Monday, June 10, 2013

Saturday in the Dandenongs

Luke and I went for a drive into the Dandenongs on Saturday afternoon.  We didn't have a particular destination, we just drove. 

The trestle bridge near Belgrave, which is traversed by the 
famous Puffing Billy steam train  

 Monbulk Creek flowing under the bridge 

Mossy log 

We loitered for a while, but Puffing Billy didn't pass by, so we hit the road for Emerald.  It's been  a while since I've visited this part of the Dandenongs. The hills and valleys are steep and lush; they were very picturesque in the afternoon sun. I saw some suffolk sheep grazing the hillside (not a common sheep breed around these parts). I couldn't remember then what they were called and my brain thought, 'Oh, look! There's some of those sheep with the black faces!", but my mouth said, "Look! Shauns!"

Puffing Billy arrived in Emerald not long after we did, but he wasn't going full steam ahead as he passed the level crossing.  Not quite as photogenic... We gave the kids a wave as the train passed, then we headed to Emerald Lake where we went for a walk in the crisp winter air. There were ankle-deep drifts of damp leaves, which gave off that pleasing earthy smell. There was A LOT of fungus. 

And tree ferns. The Dandenongs are a temperate rainforest, with tall mountain ash and ferny undergrowth. 

Roots 'n leaves

 Seed pods of some kind

Full steam ahead

Puffing Billy terminates at Emerald Lake. Here he is on his last trip back to Belgrave for the day. We were never in the right spot for a good photo. He was letting off a lot of steam here, and it was almost golden in the late afternoon sun.  

As we headed back to the car in the fading light, Luke spotted a crimson rosella in a fern, having a snack.  

 Little stream

 Fantastic gnarled tree

Oh, yeah; the lake. It was deserted by the time we were leaving

Although it was getting dark, we kept driving instead of heading home. We saw a small group of kangaroos grazing in a paddock and stopped to take a photo. They stopped grazing to watch me taking a photo (which is  too poor to post due to distance/lack of light).

We ended up in Healesville with a plan to have a meal at one of the pubs, but there was no room at the inns, so we went to an Australian restaurant instead (i.e. native ingredients like wattle seed and bush plums, not chiko rolls and meat pies). We had a nice meal then hit the road for home.