Hanging Rock, Mt Macedon and the Camel’s Hump – Melbourne Part I

clouds-5

“Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream? “

Edgar Allan Poe,  A Dream Within a Dream

Sometimes words are not enough and  I wish I could paint a masterpiece or compose a symphony to share an experience instead.  I’ve been silent on the blogging front  as life has been incredibly busy leading up to Christmas. I’ve also been  struggling to find words to describe the whirlwind of the past couple of months.  A new city, two islands,  a visit to the setting of a famous movie, an engagement, a graduation, a creepy flasher and a penguin parade…where do I begin?

My writing frustrations remind me of childhood experiences on an old, strong-willed brown barrel of a pony named Locket.  Riding her never involved a steady walk, trot or canter.  Despite my enthusiastic coaxing, she would just stand stubbornly, legs cemented to the ground, or move at a tortuously slow pace from one grassy snack to the next. On rare occasions, usually when my father rode past on a young stock horse, Locket would relive her mad romantic youth by exploding into a wild gallop. I’d struggle to maintain control of the wayward beast and inevitably end up flat on my back after she’d halt suddenly, throwing me over her head. When I haven’t written for a long time and someone tells me I just need to “get back on the horse again” all I can think of is Locket and her wily ways.   I envy those who dash off a coherent and entertaining literary piece whenever they want.  With me it’s either a  prolonged  drought or a raging, swirling torrent of ideas that leaves me exhausted.

I’d been grumbling and groaning and ready to abandon my blog yet again when I received notification of a blog comment yesterday.   Easily distracted, I checked out the commenter’s blog and found these words.  Anne from Moving With Time wrote:

Language is the river we swim in daily, the route to communication, miscommunication, love and hatred. It is paradoxically the most powerful medium and the least effective.

Language is powerful but often an image or musical piece may convey an idea, story or emotion more effectively than the written or spoken word. Picnic at Hanging Rock, directed by Peter Weir, combines a haunting soundtrack, dreamlike cinematography, a mysterious plot and an evocative setting to produce a film that still fascinates people forty years on.

I was only a young girl when I saw it but it had such a profound effect on me  that even now when I encounter large rock formations on walks, I’m haunted by its panflutes and scenes.

picnic-at-hanging-rock-scene

For those who’ve never seen the movie or need a memory prompt, here’s a trailer. Based on the novel by Joan Lindsay, it tells the story of the disappearance of several school girls on a Valentine’s Day picnic in 1900 at Hanging Rock  in Victoria.

In November last year, I was thrilled to visit the setting of the movie at Hanging Rock Reserve, 70km north-west of Melbourne. Hanging Rock is not just well known for its association with the novel and movie, it is a unique geological formation.  While it may seem to be the remains of a volcanic plug jutting out of the landscape, it’s actually a mamelon created by stiff magma pouring from a vent and congealing in place. Nearby Camel’s Hump and Crozier’s Rocks are other examples. All of these are made of solvsbergite, a kind of trachyte only found on two or three other locations in the world. As they weathered over thousands of years, tall pinnacles were left behind.

hanging-rock-formations

hanging-rock-formations-2

The traditional custodians, the Wurundjeri people, used this mamelon for male initiation ceremonies and it was regarded as an area of powerful spiritual significance. The rocks may have eroded and the grassy fields have been replaced with a car park, discovery centre and cafe but on my visit it was apparent that the magic still exists.

hanging-rock-indigenous-history

My tour guide for the day was Greg, from Hiking Fiasco.  His kindness, patience, and good humour towards a  nutty Queensland blogger with childlike enthusiasm was much appreciated.

hanging-rock-pinnacles

“What’s he like?” I was asked by his adoring fans.  Well, given I’ve had a few uncomfortable experiences as a small woman hiking alone it was reassuring to have the presence of an intelligent gentle goliath for company and to ward off  serial killers and flashers. If only he’d been there on my Bribie Island adventure a couple of weeks later, but that’s another story.

hanging-rock-formations

Before I launch into a rambling account of the day’s activities, let me rewind to the first event of my special week in Melbourne which left me speechless…flying. Twenty years ago I had a brief joyride in a tiny old two-seater canvas-covered plane and found the experience exhilarating. I had to wait until November last year to experience my first passenger jet flight though.

Now while I was excited about flying,  I  was also in the words of my daughter, “freaking out.”   Security measures have tightened in recent years and after watching too many border patrol reality shows I began having nightmares about burly security officers and strip searches.  There was also the possibility of becoming lost in Brisbane Airport and never actually making it on my plane. I was being dropped off and having to learn how to do this thing called checking in and finding gates all by my old dithering and directionally-challenged self.

Perhaps it was my wide-eyed nervousness, the sweat-soaked armpits,  or maybe the 100 bottles of liquids and powders in my suitcase (I have skin allergies) that attracted excess attention from security staff. Eventually I boarded the plane without having to remove every single item of clothing and settled into my window seat.  Despite being too excited to sleep the previous night, regular adrenaline bursts ensured I displayed the demeanour of a hyperactive meerkat on speed.  I’m not sure if it was my imagination, but the flight attendants seemed to be eyeing me nervously.

As we rose above the first bank of clouds my allergies must have played up. That’s my excuse anyway for the  embarrassing flow of tears and unattractive sniffling.  After a year of distressing political events in my own country and abroad as well as challenges on the home front, viewing our planet from 30 000 ft  was exactly what I needed.  I thought back to a night many years ago when I enjoyed the lights of Brisbane city from Mt Coot-tha for the first time (which you can read about here.) Sometimes the ugliness of the world can be all-consuming and we need a little distance to embrace hope again.

clouds

I’m experiencing one of those literary droughts, so I’ll cheat and use the words of another to sum up my love of flying:

“More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost…”  – Wilbur Wright

flying-in-the-clouds-

Now back to my adventures in Melbourne. Why is Hanging Rock called Hanging Rock? Perhaps this picture answers the question best. I hope you’re suitably impressed.

hanging-rock-sign

What? After my big build up about the movie, you expected more than this? Some people are never satisfied.  Okay, perhaps this was just an example of local humour.  It made a change from the standard  gun shot blasted signs we often see.

Hanging Rock is really named after a boulder suspended between other boulders, one of numerous unusual rock formations in the reserve.

hanging-rock-boulders

hanging-rock-formations-boulders-

In fact, according to the information brochure there are at least fifteen rock formations of interest at Hanging Rock.  Being the rebel that I am and having a hiking partner already familiar with the area, I didn’t pick up the brochure until after the walk.  Sometimes having too much detail beforehand can spoil an adventure. You can walk in with preconceived ideas and be a little blinkered.   I enjoyed making my own observations about what I saw. Thankfully I had a walking partner who didn’t bombard me with information and who allowed me the silence to indulge my imagination.

The summit walk  at Hanging Rock is only about 1.8 km and a class 3 walk  but  with so many strange formations and distant views to discover, you need to allow plenty of time to enjoy it. On my visit the day was warm and shade scarce which added to the lazy pace. A wide concrete path led us to steps which took us under Hanging Rock.

hanging-rock-path

hanging-rock-steps

hanging-rock-steps

hanging-rock-boulders

Now at this point much of the commentary will be replaced by photos.  Despite the presence of other tourists snapping  and chatting away in the distance,  being in the location of a movie which left such an impression on me as a child had me overwhelmed. People overuse the world surreal but in this case that’s how it felt for me. I was finding it difficult to believe I was really there.  The rest of the walk was a dream.

hanging-rock-formations

hanging-rock-formations

hanging-rock-formations

hanging-rock-formations

Doing his best Miranda impression from the movie, Greg led the way and  eventually disappeared over boulders.

hanging-rock-formations

hanging-rock-formations

hanging-rock-formations-

hanging-rock-formations

You’d think the movie would have taught me something, but no, I followed Miranda Version II blindly.  Fortunately on this occasion tragedy did not befall us and all that left me gasping was the beautiful view.

hanging-rock-formations

hanging-rock-formations-14-summit

After reaching the summit and admiring the scenery for a while, Greg continued his Miranda impersonation by sprawling over the hot rocks to snooze.  All he needed was a long blonde wig and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.  The resemblance was freaky. I suspected he was recovering his energy after watching my perilous and very awkward scramble up the rocks. Weeks later I was to discover the reason for my balance problems and after a simple procedure am now back to climbing sheer cliff walls and tightrope walking over the Brisbane River.  On this occasion though I was giving Greg my best impression of me after a bottle of Tequila.  I’m glad the poor man doesn’t have a heart condition.

There was plenty more to discover along this short wander.

hanging-rock-formations

hanging-rock-formations

We found where the world-renowned graffiti artist, T. Scott, left his mark in 1866.

hanging-rock-formations-scott-engraving

And flowers beyond reach had me wrestling with the zoom…

hanging-rock-flowers

hanging-rock-flowers-3

hanging-rock-flowers-2

I think this is the area referred to in the brochure as the Stonehenge.

hanging-rock-formations-

Morgan’s Blood Waterfall was dry apart from  suspicious dark red patches…

anging-rock-morgans-blood-waterfall

Now this is supposed to be Queen Mary’s profile. I’m a little relieved no-one has named a rock formation after me.

hanging-rock-queen-marys-face

Eventually I had to wake from my dream. While Greg escaped briefly again I used my zoom to take a shot of a distant kangaroo in the picnic area. Upon returning, my puzzled tour guide wanted to know why I wasn’t getting up close to it. Apparently the roos at Hanging Rock are genteel, not like the intestine-gouging kickers  we sometimes encounter in Queensland.

hanging-rock-kangaroo

After leaving Hanging Rock, we ventured to Mt Macedon to see the giant memorial cross which  was by this time glowing in the late afternoon sun.  My shots don’t show how impressive it really is. Greg is a giant but he’s dwarfed in its shadows.

mt-macedon-memorial-cross-

mt-macedon-memorial-cross-3

The original cross, constructed between 1932 and 1935, was funded by local businessman and resident,  William Cameron, to remember those servicemen and women who lost their lives in World War I and to employ people out of work in the Great Depression. Wunderlich earthenware tiles covered a massive steel construction. A lightning strike in 1975 and then the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires led to it being demolished and rebuilt. The original Wunderlich tiles were preserved and later cut into pieces and mounted on timber to be sold as souvenirs.

mt-macedon-memorial-cross-5

In the late afternoon sun the trunks of snow gums bordering the path to the cross shimmered white. The Macedon Ranges is a beautiful area with vegetation quite different to what I’ve encountered in sunny Queensland.

mt-macedon-memorial-cross-

Greg has written up quite a few walks from the Macedon Ranges  which you can find through a search on his blog. He’s also written a much more humorous account of his trip to Hanging Rock. This was a brief visit for me and  I hope to return  for a long day walk.

mt-macedon-snow gums

While at Mt Macedon we checked out a memorial to the Kurana plane crash in 1948. Sadly, the pilot and the first officer died but considering the state of the crash site, it is amazing that the rest of the crew and passengers survived. Twenty-four year old air hostess, Elizabeth Fry, was later awarded for her leading role in helping to save the lives of all the passengers on board.

mt-macedon-kurana-memorial-5

mt-macedon-kurana-memorial-6

mt-macedon-kurana-memorial-4

You’d think after the excitement of Hanging Rock, a giant cross, and a plane crash site that would be enough for the day, but we also walked to the lookout at Camel’s Hump which gives an excellent view of Hanging Rock and surrounding land forms. It also gave me another opportunity to enjoy snow gums which we don’t have in Brisbane.

camels-hump-macedon-ranges-

camels-hump-macedon-ranges-

On our way back down we noticed a leaf beautifully patterned by insect activity which kept changing colour in the late afternoon light and it became a competition to take the best picture.  I’m glad you can’t see Greg’s results as it means I can pretend I won.

camels-hump-macedon-ranges-leaf

Another leaf caught my attention while poor Greg waited patiently.

camels-hump-skeleton-leaf-2

I also got rather excited about poo…wombat poo! I’ve never seen a wombat in the wild, but finding their cube-shaped poo on a rock was the next best thing.  Tantalising!  For some reason my tour guide didn’t feel the need to compete over shots of mammal faeces.

What a day!  Visiting a location from a movie which had such a strong impact on me as a child followed by a magnificent glowing cross against a blue, blue sky and then discovering wombat poo! What more could I ask for? Hiking heaven.  Many thanks to Greg for enabling it to happen.

If you can put up with another lengthy wait, Part II will recount my first visit to Philip Island and a very special encounter with penguins.

I hope all my reader friends had a peaceful and fulfilling festive season and 2017 brings you special memories and the courage to face the challenges that life throws at you. Thanks for your valued support over the past few years. My blogging has needed to take a back seat as I enter a major period of transition in my life but I hope I can still pop back  to share stories from the life of a directionally-challenged hiking hermit.

Best wishes to you all and thanks for reading.

74 thoughts on “Hanging Rock, Mt Macedon and the Camel’s Hump – Melbourne Part I

  1. Miranda! Wombat poo! Penguins! I hope you are feeling great after such momentous sights. You’re making me feel all nostalgic too. Thanks Jane, I think you’ve mastered that awful pony.

    • Haha…yes, it’s been an eventful time. Some challenging experiences offset by special treats. I’ve neglected everyone in the blogging world unfortunately but I wanted to come back and share some wonderful experiences I’ve had. Thanks for reading and commenting, Paula. Part of the reason it’s taken me so long to write this up is due to the distractions of nostalgia! Yes, that old pony…not sure I’ll ever get her even part-way tame! Best wishes. 🙂

  2. Another wonderful tale of vertical adventures with awesome shots, which are intensely ogled.
    I looooooooooooooooooooooooooove your – rare – posts.
    Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy 2017.

    • Thanks very much, Marina. They certainly are rare posts these days! Sorry for my absence. My life is changing a great deal and 2017 will see me making some major decisions. Keep up with your wonderfully inspiring physical fitness blog. Best wishes. 🙂

  3. Wombats are awesome, and wombat poo is pretty great too! You can easily spot wombats in the wild at Wilsons Prom or on Maria Island.

    Lovely to be reading you again.

    • Thanks, Oanh, and it’s great to hear from you. I expect you’re crazy busy with your beautiful offspring.It’s so exhausting and amazing at the same time. I wish you much, much joy and the energy to cope… 🙂 I’d really love to see wombats in the wild. I’m planning another trip south this year. Maybe I’ll make it to Wilson’s Prom. My life is rather unpredictable at the moment though so it’s hard to plan. I’m looking for new work… Best wishes. 🙂

  4. Hi Jane, thanks for a great account of your visit! Hanging Rock is certainly one of my favourite places and has so impressed me over the years with its unique geology and fascinating ambience. So much so, in fact, that I was sufficiently motivated to write a novel back in 2010 to encapsulate the original story after a rather intriguing incident a couple of years earlier left me scratching my head. The region is lovely; your photos are fantastic.

    • Hi, thanks very much for reading and the lovely words of encouragement. I haven’t checked your blog for a while but I remember your interesting reports and great shots. I’m hoping to travel south a bit more in the future so I will refer to your blog for ideas. Yes, Hanging Rock is definitely a very special place. Girraween National Park up here near Stanthorpe and a small reserve called White Rock near Brisbane are also places with some great geological formations and history. You wrote a novel about Hanging Rock? Well done. I will have to have a look for it. I’m intrigued now. I must admit I’ve been a little obsessed again with the movie and novel after visiting it. Interestingly, I found out that the author, Joan Lindsay, had the same problem as me when it comes to watches…they just stop. I’ve never had a watch that doesn’t stop when I’ve been wearing it for a few hours. It starts up again after I take it off. Very puzzling. I know that time stretching/stopping was a theme from her novel. Thanks very much for your feedback. Best wishes. 🙂

  5. Hanging rock!! Such a cool rock formation! I remember watching the movie years ago. Cool to see it ‘for real’ through your blog! Happy new year!

    • Hi Anna, I hope you get to see Hanging Rock in person one day. Unfortunately, it is often busy with tourists and there have been changes since the movie such as steps and chain fences but if you can visit on a quiet day and sneak off to a less popular spot, you can still feel the magic. Thanks for being patient about my very slack blogging. Happy new year to you as well! 🙂

  6. What an extraordinary co-incidence. One New Year’s Day at lunch, I was only asking my younger brother if he was interested in going up to Hanging Rock (he said no), as I wanted to try out some landscape photography.

    I can see by your wonderful photos, that I’d be dead before I climbed a few of those stairs LOL. I vaguely remember the film, but obviously not the stairs and climb uphill. Thank you so much for sharing your trip and the sights I might have seen if I didn’t have a severe heart condition 🙂

    Happy New Year to you, Jane.

    I too am lagging in the blogging arena, but my intermittent posts are due to the heat and a recurring old injury so can’t get out for a Photography excursion. Even had to taxi to the city 3 days this week instead of catching public transport.

    I’m looking forward to reading and viewing part of your Phillip Island adventure with the penguins.

    • Hi Vicki,
      It is a strange co-incidence isn’t it? I’m so sorry to hear how bad your health continues to be. That must be incredibly frustrating!! I hate steps and I can tell you I was puffing going up these. Fortunately, Greg wasn’t in a rush. I took my time, I can tell you. Steps and hills are not my friends. I think the angle of my shot makes the steps look worse than they are though. While we were there we noticed a man in a wheelchair waiting at the bottom while the rest of his group went exploring. It would be wonderful if there was a way to make it more disability friendly without causing too many structural, environmental changes. I know that the use of a special Trailrider and sherpas are a way that some wheelchair bound people can enjoy the views from mountain tops in some parts of Victoria. I wonder if there is a way we could still get you up to some spots, Vicki. I think there is a walk that goes around the base that is not so bad and it’s possible that some of the many interesting rock formations can still be viewed from low down. If I ever visit the place again I will explore the various options and do a report.
      I’ve been restricted by a few niggling injuries lately but fortunately some other long term problems seem to be improving, such as anaemia. I wish that your health could improve somehow. Having to take taxis rather than public transport is very expensive as well. The horrible heat doesn’t help either.
      I’ll try to write up the Philip Island trip sooner rather than later then seeing as you are waiting for it. My Melbourne trip was rather spur of the moment and quite rushed. Next time I will make plans ahead of time, including trying to contact you for a meet up if you feel well enough. Perhaps I can shout you a taxi ride somewhere special or if I have my own car, take you somewhere nice. Thanks very much for reading and commenting again, Vicki. I understand how debilitating a severe heart condition can be. My younger brother was born with major abnormalities and died at 23 years of age from a heart attack. It was difficult to watch him struggle all his life. Very best wishes and a big hug! x

      • Thanks Jane. It would be lovely to meet up one day.

        I know what the niggling injuries are like as I’ve been having them myself. I hope yours are not too debilitating (or frustrating).

        I have a Disability Concession Taxi Card and have been using it for about 4 months now – 50% off, so it’s been a Godsend. As I take life in the slow lane and live very simply, the (inherited) Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is not the issue. It’s the ankle swelling, knee pain and chronic flare-ups of inflammation and pain that have restricted my walking. I also hurt the lumbar disc moving apartments (where I had the May 2016 surgery), so can’t bend or kneel to do low down photography very much at all. Can’t do steep hills and stairs without a few breathers either, so I choose to not go there wherever possible.
        I accept all my health problems as long as I can do some Photography, but that has been intermittent and frustrating recently. I feel a wee bit debilitated with the heat and humidity too. My new apartment is very hot in the afternoons, despite the air conditioning.

        I’m sure I’ll come good with my leg up, rest and some cooler weather at the end of Summer. I love Autumn (and Spring) for that very reason.

        • What a shame the new apartment is so hot. The temperature does make a huge difference when you have multiple health problems. I’m glad you have a taxi subsidy but I know that being chronically ill is often financially very challenging. Summer is my least favourite season and I don’t even have major health problems. I hope your health and the weather allows you to get more joy from photography again soon. x

  7. Jane, you never disappoint. Never. I was instantly all agog when I saw you had written a post! As usual, you took me on a journey of laughter, beautiful photos, and a lovely connection to Nature’s oddities and beauty. Thank you for delighting me with another fantastic adventure! It is my sincere wish that 2017 is a year of bounty, good health and wonderful surprises and magic! XOXO ~ Lori

    • Thank you, dear Lori! I had a wonderful week in Melbourne. I’ve been planning to do a trip like that for years and eventually booked the tickets late one night even though I had no idea where I was going to stay and how to organise it. After my daughter finished her final exams I realised a big part of my role was now complete and it was time to be brave and try something out of my comfort zone. I’ve not checked in with your life for such a long time. I hope you’re well too? You always know the right things to say to encourage me and give me confidence. I’ve missed you. I wish for you a very special year…with plenty of magical moments too! 🙂 xx

    • Thank you kindly for your comments. They are most appreciated! I’m afraid my shots of the wombat poo turned out a little blurry. The cubes looked more like a pile of icecream. I think I was so excited that I couldn’t hold the camera still. Who knows, maybe I will see a real wombat in the wild one day and faint. 😉

    • Thanks very much, Terry. You’re very supportive. I hope life is treating you well in Montana? Who knows, I may finally make it over there to see your beautiful mountains and forests one day. I certainly hope so. Very best wishes to you in 2017 also. 🙂

  8. Ah, I am so grateful you eventually managed to find the right words to capture some of your experiences, Jane. Your post and photographs, as always, are a delight. I often, like you, experience a drought of words, and are rather envious of those who can just churn out beautiful pieces on a regular basis. May 2017 hold many exciting adventures, and may the changes in your life bring you peace and joy.

    • Thank you very much for those kind words. It is always encouraging to know that others share the same writing struggles. I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I gain a great deal of pleasure out of sharing experiences but never feel I can adequately express how I feel. I used to paint many years ago and it was extremely satisfying. I may try picking up a brush again this year just for the fun of it and see where it leads me. Photography is rewarding but my lack of technical skills does frustrate me. Thanks for your good wishes. I hope 2017 is fulfilling for you also. Best wishes. 🙂

      • Thank you, Jane. It is so interesting that you echo my sentiments regarding both writing and photography. Just not the painting part. I wonder what will happen on a canvas, when you express your travel experiences through colour, line and texture, instead of words. Could be an interesting exercise. 😉

        • Hmm…I’m not sure how much others will enjoy the outcome but I would probably enjoy the process! I should have a go at Hanging Rock and see what happens. Playing with paint is always fun. Having others appreciate my efforts is more challenging though…haha. Maybe I’ll include some on my blog for amusement purposes. 😉

    • Hello, dear Susan! Thanks for your loyal readership and encouragement. I hope you’ve been well and continuing to enjoy many interesting tours. Hanging Rock and Mt Macedon are very interesting and beautiful locations. I hope I will be able to return one day and explore the areas further. It went far too quickly really. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Hi Brian!
      Yes, I do apologise for the lack of wombat poo shots! 🙂 As I replied to another comment, I think the excitement was too much and the resulting shots were blurry. The adorable cubic poos looked more like the dog variety in my pics. Not something I thought would be appealing! 🙂 Yes it was a wonderful day out and still seems like a dream to me. I’ve never been so far from home before and I felt a little overwhelmed by the experience I think. Best wishes and have a fabulous 2017. x

  9. Welcome back Jane, glad to see you are out and about again, and down south also. Thanks for sharing Hanging Rock, I have stopped at many places called Hanging Rock but they have not been the real article, it was good to see the real one described. I must check it out one day when down south. Thanks again for your story and pics, your honesty in your narrative adds to the interest and enjoyment of your journey. Hope to see more from you again, praying life is better for you this year my friend.

    • Thank you very much, Ashley, for your loyal readership and encouragement. What would I do without such kind support? While I am an introvert I do enjoy having connections with wonderful people. Yes, I’ve noticed a few locations called Hanging Rock listed. The “real” one is a very popular spot so be prepared for plenty of tourists if you do visit. I think it is also best appreciated on a cold winter day as well. Some mist would add to the atmosphere. It would be wonderful to be there at night on a full moon but the reserve closes at 5pm. Apparently night tours are offered during the year though. I didn’t see many birds about which I suppose was due to lack of water and the time of day and how busy it was. Greg has seen echidnas there. 2016 was a good year despite some bad patches. I am thankful for many things. I do hope there is less physical illness with loved ones though in 2017. Best wishes to you and your loved ones. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Marylou. After all this time away I’m surprised people are still commenting. I really appreciate the lovely words. I hope 2017 is a wonderful year for you. Best wishes. 🙂

  10. I certainly hope that you can find the time and energy to put out posts from time to time as I always enjoy both your writing and the fantastic pictures that you take, This post was no exception. It brightened my day (which was already good) a lot.

  11. Jane, your writing is beautiful as always as are the pictures to go with it. And I was laughing at the Hanging Rock joke. The rock formations are fascinating and you post made me want to see them in person. Wishing you a great year and hope you’ll get a bit more time to write as you truly are talented.

    • Hi, it’s great to hear from you and I’m especially glad the hanging rock joke pic made you laugh. I do get a kick out of the quirky things that locals do to liven up a drive. In rural areas I often come across amusing letterboxes and other signs. We just had to stop and take pics of this version of Hanging Rock which was tied to a sign directing us to the real destination. Thanks for encouraging me with my writing. As I replied to another person, it’s always a bit of a love-hate relationship for me. I love being able to write but so rarely feel I can ever express what I want to say. Best wishes to you and your whole family. I hope in 2017 you also have many opportunities for adventures and the sharing of them in your excellent blog.Your photos are always so beautiful. 🙂

  12. Great description. I somehow forgot to go there when I was in Melbourne. Oh, and it seems that you are now one of the few people who have seen the face of Hiking Fiasco.

    • Hi Ken, it’s pretty easy to live in/visit a place and miss seeing things, especially if you have long work hours or are parenting. I’ve lived in a few locations around Australia for years and often never visited the local iconic attractions. Now after my parenting duties are over, I’m keen to see these places but they are often 2000km away via dodgy roads. From what I saw of Melbourne traffic I can easily understand why people on the northside don’t travel to southern areas to walk and vice-versa. It can take 2 hours just to get across the city. In that way it is like Brisbane. I’ve concentrated most of my walks south and south-west of Brisbane where I live and rarely get to the northern national parks. I hope you get a chance to visit Hanging Rock some time in the future. I had a wonderful time despite having only had about 3 hours sleep the night before (too excited). Thanks very much for reading and commenting. It’s appreciated. 🙂

    • Hi Dayna, great to hear from you!
      Yes it was a wonderful trip. It was great to finally make it down south after plans falling through every year. It was a spur of the moment trip and I stayed with an old female school and uni friend in St Kilda who I haven’t seen for years. I had big plans to catch up with quite a few people in Melbourne, including you and Neil and other friends I’ve made online but the week went so fast and my school friend had organised a few activities for me at night as well ( I had my first group yoga experience!) I think I also spent two days just staying in the flat catching up on lost sleep due to insomnia from the excitement. I seem to remember seeing that you had Brompton functions and were travelling around that time as well. Next time will be more organised and I may even be driving down so I’ll have more flexibility. Hope to see you this year… 🙂

  13. Welcome back Jane! I’m glad to read things seem to be going better and that there have been flights and penguins in your recent past. Things can only be good with those two items thrown in together (or in close proximity).

    As usual, Aussie nature is quite interesting and different from anything we’ve got here. It’s also interesting to see that Kangaroos’ mood changes with where they are. A bit like people in London are cold and distant, whilst in the North they’re more chatty (even though you stand no chance whatsoever to understand what the hell they’re on about).

    Looking forward to part II!

    Fabrizio

    • Wonderful to hear from you again too, Fabrizio! Sorry I’ve been absent for so long. I hope you are well? I’m pleased you appreciate the excitement of flight and penguins too. 🙂 It is interesting how the temperament of the same species of animal can vary with location. When I lived on a huge outback property we would have large shingleback and blue-tongued skinks in our house yard. They grew to about a foot long but were quite docile and just went about their way. When I moved to populated town regions I noticed the blue-tongued skinks were much more aggressive. I assume that the backyard predators like cats and dogs have affected their behaviour, possibly killing the more docile ones and leaving the more feisty ones to breed or perhaps they have just learned to be defensive due to regular attacks. Most kangaroos I’ve been near in Queensland just jump away or sit staring but occasionally I’ve had them be territorial and make aggressive sounds and actions. The hind legs of large males are very powerful and can cause a lot of damage if they feel threatened . It’s why I am always a little cautious. The smaller females and young ones that are used to human interaction in sanctuaries are usually quiet but even then I’ve still seen some tourists be attacked when the creature feels threatened/cornered. I had a gorgeous little orphaned kangaroo joey as a pet when I was a child. When it comes to people I’ve also noticed a variation in different regions – rural vs urban, affluent suburbs vs lower income areas, Brisbane vs Melbourne. I watched a documentary recently about identical twins who were separated at birth and brought up in the US and in France. The girls’ level of introversion/extroversion was quite different to each other even though other personality traits were very similar. Fascinating really. Thanks very much for your encouraging comments. It’s always very interesting to hear your thoughts. I will endeavour to get Part II written more quickly than Part I!
      Best wishes! 🙂

  14. What a day, Jane! Beautiful pictures as usual – I especially love your gorgeous red leaf and the monumental cross. Snowgums are truly gorgeous. I think the light you get in the higher latitudes is quite different to subtropical sunlight… lovely to have the contrast… Thanks for sharing your adventures. I hope the shift in your life is working out well. All the best for 2017!

    • Thank you very much, Nic. 🙂 My favourite pictures are actually the red leaf and the giant golden cross against the blue background so I’m glad you liked them too. I have a bit of a thing for leaves and light as you may remember from a post a long time ago! 🙂 I loved the gorgeous trunks of the snowgums. I’ve been in Queensland most of my life so it’s a treat to see the more alpine vegetation. I’d love to head back south in the winter months and see a little snow. The heat and humidity does get a little wearing up here, although I’ve been noticing Melbourne and Sydney are not missing out on the high temps lately! Actually, the Australian Open always seems to have scorchers. 2017 should see quite a few changes in my life. Hopefully I can navigate these successfully. I wish you and your family a wonderful 2017 and I hope you’ll continue with your excellent blog. Your nature shots and writing are superb! 🙂

    • And thank you for reading and commenting with such enthusiasm! I’m very glad you enjoyed Hanging Rock as I had such a wonderful time visiting the area. It was very special and also a little strange to visit a place that had such a strong impact on me as a child. I think about the movie every time I walk in areas with large rock formations. I must read the book one day. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you very much. Your kind feedback is always appreciated. Hanging Rock is a very special place and I wanted to share a little of its magic. I’m pleased you enjoyed it. Best wishes. 🙂

  15. Hi Jane! So good to see a post from you again 🙂 I remember we spoke about Hanging Rock and the film a while ago and now I see you have been there! Lucky you! Your photos are excellent as ever and I recognise some of the places from the film despite the formal paths and steps. I also love your photos taken from the plane. I’m a bit of a coward when it comes to flying and sometimes can’t look out of the window so I often miss the wonderful cloud formations. I’m sorry you continue to have health problems – I hope 2017 is a better year for you. I wish you all the best in your life changes – new job etc. I am a little late in commenting mainly because we have had multiple power-cuts this week which have coincided with some cold and snowy weather. So far today the power has stayed on (10.30 pm) so fingers crossed they have resolved the problem! I look forward to Part 2!
    Best wishes and much love,
    Clare 🙂

    • Hello, dear Clare!
      It’s so lovely to hear from you. When I made the spontaneous trip to Melbourne I had no plans to see Hanging Rock. It was a surprise suggestion made to me once I’d arrived. What a treat to finally visit the setting of the iconic movie and book. It’s a shame it’s such a popular tourist spot now as I can imagine how wonderful it would have been to be there in silence; however, it was still very special. The reserve closes at 5pm but I think it would be wonderfully spooky to be there at night on a full moon or in misty conditions…
      I was a little nervous how I would be on the plane. I was really hoping it would be an exciting experience but feared I might be one of those poor people who gets airsick. I was lucky to be on a very good flight with no air turbulence and a smooth take off and landing. The return flight home was slightly different though as we had wild storms on our tail and the landing was quite hard. The pilot did well in the terrible gusty conditions. I can easily imagine how one bad experience could lead to fear of flying. I was relieved to have had such a lovely experience. It was only a two hour flight though, not a long haul. Ask me how I feel about flying after a trip to the UK…21 hours I think?!
      Please don’t apologise for any lateness in commenting. I’ve not been checking in on other blogs for a couple of months – yours, Tom’s and Susan’s included. Life is very busy for everyone. I’ve felt guilty in the past for my absence but decided that people understand. You don’t need to comment, Clare. I’m just happy to share. I am even thinking of having the next blog post with a closed comment system so people can read it but not feel obliged to comment, especially since I just don’t get a chance to explore other blogs lately.
      I hope your weather is not too nasty. It sounds like it must be bad with all those power cuts. We’ve just had our usual heat wave conditions with temps around 39C yesterday and high humidity. I find it quite draining but I have no idea how I would cope with your chilly conditions.
      I hope you have good health this year and more time for relaxation and calm. You’ve been so busy in the past, Clare! I don’t know how you manage all your family responsibilities and keep up with everything else. Much love, Jane. x

      • Hello Jane! You are very kind but I am sure I don’t have more to do than many other people and I have help from Richard now which is great. With regard to commenting on your post – I never feel obliged to comment; I enjoy it and often have loads of things to say or ask. Commenting late has the advantage of being able to read everyone else’s comments and your informative answers! The cold hasn’t been too bad but the short days and long nights mean we miss our electric lights and my daughter gets very grumpy without the internet! We are well equipped for powercuts with gas fires, a gas hob and plenty of torches, gas lights and candles! I would find the high temps and high humidity especially, very trying and don’t envy you that at all! Clare xx

        • Hi again, Clare! I’m glad you have alternatives to electricity for when you have power cuts, but I certainly know how lack of Internet affects the younger generation. I have to chuckle when my daughter says to me, “What was it like not to have Internet for the first thirty years of your life?” 🙂 I don’t seem to remember ever being bored! It’s a whole different generation. I guess it’s like my parents who never had TV for the first 20 years of their life. I hope you have a long session of uninterrupted power soon so your daughter feels less grumpy.
          It’s funny about the large number of comments. In the end I write far more replying to all the lovely people than I do actually writing a post. People are very kind. Thank you again, Clare. Take very good care of yourself. x

  16. Hey Jane just got home and saw the email notification, wow another great post as usual! Sorry we couldn’t catch up when you were down here, hopefully there’ll be plenty more opportunities over the years. I’m looking forward to part 2 (maybe a mild fiasco post, hey it’s got a bit of a ring to it!). I’m so glad you had a good time on your journey south and got well looked after.
    I hope 2017 brings you good health and everything you desire.
    Cheers Kevin

    • Thanks, Kevin. I was very lucky to be hosted by my old school friend at her flat at St Kilda and had a wonderful time exploring the area. She also planned some interesting evening activities for me, including my first group yoga meditation class. The restaurants and cafes around the area were surprisingly good value for money. I was also very thankful to Greg for showing me some beautiful and interesting Melbourne spots that I never would have got to on my own. I’m so glad I wasn’t doing the driving. I’ve discovered Melbourne traffic can be horrendous too. It might be a while before I manage to write up my Philip Island trip. It was a wonderful week but went far too quickly. Next time I hope to explore some of the CBD.
      Best wishes to you and Sam. I hope 2017 brings you both many great adventures and good health.

  17. I am always delighted when I see you have a new post. This one was, as usual, funny, entertaining, and informative. I hope that you navigate the changes you face with steadiness, resolve, and a contented heart. And, no matter what, I hope that you continue to blog, whenever you can.
    It’s been decades since I saw Picnic at Hanging Rock. I loved it then and you have inspired me to watch it again. I am happy to hear that the site wasn’t too overrun with tourists. So many places are so clogged with people that it is hard to imagine them away.
    Keep your head up (or down if there are goodies to photograph down there).

    • Hi Brenda,
      Thanks very much for those kind words and the the good wishes for the future. I particularly hope that I can navigate the changes “with steadiness, resolve, and a contented heart.” It’s quite amazing and comforting to me that people who I’ve never met from across the world care enough to give me so much encouragement. There may be a lot of negative aspects about the Internet, but it’s also a great source of support for many.
      I haven’t watched Picnic at Hanging Rock since I was a child. I’m hoping to find a copy of it somewhere to share with my daughter. Hanging Rock is quite a popular spot but we were lucky on that day that there weren’t a huge number of tourists. I would love to see it at sunrise and sunset or on a moonlit night. Best wishes. 🙂

  18. Welcome to the page again Jane. Like most things, writing has its ebbs and flows. Accepting them makes good medicine for the soul.

    This trip was an adventure and a half – a few ‘firsts’ there, each a story in their own. I always enjoy how your posts meander through a paddock of interesting things, with you casually pointing them out to us and then linking them together.

    I haven’t visited Hanging Rock so it was good to read your story and see your photos. My question, though, is about that other hanging rock… what was it hanging from?

    • Thanks very much, Gail. Haha…yes, accepting the ebbs and flows is something I should be more able to do. There is a stubbornness in me though which I still need to conquer. One day I hope to be consistently more relaxed about it. I think I put undue pressure on myself to try to make things perfect. There is a big lesson still to be learned in that regard.
      Yes, there were definitely many firsts in that week in Melbourne…flying in a jet, Hanging Rock, yoga meditation, my first trip to Melbourne, penguins, and meeting an online friend for the first time. It was almost too much happiness, if you can understand that… 🙂 I wasn’t used to it!
      The rock was hanging from the actual Hanging Rock road sign that was directing us to the location. I would have included the sign but the rock looked too small in the photo. I cropped it for effect. It gave me a smile.
      I hope this coming year brings you many more magical cycling moments and opportunities for writing both in your excellent blog and in other spaces…books? Best wishes. 🙂

  19. Good to see you back, Jane! And how awesome that you got to hang out with Greg. Also, that comment about the power of words is just gorgeous. I was out at Hanging Rock a couple of weeks back, actually, but we didn’t do the walk. Lori and I had just had lunch and a beer at the Macedon pub and were looking for somewhere to chill out. We lay on a picnic blanket for a couple of hours just soaking the place in. It’s definitely got a vibe about it.

    Hope you’re well!

    Neil

    • Thanks very much, Neil! Yes, it was great to meet Greg after having followed his blog for years. I hope he has recovered from meeting me! 🙂 I’m afraid the whole trip brought out the excited child in me. He was generous enough to chauffeur me around to a few places and share his local knowledge. He’s a lovely guy. I was sorry that you and Lori were busy when I made the trip down but hopefully we’ll get to meet up in the future. Yeah, there’s definitely something very special about the Hanging Rock area. Maybe I’ll get a chance to return to the region one day. I’m glad you two got a chance to visit and chill out too. I hope you and the family are well. Thanks again for your support of my blog. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you very much, John. It is lovely to hear from you again. I hope you’ve been well and happy? I hope to get Part 2 written in a week or so. Best wishes for 2017. I hope it’s filled with love and peace. 🙂

  20. I’ve seen the movie. In fact I’ve seen it twice, decades apart, and found it just as good a mystery the second time as the first. How wonderful that you got to visit the movie set.

    Your quotation from Poe reminded me of a famous passage from Calderón de la Barca’s 1635 play “La Vida es Sueño”, “Life Is a Dream”.

    ¿Qué es la vida? Un frenesí.
    ¿Qué es la vida? Una ilusión,
    una sombra, una ficción,
    y el mayor bien es pequeño:
    que toda la vida es sueño,
    y los sueños, sueños son.

    What is life? A frenzy.
    What is life? An illusion,
    a shadow, a fiction,
    and the greatest good is [still] small:
    because all of life is a dream,
    and dreams are [themselves] dreams.

    • Hi Steve,
      I’m very pleased you enjoyed the movie too. I’m hoping to share it with my daughter but it’s proving difficult to find. Thank you for sharing the wonderful passage from the 1635 play. I wonder of Poe read it and was influenced to write his famous poem. I remember reading the quote, “Good writers borrow, great writers steal.” I had trouble tracking down who coined it originally but apparently T. S. Eliot wrote in 1920, “Immature poets imitate, mature poets steal.” I guess whether we are conscious of it or not, much of what we write is influenced by the ideas of others. As humans we also share common experiences which may lead us to similar reflections. Whatever the inspiration, I appreciate the results. Thanks very much for reading and your interesting comment, Steve. I often learn something new when you reply. I also appreciate the translation. Spanish is a beautiful language and I wish I had continued learning it. Perhaps I will continue one day. Best wishes. 🙂

Your comments are welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s