Sunday, 27 February 2011

Heaton Lookout

We went up to Heaton Lookout after our leisurely breakfast.

We found the nearby geocache and had fun looking through the loot, even though the view has been much clearer on other visits.

More than a beakful?!

Nick cheffed bacon and eggs (in toast) for breakfast - and the currawongs very much enjoyed pecking through the bacon rind. This dopey fellow would get a beak-full, drop it and start all over again!

There were many birds about at breakfast-time. The lady satin bower bird was quite high in a nearby tree, keeping an eye on us. A young male visited also. He was mainly glossy blue-black but still had some juvenile feathers across his shoulders, so looked mossy! As usual, there were black cockatoos occasionally screeching in the distance.

Saturday, 26 February 2011


Nick and I enjoyed sitting around the fire, listening to the possums grunting.

I read Steve Irwin's biography a while back - he would often make a big fire at the back of his property and spend time fire-gazing.

Monster moth

This huge moth visited when Nick and I were washing up.

Initially it seemed intent on resting on my boot but luckily was encouraged to find a more comfortable and/or safer roost on the loo paper!


Often our camping meals are experiments, either testing new recipes or alternative cooking methods. This trip I decided to make a steamed pudding in the thermal cooker. As you can see, it worked out well and was definitely appreciated with cheat's custard. (Usually the custard is served cold but we trialled warming it in a billy of hot water near the fire and that was successful also).

Campfire scenes

We generally travel with various flora and fauna guides. In the pic at right, Vaughan and Erin are discussing the identity of an earlier bird visitor.

Vaughan interrupted his "fire kinging" to take part in the ID process!


Waiting for the verdict ...
While Vaughan was catching the lizard, Nick and I walked about 1km up to the main road to find some mobile reception and call the NRMA.

Reception is quite variable in the forest, so Nick needed to remain standing on a hillock throughout the call. The NRMA man arrived promptly, checked Elmer over, made a few adjustments and suggested a replacement cable - said we had been very lucky - chatted for a while and then drove off. Huge relief!

Wood chopper!

Magic mushies?!

"Spongebob Squarepants mushrooms"!
There was a lady wandering through the picnic area with a small basket, so Vaughan asked her what she was doing - and soon started helping her collect golden mushrooms from the pine needle litter.

She assured us they were perfectly fine to eat and suggested we fry some with bacon and onion.  Vaughan was keen to test them right away - and actually liked them!  (Nick felt they would have benefited hugely from the bacon and onions)!

Seemingly the lady dries the older/larger specimens and pickles the tiny/new ones.  She collected several baskets to take home.

Lounging lizard

Vaughan spotted this goanna wandering through the picnic area, so called me to come and see it.

We followed for a while before he/she had enough of us (or my camera) - and ran off.

Fire King!

Vaughan and I were up the next morning at our usual 7ish. He was happily "fire kinging" soon after getting dressed! (Nick had worked several stressful night-shifts prior to our camping weekend, so was enjoying a well-deserved sleep-in).

Water tank lizard

Vaughan discovered a small lizard living under the water tank, near the toilets.  (You can just see the lizard's head at the extreme left of the pic).

Typically, Vaughan wasn't happy until the lizard was caught!

It took a while but our boy is nothing short of persistent when it comes to lizard-catching.

The golden water tank lizard shown in all his glory in the pic at right.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Possum protest!

Although we are used to many night noises in the forest, Nick and I were woken by loud grunting at around 9:30pm. I grabbed a torch and very bravely strode outside in my jamies to investigate.

I shone the torch around and surprised a large possum next to camp! It was the first time we had seen or heard one and therefore we weren't sure if he was a new arrival or only active in February.

Nick's toes cramped during the night, so he was up again later and spotted roos and a bandicoot also.

Stories by torchlight

Farmyard Tales was our book of choice this trip!
We use battery powered UFO lights in the tent but they are awkward to read by; so Vaughan holds the torch (and sometimes I use a headlight).

Farmyard Tales has several favourite stories - and a camping one!

Forest fix-ups

Set-up was a bit slower than usual, no doubt because we were out of practice!

It had been around seven months since our last camping trip (to Yowah in July 2010) and obviously our tents should have been aired in the meantime. Some equipment checks should have occurred also but luckily Nick soon fixed our leaking air mattress.

February forest

Nick checking for smoke cause (and damage).
It had been a busy month since our return from Yowah - with Nissa returning to Perth, Vaughan starting school and Erin starting TAFE.

Given all the busy-ness, we all were looking forward to a few nights in the forest.

There were a few hiccups at the start, not least was Elmer losing all electrical displays just a short distance from The Pines turn-off.  Smoke was pouring from the bonnet when Nick stopped and we were all very worried.

It was late afternoon, with only an hour or two of daylight left so after some discussion, it was decided to continue on to our favourite campsite - and call the NRMA in the morning.