Trip to the Melbourne Museum

Today is the Queen’s Birthday holiday. In contrast with the past week, the sun was shining today. We decided to make a trip to the Melbourne Museum on our bikes.

We decided not to put on our cycling cloths. Instead we were in casual street cloths. We first took the Upfield bike path until it to connects to the Capital City Trail. Then we headed east on the Capital City Trail until junction of Canning Street and Park Street. From this point we headed south on Canning Street to Carlton Gardens.

Canning Street was once described by a friend as a freeway for bikes. This street is mostly flat and quiet. Furthermore, the bike lane is one of the widest we have seen.

When rode through Carlton as one of us was under 12 (a privilege of parents with young children). This got us right to the Museum’s door step.

The Museum was very busy today. We are members of the museum which allow us to enter the museum without fee. There was a special exhibition on the Titanic but we decided to give it a miss. Instead we visited the Dinosaur Walk, Bugs Alive and the marine exhibit.

As the sky start to become cloudy, we decided to head home on the same route we came on. The track was logged using a Garmin Vista HCx. As we did not allow the GPS receiver to settle before the trip, the elevation data was complete inaccurate. The entire trip was about 13km and the presence of the sun made it a thoroughly enjoyable cycling trip.

Brunswick to Docklands Return

We decided to cycle to Docklands for ice-cream that afternoon. We had not been on our bikes for the last school term so it would have been a nice ride with a good distance. It would also be the first time the rest of the family would have cycled on the relatively new Manningham Street Bridge.

The weather was cloudy with the occassional sunshine which is good cycling weather. We left the house at around 2:30pm. The temperature was around 20C. Since it has been a while since we were on our bikes, we decided to take it easy and ride slowly.

It took us about 50 minutes to reach Docklands. We went to the ice-cream store at the waterfront. The kids had ice-cream on cones while the adults had ice-coffee with ice-cream. Yum!

We cycled to central to look for the cache Sea Dog Tales. There wasn’tmany people around which made the hunt quite easy and uninterrupted. The coordinates was excellent and the cache was soon found.

We headed off to the Bike Force cycling shop in Harbourtown but did find anything we want to purchase. We did some shopping at Costco before heading home.

The journey was about 18km which is a good introductory ride. From Brunswick to Docklands, the trip was mostly downhill. On the way back to Brunswick, there is a relatively gentle but sustained climb from Flemington Bridge Station to Parkville. We reach home before 6pm. It was a good afternoon of cycling.

Garfield Mine Track

It was already 12:30pm when we arrived at Chewton about 5km from Castlemaine. The weather was cloudy with occassional break of sunshine. The temperature was around 16C and there was light wind. It was coolish when the wind was blowing and the sun behind the cloud. We found a picnic spot near the town oval and had lunch before the walk.

The start of the walk is at the end of North Street. There was plenty of car parking spots. Apart from a family that was there before us, there was no one else around. The family soon left and we were alone for the duration of the walk.

Near the car park was the ruins of the Garfield Waterwheel. There was no wheel but the foundation appears to be mostly in tack. There was an information board close to the wheel but, as we found out later, the map does not appear to correspond to sign posted track on the ground.

The walking track was littered with quartz pieces. We wondered if it was remanants of the mining activities in the past. We soon walked by a sign that said Manchester Reef. Closeby is an enterance to an abandoned mine. Near the enterance is a shaft that went directly downwards. It was really exciting to have discovered a geniue mine that has not been prepared for tourist (ala Sovereign Hill in Ballarat).

Beyond the mine, the track was leading us further away from the car. We had expected a loop as was shown in the map on the information. When we approached the Pyreneness Highway, we decided to backtrack and return via the same way we came.

The landscape and ruins on this walk hides the story of mining in this area. It was a shame that there are no sign boards to provide us with information along the way.

The track was not exactly flat but it wasn’t terrible difficult either. Anyone with reasonable fitness should be able to attempt it easily. However, in many parts of the track, there were loose stones. It was a very relaxing day for us. We will definitely come back again.

Buttongrass Nature Walk

The weather forecast for the day was 23C and isolated showers in the morning. As we drove to Bunyip State Park, it started to rain. Fortunately, when we arrived at the car park of the Buttongrass Nature Walk, the rain abated and the sun revealed itself.

The road from Gembrook to Mortimer Picnic Ground appears to have been recently sealed. The brochure of the Park from Parks Victoria indicated that it would be an unsealed road. The sealed road makes the drive (for a 2WD vehicle) easier.

Although a portion of the road is unsealed, the drive wasn’t too bad. The condition of the road is very good compared to some we have travelled on. When we reached the car park, there were at least 4 vehicles already parked. We thought that we might have some company along the walk. However, we did not see anyone else along the way.

From the car park there is a short walk of about 200 metres leading to the start of the walk. The waypoint for the geocache Grass Buttons # 1 is an information board for the walk. The final location of the cache was worked out from the information on the board and we were quickly on our way.

The walk to the final location of the cache was fairly long. The surrounds was typical of the Australian bush. The hide was fairly obvious to a geocacher. We were the first to find (FTF) this cache and there was a prize waiting for us! This was our first FTF after caching for one and a half year.

The kids also fancied a Geocaching Badge in the cache. We took a badge and left a Zebra, Camel and safety pin in exchange for the badge. We signed the log and continued our journey.

In this leg of the walk, we noticed that bush fire had recently ravaged this section of the park. This might have been the fires that occurred in February of 2009 (last year). It is also heartening to see that the recovery is very much on its way.

Our next stop was for the Geocache Grass Buttons # 2. While the previous geocache was a multicache, this one was a traditional cache. The cache was located quickly. Again we claimed the FTF prize and left a dog and an elephant in the cache. At this point, it started to drizzle lightly for a short while but it did not pour. We were still very comfortable continuing the walk.

Continuing our walk, we saw lots of Button-grass on both side of the track. It is quite a sight to behold. The next Geocache from the last one was only a short distance away. Grass Buttons # 3 was a bit more challenging then the other 2. It was difficult, if not impossible, to locate it by sight. We manage to get to it by touch with some degree of stretching. Again we collected the FTF prize and left a lion and a ram in the cache.

After rehiding the geocache, we make tracks back to the car. On the way, we saw mushrooms growing in the wild. Throughout the walk, wild flowers and butterflies can be seen everywhere. We wonder what this park will look like in spring. We suspect that it would be a very different experience in different seasons. We will need to make more trips to find out for ourselves.

We had a very different geocaching experience today. After a year and a half of geocaching, we had finally got our first FTF. To top that, we had 3 FTFs on the same day! The prizes were an added bonous. Many thanks to hi pressure for providing us with such a wonderful experience.

hi pressure

Of giants and trees

Some showers was in the forecast but the morning was only partly cloudy with moderate winds. It was inviting temperate for a bike ride and cache hunt. 2 new geocaches poped up nearby in the last few days, so we were eager to get on our bikes to hunt for them.

We travelled southwards on the upfield bikeway to Royal Park. We followed the path around the zoo towards Elliott Avenue but crossed the trams tracks to the car park of the State Netball and Hockey Centre. We took Brens Drive and that got us to the park where the Geocache Giant’s Lunchbox was.

The find was relatively quick. The container is a Chinese Moon Cake container. It brought us memories of last year’s Moon Cake Festival. We did not make any swaps. After signing the log box, we returned the container to the hide and head off to the next Geocache.

We continued on Brens Drive until it reaches Elliott Avenue and followed the bike path along this road for a few meters before crossing the road into park lands. Having mountain bikes gave us the advantage of being able to ride to the Geocache Girl in a Tree. This cache is fairly exposed and precariously perched. I had to execute an upward maneuver to get to it. The container was also a small Moon Cake case. We signed the log book and left.

From this location we cycled to the path on the boundary of the zoo to get us back to the Upfield Bikeway to go home.

An hour after the ride, it started pouring. We were glad that we took this ride in the morning while the weather was still good. It wasn’t a particularly long ride by any standards. It was only about 9km but is was very enjoyable. That’s what counts most.