The King and Ovens Valleys in North East Victoria.

The King and Ovens rivers in Victoria’s north east are central to a major gourmet region of Austraia. An area of fine wines, cheeses, other high quality produce.

The rivers with their head waters in the Australian Alps wind their way through fertile land as tributaries to the Murray River, Australia’s longest river.

It is Autumn here so the grape vines and deciduous trees add colour to the landscape.

While the night temperatures are getting cold the autumn days are still sunny and warm. This region is about 3 hours north of Melbourne with beautiful riding through the hills to get to the little cottage where I was staying.

Mount Buffalo sits at the head of the Ovens Valley and is a beautiful place for a ride and a hike. From the peak there is a spectacular view across to the Australian Alps.

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The cold nights have put little snow caps on Mounts Bogong, Hotham and Feathertop.

It was beautiful hiking under a cloudless sky with beautiful views along the way.

The area has some great pubs perfect for a cold beer after a hike.

The cottage had a perfect view of the sun rising over the hills and the morning mist caught in the valley.

In the bush the old trees attract beautifully coloured birds such as the Crimson Rosella.

And the clear skies gave a perfect view of the milky way.

A perfect place to watch the stars turn.

A short trip to North West Victoria – the silo art trail

On the road to Sea Lake there is the little settlement of Nullawil with its beautifully painter silo.

This is the eastern most point on the Victorin Silo Art Trail. The trail covers around 700km of the Wimmera Mallee region and includes 13 painted silos.

As this was only a short trip I can only offer a sample of the artwork.

Nullawil

Sea Lake

Sea Lake has some beautiful street murals as well.

Heading south west from Sea Lake the village of Lascelles has the next painted silo.

Then running south there is Roseberry

Then Brim, the first of the silos to be painted and completed in 2016

The last silo on this trip was in Rupanyap.

As you can imagine this is grain growing country. Mainly wheat but also other grains and pulses.

At Murtoa, there is ‘the stick shed’. A huge grain storage shed with a floor space of 1.5 ha and the roof held up by massive poles or sticks.

There were many of these sheds built around Australia in the 1940s but this is the last surviving “stick shed”. It’s a wonderful piece of Australian national heritage.

For more information on the Victorian Silo Art Trail go to: http://siloarttrail.com

A short trip in North West Victoria – Sea Lake

Sea Lake is a small village in the Mallee Country in the North West of Victoria. It gains its name from the salt lake next to it.

It was a great opportunity to take my faithful old mighty Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 for a run.

Lake Tyrrell whose name is derived from the aboriginal word Deril which means open to the sky. It is Victoria’s largest salt lake that is believed to be formed 120,000 years ago.

The lake is a a light pink colour.

The thin film of water over the lake provides a mirror like finish and perfect reflections.

The outback sunset was just an amazing sight reflected on the lake.

The Lake is also a great place for star gazing and practising astronomy watching the endless sky of the outback.

Unfortunately the building cloud cover that added drama to the sunset made star shots not possible. But what a view this beautiful lake provided.

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A quick trip in North West Tasmania

The reason that I was in Tasmania riding a Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX is a bit too convoluted for this blog but there I was under beautiful Autumn sun.

I have been to Tasmania a number of times but a couple of places had eluded me.

The far north west coast and the Tarkine Rain Forest wilderness.

Arthur River has a lovely camp ground in the remote North West Coast.

Near the mouth of the river there is a little beach and lookout at a place called The Edge of the World. The longest uninterrupted stretch of ocean in the world bound against these shores.

Travelling west from here the next stop is Patagonia.

The drift wood on the beach dragged across the sea by the pounding waves of the great Southern Ocean.

Even when it’s a still day the waves roll in on their relentless motion.

There was time for a swim under the warm sun rays of the late afternoon sun.

Before the sun set.

South of Arthur River there is a road junction. Heading south is the Western Explorer a gravel road that runs 150km south to Zeehan. The road west is the Tarkine Drive the winds through a mixture of farmland and wilderness.

The Tarkine Wlderness is an amazing temperate rain forest.

 

The Tarkine is limestone country with a number of sinkholes some of which have been plugged by forest debris to form lakes and ponds.

Being a rainforest there is also an array of beautiful fungi

The unique Tarkine Widerness is currently a battleground between conservationists and logging and mining interests.

If you would like to support the preservation of this unique wilderness contact https://bobbrown.org.au/

It was a short trip to this beautiful place but I’m sure I will be back.

The Giants provides insight into the importance of old growth forest and the Giants in them. Trees 100 metres high and thousands of years old.

The Darling River and Lake Mungo

The Murray and Darling rivers converge at Wentworth. These rivers form the Murray – Darling Basin which is an area important for both food production and environmental diversity.

The Murray starts in the Australian Alps near Mount Kosciusko fed by snow melt and Alpine rain. The Darling is fed by the monsoons of northern Australia. In the photo you can see the muddy water of the Darling in the foreground as it mergers into blue water of the Murray.

I camped 20km down stream of the rivers junction on the banks of the Murray.

Beside the Murray River as it slowly rolls south west to the Southern Ocean around 500km away.

In many ways the Murray forms the southern boundary of the Outback or at least the southern east corner of the hot dry lands that are the outback.

I had ridden up from a cultural holiday in Adelaide and this was the first stop on the edge of the outback that would lead me to Mungo National Park (my next stop) then up the Darling to Bourke (previous post).

Leaving the banks of the Murray it was onto the dirt roads to get out to Mungo National Park – A World Heritage area.

It was hot and I was happy to set up my tent under a shady tree

The Park was once sheep station and the old shearing shed a relic of those times.

Mungo National Park has both colonial and aboriginal history. The colonial history goes back a century or so. The aboriginal history is an over 46,000 years continual association with the land.

This long association was confirmed with the finding of the remains Mungo Man and Mungo Lady. These remains that have been dated as 46,000 years old. These are the oldest homosapian remains found on the Australian Continent. These are also some of the oldest examples of ritualistic burial any where in the world. If you want more information follow this link: https://learn.culturalinfusion.org.au/story-of-mungo-man-and-mungo-lady/

Another feature of Lake Mungo is the sand dunes that stretch for 135km across the horizon like the walls of China, but nature made.

Areas of dunes are called Lunettes because of the luna type landscape. But in these dunes are artefacts tens of thousands of years old.

At sunset the dunes tale on a redish hue as the sun burns the sky orange and red.

That night I slept with wonderment of the place and what a tiny spec modern humanity is on the universe while sleeping under the milky way.

In the morning I did a tour of the dunes with an aboriginal ranger. As part of the tour I help artefacts 10,000 years old and heard stories of the land, this place that had been passed down from generation to generation in the oldest continuous culture in the world. Stories and rituals that had their origin back 46,000 years ago.

As I left Lake Mungo there was a Sand Goanna on the side of the road.

I thought it was wishing me a fond farewell but, looking back, I think that it was a sign that the 350+km of dirt road I had before me to get to Bourke was going to be a difficult and sandy ride.