The day starts watching the local birdlife gather a feed from the flooded grounds nearby while I finish off last nights dinner of crackers and dip from the supermarket. The nearby Wimmera River attracts early morning walkers and joggers.
The river is just behind the trees.
A Red-rumped Parrot.
Black-tailed Native Hens.
Crested Pigeons (also called Topknot Pigeons)
Purple Swamp Hens...
with their comedic walk, my favourite river bird. Their broad feet are perfect for walking on water lillies, mud flats and through aquatic plants.
After buying a new 17inch rear tube at the local Harley/Suzuki dealer, I go on a mission to the three other bike shops in Horsham, trying to find a new rear Mitas E09 Dakar to trade the DeathWing and some cash for. I can't even find any type of 17inch dual-sport tyre "We don't get any bikes that need those around here." "What, like mine?"
It's only a major rural centre on a major Australian travel route. Shame I wasn't riding an 18inch motocrosser, because that's all every one of them catered for, other than normal road bike tyres.
Giving up and glad I still had the Bridgestone to fall back on, even though it's a pain in the arse to carry, I head to the local Primary Industries government office, to obtain my Victorian Miner's Right.
While the counter worker fills out the paperwork, I take a couple of photos of the Bearded Dragon in his display tank. He's about fifteen inches long and really active.
The name coming from the spiny "beard" that even goes underneath his face. They're actually a really soft, easy to handle lizard that loves to flatten out as wide as possible when feeling threatened. They also love to climb and can often be seen on fence posts out bush.
They make great pets and feed happily on cockroaches and insects, including flies, which is a good thing in Australia.
Wandering back to the counter to collect my Miner's Right, I blurt out to the lady, "Your Bearded Dragon is looking really healthy today." Most places in Australia could have me groaning on the ground clutching freshly kicked nuts seconds later, but here she smiles and agrees he's a beauty. I leave the office, thankful I haven't been manhandled out by security gorillas and with the great feeling that I'm now a legitimate Gold Prospector. Off to the fields to dig gold nuggets like potatoes and earn that round Australia holiday ticket overnight.
About forty kilometres later, I have to stop for a koala on the roadside.
He's a biggun.
Australians have a fascination with building these big bronze, steel and fibreglass monuments, to draw in tourist dollars. With the souvenir shop, Icecreamery, a Hotel and even an Indian Restaurant alongside, this one seems to get a healthy share of traffic.
After a bit more riding, refueling and camping gear shopping (I wanted a plastic gold panning dish (no luck there), hexamine stove and grabbed a couple of cheap waterproof roll top bags for my panniers at home), I finally make the goldfields of the Saint Arnaud Range National Park, near Redbank township. Into the forrest along the all weather tracks...
And find an old campsite only metres in, with a bottle dump dating back to maybe the 1860's, containing a few intact hand made potion and elixir bottles left by previous prospectors for all visitors to appreciate.
Such bottle dumps were common on the goldfields where settlements were formed near reliable mining sites. The actual "snake-oil" potions were designed by the chemists and hawkers to be so foul and horrid to ingest, the patient consuming them would feel so much better once they were finished, he/she would feel miraculously cured by said half toxic blends.
And finally, deep into the eucalyptus forrest to camp right near some old gold mines and diggings.
My home for the next few days.