Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kangaroo videos!

These are unedited, so sorry.  Also, one has a coincidental REM soundtrack -- sorry again.

Beehive Falls and Briggs Bluff

Day two in Hall's Gap was spent hiking.  For those who are interested, we had crumpets for breakfast, which are awesome.  I've found them at home at Trader Joe's, and they are delicious with butter and honey or jam.  Sorry, no pics.

So, after crumpets and tea, we took a drive up to the northern part of the Grampians range.  We walked the Beehive Falls trail and then continued on the Briggs Bluff trail.  Beehive Falls was very pretty and not a hard walk.  About 1.4 km.  Briggs Bluff was a little more's the park's description:

Beehive Falls
Elevation Change: 419 metres Grade: hard 

Warning: Do not embark on this walk on a misty day, when visibility near cliffs is poor. This walk, suitable for fit and energetic walkers, can involve water crossings, slippery track surfaces, rock hopping and rock-scrambling.  From Beehive Falls, the track immediately becomes steeper. An unrelenting scramble over steep slopes and rock outcrops brings you to a plateau with splendid views. The track, flanked by low vegetation, then cuts a large arc across the plateau to the base of an imposing cliff line. Signs and track markers guide you on a steady climb through massive boulders and over windswept terraces to the summit. The view from the plummeting cliff edge is unrivaled.

In total, it was about a 5 hour walk and about 8 km. Really beautiful and crazy views.  Also pretty challenging.  The pics don't really do it justice, but it was definitely steep and not at all relenting.
Me smirking over the Northern Grampians
Cam and Aunt Kim under a cool rock.  (I later climbed this rock and have video...)
Cameron: King of the Mountain
Heather, Cam, and Aunt Kim under another giant rock

View of the trail as we head back down.  I was walking just behind/above the rest of the group, so you can see the steepness of this "rock scramble"
Awesome panoramic! 

Grampians Day 1

Sorry, we just returned from the trip to the Grampians and along the coast, where we didn't really have access to internet.  So, I'll try to catch up on posting pics tonight and tomorrow.  

The drive from Melbourne to the Grampians was only about 3 hours, and it took us through Ballarat and Ararat (both areas known for their history as gold-panning destinations).  Evidently, you can still pan for gold there today, but we decided not to.  Instead, we had lunch in Ararat (meat pies!) and moved on.

We got into Hall’s Gap with enough time to check out our “cabin” and take a hike before sundown.  Unfortunately, Aunt Kim had left her bag in Ararat, so she went back for it while Cam, Heather, and I set out.  We didn't want to get caught on top of a mountain after dark, so we decided to do a shorter walk along the creek, which actually turned into more of a wildlife safari.   We saw and heard a few kookaburras, some rosellas, 11 emus, countless kangaroos, and even a wallaby.  

My first kangaroo sighting!  They are crazy cute and the ones I saw weren't very shy.  We saw lots later (whole mobs), and I hope to get some awesome videos up here soon.  We think they must be Eastern Grey kangaroos.
The beautiful cabin, with part of the Grampians in the background
The first emu we saw.  Heather and Cam were both surprised that we saw one.  (Note the kangaroo hanging out in the background.) 

But then we saw a whole flock of them. 
And as we walked on, this little guy was blocking our path.  You can't tell, but he's smaller than the kangaroos were, and obviously has different coloring.  Heather and Cam said "wallaroo".  My uncle says its a wallaby.  My aunt and I looked it up and I think it must be the elusive Swamp Wallaby...
Heather got a pic of these pretty rosellas right outside the cabin window.

After our walk, Cam started a fire in the wood-burning stove and Heather figured out how to turn on the fan so that it actually warmed us.  And Kim and I put together some dinner, including delicious biryani.  She was even wearing her "Biryani Baby" t-shirt  (Thanks, KC!).  We were all too tired to do much more.  Cam and Heather both fell asleep in front of the fire.  (How did I fail to get a picture of that!?)

*Edit:  Silly Eric and "Obree" -- Biryani is not an interesting Australian dish.  It's Indian and delicious and you can get it in Boston or Ohio (or most other places, including Bangor, Maine).  Sadly, I have no pic b/c we just attacked it like starving animals.  However, there are some nice food pics coming up.  I'm not completely useless.   

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thanks to my guest blogger (and cousin), Cam, for that wonderful entry.  Unfortunately, he forgot the pics.  Here are some of my first shots from Australia...
First view of Australian ground at Brisbane Airport.
(Sadly, my entire 13 hr flight from LA to Brisbane was spent in the center of a nine-seat row, so...not much of a view from the air.)

And, to my confusion, this was the magazine at all the seats in the domestic Australian flight:
Voyeur?  What is going on here?
In all of my preparations for this trip, I only really thought as far as getting to Australia, so when I landed in Melbourne, I wasn't really sure what to do.  No cell phone.  No internet.  No address for my fam.  I kind of just hoped and assumed that they might know where to find me.  And they did!  (Sorta...)  So, they grabbed me and brought me to their place.
Pretty :)
Then, as Cam said, we headed out to see Melbourne.  
Jack, Cameron, and my Aunt Kim.

This is Flinders St. Station, sort of like Melbourne's version of Grand Central Station.
(You may also recognize it as the new and improved background for this blog.)

And across the street, St. Paul's Cathedral

And now, we (me, Kim, Heather, and Cam) are all up and getting ready to leave for another part of Victoria, the Grampians.  (Poor Jack and my Uncle Trevor have school and work...)  Cam and Heather will take turns driving, as they are both adding on driving practice hours for their licenses.  We'll be visiting "a lot of country towns on the way", Hall's Gap, Lorne, Cape Otway, the Great Ocean Road, the 12 Apostles, and others (not necessarily in that order).  So, I hope to have more pics soon.  Maybe even video?

I love Cameron the most.

I made it!
The flight(s) were interesting, and I met a whole heap of new people, especially 5 amazingly cute but amazingly loud babies on my flights! There was a slight delay which held up all of them, but it was all right, i'll live! Kim, Cameron and Jack picked me up at the Airport, and it was a real pleasure to see them all.

Cameron is definitely my favorite cousin by far! We spent the day in the city of Melbourne, visiting many galleries and walking around the streets and lanes of Melbourne. I loved the art galleries, in particular the National Gallery of Victoria's Ian Potter gallery, where we saw many pieces of aboriginal art. Many of the pieces symbolized gatherings, waterholes, and different rituals or spiritual "dream-time" stories. We saw the main tourist attractions of Melbourne, Flinders Street Station, The Zoo, DeGraves Street, The Sunday Market, The Melbourne Arts Centre (including the amazing dry water wall!) Etihad Stadium and the MCG, the Yarra River, Federation Square, and the Eureka Tower.

Walking around today, I really enjoyed the perfect Australian weather. I reckon it would have been about 65 degrees in the middle of winter! Eat your heart out Boston!

Anyways, I am about to sit down to an amazing roast lamb dinner, with a Caesar Salad and Tzatziki dip and bread, so I have to leave you with that! I love Australia so far, and I will write again tomorrow!

Love Sarah

Friday, June 24, 2011

Getting ready to leave for Australia

I've been promising lots of people that I will keep a blog to post photos of the trip, so here it is!  The name of the blog, "The One Savage", was inspired by another blog about some other Savages and coincidentally brings to mind The One Ring, which is awesome.

So, in about 16 hours, I'll be in the air and on my way to the other side of the world.  I'll be visiting with my aunt, uncle, and three cousins for 3 weeks, spending some of the time in/near Melbourne and some in New Zealand.  I plan to take lots of pictures and share them here.  But first...I need to pack and get myself out of Boston!