Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bunyip mischief

Between Fish Creek (red star at bottom) to Don Valley
(red star at top) is Bunyip State Park with Lawson Creek
falls (blue star)
[Michele] On Sunday we travelled from Fish Creek to Don Valley, Victoria.  Between these two towns is a park called Bunyip State Park which is reported to have a nice waterfall at Lawson's creek.  What a nice way to break up a 2.5 hour drive. We decided to head for Bunyip Park.

What is a Bunyip?  A bunyip is a mythical creature from Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds and waterholes (wikipedia).  This creature is reported to be an imposter who causes mischief.  In the location of Bunyip State Park, aboriginals told of many bunyip activities and warned that making ripples in the waters attracted the bunyips.

Bunyip State forest was logged until 1990 and the park is criss-crossed with a network of logging roads. Lawson creek waterfall is in the eastern end of the park far from the main park headquarters. Not a problem - our plan was to take the gravel road through the park and to the other side where we would meet the sealed roads to Don Valley.  Well this is a case of a little knowledge being dangerous.  We had a map of the park roads but not of the roads north of the park.  More on that later.

We drove along a gravel road to the trailhead. This was by far the least developed track we've walked in Australia. The first pictures shows the official viewing area for Lawson's Creek falls. The falls themselves were nice and we enjoyed the walk and visit.

Official viewing area for Lawson's Creek waterfall
Will in front of Lawson's Creek waterfall

Because I was wearing sandals that weren't ideal for scrambling on steep muddy slopes, I stayed at the official viewing area.  Well it turns out that this was not a wise thing. Moving around or maybe moving away from the damp area near the creek would have prevented the leeches from finding me. Australia is the only place that has land leeches, as opposed to water leeches.  They sit in damp soil and sense vibrations and heat to find red blooded creatures to suck.  The first one I noticed was crawling on my hand.  "Hmm, weird black inch worm" I thought.  Then a few minutes later another one was on my hand.  After some thought, I realized that those wierd black inchworms might have been leeches and checked inside my socks. Sure enough I found a third one there!  OK, at this point I had full on leech heebie-jeebies.  I didn't find any more and none of them got any of my blood.  *whew* Another tick mark on my creepy Australian animal encounter check list!

We continued up the road and reached a part of the forest that was very hot in the fire so that none of the trees survived.  It was a eerily beautiful sight.  Farther on, we finally exited the north end of the park where we thought we would reach a sealed road.  Instead, we saw more gravel road which was blocked by sign that there was a major landslip.  We had to go back the way that we came.. driving back through the large log that was in an earlier blog post and out the southern end of the park.
In the end, what should have been a 2.5 hour drive ended up taking 4.5 hours.  For this and the leeches, I blame the bunyips!


1 comment:

  1. Cool story.

    I used to live in Melbourne Victoria before I came to Sweden. I steer clear of standard souvenirs but sometimes pick up odd items. One of these is a heavy leather hat. It reminded me of Australia somehow but I bought it believing that it represented local handcraft, a product of a local saddlemaker.
    It has been collecting dust for years and the saddlemaker has also disappeared, so I finally decided to give the hat away. I was just wiping of the external dust in preparation for vacuum cleaning the inside when I noticed a vague imprint in the band around the hat.
    It reads "Bunyip Creek Drovers MELBOURNE VICTORIA AUSTRALIA". It is therefore doubtful that the hat is local work and I must wonder how it ended up in the same little town as me almost on the opposite side of the globe. More bunyip mischeif?
    By the way, I have been to Fish Creek south of Sale so I am surprised that there is another place in Victoria with the same name.

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