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Old 24-02-2013, 07:45 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Endeavour Hills
Posts: 86
Default Western Vic & Mallee

As I had a leave pass for the weekend that was going unused by the 4x4 because of the fires, I decided I was going to head off for a ride around the western side of Victoria. The general gist was to head towards Wyperfeld/Big Desert, but that was only a rough plan.

After saying goodbye to the Missus & Small Noisy Child at about 6pm on thursday night, I worked on getting approx 2 hours away so I was pulling up on dusk. After some Google Mapping earlier in the week, my target was Melville Caves in the Kooyoora State Park, just out of Inglewood. I completed the transit across the city with relatively few incidents, and pulled up at the server at Calder Park, because looking at the sky, I figured I might need my wets:

After getting the wets on (which instantly turned into a steam suit as it was still ~30deg) and putting the GoPro on the side of my lid, I continued up the Calder on my way to northwestish. At this point, Mother Nature decided she was going to test my wets, and started throwing heavy rain and lightning at me..

(30sec and 1:30+ are the interesting-er bits)

I now know that my wets aren't totally waterproof, and I ended up with a wet inner elbow (?!) and wet unmentionables.. Still, by the time I got to Harcourt, it was back to being dry and warm, so I could unzip the suit and dry off.

I was watching another storm off to my left all the way between Bendigo and Inglewood, just hoping it wasn't settling in over the top of my planned campsite. Luckily it hadn't.

<Another video here if it converts>

Due to the delays in getting through the city, and then getting "wet-anised", I was running a bit later than I'd hoped, and found myself finding my way into Melville Caves in the dark (and as I found the next morning, I'd come in the back way )

Time for a can (or two) and find somewhere flat to roll out my swag, then kick back and watch the lightning!

Last edited by -Macca-; 24-02-2013 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 24-02-2013, 08:08 AM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Endeavour Hills
Posts: 86
Default Re: Western Vic & Mallee

Now, I'm not a morning person. I'm about as close to a being morning person as Barrack Obama is to being a Chinese princess. So, to wake up just before dawn and watch the sunrise from my swag was a very different experience for me..

I got up and made a coffee (that, I can NOT do without), and went for a wander around. There was only one other vehicle in the campground, and they were wa-ay over the other side. I staggered on up the hill to what looked to be the main attraction of the park: Rocks

..and a view across to the southwest:

Also found some of the caves that the park is known for:

As I was getting organised the night before, I found lots of little bastard bitey ants around, so rolled out my swag in a safe place:

Had a bit of a poke around Barry's Rock on my way out of the park:

While there, I saw a roo the other side of the rock. I went around to take a photo, but apparently they're faster through the scrub than I am, so you get a photo of a KLR and the scrub instead

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Old 24-02-2013, 08:25 AM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: St Helena, Victoria
Posts: 3,303
Default Re: Western Vic & Mallee

You've got my interest, keep going ......
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Old 24-02-2013, 08:33 AM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Lilyjail
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Default Re: Western Vic & Mallee

Great stuff Macca, keep it going
Your never lost until your fuel runs out
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Old 24-02-2013, 08:37 AM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Endeavour Hills
Posts: 86
Default Re: Western Vic & Mallee

I continued in a westerly sort of direction along the "back" highways, going through St Arnaud, and then Donald. Scooting down the main street of Donald, I copped a whiff of coffee, so did a u-turn for a decent coffee. Right temperature, right amount of froth, just ground ever so slightly too fine. While enjoying the coffee, I was amazed how Donald didn't come to life until 5 to 9, then it was bedlam!

I was aiming for the town of Rainbow, so headed across towards Warracknabeal. Pulling up in Warracknabeal, I saw something I hadn't seen for the last couple of hundred km's - water on the ground!:

After chucking a couple of rocks in (what else do you do with a body of water?!), I continued on up to Rainbow. There's lots of sky, and lots of stubble out there:

I was finding that it was stinking hot when the sun was out, but while under cloud cover it was very nice - warm air temps without the cooking effect of the sunshine.

So, I pulled into Rainbow. Like most small towns, there are a lot of closed shops, but there are some new ones, and some restored ones too:

Don't let it ever be said that Rainbow is an unfriendly town. The ONLY people I saw that didn't stop/come over/wave me down for a chat were the girls behind the counter in the cafe. Everyone else wanted to talk.

After being in Rainbow for near on an hour (chatting), I saddled back up and headed out towards Lake Hindmarsh.

One of my 4x4 mates asked me to stop by Outlook Ck at the north end of Lake Hindmarsh and let him know how well it was flowing. Well, with the tide (in a non tidal lake) being this far out, safe to say that Outlet Ck was dry:

There were a bunch of these out on the lake bed:

and futher out (in the mud that I couldn't get to without needed a bath afterwards) there was even more.

I'd decided last night that I was heading for Nhill today to stock up. I headed SouthWest, and made the turn onto Netting Fence Tk - my first real 'off-bitumen' on this trip.

Along here I found my GPS turned it self off. I turned it back on, and found later it had turned off again. I fought with the little shit of a device for the next couple of days until I found the solution just before I got home..

I stopped at Herman's Hill, with all the best intentions of walking to the top and taking a couple of pics. Well, you can stick that idea where the sun doesn't shine. It was too hot, the sand was too soft, and there were too many little bastard flies.

There's some old houses out there:

and some big tree's amongst the fields of stubble:

So I got into Nhill. I needed more drinks, a steak for tonight, and to find a bike shop. My goggles use a "quickstrap" (stud on one side of helmet and velcro spot the other side to hold goggles on) rather than the traditional full strap. Unfortunately, between the thunderstorm last night, and the heat today, the velcro spot had let go and so my goggles kept falling off.

Would you believe that there is NOT a bike shop in Nhill? Closest is Horsham. I stopped in at the Ag shop (as they had a big Polaris sign out the front) hoping that they'd have helmets &/or Goggles they would sell along with quads, but no. Apparently they have a hard time even selling helmets, let alone goggles. Oh well, sunglasses it is then.
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