Australian animals (part 3)

This is an update of two of my older posts about Australian animals, mainly focused on animals that live close to the water. The first two parts are here: part 1, part 2.

I have added a few more photos of Australian animals that I stumbled upon on bushwalks, or close to home, in parks in and around Melbourne. In general, I have to say that even though some of the animals listed here can be quite dangerous, it is very unlikely to encounter them in the wild. Most encounters were just by accident when going off-trail in reasonably remote areas. This list should be representative of the Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales (NSW) and Tasmania. That is, you are likely to encounter these animals at some point when venturing outdoors, especially into more remote areas.

I have marked the updates or additions in red colour.

A Gibbsland water dragon sitting next to a river.
A Gibbsland water dragon sitting next to a river.
more ...

Why a personal locator beacon?

Personal locator beacons (PLBs) are satellite devices that transmit a distress signal to search and rescue organisations once they are activated. Because they transmit the signal via satellites, they can be used in remote locations, where no cell phone access is available. They are related to EPIRBs (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons), which are mainly used in boats and ships and usually are permanently installed in a vessel. PLBs are much smaller and lighter hand-held devices intended to be carried by a person.

The back of a PLB that I hired some time ago. The text describes its activation in detail.
The back of a PLB that I hired some time ago. The text describes its activation in detail.
more ...

Peaks of Australia

Australia is a relatively flat continent, with its highest peak reaching an elevation of 2228 m above sea level. That said, there are still plenty of opportunities to practise mountaineering and rock climbing.

In the following, I have assembled a list of all the major peaks in Australia, ordered by the state. I give a short description, a photo or two and the official elevation and location. Besides, I provide the coordinates and altitude that I measured using a GPS device when climbing the peak.

James takes a photo behind the summit cairn on Mt. Jerusalem.
James takes a photo behind the summit cairn on Mt. Jerusalem.
more ...

Trip to Frenchmans Cap in Tasmania

In early 2015, I organised a bushwalking trip to Frenchmans Cap, which is the most prominent peak in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers national park in Tasmania. The white quartzite of its summit dome, which looks a bit like a French beret from a distance gave the peak its name and is visible from far away.

Our group on the summit of Frenchmans Cap. You can see the smoke from bushfires in the distance.
Our group on the summit of Frenchmans Cap. You can see the smoke from bushfires in the distance.

Historically, the walk was infamous for being extremely muddy (read waist-deep mud) on the Loddon Plains on the approach to the mountain, where the track runs close to the Loddon River, the so-called “sodden Loddon”. However, we did not have much of a problem. The trip was relatively straight-forward, as it is a return walk that starts and ends at the Lyell highway. However, it must be stressed that the trail is in an alpine area with severe and sudden weather changes and that the walk involves a significant ascent.

more ...

Hiking in Canada

First of all, Canada is awesome! If you like the outdoors, you will definitely enjoy it. From my experience, the people are very friendly as well.

View of the Assiniboine Valley. From left to right: Lake Magog, Mt. Assiniboine, Sunburst Lake, Sunburst Peak and Cerulean Lake.
View of the Assiniboine Valley. From left to right: Lake Magog, Mt. Assiniboine, Sunburst Lake, Sunburst Peak and Cerulean Lake.

In 2014, I spent a few weeks in Alberta, Canada, specifically in and around Banff national park. We scrambled and hiked up various peaks near Banff town, such as Tunnel Mountain, Mt. Rundle and a few others in the close vicinity.

more ...

Night and astrophotography

Over the last months, I have experimented a bit with night and astrophotography. By astrophotography, I mean the classical landscape photography of the night sky with different objects in the foreground, see the photos below. I am not talking about photography of individual astronomical objects using more advanced camera setups and accessories such as star trackers, amateur telescopes, etc. here – I will leave that for later.

The Molonglo radio telescope in front of the Milky Way and the South Celestial pole.
The Molonglo radio telescope in front of the Milky Way and the South Celestial pole.
more ...

Australian animals (part 2)

Since my last post about Australian animals at the end of 2013, a lot has happened, and I have seen many more Australian animals either in the wild or animal sanctuaries. While most of them are quite friendly, some can potentially be very dangerous.

Here is an updated list of animals in Australia that I have tried to match up with photos that I have taken.

Two kangaroos fighting.
Two kangaroos fighting.
more ...

Mount Rundle Scrambling

I scrambled up Mt. Rundle in Banff national park in Canada.

  • Name: Mount Rundle
  • Height: 2949 m
  • Prominence: 1304 m
  • Location: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
  • Date: 2014-06-21
  • Conditions: Early summer. Snow starting about 200 m below the summit.
more ...

Overland Track

I walked the Overland Track, which is a long distance trail in Tasmania. This is a summary.

On Cradle Mountain summit.
On Cradle Mountain summit.

Day 1 - Ronny Creek, Marion’s Lookout, Cradle Mountain summit to Waterfall Valley Hut

My journey did not start out too well. It was raining quite heavily during the night. The tent took a long time to dry in the morning. I was already late when I left the campsite. However, the weather was gorgeous this morning. And the queue of mainly day trippers and only a small fraction of Overland Track walkers was long at the Cradle Mountain visitor’s centre. The park management runs shuttle buses from the visitor’s centre to the actual starting points of a couple of shorter trails and the start of the Overland Track.

more ...

Australian Fauna So Far

Here is a list of all the animals that I encountered in Australia so far.

Kangaroos in the late evening sun.
Kangaroos in the late evening sun.

As I already mentioned in my earlier post, it is tough to find any animals that could potentially be venomous in Melbourne. The same is true for nearly all larger animals, except for a few possums which live in the trees around Alexandra Gardens in the centre of Melbourne. Some of the locals feed them from time to time. The only time that I encountered a kangaroo was when I found one dead near the road. From my limited experience of Sydney, I would say the same for the city with the famous opera house. Although Sydney is supposed to be the home of the highly infamous Funnel Web spiders, I could not see any sign of them at all - luckily.

more ...