At the end of August we took our daughter to Adelaide Airport. She was on her way to teach for the rest of the year in Ethiopia. After seeing her off we drove to Botanic Park near the CBD of Adelaide. Here we had a picnic lunch before driving back home.
Adelaide’s park-lands are a feature of this beautifully planned city. The main park-lands, of which this is just one section, surround the CBD and separate it from the suburbs. It’s certainly a wonderful place to picnic and spend some time relaxing.
Sydney Trip June 2010
On the last day of our trip home from visiting family in Sydney earlier this year we planned to spend a few hours in one of our favourite places – Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. This park is south of Mildura in far north west Victoria. The park has two predominant habitats: eucalypt mallee scrubland and large eucalypt riverine vegetation around the creeks, river and lakes. The park contains over a dozen ephemeral lakes which fill when the nearby River Murray is full, or in flood. In recent decades the lakes have been artificially allowed to fill.
On this visit we came in from the Mildura, or northern, end. We left the Calder Highway and followed the route of the old highway through the mallee section of the park (see photo above). When a section looked promising for birding, we stopped for morning tea and a spot of birding. (Go to Trevor’s Birding for details.)
Burra Gorge in the mid north of South Australia is an interesting location for birding. This gorge marks the boundary between the hills further west and the dry plains to the east. It is therefore a transitional zone between the birds of the wetter parts to the west, especially around the Clare Valley about 40km away, and flora and fauna of the saltbush plains immediately to the east.
On my most recent visit last spring, the bird life was not very prominent because it was midday on a rather warm day. It would be good to camp here for several days because I believe I’d get quite a good list of birds, especially first thing in the morning. Several Galahs looked like they were preparing to breed because they were investigating hollows in some of the trees in the picnic ground.
Nearby an Australian Magpie was already sitting on a nest and others were feeding recently fledged young begging to be fed.
Late last year we travelled to Peterborough in the mid-north of South Australia. We were visiting family and on the way we stopped at the beautiful Burra Gorge for lunch. This gorge cuts through the hills to the south east of the old mining town of Burra. It is a popular picnic area with picnic tables and toilets but no other facilities.
It is also a popular camping area, as shown in the photo above. Our visit was during school holidays as so there were quite a few campers and caravans in the camping area. All campers have to be self sufficient as far as food and water is concerned. The nearest shops are in Burra, some 30km away. There are also no powered sites.
After leaving Rankins Springs we continued on our journey west heading for home. Driving over the Hay Plains can lonely and there are long stretches of straight road. Most people probably find this section boring, but we are always fascinated by the subtle changes of vegetation as one travels into the drier parts of far south-west New South Wales.
I also enjoy trying to identify the bird species seen along this stretch. While the vegetation may be sparse in places, the bird life is surprisingly varied. Half way between Rankins Springs and Hay we stopped for a mid-morning cuppa and snack. In the twenty minutes we stopped I managed quite a long list of birds.
Our next stop was on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River in Balranald (see photo above). We usually carry a picnic lunch with us whenever we travel as we never know exactly where we will be when we stop. It saves finding a place to buy food, too. We also have hot water with us for a cuppa as well.
The river flood plains near Balranald are covered by huge River Red Gums, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, which make a beautiful backdrop for a picnic lunch.