Our second activation for day four was The Lakes National Park VKFF-0484, just a short distance down the road from the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park. The park is located about 271 km east of Melbourne and about 36 km by road from Golden Beach. Again, this was to be a unique park for Marija and I as activators, for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, and the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award.
The Lakes National Park is 2,390 hectares of low lying woodland and coastal heath, consisting of Sperm Whale Head peninsula, Rotamah and Little Rotamah Islands.
Eucalypt and Banksia woodland are widespread in the sandy soils of the park. Areas of coastal heath are interspersed with swampy, salt marsh vegetation. The park is most spectacular in spring, when wildflowers are on show. Several rare plant species feature, including Ribbed Thryptomene which, apart from this area, is found only in Tasmania and the York and Eyre Peninsulas in South Australia.
More than 190 species of bird have been recorded in the park including the rare White Bellied Sea Eagle and endangered Little Tern. Numerous native animals can also be found in the park including Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Black Wallabies, Echidnas, Ring-tailed possums, Sugar Gliders, Pygmy Possums, Wombats, and the endangered New Holland Mouse.
We drove through the town of Loch Sport to the southern entrance of the park at the end of National Park Road. This is the only way to get into the park, other than by boat.
We then followed the Lake Reeve Track, stopping occasionally for a few photographs. The track is dirt, but is in good condition and is easily passable in a conventional vehicle.
We continued along Lake Reeve Track until we reached the Netting Boundary Picnic Area. There was a wooden table and benches here and it looked like a terrific spot to set up.
Additionally, there was plenty of room to string out the 80/40/20m linked dipole, and there were no other persons in the campground.
This was a really pretty spot, and just across the road from where we were operating was Lake Reeve. Lake Reeve provides important feeding and roosting habitat for a number of waterfowl species, and is one of Victoria’s most important areas for wading birds. The lake is a significant feature of the Gippsland Lakes system and is listed under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR).
The lake was alive with Black Swans and various other water birds.
Marija and I decided on a change of tactics for this activation, with Marija planning on getting her 10 contacts and qualifying the park for VKFF, and then handing the mic for me. Marija called CQ on 7.144 and this was soon answered by Gerard VK2IO with a strong 5/8 signal, followed by Greg VK5GJ in the Adelaide Hills, Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland region of South Australia, and then John VK5BJE in the Adelaide Hills. Within 9 minutes, despite the band being in quite poor condition with lots of fading (QSB), Marija had contact number ten in the log, a QSO with Angela VK7FAMP in Tasmania.
I then took control of the mic, logging Angela VK7FAMP as contact number one. Rod VK7FRJG then called in, followed by John VK5BJE, and then Garry VK2GAZ. Contact number ten came 6 minutes into being on air, a QSO with Greg VK5GJ. Marija and I had both qualified the park for VKFF and the Keith Roget parks award. Now the quest was on for me to get my 44 to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.
I logged a total of 29 stations on 40m before the callers dried up. Only a handful of Victorian stations were in the log on 40m, so I was hoping that the 80m band would prove to be a little better to log the local stations. I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Peter VK3ZPF. All had 5/9 signals. I logged a further 7 stations on 80m, all from VK3.
I then headed over to the 20m band and started calling CQ on 14.310. My call was answered, much to my surprise, by Igor UA5D in Russia who had a strong 5/8 signal (5/6 received). Paul F2YT in France then called in, with a 5/7 signal (3/3 received). But sadly, despite a good start on 20m, they were my only callers. I was now sitting on 43 contacts, needing just one more QSO to qualify the park for WWFF.
It was now 5.30 p.m. and Marija and I really wanted to head off for tea, so I put out a quick call on 7.144 which was answered by David VK5LSB. My 44th contact…thanks David. I then logged Hans VK5YX, Peter VK2NEO, and finally John VK2IFT.
So, with the park qualified for VKFF, WWFF, and the KRMNPA it was time to pack up.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
After packing up Marija and I continued along Lake Reeve Track until we reached Point Wilson. There are some nice views here across the water to Raymond Island and Paynesville. The water’s edge was alive with Pelicans, Cormorants, Terns and various other birdlife. There were also a number of yachties out on the water enjoying the later afternoon sunshine.
We then drove along Victoria Track, which is definitely 4WD only, and is marked as such. This is a really fun 4WD track taking you through some great parts of the park. We stopped briefly as Trouser Point to enjoy the views and say g’day to some of the local kangaroos.
It was now starting to get a bit late and we decided to stop off at the Marina Tavern at Loch Sport for a meal. The pub is set on the banks of Lake Victoria. And we were very pleased we did, as the meal was excellent. I had a Neptune schnitzel, with fresh prawns and other seaford, and a seafood sauce. Marija had a Thai Green Curry, which the waitress said had an Italian twist, as it had hot chips and salad as well. And Marija says it was one of the nicest meals she has had.
Parks Victoria, 2017, ‘The Lakes National Park Visitor Guide’.