Day 12 (Wednesday 15th November 2017) of our trip had rolled around and it was time to leave Mallacoota. We had thoroughly enjoyed our time here. Today we had a 202 km drive ahead of us, from Mallacoota to Lakes Entrance. We had two planned park activations for the day, the first being the Lake Tyers State Park VKFF-0761.
As we approached Orbost on the Princes Highway, we detoured off to have a look at the Cabbage Tree Creek Flora Reserve. Thi is home to Australia’s most southerly palm, the Cabbage Fan-palm Livistona australis, known locally as the Cabbage Tree Palm. It takes its name from the edible growing tip or ‘heart’, once used as a food source.
There is a very nice walk through the rainforest here. The gentle 15 minute loop track winds through warm temperate rainforest on the banks of the Cabbage Tree Creek. During our walk we heard what sounded like the Eastern Whipbird. But who would know? The forest is also home to the Lyrebird, who are excellent at mimicry of other bird calls. I did spot a pair of Topknot pigeons. They are a large grey pigeon with a red bill, and a swept back crest that is grey in front and rusty red behind.
We continued on the Princes Highway through Orbost and then to Nowa Nowa. We continued south on the highway until we reached Burnt Bridge Road and entered the park, Krowathunkooloong Country. Lake Tyers is about 350 km east of Melbourne and 20 km north east of Lakes Entrance.
Just after getting into the park there are a number of information signs which explain the very interesting history of the area. The original name of Lake Tyers was ‘Bung Yarnda’ which means ‘Big Waters’. The Wannagetti aboriginal people, a group of the Kurnai (Gunai), lived at Bung Yarnda prior to the arrival of the Europeans.
The Lake Tyers State Park is around 7,100 hectares in size and extends from Lake Tyers Beach to Mount Nowa Nowa. The park is jointly managed between Parks Victoria and the Gunaikurnai people.
Marija and I initially went to the Burnt Bridge camping area, however there wasn’t enough room here to stretch out the dipole. A little disappointing, as it was a beautiful spot alongside of the water.
We then drove to the Cherry Tree camping area at the end of the Cherry Tree Track.
There was a fairly large car parking area here, and plenty of room to erect the dipole, without encroaching on the comfort of any other visitors to the area.
This was also a beautiful spot, right on the water. There was quite a bit of birdlife that we spotted, including Pelicans and White-faced Herons. It was a warm day so we were ever vigiliant and kept an eye out for snakes. Fortunately we did not encounter any.
Marija and I had no internet coverage from the park, so we were hoping that one of the park regulars would find us and spot us. We started calling CQ on 7.144 and it wasn’t long before Sergio VK3SFG gave us a call with a very strong 5/9 signal. This was followed by Ken VK3UH who was also 5/9, Ron VK5MRE who was 5/8, and then Gerard VK2IO who was 5/7. Gerard VK2IO was kind enough to spot us on parksnpeaks.
The 40m band appeared to be in quite good condition. Thirteen minutes into the activation we had our 10 required contacts in the log to qualify the park for the VKFF program. That being a contact with Greg VK5GJ at Meadows in the Adelaide Hills.
As had occurred during previous activations on the trip, I continued on, hoping to get my 44 QSOs to qualify the park for the global WWFF program. There was an initial rush of callers, but calls then started to slow down. I logged a total of 35 stations on 40m in around 50 minutes. I then headed to the 80m band. Gerard VK2IO had spotted me again, so I had a few stations waiting for me on 3.610. Nik VK3NLK mobile was first in the log on 80m, followed by Keith VK3FMKE, and then Peter VK3PF who kindly gave me his other 2 calls to help me towards my 44.
I then called CQ on 14.310 on the 20m band for around 5 minutes, but had no takers. So I headed back to 7.144 where I logged Rick VK4RF/VK4HA. But nobody else came back to me after 5 more minutes of CQ calls. I was now sitting on 42 contacts and needed just 2 more to qualify the park, so I was forced to scan across the band hoping to find some stations. I heard Rob VK7VZ/2 talking with Steve VK3NSC on 7.168, both of whom had strong signals. I gave them a call, and as a result I got over the line with 44 QSOs.
During the activation we had a visit from a number of the aboriginal rangers. We explained the hobby of amateur radio and the parks program. They were extremely friendly and were very interested in what we were doing, and were happy that we were promoting the park.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Birds in Backyards, 2017, <http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Lopholaimus-antarcticus>, viewed 1st December 2017
Parks Victoria, 2017, <http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/lake-tyers>, viewed 1st December 2017