalypt haze created some interesting shafts of light. Most of the sunset action happened at the horizon – a bit of a disappointment after the hard slog to the top – but there was plenty else to see.
I’ve made two trips to Tasmania now, with a total of 4 days on which to get to the summit of Cradle Mountain. I’ve spent two afternoons drying out in Kitchen Hut waiting for the weather to clear and still have nothing to show for it. This view could very well be toward Cradle – I wouldn’t know! At least weather sealing let me have some fun with the camera in the heavy fog and drizzle.
Assuming you’re not Canadian and 18-60, my naming of a wild wallaby may seem, at best, out of character. Thanks to a certain “children’s troubadour” however, every wallaby I’ve seen in this country looks like a Willoughby to me.
Willoughby the wallaby and friends were a constant feature around the Waterfall Hut. They’re pretty tame, but not aggressive in looking for food. I guess most walkers, worried about starving themselves, are well-behaved when it comes to feeding local wildlife. Not sure how Willoughby would like a freeze-dried Ramen Bolognese anyway…