A Travellerspoint blog

Grampians Weekend Trip

Another weekend trip is in the books. This time 32 of us travelled about 4 hours west of Melbourne to the Grampians National Park where we stayed at the Grampians Retreat and Field Studies Centre. We stayed in cabins and had all our meals home cooked by our hosts Dennis and Maree. They even made me a birthday cake that we ate after lunch on Saturday. The first picture is the view from the dining room window. This is Mt. Abrupt, our challenge for Saturday morning.
On Friday afternoon we took it easy with a 1 hour hike up the Picaninny, a small hill that still offered some great views and introduced me to some new plants and birds. We took it easy on Friday night with some table tennis so we could be up early the next day.
On saturday morning we set out at about 9:30am on the trail that would take us to the top of Mt. Abrupt. The views along the whole trail were magnificent. The landscape of the area is very unique. The mountains are surrounded by very flat plains that used to be used for harvesting rice. When the land dried up the land was then used for farming mostly sheep and some cattle as well. The area used to be an a shoreline and therefore lots of sand was deposited and turned into sandstone. The more resistant layers of sandstone were uplifted into their current position while the surrounding weaker sandstone was eroded leaving the plains that exist today. The second picture is the best example I have of the contrast between the mountains and the plains. The second mountain from the right is Mt. Abrupt. Here is a link with more detailed information on the geology of the area for those who care.
And of course here is a picture of me on the summit of Mt. Abrupt contemplating how cool it is to be there on my 22nd birthday and watching rain showers blow across the plains and into the mountains, missing us to the north. Here is a link to another awesome picture that I dont have room for here. It was really cool to be there and reminded me of the last mountain I was on top of in Como, Italy, except I walked up this one and took a funicular to the top of the other one. What goes up must come down and I have to say it is a lot easier to go up then go down. There is a lot more stress on the legs going down but you get to see everything you missed when you weren't looking backwards on the way up! The roud trip took us just over 3.5 hours with fairly frequent stops for photoshoots and what not.
After an awesome lunch of sweet chili chicken wraps and birthday cake, we went to a nearby winery. This was another Ma and Pa operation that has done well for itself. I have no interesting pictures from this visit but I managed to learn a lot. Did you know that it takes about 1kg of grapes to make 1 litre of wine? Did you know that under an agreement with the EU, champagne is called sparkling wine if it comes from anywhere other than the Champagne region of France? We also got a chance to sample their award winning Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc wines among others.
Next we took a drive right up the middle of the national park which was probably the most interesting part of the trip. This past January, more than half the park was ravaged by the worst bushfires on record. This link has a great sattelite picture of the park while it was burning. For reference, the bottom right hand finger of the park is where we stayed and climbed Mt. Abrupt and it is probably about 100km from top to bottom. Here is another link with an articles about the bushfires. As we drove into the affected area, some of the sides of the moutains looked like the leaves had changed for autumn when in fact the leaves were brown and dead due to the intense heat. Most of the area we saw consisted of no vegetation close to the ground at all except for blackened twigs that didn't burn up completely and blackened tree trunks with dead leaves on them. Contrary to what you might think, the bush fire didn't always engulf entire trees, but rather burnt up the underbrush before moving on. This could be partly due to the fact that the eucalyptus trees shed their bark which provides fuel for the fire to burn up fast and not give it a chance to set fire to the actual tree. The picture you see is the typical landscape of the area. Notice how the trees have sprouted green plants all over them. The trees keep a bunch of 'epicormic' buds beneath their bark. They lie dormant until the tree loses it's canopy, in this case due to a bushfire. This provides almost instant leaves which helps the tree receive sustenance and helps it recover.
This link is a picture I took of some seed capsules. These capsules contained seeds that are only released under intense heat. The fire causes them to split open and release the seed thereby allowing the species to survive. These guys are smart and it was really cool to see their geniusness at work.
Saturday night we had a campfire under another sky jam packed with stars. We even hired a guy to come down and play guitar and sing for us. He taught us a bunch of old Australia folk songs and the meanings behind them.
On Sunday morning we went to a sheep dairy farm (Grampians Pure Sheep Milk Dairy near Glenthompson). Since farmers in Australia receive no subsidies at all, they often try other things to make money. This couple has been very successful in making yogurts and cheeses from sheep milk. First we watched as he brought out about 20 sheep into the milking parlour. Then he had put the milkers on every other sheep and by the time he put the last one on, the first one was finished and me moved the milkers over to all the other sheep. His sheep give about 3 litres of milk per day which is a far cry from the 40 litres a day that a good cow can provide. His wife then takes the milk to make her products. We sampled one of everything she makes. It was neat to be on their farm and meet the one single lady behind the product that can be sometimes found in the national grocery store and also in Hong Kong: the country that imports the most of her product. They mentioned that they often need help in their Spring, and later I found out that one guy in our group talked to them and will go back there to work for a month or two. I reckon it would be pretty neat to travel in Australia working on farms. Here is a lesson in Australia slang I learned at the sheep farm too: one person might refer to another person as a 'dag', eg. "You are a dag". A 'dag' occurs when sheep shit accumulates on the sheeps tail and rectum area and becomes infested with maggots. They eventually feed on the sheeps flesh causing it a great deal of pain. 'Dag' is therefore a very nasty term and you don't want to be called one.
After that visit we made our way to another section of the park for a short walk to a small mountain with caves. While the others looked at traces of Aboriginal art in the cave, I made my way to the top of the mountain and found this little lizard sunning himself. He was kind of enough to let me take his picture, but wouldn't let me hold him. It wass suprisingly the first reptile I had seen in the wild since arriving here 1.5 months ago. I am however told that the extremely venomous king snake can be found near the creek that runs behind the campus.
Before I end this post I want to show this last picture. I took it on Sunday morning after breakfeast. I walked down to the edge of the property and took this shot of the neighbouring field. It is a bit strange to find these massive river gum trees in the middle of fields. The kangaroos were all around me and though I could get pretty close to them, it was nothing like on Philip Island where they would approach us looking for food. These ones were clearly wild. This picture will go into the collection of my best from the trip and will stay on as my desktop background for next little while.
I have no big plans yet for the 1 week Easter break coming up but I'm sure I'll figure soemthing out. The weather has been cooler lately, around 20 degrees, which makes visits to the beach a little less appealing.
So that's all for now, I hope you learned something and you can always email if you want more pictures.
Cheers!Another weekend trip is in the books. This time 32 of us travelled about 4 hours west of Melbourne to the Grampians National Park where we stayed at the Grampians Retreat and Field Studies Centre. We stayed in cabins and had all our meals home cooked by our hosts Dennis and Maree. They even made me a birthday cake that we ate after lunch on Saturday. The first picture is the view from the dining room window. This is Mt. Abrupt, our challenge for Saturday morning.
On Friday afternoon we took it easy with a 1 hour hike up the Picaninny, a small hill that still offered some great views and introduced me to some new plants and birds. We took it easy on Friday night with some table tennis so we could be up early the next day.
On saturday morning we set out at about 9:30am on the trail that would take us to the top of Mt. Abrupt. The views along the whole trail were magnificent. The landscape of the area is very unique. The mountains are surrounded by very flat plains that used to be used for harvesting rice. When the land dried up the land was then used for farming mostly sheep and some cattle as well. The area used to be an a shoreline and therefore lots of sand was deposited and turned into sandstone. The more resistant layers of sandstone were uplifted into their current position while the surrounding weaker sandstone was eroded leaving the plains that exist today. The second picture is the best example I have of the contrast between the mountains and the plains. The second mountain from the right is Mt. Abrupt. Here is a link with more detailed information on the geology of the area for those who care.
And of course here is a picture of me on the summit of Mt. Abrupt contemplating how cool it is to be there on my 22nd birthday and watching rain showers blow across the plains and into the mountains, missing us to the north. Here is a link to another awesome picture that I dont have room for here. It was really cool to be there and reminded me of the last mountain I was on top of in Como, Italy, except I walked up this one and took a funicular to the top of the other one. What goes up must come down and I have to say it is a lot easier to go up then go down. There is a lot more stress on the legs going down but you get to see everything you missed when you weren't looking backwards on the way up! The roud trip took us just over 3.5 hours with fairly frequent stops for photoshoots and what not.
After an awesome lunch of sweet chili chicken wraps and birthday cake, we went to a nearby winery. This was another Ma and Pa operation that has done well for itself. I have no interesting pictures from this visit but I managed to learn a lot. Did you know that it takes about 1kg of grapes to make 1 litre of wine? Did you know that under an agreement with the EU, champagne is called sparkling wine if it comes from anywhere other than the Champagne region of France? We also got a chance to sample their award winning Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc wines among others.
Next we took a drive right up the middle of the national park which was probably the most interesting part of the trip. This past January, more than half the park was ravaged by the worst bushfires on record. This link has a great sattelite picture of the park while it was burning. For reference, the bottom right hand finger of the park is where we stayed and climbed Mt. Abrupt and it is probably about 100km from top to bottom. Here is another link with an articles about the bushfires. As we drove into the affected area, some of the sides of the moutains looked like the leaves had changed for autumn when in fact the leaves were brown and dead due to the intense heat. Most of the area we saw consisted of no vegetation close to the ground at all except for blackened twigs that didn't burn up completely and blackened tree trunks with dead leaves on them. Contrary to what you might think, the bush fire didn't always engulf entire trees, but rather burnt up the underbrush before moving on. This could be partly due to the fact that the eucalyptus trees shed their bark which provides fuel for the fire to burn up fast and not give it a chance to set fire to the actual tree. The picture you see is the typical landscape of the area. Notice how the trees have sprouted green plants all over them. The trees keep a bunch of 'epicormic' buds beneath their bark. They lie dormant until the tree loses it's canopy, in this case due to a bushfire. This provides almost instant leaves which helps the tree receive sustenance and helps it recover.
This link is a picture I took of some seed capsules. These capsules contained seeds that are only released under intense heat. The fire causes them to split open and release the seed thereby allowing the species to survive. These guys are smart and it was really cool to see their geniusness at work.
Saturday night we had a campfire under another sky jam packed with stars. We even hired a guy to come down and play guitar and sing for us. He taught us a bunch of old Australia folk songs and the meanings behind them.
On Sunday morning we went to a sheep dairy farm (Grampians Pure Sheep Milk Dairy near Glenthompson). Since farmers in Australia receive no subsidies at all, they often try other things to make money. This couple has been very successful in making yogurts and cheeses from sheep milk. First we watched as he brought out about 20 sheep into the milking parlour. Then he had put the milkers on every other sheep and by the time he put the last one on, the first one was finished and me moved the milkers over to all the other sheep. His sheep give about 3 litres of milk per day which is a far cry from the 40 litres a day that a good cow can provide. His wife then takes the milk to make her products. We sampled one of everything she makes. It was neat to be on their farm and meet the one single lady behind the product that can be sometimes found in the national grocery store and also in Hong Kong: the country that imports the most of her product. They mentioned that they often need help in their Spring, and later I found out that one guy in our group talked to them and will go back there to work for a month or two. I reckon it would be pretty neat to travel in Australia working on farms. Here is a lesson in Australia slang I learned at the sheep farm too: one person might refer to another person as a 'dag', eg. "You are a dag". A 'dag' occurs when sheep shit accumulates on the sheeps tail and rectum area and becomes infested with maggots. They eventually feed on the sheeps flesh causing it a great deal of pain. 'Dag' is therefore a very nasty term and you don't want to be called one.
After that visit we made our way to another section of the park for a short walk to a small mountain with caves. While the others looked at traces of Aboriginal art in the cave, I made my way to the top of the mountain and found this little lizard sunning himself. He was kind of enough to let me take his picture, but wouldn't let me hold him. It wass suprisingly the first reptile I had seen in the wild since arriving here 1.5 months ago. I am however told that the extremely venomous king snake can be found near the creek that runs behind the campus.
Before I end this post I want to show this last picture. I took it on Sunday morning after breakfeast. I walked down to the edge of the property and took this shot of the neighbouring field. It is a bit strange to find these massive river gum trees in the middle of fields. The kangaroos were all around me and though I could get pretty close to them, it was nothing like on Philip Island where they would approach us looking for food. These ones were clearly wild. This picture will go into the collection of my best from the trip and will stay on as my desktop background for next little while.
I have no big plans yet for the 1 week Easter break coming up but I'm sure I'll figure soemthing out. The weather has been cooler lately, around 20 degrees, which makes visits to the beach a little less appealing.
So that's all for now, I hope you learned something and you can always email if you want more pictures.
Cheers!
Another weekend trip is in the books. This time 32 of us travelled about 4 hours west of Melbourne to the Grampians National Park where we stayed at the Grampians Retreat and Field Studies Centre. We stayed in cabins and had all our meals home cooked by our hosts Dennis and Maree. They even made me a birthday cake that we ate after lunch on Saturday. The first picture is the view from the dining room window. This is Mt. Abrupt, our challenge for Saturday morning.
On Friday afternoon we took it easy with a 1 hour hike up the Picaninny, a small hill that still offered some great views and introduced me to some new plants and birds. We took it easy on Friday night with some table tennis so we could be up early the next day.
On saturday morning we set out at about 9:30am on the trail that would take us to the top of Mt. Abrupt. The views along the whole trail were magnificent. The landscape of the area is very unique. The mountains are surrounded by very flat plains that used to be used for harvesting rice. When the land dried up the land was then used for farming mostly sheep and some cattle as well. The area used to be an a shoreline and therefore lots of sand was deposited and turned into sandstone. The more resistant layers of sandstone were uplifted into their current position while the surrounding weaker sandstone was eroded leaving the plains that exist today. The second picture is the best example I have of the contrast between the mountains and the plains. The second mountain from the right is Mt. Abrupt. Here is a link with more detailed information on the geology of the area for those who care.
And of course here is a picture of me on the summit of Mt. Abrupt contemplating how cool it is to be there on my 22nd birthday and watching rain showers blow across the plains and into the mountains, missing us to the north. Here is a link to another awesome picture that I dont have room for here. It was really cool to be there and reminded me of the last mountain I was on top of in Como, Italy, except I walked up this one and took a funicular to the top of the other one. What goes up must come down and I have to say it is a lot easier to go up then go down. There is a lot more stress on the legs going down but you get to see everything you missed when you weren't looking backwards on the way up! The roud trip took us just over 3.5 hours with fairly frequent stops for photoshoots and what not.
After an awesome lunch of sweet chili chicken wraps and birthday cake, we went to a nearby winery. This was another Ma and Pa operation that has done well for itself. I have no interesting pictures from this visit but I managed to learn a lot. Did you know that it takes about 1kg of grapes to make 1 litre of wine? Did you know that under an agreement with the EU, champagne is called sparkling wine if it comes from anywhere other than the Champagne region of France? We also got a chance to sample their award winning Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc wines among others.
Next we took a drive right up the middle of the national park which was probably the most interesting part of the trip. This past January, more than half the park was ravaged by the worst bushfires on record. This link has a great sattelite picture of the park while it was burning. For reference, the bottom right hand finger of the park is where we stayed and climbed Mt. Abrupt and it is probably about 100km from top to bottom. Here is another link with an articles about the bushfires. As we drove into the affected area, some of the sides of the moutains looked like the leaves had changed for autumn when in fact the leaves were brown and dead due to the intense heat. Most of the area we saw consisted of no vegetation close to the ground at all except for blackened twigs that didn't burn up completely and blackened tree trunks with dead leaves on them. Contrary to what you might think, the bush fire didn't always engulf entire trees, but rather burnt up the underbrush before moving on. This could be partly due to the fact that the eucalyptus trees shed their bark which provides fuel for the fire to burn up fast and not give it a chance to set fire to the actual tree. The picture you see is the typical landscape of the area. Notice how the trees have sprouted green plants all over them. The trees keep a bunch of 'epicormic' buds beneath their bark. They lie dormant until the tree loses it's canopy, in this case due to a bushfire. This provides almost instant leaves which helps the tree receive sustenance and helps it recover.
This link is a picture I took of some seed capsules. These capsules contained seeds that are only released under intense heat. The fire causes them to split open and release the seed thereby allowing the species to survive. These guys are smart and it was really cool to see their geniusness at work.
Saturday night we had a campfire under another sky jam packed with stars. We even hired a guy to come down and play guitar and sing for us. He taught us a bunch of old Australia folk songs and the meanings behind them.
On Sunday morning we went to a sheep dairy farm (Grampians Pure Sheep Milk Dairy near Glenthompson). Since farmers in Australia receive no subsidies at all, they often try other things to make money. This couple has been very successful in making yogurts and cheeses from sheep milk. First we watched as he brought out about 20 sheep into the milking parlour. Then he had put the milkers on every other sheep and by the time he put the last one on, the first one was finished and me moved the milkers over to all the other sheep. His sheep give about 3 litres of milk per day which is a far cry from the 40 litres a day that a good cow can provide. His wife then takes the milk to make her products. We sampled one of everything she makes. It was neat to be on their farm and meet the one single lady behind the product that can be sometimes found in the national grocery store and also in Hong Kong: the country that imports the most of her product. They mentioned that they often need help in their Spring, and later I found out that one guy in our group talked to them and will go back there to work for a month or two. I reckon it would be pretty neat to travel in Australia working on farms. Here is a lesson in Australia slang I learned at the sheep farm too: one person might refer to another person as a 'dag', eg. "You are a dag". A 'dag' occurs when sheep shit accumulates on the sheeps tail and rectum area and becomes infested with maggots. They eventually feed on the sheeps flesh causing it a great deal of pain. 'Dag' is therefore a very nasty term and you don't want to be called one.
After that visit we made our way to another section of the park for a short walk to a small mountain with caves. While the others looked at traces of Aboriginal art in the cave, I made my way to the top of the mountain and found this little lizard sunning himself. He was kind of enough to let me take his picture, but wouldn't let me hold him. It wass suprisingly the first reptile I had seen in the wild since arriving here 1.5 months ago. I am however told that the extremely venomous king snake can be found near the creek that runs behind the campus.
Before I end this post I want to show this last picture. I took it on Sunday morning after breakfeast. I walked down to the edge of the property and took this shot of the neighbouring field. It is a bit strange to find these massive river gum trees in the middle of fields. The kangaroos were all around me and though I could get pretty close to them, it was nothing like on Philip Island where they would approach us looking for food. These ones were clearly wild. This picture will go into the collection of my best from the trip and will stay on as my desktop background for next little while.
I have no big plans yet for the 1 week Easter break coming up but I'm sure I'll figure soemthing out. The weather has been cooler lately, around 20 degrees, which makes visits to the beach a little less appealing.
So that's all for now, I hope you learned something and you can always email if you want more pictures.
Cheers!
To view photos from this trip, visit www.ryandownunder.blogspot.com

Posted by mista2kool 04:31

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