MT Buffalo – DAY 2

We woke up after our freezing night and could see it was going to be a glorious day. We got the fire going in the morning to get rid of the chill, but by around 11am the sun was kicked in, it was about 25 (top of 28 I think) and we were ready for our first walk.

Brad had selected a nice easy and short walk for us to do. It said that we had to walk through a canyon, okay we imagined when they said ‘walk’ they meant it literally. We walked towards the top of the ridge stopping regularly for the pregnant wife, and perhaps a reluctant child every now and again. And when we made it to the canyon we were a bit surprised. There was some serious climbing involved! Probably not for me and Brad, and certainly not for Maddie who seemed to be the perfect size to scamper up and down, but for Claire and Isla it proved a bit challenging. Claire said she was up to the task, and with great care we slowly made our way down.

That small hole of light in the ceiling of the ridge is where we came from

Now she will tell the story that I made my poor pregnant wife go canyoning against her will and therefore I can never complain about what she does or eats again while pregnant, but that is just not true!

We got back after a great walk and I saw that the weirdo hiker had not left Nick’s campsite. It was quite frustrating to Brad and I that we didn’t have this area to ourselves. As we had lunch I was waiting for him to arrive so we could have a chat. Eventually he came and I asked if he was leaving, he said he wasn’t. I explained that Nick was coming and he could take an hour or two, but he would need to leave as we had booked that site. He said no worries, he would just move to the one next to us, that the two people had just left. I took a deep breath. Yes you can, if you really want to, but since we have a lot of children we are a bit aware of them and the noise and how they are running around. Since the whole place is empty and there are forty campsites available, we would prefer for you to stay elsewhere. He immediately said ‘yes yes I’m sorry I will move’.

So Brad and Ains (and later Nicko) thought this was expertly handled and very well done. Claire, who as Brad observed “actually genuinely likes people” was not happy with me. Apparently he was just a misunderstood guy with no friends who is holidaying by himself and probably just wanted a bit of company.

Now the only negative thing about Lake Catani campsite (where we were) is that
a) they have communal campfires
b) you have to pay for your wood
Which makes for a really odd dynamic. People who don’t want to pay for wood can literally walk up to the fires of those that do. And I predicted that he would come to our site, since he was a weirdo. The way I looked at it, if he came to our site I would know he was a weirdo and that I handled things well. If he kept to himself I would figure Claire was right and feel bad.

(Place bets now)

After lunch we headed up to the horn, which is the highest place you can get to. The views were amazing on such a clear day, we could see to the horizon and it was very blue.

On the trail

Views from the top

When we got back Nick wasn’t far away. Baxter was very excited, especially about cooking on the portable stove. Maddie really wanted to go fishing so we went for a walk. It was a beautiful day and it was surprisingly a lot of fun to teach them. I didn’t really know what I was doing when it came to trout fishing, so we didn’t get anything. Maddie was great at casts, Baxter thought that the lure was a small fish and was excited each time it was wound in, but I think the person who enjoyed it the most was Isla.

Afterwards we set up the fire and as soon as it was burning our friend the weirdo showed up to get warm. Despite Claire’s attempts at conversations he only answered in single words. The only time I saw any expression from him was a smile when Baxter asked Claire how the baby was going to get out of her belly. In fairness to him, on the walk back to camp we noticed where he had set up at lunch had recently become host to 7 female campers whose level of noise (i.e. squawking) indicated they were very happy to be there.

The kids toasted the marshmallows and then they went to bed, we all sat up and watched the cloud race over us. The benefit was that it was going to be a very warm night – I made a hot water bottle but couldn’t use it. However the forecast was for the rain the next day for most of the morning, so we were likely going to have to say goodbye to the blue skies.

Quick Walk in Daylesford

Stayed at a hotel in Daylesford thanks to GroupOn and an enthusiastic wife. Pretty ordinary compared to camping. We got to take a nice walk on Sunday and try all their natural springs. The first was heavily salted. We went to the next, but it was closed for repair. We went to the lookout and it was also closed (no warning though). The third was around 5km away, we had already done 2.5km so a pregnant wife was none too keen!

It was a decent bushwalk, though I forgot my camera. Here is the sole photo, a selfie taken on my very old camera.

Grampians Adventures

Claire had booked us some cheap last minute accommodation at Hall’s Gap which is right near a section of the Grampians. Although I was disappointing not to be able to camp, I was keen to be able to discover this part of Victoria. Although I lived in Victoria for about 25 years, I didn’t think I had been. If I had, I couldn’t remember it.

Anyway we arrived on Tuesday afternoon and had a look at a few of the nearby lookouts. They were pretty good and it made me really keen for the next day where we would do a 4 hour bushwalk, plus stop by a waterfall and another lookout.

The next day we got up and went to the waterfall. It was nice. It was a little disappointing that swimming was not allowed, but I respected the rules, unlike a lot of hikers.

After that we stopped by a few lookouts before heading towards the main hike. Claire snapped this photo of me checking out the scenery in what I thought was the best lookout that we went to.

The walk took us to “the pinnacle” which was a much higher lookout. It was a lovely short bushwalk, and (unlike most paths in the NT) very well signposted. The view was nice, although probably comparable to the other lookouts that are driveable. I would only recommend the bushwalk if you really like them, which I do.

Not Claire, though 🙂

Southern Forests of Tasmania

Friends of ours were getting married in Southern Tasmania, so we used the excuse to get a rental car and explore some of the southern forests. This wasn’t a true outdoor adventure, as it was lacking a 4WD, tent, or boat. But it was fun to get around in our i20 and see some of a state I haven’t really explored.

We were limited to short day walks, but it was still quite enjoyable. The rivers were quite interesting, and the fresh water was coloured a brown/red from all the wood there.

We also went down to their famous “airwalk” which was a pathway in the forest canopy. It was certainly hyped up, and I think a little disappointing. But then, the things you hadn’t heard about, like the small walk among the forests themselves, or the amazing colour of the water were really cool.

We also had a look at a cave system there, which was the best cave system that I have explored.

They also had a thermal swimming pool which I was excited to try as I was struggling a bit having lived in Darwin for the past 4 years. This was perhaps the worst of the Tassie trip. They had turned it into a swimming pool! I have no idea why they would do this, but instead of a totally natural pool like Douglas Hot Springs, or one like Mataranka where it had a bit of work done, it just looked like a normal swimming pool, except the water wasn’t chorinated. I really felt it ruined the natural beauty of where it was.

That being said, I don’t want to sound too negative, with no food poisoning and no broken down cars, it was probably the best holiday of 2015! Except for our wedding of course, which doesn’t seem to count as a holiday.

And of course, the wedding we came for: