Melbourne Zoo

“There’s an exact moment for leaping into the lives of wild animals. You have to feel their lives first, how they fit the world around them. It’s like the beat of music. Their eyes, the sounds they make, their head, movements, their feet and their whole body, the closeness of things around them – all this and more make up the way they perceive and adjust to their world.”
Richard O’Barry

This year I’ve decided I want to get back into my photography by going on an ‘artist date’ every couple of months. Fortunately, I have a wonderful group of creative friends and it’s usually not too difficult to convince others to join me in these types of outings. First up this year was a trip to the Melbourne Zoo to photograph the wildlife. I was joined by Megan Jackson (whose wonderful photographs can be seen at Stardust and Melancholy) and we had a brilliant day. We patiently observed the wildlife, took lots of photographs, and enjoyed our stroll around the zoo.

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Gippsland’s goldfields rail trails

“Ever bike? Now that’s something that makes life worth living! Oh, to just grip your handlebars and lay down to it, and go ripping and tearing through streets and road, over railroad tracks and bridges, threading crowds, avoiding collisions, at twenty miles or more an hour, and wondering all the time when you’re going to smash up. Well, now, that’s something! And then go home again after three hours of it…and then to think that tomorrow I can do it all over again!” Jack London

Some time ago I wrote an article for Bicycle Network Victoria but it was never published. They decided that given the state of the trails depicted in my article they probably shouldn’t encourage anyone to go cycling there. But, honestly, I loved getting out in this part of Victoria and, although challenged, we did have a lot of fun… so I’ve decided to share my story here. I also adore Walhalla, having been there many times, and I would highly recommend a visit to this historic township, even if it’s not on a bicycle.

When I suggest to my siblings Pete and Lynn that we go for a bike ride on a couple of short rail trails, I’m not expecting it will take us all day. The Walhalla Goldfields Rail Trail, which runs from Erica to Thomson in Victoria, is only 14km return and, on paper, looks relatively easy. Admittedly, there has been some recent wild weather but we don’t imagine this will have impacted on the trails too much.

Initially the route takes us away from the railways original alignment, where there was once a trestle bridge, and there are steep, slippery sections to negotiate. At Jacobs Creek we meet a couple of amiable firemen, who are refilling the water tanks on their truck, and they tell us we could’ve begun our ride at the Walhalla-Tyers Road to skip this messy section. Moments later we wish we had, as we come to another nasty climb. None of us has the legs to get more than halfway up and we are momentarily off our bikes, walking uphill. It’s an early sign of things to come.

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