30 May 2011, Comments (7)

Easter Road Trip, part 1

Author: Helen

In the Easter break I did something I’d wanted to do for quite a while – go for a road trip along this road, which follows the top of the Strzlecki ranges in East Gippsland. Just myself, while the family fended for themselves at home (Mr Bucket works on weekends, of course, and the kids are allergic to country air.)

Looking north from the Grand Ridge Road, somewhere between Tarra Bulga NP and Gunyah

Looking north from the Grand Ridge Road, somewhere between Tarra Bulga NP and Gunyah

The guy in the linked site goes on quite a bit about the difficulty of it all but having grown up driving old shitboxes around narrow, soft shouldered dirt roads, I wasn’t too worried about my 1994 Mitsu-bashi. We – the car and I, that is – made the distance without breaking down, driving into a ditch, plummeting to our doom from the high goat-track sections, or getting lost.

Sign put up by a droll but spelling challenged local, "Your lost".

Tinytown (Mirboo North) is halfway along this drive, so I drove west along the Grand Ridge Road to Mirboo. The next day I backtracked to the freeway, headed south past Loy Yang where you drive right past the cooling towers – LIKE WHOA! – and down to Tarra Bulga National Park. From there I did the other half of the grand Ridge Road, this time west back towards Mirboo. The first photo in this post is looking north from the road in afternoon light. That leg of the road is romantically gloomy, with strips of Messmate eucalyptus bark hanging in the road like streamers at a Goth’s birthday party.

Tarra Bulga NP

At Tarra Bulga I got to feast my senses on the quiet, wet, cool temperate – rain – foresty goodness which bores my family shitless, but I can’t get enough of it.

This is one of the remnants of

forests so impenetrable that Strzelecki’s overland expedition from Sydney to the settlement at Western Port Bay in 1840 was in places unable to advance more than three kilometers a day. Having abandoned their horses and supplies further to the east, they were at times obliged to physically throw themselves at the thick walls of scrub in order to make any progress, and came perilously close to starvation

which is strangely different from the story we get from anti-conservationists, who claim that thick forest didn’t exist before European settlement because the indigenous people of Victoria kept the environment open and park-like by non-stop controlled burning, so as to maintain their traditional hunting, as well as their traditional logging trucks, their traditional SUVs and traditional trail bikes.

Epiphytic ferns at Tarra Bulga NP

Suggestion for a new tourist slogan: “More epiphytic ferns than you can poke a stick at!” No? Oh well.

Swing bridge at Tarra Bulga NP

Staying at Mirboo North was the usual terrible drudgery of red wine, food from the garden and wood fires, and this time, naturally, easter eggs and hot cross buns. Here are two more murals, this time from the supermarket.

Mural on the IGA supermarket, Mirboo north

Mural 2 at Mirboo Nth IGA - It's a Boy, Congratulations Karen

Yes, congratulations Karen, who and wherever you are!

Although I haven’t got it together yet to bring my bike, there’s a Rail Trail – that is, a bike/walking/bridle path which used to be a rail line – from Mirboo North to Boolarra, which is useful to walk off some of the easter eggs and hot cross buns. Boolarra was badly affected by the Churchill fire on Black Saturday. You can see the trees here, about half an hour’s walk from Mirboo, regenerating after the fire.

Rail trail from Mirboo North to Boolara showing trees regenerating after Churchill fire

Coming soon: Part 2 – exciting tourist attractions!

Comments (7) »

  • Julie says:

    This is nice to read Helen. Boolarra is my home town, and it really is nirvana for cycling— long, windy (in the sense of curvy), hilly shady country roads. I suggest zooming down the main road, then returning along the rail trail.

  • Helen says:

    Hi, Julie! I certainly intend to do that.
    Have you been to the Boolarra Music festival? Are they doing one in 2012?

  • blue milk says:

    A holiday on your own – how devine.

  • Helen says:

    Well, no – I was staying at Tinytown with the bro and his lovely partner. But the Grand Ridge Road drive, yes. I kind of like it that way, especially when JJJ is having a live comedy special as well!

  • TimT says:

    There’s a poetry festival on in Tinytown every year which, for some reason, just about every Melbourne poet goes to. Maybe one day I’ll make it down there. It does look like it’d make a good weekend trip.

  • Helen says:

    TimT, I did not know this! Will check it out. Yes, it’s a great weekend trip. Don’t know which B&Bs are good, but there’s a good motel next to the golf course which is only a short walk to the main drag.

  • Kath Lockett says:

    Nice pics and nice trip, Helen. Gotta love a market mural with a local notice on it!

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