Backpacking Pensioners travel blog

The Pink Lake at Dimboola

Jeff on the Pink Lake

Close up of the lake surface

Mt Araplies

Dumping our food at quarintine point

Jeff's Account of Horsham to (Horsham) to Naracoorte (South Australia).

13/14 November.

Our night's destination was to be the 'Little Desert Nature Lodge' where we had learned we would be able to see a 'Malleefowl', an endangered species whose last main stronghold is the Little Desert. (The Little Desert is a wee bit misnamed as it is mostly 'Australian bush' growing on a sandy soil). On our way we stopped at Dimboola, a small town on the edge of the Little Desert. Dimboola is now famous as the town where Sylvia had her hair cut; or top shorn. Before we left home we both had the equivalent of the 'convict cut'. My hair is beginning to look like the wild man of the outback.

Dimboola is also the home town of a famous play which has been made into a DVD. It is said to be hilarious, bawdy, and to centre around two families who attend a wedding. The actors play the main parts and the audience are assigned their role as wedding guests; most turn up dressed as if they are going to a wedding. I'm sure we could do a similar one based on Blairgowrie. We bought the DVD and have yet to view it. A recommendation to view the 'Pink Lake' prompted that location as our lunch stop. I took lots of photographs as the light kept changing so that I could select the best pink appearance. When we walked down to the lake after lunch we were surprised there was no water. The lake was of salt and has a pigment similar to carrots which gives it its pink colour.

At the nature lodge we embarked on a nature trail identifying 40 different trees and bushes and I can now spot a yellow gum tree at 50 paces. We then booked a night tour of the aviary where the Malleefowl is being protected and the young grow up before being freed into the Little Desert. It was a cold and 'trying to rain' type of night and there was just me and Sylvia on the tour. Having said hello to some of the local kangaroos, we entered the aviary and first witnessed the feeding of Bush Tailed Bettongs and Bandicoutes, (this small animal has a reverse pouch for its young). Then we viewed, (in large cages), a pair of Stone Curlews, delightful Sugar Gliders and a Malleefowl nesting on branches.

On our way back to the motorhome we noticed the bar was open and the owner, Whimpey was serving beer to three volunteer firemen who had been on a training exercise at the lodge. We just had to join them and say hello, and order a beer and a glass of the house wine before taking the rest of the bottle back to the motorhome. There are 400 paid firemen in the state of Victoria and over 58,000 volunteers. These guys were good company though a bit disbelieving when I told them England would win the test series.

The next day all of the guides were out in the desert with a large group of people in the 4 wheel drive vehicles and Whimpey had gone with a group who had booked a bird watching tour. We decided to move on as the weather was still not very good. Our route took us through the Little Desert and after 100 kilometres the fuel level was low and the only place to buy was at Horsham, 59 kilometres away, (37 miles); so back to Horsham.

After some previous hair raising mountain journeys, we decided the winds were far too strong to visit the viewing point of Mount Arapiles, believed to be the best rock climbing area of Australia. So on to Naracoorte in the next state. The sign said 122 kilometres to the next fuel but we were now full up.

Two kilometres inside the border of South Australia we realised that due to quarantine regulations we had to deposit all fresh fruit and vegetables, in fact all of our food for tea. In true Scottish fashion we backtracked 6 kilometres, found a nice spot to park and make our evening meal which we ate at 4.15pm.

An interesting two days. We had learned of the Malleefowl in the tourist information of Horsham and decided to seek it out. Its nest is a massive mound of decomposed leaves and sand, reused and added to over many years, in the form of a crater similar to a volcano. The crater is opened each time it wishes to put another egg in the bottom. We are learning lots of interesting things during our adventure; including not allowing the fuel tank to get below three quarters full.

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