Part 1: And we’re off …

Finally, after much preparation, we left the Central Coast to start our year long trip around Australia. Armed with camera gear, a few belongings and the knowledge that previous travel experience would stand us all in good stead, we set off into the blue yonder… well not quite… steely grey skies and drizzle.

With images of pure white sandy beaches and azure skies firmly fixed in our minds, we thought it appropriate to make our first stop in Canberra. Well why not? It is the nation’s capital after all.

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Cotter Reserve, ACT

Our first camp, at Cotter Reserve, gave us an opportunity to explore Canberra’s sights and to get the first images of the trip. The rolling hills surrounding Canberra offer plenty of opportunities for the photographer and the early morning light really shows off the land at it best.

With the family settling into our new, if not permanent, way of life we were starting to get excited by the prospect of what lay ahead.

The High Country

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Victorian Alps
The Victorian Alps were high up on my wish-list of places to visit as the region contains a great deal of Australia’s recent history.

Arriving into the high country via a rain drenched Kosciuszko National Park helped us to acclimatize, but nothing could have prepared us for the magnificence of the Victorian Alps. The parks of the Alps make up a small fraction of the Australian continent, but offer an outstanding array of rugged mountains, pristine rivers and open plains reaching far across Australia’s Dividing Range.

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Mount Bogong

Our first base at Mount Beauty, nestled below Victoria’s highest peak Mount Bogong, offered a great base to visit the region's spectacular countryside. This included the outstanding peaks and waterfalls of Mount Buffalo National Park and the famous Wallace’s Hut at Falls Creek.

For me, Mount Buffalo would be a 4.30am start, a necessity to reach my chosen location ‘The Cathedral’ for dawn. Sometimes it can be a struggle to leave a warm bed for the cold of the mountains, but when greeted by such magnificent views bathed in the first light of day it is more than worth the effort.

As well as granite peaks, this park also contains some spectacular waterfalls that plummet down the side of the mountain, cascading over granite boulders on their way to the valley below.

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Lady Bath Falls
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The Cathedral, Mount Buffalo National Park, Victoria
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Wallace’s Hut, Falls Creek, Victoria

The Huts …

Wallace’s Hut is a historic drover’s hut dating back to 1889 and has walls of solid snow-gum slabs. There are many such huts scattered throughout the High Country which add to the rich cultural heritage of the area.

Another popular shelter ‘Craig’s Hut’ gave us reason to travel over to the beautiful countryside around Mansfield. The hut was originally built as part of the set for the 1982 movie ‘The Man from Snowy River’ and has just been rebuilt for the third time after burning down in 2006.

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Craig’s Hut, Mount Stirling, Victoria

I couldn’t have hoped for a better introduction to the varied landscapes of Australia. As for the kids, a craving for their favourite playground, the beach, meant it was time to head south.

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Mount Buller
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To the south of the high country lies Gippsland. The rugged beauty of Victoria’s south east coast has to be a match for the more famous ‘Great Ocean Road’ which lies to the west. I was hoping to capture the beauty of this area and I wasn’t to be let down.

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Croajingolong National Park, Victoria

Our first port of call was Croajingolong National Park, an untouched wilderness in Victoria’s easternmost reaches. Salmon coloured granite boulders line beaches of crystal clear water.

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Point Hicks Lighthouse

This part of the coast boasts many lighthouses, including one at Point Hicks. This is the first part of Australia to be sighted by Cook's ship The Endeavour, and was named after his first Lieutenant Zachary Hicks. The lighthouse has protected this part of the coast since 1890.

Wilsons Prom …

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A must for any photographer is the summer sunset over Norman Island, Wilsons Prom, Victoria

We’d been told that no trip to Gippsland would be complete without a visit to Wilsons Prom, Victoria’s most popular national park. This huge granite outcrop once formed a land bridge to Tasmania, and some of the flora and fauna in the park are still more commonly found in Tasmania.

The Prom is touted as a photographers dream. With it’s abundance of pristine beaches, huge granite boulders and extensive mountain range, it’s not hard to see why. Although being such a popular destination it’s easy enough to find untouched beaches and picturesque forests, especially whilst walking on some of the parks many tracks.

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Whiskey Beach
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Norman Bay
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Sealers Cove

Our route was now taking us ever further west giving us the chance to stop at Phillip Island, famous for its population of fairy penguins. I was after something a little different, therefore Cape Woolamai seemed to be the place to head for. Well known for its surf beaches and impressive headlands.

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The Pinnacles, Phillip Island, Victoria

I headed out late in the afternoon for the granite tors known as the Pinnacles. Managing to shelter from a raging southerly, I captured the late afternoon sun striking the peaks, bringing out their raw beauty. Some locations although not too far off the beaten track can seem quite remote and hostile especially when being battered by fierce winds from the Southern Ocean.

By now it was time to head back to civilisation, and maybe a chance to add some more gear to the camera bag.

On to Melbourne

Our arrival in Melbourne was greeted by a heatwave, so we decided to head for the beach. We ended up at Brighton, which was a very handy location, as I could photograph the beach huts whilst the kids played in the sand. Photographing the beach huts at Brighton is hard to resist, the colourful array of huts set against a blue sky really makes for a striking image.

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Melbourne by Night
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St. Kilda Pier
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Brighton Beach, Melbourne, Victoria

Having enjoyed a few days in the city we had started to become impatient to get back onto the road and to start the next leg of our journey. The Great Ocean Road.

To read about the next leg of our journey, see new links on our Big Trip Homepage or receive notification via our newsletter subscription (bottom of our home page).