Day-tripping with the geographically challenged.

I have an inexplicable aversion to GPS navigators. I’m one of those obstinate shits that maps out a route beforehand and navigates relying only on landmarks, street signs and a vague feeling in their waters. Of course, this often means I end up axle-deep in a logging track, or facing oncoming traffic down a one-way Melbourne lane, or performing several vehicular pirouettes around a roundabout, but my pride still won’t let me invest in a voodoo box that barks demands and chastisements at me in my own damn car.

So that’s how I ended up in Leongatha today. I awoke with a pervasive urge to escape suburbia, strengthened by the dawn of a crystalline blue sky that’s exceedingly rare during a Melbourne winter (two days ago it was hailing, even snowing in some regions, and the Yarra River had burst its banks). I was aiming for Mount Worth State Forest, but overshot it by 30 kilometres to the south, landing myself in Leongatha. Like many small Aussie townships, Leongatha looks like the kind of place you’d move to when joy and fulfilment are no longer qualities you deem entirely necessary. When the magic of life deserts you, and you want nothing more than to spend your remaining years waiting for Hawaiian parma night at the RSL and playing Keno, you move to a town like Leongatha.

Ok, I’m being harsh (probably because I still have my nose in the air after two weeks gambolling through London & Paris). Fortunately, like many small Aussie towns, there’s much more under the surface. There are ghost tours  and a Daffodil Festival, and this photograph of some women with their tits out by the creek. Also I’d highly recommend a visit to the Number 9 Dream Café to sample their raspberry and white chocolate slice.  I would’ve stayed for lunch, but I was a bit pissy at having failed to spot an entire FOREST.

After coffee and a sugar boost, I backtracked up the Strzelecki Highway and dutifully followed the brown signs to Mount Worth State Forest. An hour later I found myself back on the Princes Highway, having evaded my destination yet again. I gave up and pointed my bonnet towards home, but not before I’d:

–          Spotted a lyre bird crossing the road. The lyre bird features on our ten cent piece, but they’re so elusive that most Aussies have never even seen one. Seeing a lyre bird is a bit of a big deal in some circles. By which I mean my circle. They look a bit like a miniature pea cock, and will imitate everything they hear with almost disdainful accuracy. Here’s David Attenborough chilling with one.  

–          Almost died in a head-on collision. A ute came plowing around a wide corner on the wrong side of the road – he was doing about 80km/hr, as was I. Luckily I’d been paying attention and not gawping at the scenery, and managed to slam on my brakes and steer onto the grassy shoulder. I often mull over the fragility of human life and the series of coincidences which brings myself and my loved ones safely home at the end of each day, so that demonstration was seriously unnecessary, Universe. Ta.

–          Realised how much of a country girl I am, despite 13 years in a capital city. I don’t know how to mend fences or shear a sheep, and I drive headlong into every single damn pot-hole like I’m playing Whack-a-Mole with my $1100 mag wheels. But I still unconsciously lift two fingers from the steering wheel in the universal ‘country salute’ if I pass someone on a rural road, and when I’m squatting in a muddy baret waving handfuls of damp grass through an electrified barbed-wire fence at a highly suspicious cow, there’s really no place I’d rather be. 

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I’m not good at taking photos of things without other things in front of them. But how fluffy is this moo-cow?!

It's either a wombat or a bear.

It’s either a wombat or a bear. Either way, the poor bugger is very much deceased.

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Interesting erosion marks in the hillside as the mountain slides down itself.

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And some more.

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For one heartbreaking moment I thought this was the forest I was looking for. Luckily it was just any old forest. HAR.

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The Block 2015.

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Country roads, take me home, to the place I CAN’T BLOODY FIND.

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That dam isn’t muddy, it’s just completely covered in azolla fern -a floating aquatic plant. If you look closely you can see where it ends and where the open water starts.

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So high up…those dots on the hillside are full-sized moo-cows.

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A creek brought to life by the excessive rain (and possibly snowmelt – I dunno, my geography is knackered).

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The view enjoyed by the farm equipment in this shed is better than anything that’s ever happened in my life. Also I still can’t take photos of things without stuff in the way.

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So, did anyone notice the dogs in that photo? 

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25 thoughts on “Day-tripping with the geographically challenged.

  1. Dogs? Oh … yeah. I guess you know your audience and which link they clicked, don’t you?

    You do know that you ALL drive on the wrong side of the road … and sit on the wrong side of the car …

    And, hey, sometimes something called a Forest isn’t what you expect. I went thru the “Nebraska National Forest” several years ago and think I actually saw all 10 trees!

  2. I especially love the green hills but I come from a green hilly place though ours are mostly trees.

    I thought the dead critter was a rhino but I guess it must be a tetch smaller…

    • Thanks for the reblog MT 🙂 Unfortunately these hills are only green during the wet winter – over summer they’re crispy dry and have a tendency to catch fire.

      Those buggers are solid like a rhino for sure…but yes, not quite as large!

      • The hills outside of Sacramento CA are that golden-dead colour. I’ve never seen them green but I suppose it happens for them to grow at all! Sounds similar as CA is ablaze quite a lot.

  3. Lovely lovely territory!
    I love fluffy cow and the belted Gallways. (I think). No, I know I love them, I think they are belted Gallways.

    I can’t find dogs.

    • The dogs are in one of the links. At least, I think I saw dogs next to “the women with their tits out next to a creek.” I’ll have to go back and carefully re-examine that photograph to make sure.

    • Luckily we have GOM here to lend his ready assistance 😉

      You may very well be right – I never knew that was what they were called. When I was a teenager Mum and I saw some in a paddock, and later we spent about a week arguing about whether they were black with a white belt or white with a black belt. She was right, as mums usually are.

  4. I won’t use GPS, either, It’s notoriously inaccurate up here anyway. Give me a good set of Thomas Bros. maps, and I’m good.

    That Lyre bird doing a chainsaw blew my mind.

    • Good, it’s not just me. I’m more than happy with my 12 year old ‘Melways’ map.

      I know, how crazy is it? I’m wondering how many sounds I’ve heard while out hiking that are in fact just this little critter.

  5. Excellent entertainment to start our week…apart from the near-death experience.
    Beautiful country…like the Tablelands on steroids.
    I’m worried about whether the dog made it safely to the other side.

    • It is, but sadly it’s not a permanent green, hey. Or maybe that’s just as well for the locals – I hear 300 days of rain a year can send you a little batty.

      Maybe you could also take another look with GOM and meditate on the fate of the poor pooches.

  6. I want to quote Steve Carrel here – “technology is about trying to murder you in a lake”. There’s a spectacular video to go with that but it would just paste a huge-ass video in the comment.

    I hear you about GPS but what, no Siri? You can just ask her / him to direct you somewhere. It’s not perfect but also not nearly as overbearing as Garmin, and you can tell it to shut her / his piehole at any time. Ah, the wonders of abusing artificial intelligence. They’ll get even with us one day.

    I absolutely loved your photos. You live in a beautiful area. The lyre bird! I had to look that up. What a sweet creature. Are they “fowl” as in, semi-domestic? Your roads look like they reach many different elevations at any given time…..?

    • I just had to google that clip, glad I did!

      Nope, I have an Android, so no Siri for me! There’s probably an Android equivalent..but really, in the places you’re likely to get lost there’s no phone service anyway. At least in Australia.

      This area is a couple of hours drive from where I live (suburban Melbourne is blah..oops, did I write that?), and honestly I haven’t spent nearly as much time exploring there as I should. Funny how you never really explore your local area (unless of course you’re a park guide 😉 )

      The lyre bird is native, so I guess it’s not fowl? They’re very tricky to come across, that’s only the second one I’ve seen in my life (with its big bushy tail I thought it was a squirrel at first…and we don’t even HAVE squirrels in Oz, so that’s how little I was expecting to see one).

  7. Inga would you be happy for me to reblog this post?

    I haven’t taken any photos of my new area (coz I live here. You know how it is).

    It is stunning country and I’m embarrassed to admit I even failed to take pics of the bush fire damage and it’s recovery a little further along the Strzelecki Highway.

    At the time I thought it would make a great series.
    Ever time I drove down it.
    Which was practically every day.

    I’m thinking my friends will see the countryside far sooner if I pinch your piccys.

    • Of course! It really is beautiful, and I’ll admit that when I got home I did have a bit of a gander at realestate.com to see how much a couple of acres up in the hills would set me back 🙂

  8. Reblogged this on 1petermcc's Blog and commented:
    Call me lazy but I have found a good way to get some excellent photos of our new location out to everyone. And with the icing of Inga’s special reporting technique.

    Enjoy.

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