Saturday 1 April
Bay of Islands Coastal Park VKFF-0743
I found a spot to bivouac for the night. The tent rattled all night, with strong gusting winds and occasional rain events, so it was not particularly restful. I awoke early, packed up the tent and moved into the Coastal Park, at the end of Buckleys Road. I set up, spotted and called on 80 m, with responses from Mick VK3GGG and Geoff VK3SQ. Several minutes of further calls yielded no results, so I went to 40 m and worked Gerard VK2IO/m near Newcastle. Again I had no responses to calls, so moved to 20 m, where I worked Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs. With 5 calls in the log, I called it quits, with City of Warrnambool qualified.
I packed up and headed into Warrnambool to grab some breakfast. It was then west to Tyrendarra and NW up Mount Clay Road, then around to the locked gate at Mount Clay.
Mount Clay VK3/VS-051 186 m 1 point
I set up using one of the gate posts to support the squid pole and strung out the 40/20 inverted V. Ivan VK5HS was first in the log after I managed to post a spot. I ended up with 10 contacts in about 15 minutes. Given the agenda ahead, I closed when I had no replies to calls. Another Complete to the tally, plus Glenelg Shire activated.
I retraced my route to Tyrendarra, then headed NE to Mount Eccles National Park.
Mount Eccles National Park VKFF-0345
My access route was via C191 and C176, then some small roads to get to the Lake Surprise Picnic area. Another set up with the 40/20 inverted V. With good mobile signals, I first checked ParksnPeaks. First in the log was Paul VK5PAS/p in VKFF-0790, followed by Marija VK5FMAZ. Adrian VK5FANA/p in VKFF-0812, Greg VK5GJ/p and Norm VK5GI/p in VKFF-1038, Mark VK5QI/p in VKFF-0941 and Gerard on VK2/HU-080 followed. A short excursion to 20 m yielded Rick VK4RF. With no further calls and 11 in the log, it again time to move on. Shire of Moyne in the bag.
I headed into MacArthur, then on C185 to Penshurst to grab a late lunch, then up to the car park at Mt Rouse.
Mt Rouse VK3/VS-048 369 m 1 point
When I was set up, I saw a spot for Rob VK4AAC/p, so quickly moved to 40 m to work him in VKFF-0722. Adrian VK5FANA/p in VKFF-0812, Peter VK5PET/p on Mt Lofty, Paul VK5PAS/p & Marija VK5FMAZ in Talisker CP and Wade VK1FWBD/p on VK1/AC-038 VKFF-0863 were highlight contacts. With 7 in the log and Shire of Southern Grampians qualified, I headed north to Dunkeld to add fuel to the car. Bad move: the advertised price on the automated system did not include the GST charge, so the cost is actually 10% higher! I then headed east on B160. A little way down the road, I passed through a small hamlet with a petrol outlet, with a cheaper price and presumably not adding the GST as an extra. Such is life.
East of Streatham, I headed NNE on Eurambeen-Streatham Rd to Raglan.
Mount Cole VK3/VS-008
In Raglan, navigated around to Raglan-Mt Cole Rd. The start of Frees Point Road had a large sign indicating that it was a dead end. I headed further up the road to 37.33294 S 143.28293 E, to turn left, the left again and then onto Mt Cole Track. I gave up driving at about 350 m from the summit, then walked up to the high point in the track, comfortably inside the Activation Zone.
I set up and worked VK1AD/2 on VK2/ST-036, Brian VK3MCD/p on VK3/VC-019, Peter VK5PET/p on VK5/SE-005 and Gerard VK2IO/p on VK2/HU-054, plus Nev VK5WG. 5 in the log and no further responses, so it was again time to pack up. Pyrenees Shire activated and another Complete.
I retraced my route back to Raglan, then down to the Western Highway and west to Ararat.
One Tree Hill VK3/VS-036 569 m 2 points
Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958
I worked my way around to the road to the One Tree Hill Lookout, then on to close to the summit. Another quick set up with the 40/20 inverted V. My first call on 40 m was answered by Mick VK3GGG/p on VK3/VW-016 VKFF-0629. Next was Allen VK3ARH/p on VK3/VC-024 and later Gerard VK2IO/p on VK2/HU-54. It did not take long to have 10 contacts in the log, so I again pulled the plug at 0728 Z. Ararat Rural City qualified and another complete.
As I was driving down from the lookout, I considered my options. I decided on another summit and headed to Halls Gap.
Near Boroka Lookout VK3/VW-007 867 m 4 points
Grampians National Park VKFF-0213
From Halls Gap, I worked my way up C222 to Mt Difficult Road and up to the car park for Boroka Lookout. I grabbed the gear and headed slightly up hill to the base of the rock to ensure that I was in the AZ. I set up on 80 m and quickly worked Col VK3LED, Bill VK4FW/p in VKFF-0363 and Nev VK5WG. After a few more minutes calling, I changed to 40 m and worked Paul VK5PAS/p in VKFF-0780. Summit qualified, another Complete and Shire of Northern Grampians activated. A few more contacts for the Park added to the tally. I packed up and headed down, then drove to Horsham to find a motel room for the night and some food.