Started the day with another drive through the vineyards and look at Kings Billabong. Then it was on to Woodsies Gem Shop to browse (and maybe purchase) some beautiful gemstone jewellery and carvings.
Next we headed south down the Calder Highway again, heading back into Hattah-Kulkyne for one last go at the emu-wrens. The conditions were much better but despite tramping around through the spinifex for an hour, no luck. On the way back out though we were lucky enough to spot a Chestnut Quail-thrush darting off the road and pulled up to find him picking around in the leaf litter without a care about us watching. I've been looking for one of these birds of any species (there are four species of Quail-thrush in Australia) for a while now and was surprised at how fearless it was. Anyway, the sighting certainly made visiting the park again worthwhile.
We headed down to the southern end of the park and had another picnic lunch at Lake Hattah, hoping once again for Regent Parrot but having to settle for a pair of shelducks instead.
Back on the Calder Highway we stopped briefly at Ouyen to look at The Big Mallee Stump. (I feel I should probably pause here and explain what Mallee is. Mallee are eucalypts which grow several slender trunks rather than one large one. The trunks are 3 to 6 metres high and grow from a single Mallee root.)
Continuing down the Calder we made it to Lake Tyrrell. It is Victoria's largest salt lake, with a surface area of about 200 square kilometres. Evaporation forms a salt crust which is harvested by Cheetam Salt for industrial, food, stockfeed, hide and pool use. In winter, the water on the lake reaches a depth of five centimetres.
We checked it out from the lookout, a vista of pale yellows, soft greys and dark pinks, and then drove down to the shore and went for a drive on the track along the southern edge. At first glance it appears to be a desolate environment, but upon closer inspection we found some unusual vegetation, samphire and saltbush, and interesting birds, including a pair of Bluebonnets. Down on the flat pan of the lake bed itself we admired the vast landscape and the beautiful way the salt crystals sparkle in the sunlight.
Next we headed east to Swan Hill where we immediately hit up the Giant Murray Cod for some photos. Staying in Swan Hill tonight.