Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Our original plan was to head into the Grampians, but it's on fire.  Actually, a lot of Victoria is on fire. Day 1, there was a 2000 ha fire in the Grampians, day 2 it reached 9000 ha, and today we checked and it was 14000. There are several other little fires that have propped up as well, but all seem to be under control. Reading and consulting, there are areas that are open, but in general they don't advise travel during a 'code red' (and that's issued BEFORE anything goes up in flames). Perhaps heading in may not be the best idea...We don't want to be stupid tourists forming part of a headline.

So we continued to head west along the coast. By the town of Portland, there were a few interesting sites to see around the peninsulas and bays.  We went to see a petrified forest, which wasn't actually a petrified forest, just interesting looking rocks they pretended were a forest. Then, we went to see the blow holes in the volcanic rock along the coast, but no waves actually went up through the blow holes.  There was also a very lovely wind farm we could look at (and it WAS actually a wind farm, but was less than exciting for us to see). You can imagine how psyched we were to hike out to the seal colony. But persevere we did. Quite a difficult hike for about 45 min. We were glad that the temperature was down and the sun wasn't out, otherwise the hike would have been very strenuous! We did see seals though!  Six specs in the water out of what was supposed to be a colony numbering 650. Since there was no sun, they weren't sunning themselves on the rocks, but it was better than the petrified forest and blow holes!

We found out about some secluded and not marked free camp ground set into the bush down gravel roads where echidna, koala, wallaby and kookeburra darted across the road while we drove. Not bad! Excited that we might be the only ones with the wildlife, we were joined by  one other group (Canadians no less). 

I went for a 1 km peaceful walk through the woods and I think I found a bedding down area for wallaby. There is a koala perched high in a tree over our heads, and wombat poo is around the camp site (maybe tonight will be the night?).

A lovely spot with picnic tables and fire pits. No fire ban here, so we grabbed some dried eucalyptus leaves which are better than any kindling we've used before! Eucalyptus is extremely flammable.  Even the air around living plants is saturated. When fires are burning the heat from the fire causes the oils to evaporate and then the fire 'crowns' or travels through the air to the next, so trees over 200 meters away can start bursting into flames

Later, we went for a night walk, we saw some glowing orange eyes and heard some crashes in the bush. Did get to see a creature hanging in a tree like a possum, but small with a round face and ears, white belly and long slender tail which was white on the end. We was so content to stare at us as long as we wanted to stare at him. Also found a crazy bone. I thought it was a skull, but Brian thinks it maybe a pelvis. What do you think?

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