We arranged to meet our extended family from Sydney, our son, his spouse and two grand-children, in the Grampians. It was the second week of the NSW school holidays and they camped and we took a cabin at a holiday park at Halls Gap. We stayed at this park on a previous holiday and enjoyed our time.
We left home on Friday 5th October and drove, via a number of SA conservation parks, to Naracoorte. On Saturday we moved to Ballarat to meet up with University friends from the 1960s for dinner and lunch on Sunday with an additional couple from Bendigo (also University friends). We had a great time.
On Sunday afternoon we travelled to Halls Gap. Our son and his family arrived not long before us and were setting up their camp. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all warm and sunny days.
On Monday Nick, Kylee and I visited the south Grampians to climb The Piccaninny. This was a great walk and we were able to take some wild flower photos. The views of Mount Sturgeon were also spectacular. While we were travelling and walking Jenny spent enjoyable time with our grand-children. Tuesday was wet all day. This made the falls quite spectacular. We visited a winery and had lunch out. Wednesday we set out for the day and Nick received a phone call from the holiday park indicating that his gazebo had turned up side down and collapsed in the strong winds. We were on our way to falls near Dunkeld. After the call we returned to the family’s camp to see the damage and clear up the debris.
Of course I wanted to activate a Park or two. In the end I was only able to activate one park near the Grampians, Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve. This park is 1165 hectares and ‘is characterised by high quality, species rich open wood-land’. I was impressed with the park and birdlife, although rubbish had been dumped in one area near my second activation spot.
The park map shows roads marked in red and my first location was near the entry from the Ararat-Halls Gap Road. Look for Londonderry Road which becomes Bellellen Road. A short distance into the park I found an attractive clearing which can be seen in the photo below. The second photo shows the open woodland. On Saturday, my second activation in the Park, we drove all of the roads and tracks looking for birds and another activation spot. We found a wooded location just off the main road which dissects the park and close to our earlier location just after the road leaves the private property.
Map Courtesy of http://www.parks.vic.gov.au
The excellent facility within ParksnPeaks (wwwparksnpeaks.org) has a link to the map.
Very attractive open woodland
My shack: a Yaesu 857D, 20 watts, hand morse key, linked dipole, 33 amp hour battery and LiFePO4 batteries and and a tablet for spotting myself. The park, as a forest, was previously used for harvesting wood for domestic purposes. Note the large stump on the left.
23:58 ssb 7.144 VK2XSE/P Liz in VKFF-0107. Gaining a Park to Park contact as number one in the log gave me a flying start. And was I fortunate in beginning just before UTC roll-over!
00:01 VK2XSE/P VKFF-0107
00:07 7.150 VK5FANA
Contacts were difficult to achieve. I tried 80m, 20m and 40m a second time and soon after 01:00 packed up as it was time for lunch and time to join the rest of the family.
00:30 7.144 VK2IO
00:31 VK7KPC/P Peter in VKFF-0005
00:38 VK2JNG/P Gerard in VKFF-0597
01:03 VK2XSE/P VKFF-0554
03:08 7.135 VK5BC/2
03:12 7.144 VK2JNG/P
03:15 VK3PF/2 VK2/SW-021
03:19 VK7KPC/P VKFF-0005
03:20 CW 7.032 VK2IO
03:30 CW VK4TJ
03:34 CW VK4XUE
03:35 CW VK2NP
03:45 7.150 ssb VK2XSE/P VKFF-0554
03:47 7.145 ssb VK2AWJ
03:57 7.135 ssb VK2AB
04:07 14.310 ssb VK4TJ
Thanks to the chasers who helped to make this a successful activation.
vTimber Jinker at Edenhope, Victoria. JCD photo
At the Saturday location the wind became stronger in the afternoon and my antenna became tangled in a tree. I used a second squid pole and a forked branch attached with rubber bands to retrieve it, successfully.
Nick and Kylee on the track to Piccaninny
The GPS breadcrumb trail for the Piccaninny walk. Parks rank medium.
Wax-Lip Orchid on Piccanniny track.
Dwarf Bush Pea
Parks Victoria brochures
Elliot, R & Brownlie, J., nd, Wildflowers of the Grampians, Halls Gap Tourist Information Centre.