If you are looking for somewhere off the beaten track for a holiday then think about heading to Kilcowera Station which is located along the Darling Track between Hungerford and Thargomindah, Qld.
It is a 120,000 acres cattle station owned and operated by Greg and Toni Sherwin (you couldn’t ask for nicer hosts). We camped beside the Cardenyabba lagoon for 10 stunning nights (we had only planned to stay for 4 nights).
There are plenty of things to see and explore on the property which also has accommodation in the shearer’s quarters.
There is a lot of bird life to be found on Kilcowera Station. We spotted and photographed quite a few as you can see below:
We had an amazing campsite beside the lagoon.
Amazing clouds nearly every day!
What is a cattle station without cows??
During periods of heavy rainfall Kilcowera becomes home to some ancient shrimps!
And it’s really camping unless you have a campfire!
My daughter was recently married in Hawaii and while we were there we decided to go on a doors off helicopter flight over the Ohau island with Makani kai Helicopters.
Due to poor weather on the day of scheduled flight it was necessary to reschedule to another day and Makani kai Helicopters were very obliging in assisting us in rescheduling with limited time available.
The weather on the day of the rescheduled flight was great and we had a very smooth flight.
Here are a few of the images taken from the helicopter.
The adventure continues as we leave Princetown to explore the area to the east. We decided that Apollo Bay would be a central location that would along us to set up camp and explore the area. This ended up being a good decision as it was close to the Otway National Park and all its attractions.
On the way, we visited the Cape Otway Lighthouse and were nearly blown away. They advise you to hang onto your hat and glasses when you climb to the top of the lighthouse and I can understand why as it was so exposed that you could easily lose something in the wind.
The were quite few Koalas around Cape Otway and one nearly walked in front of us as we were driving along.
Continuing on from Cape Otway we travelled to Apollo Bay and set up camp at the caravan park right beside the Barham River. Being winter there were not many people around and we had our choice of camp sites.
There were plenty of birds to be seen and I pleased to be able capture a shot of this New Holland Honeyeater in the tree next to our campsite.
The Great Otway National Park has so many beautiful places to visit but with limited time to spare we only visited a few of them. The area had received a lot of rain and the waterfalls were flowing very fast and hard so we made sure that we visited both Hopetoun Falls and Beauchamp Falls. It was raining at both waterfalls but Danni kindly volunteered to hold the umbrella over me to keep the rain off the camera while I took a few shots.
Driving through the Great Otway National Park we experienced all types of weather (in one day most times!) including wind, rain, sunny and misty. We had planned to go to the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures but it was too wet and windy and they had closed most activities.
One place in the Otway National Park that we were amazed by was the California Redwood Forest. The trees were planted in about 1939 and we were just dwarfed by them.
The forest is situated beside a lovely stream surrounded by ferns.
Waterfalls don’t need to be large to look good. This waterfall was near a causeway on one of the many back roads that we took in the Great Otway National Park.
One thing that we did notice in Apollo Bay was how big the seagulls were compared to those in NSW and there were plenty around especially when you were eating your fish and chips!
To be continued
A few weeks ago we headed out on a trip with our camper trailer in tow and no real route to follow. All we knew was that we wanted to head to Victoria and see the Great Ocean Road.
It was our first trip with the camper trailer and we didn’t realise how much extra fuel we would use. It wasn’t until the car started beeping and a light lit up on the dashboard that we realised how much more fuel we actually used. Luckily we were less than 5 kms from Holbrook and we could limp in there to fill up the car and a few jerry cars.
Leaving Holbrook we made our way down to the Murray River at Albury and after crossing over into Victoria we started looking for a campsite along the Murray River. We found one that we liked not far from Rutherglen and it was called the Police Paddocks.
Even though it rained a fair bit which was to be expected because we were in Victoria, it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for camping. We enjoyed being in the outdoors and being away from the stresses of work.
The next morning we packed up to drive to Swan Hill where we stayed in a cabin so that we could get an early start for the drive to Murray Sunset National Park. We were lucky that we left early for the drive to Murray Sunset National Park as we had trouble finding somewhere to camp there and actually did not know where we were. After driving for hours through sand, dirt and gravel tracks and not seeing anyone else we decided that we should set up camp before it got dark so we found a suitable location and had one of the best nights of the trip.
I woke early, about 4am and looked outside to see the amazing night sky and all the stars that were visible.
There is always a bit of excitement on a trip and this one was no exception as we got bogged about three quarters of the way up a sand dune. After lowering the air pressure in the tyres and engaging low range we were able to get out of trouble. The photo below looks back on the dune that we were stuck on as was taken as we approached another one. Don’t forget that we were towing a heavy camper trailer at this time which made it a lot more difficult.
We had actually planned to camp near a lake in the Murray Sunset National Park but they were all dry so after navigating our way out we decided to head to Wyperfeld National Park as on the map it looked like they had a huge lake. We were disappointed again as the lake there had also dried up but we didn’t have time to find somewhere else to camp and set up there for the night. We realised that you don’t need a TV when you have a campfire and a starry night.
Still in search of a lake with water we headed south in the morning towards Lake Albacutya. The route to the lake took us through some barren burnt out forest and were began to wonder if we were lost again.
When we finally arrived at Lake Albacutya we found a paddock with some tracks across it. Apparently it hasn’t been full since 1984! We ended up driving about 13 kms across the lake bed and were only interrupted by a mob of about 50 kangaroos.
After driving across Lake Albacutya we headed down to The Grampians and found a nice little camp ground “The Plantation Campground” near Halls Gap to stay for a few days. It was a free campground with pit toilets, water and when it wasn’t raining, a view of the Grampians. It wet and windy for most of the time that we were there but we still enjoyed our stay. The campground that we had planned to stay in was closed as the area is still recovering from the January, 2014 bush fires.
We weren’t alone at our campsite as there were plenty of kangaroos around to keep us company.
With all the wet and windy weather we didn’t get much of a chance to see the Grampians but we did find Lake Londsdale. We were told that it was only about 10% full but I’m not sure how true that was as there looked to be a fair bit of water in it.
We left the Grampians and then headed to Port Fairy near the start of the Great Ocean Road. Port Fairy is a lovely little seaside town with lots of attractions for tourists.
One of the highlights for me at Port Fairy was the seal that visited when I was down at the wharf shooting the night view of the port. I could hear something blowing and was wondering what it was until I spotted the seal peering at me. I raced back to the car to change lenses and grab a flash so that I could take a photo of him.
Leaving Port Fairy to head to Princetown we typed in the address to our navigator which sent us down a street that was a dead end. At the end of the street was a cul-de-sac with another car parked in it. The street wasn’t wide enough to turn around with the camper trailer so I had to go wide and onto the grass to turn around. Big Mistake! We become bogged and could not get out even disconnecting the trailer and lowering the tyre pressure. Luckily Danni found a helpful resident who just happened to have some 4wd recovery tracks to get us out.
On the way to Princetown we passed the Bay of Islands but unfortunately it was in the middle of the day and not the best conditions to photograph it. I did take a panorama of it with my phone though and it looked pretty good. We realised that the best way to photograph the rock features along the Great Ocean Road was from a helicopter. I made enquiries with one of the pilots about removing the door for me so that I could get some shots but he said no as it would be too cold for him!
Arriving at the Princetown Camping Ground we were surprised that no one else was there, not even a caretaker! There was a note on the office door saying that if it was unattended that you could set up camp and come back later to pay. We spent two nights at the camp ground and did a fair bit of exploring around the area. It always pays to take the route less traveled (unless you get bogged) and doing so we discovered a stunning valley along the Old Ocean Road.
We have never seen so many rainbows as we did whilst in Victoria however given that it rained on and off most of the trip it is understandable.
Superb Fairy Wrens are usually difficult to photograph as they are quite shy and rarely stand still for any length of time. We were camped next to a family of them at Princetown and I managed to take quite a few photos of them.
To be continued
Not long ago a myself and few photography mates headed up to Stockton to spend the weekend shooting the sand dunes. I have always been fascinated by shapes and shadows formed by the wind on the dunes and jumped at the opportunity to shoot them. The most important thing to do is to let the car tyres down to about 15 psi as without doing so the car would get bogged in the sand.
Stockton Beach is located north of Newcastle and is famous for its fishing, the sand dunes and the Sygna Wreck.
The Sygna wreck has been there since 1974 although there is not too much left of it now as you can see above. I had expected something a bit more photogenic than this so was a disappointed.
I definitely wasn’t disappointed by the sand dunes though and we shot them in the afternoon, at sunset, sunrise and the early morning. Each time they looked different due to the amount of light falling on them and the position of the sun.
You can see in the shot above the shape of one of the sand dunes and the colour as the sun sets. The wind has created an interesting shape with eye catching ripples.
In this shot the sun is setting over Newcastle and if you look closely you can see my mate Chris setting up for shot on the distant dune.
4WD drive access to the dunes is very limited and they can only be accessed by the tourist buses which do not operate during the best times for shooting the dunes. We covered a lot of distance by foot walking over the dunes to find compositions that we liked.
Stockton Beach is also home to Tin City which are a collection of fisherman’s shacks that were built after the 2nd World War and are still in use.
Stockton Beach is definitely worth another visit and will be organising a trip in the near future.
The road to Tibooburra took us through flat and an often desolate landscape without many features to break the horizon. There were some distant hills and very few trees. Despite the barren landscape we still enjoyed the drive as the combination of the red dirt roads and deep blue skies is something that we never tire of seeing.
Plenty of road kill along the way meant that we spotted a lot of Wedge Tailed Eagles and I did my best to capture a few photos of them.
These birds of prey are magnificent creatures and I wanted to stop every time that we saw some but Danni had other ideas. Despite the protests I still managed to stop quite a few times but the eagles didn’t seem to like having their photos taken. I would fearlessly walk as slowly as possible towards them shooting as I walked and every time they felt I was too close they would fly further away. I would then keep stalking them until I realised how far I had ventured from the car.
All day during the drive the clouds were looking fantastic and I was keeping an eye out for a lone tree or some other feature that I could use as a focal point. I finally spotted a lone tree in the distance to use so I left Danni in the car on the side of the road whilst I headed off towards the tree. By positioning myself in the right position I was able to compose the photo so the clouds were streaking out from behind the tree. There was also a cattle track to use as a lead in line to the tree.
We had planned our arrival in Tibooburra to coincide with the State of Origin game as we couldn’t miss the decider. How was I to know that NSW would lose again and that I would be only of the two people in Tibooburra supporting the Blues!.
Tibooburra is quite an unusual landscape and has a lot of granite outcrops dotted around the area and even in the middle of town.
Wild goats were plentiful in the area and have adapted well to harsh climate and sparse vegetation.
We left Tibooburra the day after we lost the State of Origin and headed towards Cameron Corner – I couldn’t up with all the Queenslanders walking around looking superior!
It was interesting drive and we saw our first ever clay pan.
We couldn’t visit corner country without having a look at the Dingo Fence. At over 5,000 kms long it is the longest fence in the world and is still used to keep the dingoes away from the sheep in the South East part of Australia.
After a quick visit to Cameron Corner for a beer and a chat to the owners of the store we decided to head back to Fort Grey Campground to camp for a few days. We were very surprised to find that we were the only ones staying there and it was nearly two days before anyone else arrived. We had the choice of all the prime camp spots so we set up right next to one of the shelters to provide a bit of protection in case it rained.
The shelter included fresh water and free gas BBQ’s which was totally unexpected. As we were the only ones around we didn’t feel the need to pack everything away when we went exploring.
The only problem with this was the birds stealing our food – they ate nearly a full packet of chips and I caught one flying off with half a packet of Nice biscuits.
On one of our walks we were surprised to find Lake Pinaroo and even more surprised that it is was full of water! A lot of the lakes that we have visited on our travels have been empty but this was one wasn’t. It was a haven for the bird life of the area and in the evening thousands of Corellas literally covered all the trees on the opposite side of the lake. It’s hard to explain the sight and sound of so many birds in one place and it needs to be experienced personally.
Until you get away from the city lights you do not realise how many stars there really are in the sky. While I was waiting for Danni to wake up (I had convinced her that she should watch the sunrise with me and witness the Golden Hour) I took a few shots of the starry sky.
The morning’s sunrise wasn’t a spectacular one but it give me the opportunity to show Danni why I get up so early for my photography. The rising sun just lit the trees a beautiful golden colour.
We would have both been happy to spend the rest of the holiday camped right here as it was so peaceful (forgetting the thousands of Corellas that is) but we had accommodation booked at Silverton and we needed to leave after two nights. At least it gave me time to shoot the sunrise and the sunset.
This was my favourite photo from Lake Pinaroo and was taken late in the afternoon as I was waiting for the sun to set.
The next stage of the trip was to the historic town of Silverton which will be included in the next update.