On Friday Graham and I went up to Merrijig in the high country of Victoria for a weekend away.
Sam was/is in China for a week with his school so we decided to take some time out too.
Friday was cool weather wise but that was ok it had been wet and muggy in Melbourne so a drop in temperature was a bit of a reliefe. We stayed in a resort called Pinnacle Valley which is in the foot hills below Mt Buller, one of the ski resorts here in Victoria. So after we dropped off our bags we drove up the mountain for a little bit of a look. Its late Spring here in Australia, and Summer is only a week away, but up on top of Mt Buller you would never know!
We headed back to our hotel down the mountain, where we opened up the curtains and almost straight away this little chap arrived on the balcony to check us out. We became pretty good friends and shared a couple of meals together.
These are King parrots, the ones with the red breast and head are the boys and the ones with the green heads are the girls. They are very used to being looked after by visitors and the hotel gives out seed to feed them, the're definitely not shy and will sit on your arm and eat out of your hand.
So this was the start of our weekend. On Saturday, we woke up bright and early to the sound of the birds and with the sunshine streaming in between the curtains, so we got up and had breaky, checked out the birds and headed into town for a look around.
We've been up here before about 3 years ago, and really love the area, but now the drought has broken and we have had rain it is really lush and green, the gardens look wonderful, the fields are green and the rivers are rushing full with cold clean water. The rivers up here are the Delatite, Goulburn and Howqua and now after last years floods and good snow over winter, and more healthy rain they are flowing well.
Mansfield is a regional hub for many of the local farmers and also a tourist town especially during the ski season, the area is also a favorite with hikers and campers, so there is no shortage of cafe's and pubs, and many gift shops around the town. A real trap for someone like me! One shop i really liked was the tea shop but i will write a seperate piece about that. The council does a lovely job of keeping the streets neat and clean, and landscaped. It is a pretty, town with beautiful tree lined streets and lovely plantings around the streets.
After having a look around Mansfield and getting ourselves some lunch we drove north past the Mansfield Race Course to explore. There was thunder rolling around and we stopped and took some pictures of the storm coming in.
No sooner were we back in the car than the rain came and it was heavy! We were glad to be In the car not getting in it, eventually we turned off onto a dirt road, after the weather calmed down and just checked out the wild flowers and the local fauna. Sure enough, ask and the universe will provide, out came this little guy.
How cute is he! Made driving through a storm worth the trouble! He/she....not very good at sexing Echidnas! is an Echidna or Spiney Anteater. They are Monotremes which lay eggs and keep their young in a pouch, Echidna's are cousins of Platypuses, and on this day the gods were smiling on us because we saw two!
They like to fosick around diggin up ants and other insects, but i had to wait a while to get a close up of this ones face because most of the time it had its head buried in the leaves.
The other echidna we saw was back at the resort and he was out in the open just wandering around.