Monday, August 15, 2011

The Grampians

I haven't entirely abandoned waterfalls, in fact I have piccies of at least a couple more I've shot in the last few weeks up my sleeve. But tonight I'll make a slight change of direction.

This weekend just passed Deb and I have seized the opportunity for a weekend away again. This time we drove three hours west of Melbourne to a mountain range known as 'The Grampians.'Our destination Hall's Gap a little town in the Grampians region of Victoria.

Hall's gap sits in a pass that cuts through the range.
This is the main street of Halls Gap

Although at the moment the pass is not... well not 'passable'. You might remember that back in December/January there were floods in Queensland and here in Victoria. Well the Grampians were hard hit by massive flood events. There were huge landslips throughout the region big enough for many of the maps to no longer be correct and for many of the roads to still be in need of rebuild.

Despite that the area is still incredibly beautiful with an amazing variety of heathland vegetation growing on the impoverished soils of the region.

In terms of diversity of flora Oz has a number of hotspots and perhaps ironically the most ancient and impoverished soils often have the highest biological diversity. I have heard the argument that the Western Australian heathland environments have unequalled floral diversity, matching or even beating the tropical rainforests of the world.
I won't comment on statements like that except to say, people in Oz like grand statements about 'biggest', 'best' or 'most'. Some statements like that are true others, well I'm no referee on the topic.

What I can say is Oz has an amazing variety of unique plant communities and Victoria's heathland has a similar diversity to that in West Oz. Interestingly thanks to the magic of plate tectonics Southern Africa have some communities that are related and look similarish.

Anyway back to the matter at hand. Deb and I set off to the Grampians with an agenda of bush walking (hiking), photography and knitting in mind. We were both going to walk, I'll leave it to you to work out which of us was going to knit and which photograph.

Now I have rambled enough; as it is I am probably going to need two or three posts to cover what we did and saw in just a day and a half.

So after checking in at the holiday park we were going to stay the night we left Halls Gap to check out the Bee Hive Waterfall (you knew I just had to squeeze in a waterfall)

Walking up to the falls I stopped to shoot these amazing rock formations. It isn't quite spring, but the wildflowers are coming out.
A “Wirilda Wattle” (Acacia retinades)These tiny “Cat’s Claw Grevillia” (Grevillia alpina)A “Holly Grevillia” (Grevillia aquifolium) that hasn’t quite come outIt is so gorgeous I had to show an extra closeup.As you get close to the falls you see the rock formation that gives them the name Beehive
I love catching changing light as in these of the 'beehive' wasn’t the only person keen on shooting the falls. This local photographer’s daughter obliged by acting as a scaleOn the way back down I paused to shoot this flower which I haven’t yet managed to identify. I think it might be some kind of orchid, but I am really just guessing.

Then as the evening was drawing in the local wildlife began stirring

I surprised this Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) on the trail. She hopped away because I am so scary.

Just round the corner I caught her friend, another eastern grey


mshatch said...

oh lovely picks and such beautiful flowers - so different from anything here in the states! Love the kangaroos :)

Linda G. said...

Gorgeous pics, as usual!

And, of course, I love the kangaroo.

Old Kitty said...

That Holy Grevilla is just superb. What a plant!! It's really really stunning!!

Awwww wild Oz is amazing - a wonder of nature and should be treasured and protected!! Beautiful!!

And where else can one get to see adorable wild Kangaroos like these!?!??! Yay! Take care

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

You are blessed with some of the most beautiful scenery there. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Carolyn V said...

How gorgeous! I love the photos of the plants. Hope you had a great get away. =)

Al said...

Hi MS,
We have some pretty unique stuff down this way.
Pleased you liked it all.

Hi Linda,
Thank you!
Aren’t they sweet?

Hi Jennifer,
We are just spoiled when it comes to wildflowers!
Hear hear!

Hi Susan,
We are blessed that is for sure.
You are most welcome!

Hi Carolyn,
Pleased you like them!
We had a great time!

Patsy said...

That unidentified flower reminds me of a Bilbergia (I know nothing of Aussie flora though, so I'm just guessing too)

Amanda said...

My goodness! I love the flower photos! The Holly Grevillia is so cool looking! You are inspiring me to get out and take pictures too. It'll be easier once it cools of a bit and not so hot to take baby out in.

I love the kangaroo photos, especially in your next post w/ the babies. How cute!!

Al said...

Hi Patsy,
Thanks for the comment. I'll look up Bilbergia

Hi Amanda,
The holly grevillea is spectacular. I’m glad you’re going to get out and about with a camera because I you have shared heaps of great piccies too. They are cute aren’t they?

Curmudgeon said...

I've got to get a camera. Your blog is so attractive. I live in The high desert mountains of Colo. and could almost come this close to heaven.