WEDNESDAY MARCH 16 TOORA
The morning was not as windy as yesterday.
Usual morning routine: I got up about 8am, walked dog, fed dog, had my breakfast, waited for John to surface. M and C appeared and sat chatting with me – and we all waited for John to get going!
Decided we’d visit Foster. This was a place we’d driven through a number of times, on the way to the Prom, but not stopped at. Took both cars – the back seat of Terios really was not big enough for dog and people, and we certainly wouldn’t expose C’s rather new vehicle to Couey.
Went to the Foster Information Centre and collected some material. Outside it was an area that highlighted the gold mining period in the area, from the 1870’s. I’d had no idea that there had been so many mines around Foster, or that they yielded so much gold. It seems to have been overshadowed by the emphasis on the Ballarat and Bendigo goldfields, in particular.
Red dots show old mine locations around Foster town
There were walks we could have done around some of the mine areas, but they seemed to cover very hilly ground and the men were not feeling up to it.
Instead, we went for a walk across to the attractive park opposite the Info Centre. This stretches along Stockyard Creek, which formed a very pretty pond in the park.
RV parking area opposite Info Centre – bad luck about the car parked in it.
We started to follow a path alongside the creek. I had Couey on the lead and she tried a couple of times to pull me towards the creek. John and C needed to rest, so went back to where there were seats, while M and I walked on a way. As we turned around and headed back, John called to me to let Couey loose, so she could run between us and get in a gallop. Says John: “It will be alright, she always comes when I call her…” She did run to him, when called, but then pulled a right hand turn and made for the pond area, totally ignoring John’s calls. She did a very athletic running jump into the pond and came up wearing water lilies and a blissful expression. We definitely have mismatch between a fast-learning dog and slow-learning master!
I hadn’t bought my camera on the walk. Pity – a shot of Couey in the pond would have been priceless.
Needed to do a good long stroll, then, along the main street, in order to get dog dry enough for the car. So we meandered along, looking at the shops. John bought a light weight sun hat, having forgotten to pack his. Ditto his toothpaste, so I got him some. There was a butcher advertising local, grass-fed meat; it looked good, so I bought some lamb fillet and some steak. The prices were reasonable, too. M and John each bought a carton of beer cans. John had planned to not drink beer on this trip, in the interests of his waist line, but now changed his mind.
Walking back from depositing the beer in the car, John noticed a man standing outside a bakery, obviously really enjoying the pastie he was devouring. There was nothing for it but for him and C to buy themselves a pastie lunch! However, apart from cakes and pastries, the bakery only offered a very limited range of pre-made sandwiches – all in white bread. The men did not want to wait around while I went to try to find a better alternative , so I settled, reluctantly, for a pack of cheese sandwiches. M doesn’t eat lunch.
I really liked Foster. Definitely possible for a return visit.
The area around Toora
We drove the few kms to Port Franklin where there was a very pleasant park area in a loop of the Franklin River. Here we sat and ate the lunches we’d bought in Foster. The men pronounced the square pasties excellent. I left most of my sandwiches – they were awful. John had bought a four pack of some foreign beer, in Foster, and we each had one of those with lunch. I didn’t like it much.
We gave Couey a ball chase run in the park, then went for a wander.
There were a number of boats moored in the small tidal river. Seemed there were still fishermen operating out of Port Franklin out into Corner Inlet.
The inlet at Port Franklin
Took a boardwalk that went out through the scrub and mangrove mud flats, thinking we might see some interesting birds.
What is that saying about repeating an action and expecting a different outcome from the last time? John insisted dog be let off the lead, saying she would stay on the boardwalk, no worries. Of course, the moment he let her loose, she did a great leap off the boardwalk, into deep mangrove mud. Guess to her it didn’t look any different to brown coloured water. She sank to her chest with a look of puzzlement at finding herself unable to swim. In other circumstances it would have been funny. Eventually she managed to plough her way back to where she could clamber back up to us, smelling horribly swampy and all over thick mud. She really had to battle to get out. John said he didn’t think she would do that. Honestly …I despair. So he got to put a very muddy, extremely smelly dog on the lead and walk with her!
The mangrove walk was not particularly interesting. The tide was out. There were few birds.
Back at the park, we tried to wash the worst of the muck off dog at a tap, getting a bit muddy ourselves, in the process. M and C watched from a safe distance. I was not happy. It is a good thing that the back seat of my car is covered with a couple of old rugs and (mostly) waterproof seat protectors. Couldn’t do much about the swampy smell though.
Returned to Toora along back roads through pleasant farming country. There, took the steep road up the hill to Silcocks Lookout, where there were good views over the flat coastal plain, to Corner Inlet, with the hills of the Prom beyond. Could pick out Port Franklin, where we had been.
From Silcocks Lookout, across Corner Inlet to Wilsons Promontory
Counted twelve windfarm towers.
Windfarm towers on the hills
Then went on to Agnes Falls, which I had not heard of before this trip. They are “the longest single span falls in Victoria” – 59 metres high. From the car park, a track went down to viewing areas.
Going down to Agnes Falls
A little cement weir was, years ago, built across the top of the falls, as the river is part of a local water supply system.
There was a small flow going over the falls, down into a surprisingly deep gorge. It would be quite spectacular after a period of heavy rain.
Alongside the path, and the gorge itself, were blue gum trees, their smooth trunks an unusual chocolate colour.
Chocolate coloured eucalypts
As we trudged back up the path to the cars, a cheeky grey fantail kept us company, flitting through the bushes. The men found the trek back rather hard, even though it was a pretty gradual incline. They both have issues with lung damage.
The deep gorge
The picnic area by the car park would be a very pleasant place to have lunch.
Retraced our route back to Toora.
From the lookout, had seen a large white building in the town and drove through the streets to see if we could find it and see what it was. Discovered that it was an old milk/butter factory – in fact, the oldest in Victoria, that had been closed down by its previous owners. In recent times, under new owners and after a rather shaky start, it had ramped up again, producing infant milk powder for export to China. The Victorian Government had invested money in the project. Bet the businesses in town had been pleased about that.
Back to camp. Dog had an appointment with a long, cold, hosing down. Didn’t impress her one bit but she smelled too swampy to be in Bus without a good wash. Note to self – given dog’s affinity for dirty water, pack some dog shampoo in Bus before next trip!
Happy hour at Bus, followed by a light tea – just a tin of soup.
John went for a shower before bed. He didn’t bother to read the instructions about getting the hot water to run hot, that were prominently posted on the bathroom wall, so had a cold shower.