People often think of Australia as hot, dry and dusty. They’re not altogether wrong, but it’s not always like that.
A line from one of my favourite Australian poems talks of Australia as a land “of droughts and flooding rains”.
We’ve certainly had those flooding rains lately.
Mt Emu Creek usually meanders quite sedately through farmland in western Victoria where I live, and joins up with the Hopkins River north of Warrnambool.
Recently though, it turned the farmland into a floodplain and created some new, beautiful imagery of its own.
I don’t know about you, but I love a stormy sky and the different qualities it brings to the landscape.
Mt Leura is relatively small for a ‘mountain’, but it does afford a spectacular view of the “lakes and craters” landscape of this dormant volcanic region.
Looking north – the rain is coming!
Looking east, over Lake Corangamite toward Colac.
Mt Sugarloaf – a perfectly conical formation nestled beside Mt Leura.
This is one of my favourite spots on the river for thinking, writing, or enjoying a cup of coffee before work.
A good morning for reflection!
The cutest little boat!
Pelicans often enjoy the protection of this quiet stretch of the river.
The river meanders down to the coast where it meets the Southern Ocean at Logan’s Beach.
Near the river mouth and shore, the Hopkins has a wide beach of its own.
I love places that challenge the popular stereotypes that many people hold about Australia – the beach, the desert, the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and Uluru.
Weeaproinah is one of the wettest places in the state of Victoria. Although it’s very close to the coast, this locality at the end of the Otway Ranges boasts magnificent mountain ash rainforest that contrasts lush green foliage with tall, straight tree trunks. Birds and wildlife abound.
The Otway Fly is a treetop walk and/or zipline adventure through the forest, taking advantage of different levels and heights, and allowing visitors to experience different aspects of the Australian bush.
Notice the tiny rainbow on the horizon?
A path along the foreshore and up to the rotunda contains bricks engraved with dedications and messages from local people. This was definitely my favourite.
The artwork is in the shape the footpad of the Tachyglossus, a now-extinct relative of the echidna. It includes totems of the local Gulidjan/Kolacgnat tribe as well as a boomerang, a gum tree leaf and an outline of Red Rock, a dormant volcano visible on the other side of the lake. It is surrounded by native grasses and plants, and a stone wall that represents British settlement.
In the early Autumn, the Hopkins River meanders lazily through the beautiful farmlands of western Victoria, gurgling and spilling gently over these rocks and falls near Cudgee, just north of Warrnambool. The water level is so low that some parts of the stream are cut off, forming rock pools in the river bed above the falls. Cows graze along the banks and drink from the cool, fresh stream.
When the river is high and fast, the falls are turbulent and powerful, and the stream below is far too deep and unsafe for cows to graze so close to its banks.
The Stony Rises are found between Camperdown, Pirron Yallock and Cobden in Victoria’s Western District.
The fields are full of volcanic rock, a testament to the fact that the dormant volcanoes in the area were once far more active than they are now. Ever since settlement, local farmers have used these rocks to create stone walls that divide their farms into paddocks. While some have fallen into disrepair, others are still maintained and used today.
Lake Purrumbete is one of the volcanic crater lakes near Camperdown and Cobden in the Western District of Victoria. It is well known among those who love to fish, but many other people have never heard of it.
Moorhens are common in western Victoria, nesting on the edges of lakes and farm damns.
The Lake Edge Cafe is on the western shore of the lake. It offers lunches and a range of delicious home-made cakes, tea and coffee, cool drinks, and is licenced to serve wine and beer. There’s plenty of parking, and whether you sit inside or out on the deck, you get a great view of the beautiful lake and surrounding scenery.