Home
Index


Main sections...

Robe
Mount Gambier
Hamilton
Camperdown
Otway Ranges
Colac
Ballarat
Grampians
Related pages

South eastern SA and western Victoria

My wife, my dog and I had a short holiday from late November to early December. The photos and comments on this page are aimed at being of interest to a general audience.

One thing that was unexpected about the holiday was how the numerous extinct volcanos and volcanism's dominance of the landscapes in the area we visited became an important part of the tour. There is a huge plain, dotted with volcanoes, that stretches more than three hundred kilometres eastward from near Mount Gambier to near Geelong and about one hundred kilometres from the coast to the northward. It is called the Newer Volcanic Provence; the oldest eruptions were over a million years ago, the most recent less than 5,000 years; there seems to be eruptions on average about every 10,000 years.

The table of contents on the left gives links to the main divisions on this page, the index at the bottom of the page gives a full list of links to main and minor sections on the page.

The majority of the photos were taken with an iPhone 7, perhaps 20% were taken with a Canon Powershot camera, which had the advantage of a good optical zoom. They are in approximately chronological order.

This page was written 2018/12/10, modified 2019/12/19
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©
Home
Index


Google search Ramblings


Angaston; Saltram's winery and restaurant

Saltram's

A couple of kilometres on the Nuriootpa side of Angaston, this is a beautiful place to stop for a coffee break (or, if you like, taste a few wines or have lunch).

As I recall, we were told that the vine, it is a single vine, was about 120 years old; the newer part of the building adjacent was built to fit in with the vine. It had a trunk like a tree, I could believe the age.

Photo 2018/11/26.

Nearby, on the Main Street of Angaston, was a very good cheese factory outlet. We didn't stop there on this trip, but we do often call in.



Tailem Bend solar farm

Tailem Bend solar farm

Home
Top
Index
A small part of Tailem Bend solar farm, which will have an installed capacity of 127 MW when completed, probably in early 2019.

Solar farms as big as this are a relatively new thing in Australia. There have been problems with dust due to the disturbance of the soil surface (there were at Bungala Solar Farm, near Port Augusta, SA. It remains to be seen how the soil will be successfully stabilised beneath the panels. The first solar PV farm in Australia to be larger than 100 MW was that at Nyngan (102 MW), NSW, that became fully operational only in July 2016. At the time of writing there were maybe half a dozen bigger than that under construction.

The photo was taken by my drone on 2018/11/26.



Tailem Bend solar farm

The approximately 150 cars parked in the foreground gives an idea of the size of the workforce.

The image is a combination of four very wide angle photos showing the whole of the Tailem Bend solar farm. The road in the foreground is actually straight.

The photo was taken by my drone on 2018/11/26.



Robe

Plants

A small part of the very well maintained (mostly) native bush adjacent to the cliff-top walk south of the obelisk at Robe.

Photo 2018/11/27.



Mount Gambier

Umphaston Garden

Umphaston
This garden, in a sinkhole toward the eastern side of Mount Gambier is rightly one of the city's top attractions; the gardens in the sinkhole are beautiful and whoever looks after them have made the most of the opportunities that the sinkhole provided.

There is another sink-hole garden, called the Cave Garden, near the Main Corner Complex in the centre of town. It is also worth a visit, but the gardens are not as good as these.

Photo 2018/11/27
Home
Top
Index



Umphaston

Another image looking down into the garden.

Photo 2018/11/27



Umphaston

Home
Top
Index
Within the garden

Photo 2018/11/27



Umphaston
This was down in the Umphaston Gardens sinkhole in one of the more shaded areas. A trickle of water kept this greenery alive.

Photo 2018/11/27



Mount Gambier volcano

Blue Lake

A panorama of the Blue Lake. One of the most remarkable features of the Blue Lake is that it turns from grey to blue about November of every year. It turns back to grey around the end of summer.

At the time of our visit there was a very good free one-hour video on the formation of the Mount Gambier volcanoes at the Main Corner Complex in the centre of town.

Photo 2018/11/28



Valley Lake

A view over the Mount Gambier volcanic complex with the Valley Lake in the foreground and the Blue Lake hidden in the crater in the background.

Photo 2018/11/29, taken from around about the highest point on the crater rim, near Centenary Tower.



A walk around the Mount Gambier volcanos

 
Centenary Tower
Centenery Tower
I walked around the perimeter of the volcanos early on the morning of 2018/11/30. This and the next four photos were from that walk.

There is a walking path most of the way, and a road where there is not a path. Most of the way the gradients are moderate, only a couple of places near the highest point on the perimeter could the gradients be called steep. The whole walk is about 8.5 km and took me about two hours.



 
Small crater

Looking south from the north-western part of the crater wall. The mown (pail coloured) area is one of the earliest craters to form. The crater containing Brown and Valley Lakes is on the left.

These photos were taken on 2018/11/29.



 
Valley Lake
Looking south from the northern part of the crater wall. The Centenary Tower is on the high point on the far side of the big crater, a small part of Valley Lake can be seen on the left.

The still low Sun is providing a yellowish light to the scene.



 
Small crater
Looking northeast from the northeastern part of the crater wall. Part of the city of Mount Gambier is in the middle distance, there is a low mist in the distance.

The small plume of steam could be a timber mill near Uphaston Garden.



Blue Lake

Home
Top
Index
A panorama photo of the Blue Lake seen from the east with the Sun behind me. The highest point, with Centenary Tower on its peak, can be seen in the high-definition version of the image.

The pumping station for Mount Gambier's water supply is in the centre.

Photo 2018/11/30.

This is the last photo from the walk around the volcanos.



Mount Schank, Mount Gambier area

Mt Schank

Home
Top
Index
A few kilometres south of Mount Gambier is another extinct volcanic cone that was formed around the same time.

Unlike the deepest craters at Mount Gambier, the craters of Mount Schank don't go deep enough to intersect the water table, so they don't have water in the bottom.

In addition to this main crater there are at least two smaller craters adjacent.

Photo 2018/11/27.



Mt Schank

Home
Top
Index
On the crater wall of Mount Schank

Photo 2018/11/27.



Dingly Dell, Mount Gambier area

DinglyDell

Home
Top
Index
This was once the home of poet and writer Adam Lindsey Gordon.

The cottage was not open to visitors when we were there, but the visit was worthwhile just to see the garden and to go on the "Poet's walk", an easy and pleasant path about a kilometre in total at the rear of the cottage.

Photo 2018/11/28



Casterton

 
Kelpie sign
Casterton is known as the home of the famous Australian sheep dog breed, the kelpie.

It is very unfortunate that the local people seem to have largely forgotten this heritage, of which they should be very proud. As can be seen below they have betrayed the memory of the kelpie and named their football club The Cats.

Cats sign No dogs


Hamilton area

Wetlands

Grange Burn Wetland, Hamilton

With my involvement in the Gleeson Wetlands in Clare, South Australia, I'm always interested in wetlands in other areas.

This wetland had the advantage of a large area of water and reed-beds, which we do not have at Clare, but they lacked our nice gardens.



Penshurst, Hamilton area

Mount Rouse

Home
Top
Index
Mount Rouse is an extinct volcano on the edge of the small town of Penshurst. It is possible to drive most of the way to the top, except for about 120 steps.

This is just a part of the magnificent view from the top; photos can't really do the view justice.

Three previously unknown extinct, or at least dormant, volcanoes were discovered near Penshurst in 2014. There is a very interesting Volcano Discovery Centre at Penshurst; well worth a visit.

The Grampians, perhaps the only mountains in the region that are uplifted sandstone rather than extinct volcanoes, can be seen in the distance, more on them later.

Photo 2018/12/01



Byaduk, Hamilton area

Tumuli

Tumuli (also called lava blisters or pressure ridges) in a lava flow from Mount Napier. These were some kilometres north-west of Byaduk and south of Hamilton.

Tumuli (singular tumulus) are caused when pressure builds up in a lava flow with a solidified surface or roof to the point where a part of the roof is pushed upward in a large blister.

While there are descriptive signs about the tumuli and lava caves at several places near the Byaduk (and nearby Mount Eccles) volcanic sites, I have unfortunately been unable to find a good reference on the Internet; suggestions will be welcome.

The small 'humps' in the photo are, I believe, shrubs.



Mt Napier

Home
Top
Index
The valley in the foreground is partly filled with a lava flow that came from the volcanic Mount Napier in the background.

Several tumuli are visible in the middle distance.



Lava Cave, Byaduk, Hamilton area

Solar installation
There are several partly collapsed lave caves north of the small village of Byaduk. The caves were formed when lava flows formed a hard crust on top and the hot, liquid lava beneath flowed out further down the valley. At some point the roofs collapsed in places.

This photo was taken from near the mouth of one of the caves looking toward the entrance.

There are two caves open to the public, Harmons 1 and Harmons 2.

The cave entrances contain remnant vegetation from a time when the local climate was much damper.



Salt Creek Wind Farm

Turbines

Home
Top
Index
We happened to come across the turbines of Salt Creek Wind Farm just south of the village of Woorndoo, north of Mortlake.

There are 15 turbines in this wind farm; several other larger wind farms have been proposed in the same area. There is some local resistance; I find it sad when people put their own selfish preferences before the strong need to change to renewable energy for the future of the planet. In effect, to oppose wind power is to support coal power and the consequent damaging of the planet and polluting of the atmosphere.

Photo 2018/12/02



Camperdown and Mount Leura

Volcano

It is possible to drive right to the top of this volcano which is adjacent to the town of Camperdown. Like most others in the area there are several craters and several peaks. This combination of two images was taken from the top of Mount Leura, in the centre of the photo is Mount Sugarloaf.

Photo 2018/12/02



Volcano

Home
Top
Index
A panorama view toward the north from Mount Leura; typically of the huge volcanic plain of southern South Australia and southwestern Victoria several volcanoes can be seen in the distance. It was normal to be able to see volcanic peaks from most parts of this plain, especially from the top of any one of them.

There are also several lakes to be seen, typical of this part of Victoria.

The presence of wind farms such as Macarthur, Mount Gellibrand, Salt Creek and others as far away as Kiata 50km northwest of Horsham shows that this huge plane is very well suited to the development of sustainable wind power.

Photo 2018/12/02



Parking place markings

 
Road markings
The way that the parking places are marked in Camperdown and Colac allows drivers to see the ends of the parking places by looking out of the car window. Without the extended bits on the right the driver has to guess whether he/she is correctly between the end lines.

This is a very good idea that deserves to be copied elsewhere. I suggested it to the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council some years ago to no avail.



Otway Ranges

Beech Forest carvings

Carving 1 Carving 2
Carving 3 Carving 4

Home
Top
Index
Denece and I drove south from Colac for a day in the Otway Ranges. We were intending to visit the Otway Fly, a tree-top-walk, but there was a strong wind with squalls of drizzle every few minutes all day. (The Otway Ranges would be one of the wettest areas in Victoria, indeed, in southern Australia.)

We came across these carvings done by 'Igmus', Brett Davies, in 2014. It was labelled as "An initiative of Colac Otway Shire and Beech Forest & District Progress Association".



Otway Ranges, forest

Otway forest

It's not easy to do photographic justice to the Otway (temperate) rainforest for several reasons:
  1. The dynamic range in light levels is extreme; the sky is enormously brighter than the forest floor;
  2. The photographer is on the forest floor, most of the impressive trees are well above him;
  3. From ground level the trees are largely obscured by low growth;
  4. There are a very limited number of places a car can be safely stopped.
This, and the photo below are my inadequate attempts.


Otway forest

On this very windy road, Turtons Track, between the township of Forrest and Apolo Bay, we were limited by the narrowness of the road and the many bends to 20 km/h in many places. One has to hope that the drivers of oncoming vehicles will be responsible – but I suppose that is always the case.
Home
Top
Index


Colac

Red Rock

 
Red Rock
The Red Rock extinct volcano is a few kilometres northwest of Colac. There is a good road to two view-points on the top.

The crater in the foreground is one of several in the Red Rock complex. I don't think we saw any volcanoes that had only a single crater.

The water in the distance is probably Lake Corangamite, one of the biggest lakes in Victoria.

Photo 2018/12/03



 
Red Rock
A panorama taken from one of the view-points. The road on the left leads to the other view-point which is on the highest point on the right of this photo.

There was a very strong wind at the time of our visit; in fact we seem to have had a strong wind on most, even all, of our visits to the tops of volcanic peaks in Victoria. Good country for wind power!

Photo 2018/12/03



 
Red Rock
This view is from the second view-point that we visited at Red Rock, looking back toward the first. Lake Corangamite is in the background again.

Photo 2018/12/03
Home
Top
Index



Beeac windmills

 
Windmills
Beeac is a village about ten kilometres north of Colac on the road to Ballarat. It was home to several windmill manufacturers and now is host to this display of restored old water-pumping windmills.

I found it interesting that some had wooden frames; I had never seen wooden framed windmills in my home state of South Australia.

Coincidentally the big Mount Gellibrand Wind Farm is twenty or so kilometres to the east.

Photo 2018/12/04



Ballarat

Botanic Gardens

Gardens
Ballarat Botanic Gardens is always worth a visit. Denece, Socrates and I would have had more time in the gardens if the weather had been kinder, but it became uncomfortably hot.

We had also planned on a few days in Bendigo, but that was cancelled because of the forecast heat.

Photo 2018/12/05



Gardens
Home
Top
Index
Some of the more attractive of the flowering areas in the Ballarat Botanic Gardens.

Photo 2018/12/05



Sovereign Hill, Ballarat

Bark hut
Sovereign Hill, a recreation of Ballarat as it was about 1852-1870, is one of the top attractions of the town.

I took other photos, one could easily take a great many photos, but I'll only show a couple here.

One reads or hears a lot about bark huts that were built in Australia's pioneering days. This is a rare reconstruction of one.

Photo 2018/12/05



Bark hut
Many of the tents at Sovereign Hill were set up like this with the sides held out using posts and rails. Quite interesting.

The cotton canvas would have to be replaced at least every couple of years I would think.

Photo 2018/12/05



Mount Buninyong, near Ballarat

Bushfire
Mount Buninyong is conspicuous from many places in the city of Ballarat.

My wife and I enquired and found out that there was a road to the top of the mountain, which is yet another extinct volcano.

We didn't know, until we were on our way to Buninyong, that there was a bushfire nearby. Water-bombing aircraft were flying over every few minutes and many fire appliances were on the ground. About 15 sightseers cars were parked on this section of the road.

Photo 2018/12/06
Home
Top
Index



View from Buninyong

The top of Mount Buninyong is covered with trees, so the view is obscured from the actual mountain top, but there is a fire-lookout tower which the public is allowed to climb to a viewing platform near the top.

This panoramic view was looking roughly toward the northwest from the tower, the city could be on the far left.



View from Buninyong

Another panorama from the top of the tower on Mt Buninyong, this one was looking roughly toward the east.
Home
Top
Index


Solar PV installation, near Ballarat

Solar installation

I thought that this was a feed lot for sheep, but I'm reliably informed it's sale yards. It was a few kilometres west of Ballarat. What interested me was the approximately two and a half thousand solar panels, which would amount to an installed capacity of around 734 kW.

The photo was taken by my drone on 2018/12/07.

If you need to shade an area, why not use solar panels and generate clean energy that can be sold (so displacing fossil-fuel generated electricity) as well as providing shade? We are going to see this more and more in future. I have written another page on this site encouraging solar PV shade over car parks at places such as shopping centres.

By the way, the hills in the background look very like more extinct volcanoes.



Grampians

Refueling
My wife and I drove a Honda Jazz and towed a camper trailer. Our fuel consumption when towing averaged about 7.8 litres per hundred kilometres, and when not towing was about 5.5.

I got some pleasure at times like this. Here it cost us $42 to refuel, the big 4x4 adjacent took $99 of diesel.

Photo 2018/12/08



Mount William

View
It is possible to drive most of the way up Mount William, the highest mountain in the Grampians, but the last section has to be walked.

A view from the last 1.8 km, walking section, of the Mount William road. This section is quite steep, my altimeter indicated that the peak was about 240 m above the car park.

Photo 2018/12/08
Home
Top
Index



View

View from the walking section of the road to the top of Mount William.

This image has been edited substantially using Photomatix Pro.

Photo 2018/12/08



Rocks and tree

Home
Top
Index
Rocks and a tree toward the top of Mount William; what more needs be said?

Photo 2018/12/08



Rocks and tree 2

Rocks and a tree toward the top of Mount William. This weathering surface on the rocks is very typical of the Grampians and is quite distinct from the weathering in the sandstones and quartzites of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia.

Photo 2018/12/08



Mt William
A view from near the top of Mount William.

Photo 2018/12/08
Home
Top
Index



Rock colours
Interesting colours on the rocks, some from mineral staining, some from the natural colours of the rocks, some from lichens and mosses.

Photo 2018/12/08



 
On top
Denece on the peak of Mount William.

The mountains in the distance were those around Halls Gap. A sliver of the water in Lake Belfield can be seen just to the right of Denece's left arm. Toward the right in the distance the water is possibly Lake Fyans.

Photo 2018/12/08
Home
Top
Index



Baroka Lookout, in the Grampians

Baroka

Baroka Lookout, which overlooks Halls Gap. Artificial Lake Belfield is the other side of Halls Gap.

I took a very similar photo in April of 2008. I wonder how many thousands of people have too?

Photo 2018/12/13



Home
Top
Index





Related pages

Pages that are largely based on photos...

Home
Top





Index

Angaston; Saltram's winery and restaurant
Ballarat
  Botanic Gardens, Ballarat
  Sovereign Hill, Ballarat
Beeac windmills
Beech Forest carvings
Botanic Gardens, Ballarat
Byaduk, Hamilton area
Camperdown and Mount Leura
  Parking place markings, Camperdown
Casterton
Colac
  Beeac windmills, Colac area
Dingly Dell
Hamilton area
  Byaduk, Hamilton area
  Penshurst, Hamilton area
Grampians
  Baroka Lookout
  Mount William
Mount Buninyong, near Ballarat
Mount Gambier
  Dingly Dell, Mount Gambier area
Otway Ranges
Parking place markings
Penshurst, Hamilton area
Related pages
Robe
Salt Creek Wind Farm
Saltram's winery and restaurant
Solar shaded sale-yards, near Ballarat
Sovereign Hill, Ballarat
Tailem Bend solar farm
Umphaston Garden
A walk around the Mount Gambier volcanos
Windmills at Beeac


Home
Top
Home
Top