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Adventures down under
18th Mar 2017
Dandenong Ranges

Judi is part of a community on Flickr, an internet photo sharing site. There is a group that regularly meets in and around Melbourne, and they had arranged a meeting to coincide with our visit. We were picked up at our apartment at 8am by Lisa, accompanied by Jenny, and were driven to the Dandenong Ranges. The meeting place was the Piggery cafe, next door to the Alfred Nicholas memorial gardens. True to its name, there is a small piggery there, with two piglets - bubble and squeak. We saw our first close-up kookaburra here, sitting on the barbecue grill. Apparently he was a regular (one of two) and had been enticed by a tasty piece of sausage.  After exchanging greetings with everyone else as they arrived, we sat down to breakfast before walking next door to the gardens to take photos. Alfred Nicholas formulated and patented the aspro painkiller, and set up the garden as part of his estate, Burnham Beeches. The garden has several interlinked paths winding down the valley under a canopy of immense Mountain Ash trees and large ferns. These trees are not the European Rowan, but are a variety of eucalyptus that grows over 80 metres tall - the second tallest tree species in the world. We heard kookaburras laughing at us as we entered the garden and started our descent towards the lake and saw a couple of Rosellas (parrots) flying around. It has been quite dry, so the waterfalls we passed were not spectacular, but with hardly any breeze, the lake was like a mirror reflecting the boat house perfectly. The ornamental bridges across the lake were quite pretty, but being early autumn, there wasn't a lot of colour around other than green, which frustrated some of the photographers.  We climbed back up several steps (the equivalent of climbing 27 floors!) to the Piggery Cafe for lunch, followed by group photos and a farewell to the the other photographers.  Lisa and Jenny took us to Sassafras, a short distance away, which is a pretty hamlet with a variety of shops and tea houses.  So time for a little shopping (and exchange of gifts) and a last minute cup of tea before being driven back to our apartment.

Next: Last day in Melbourne
Previous: St Kilda

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