Tuesday, 17 September 2019

But Wait There's More- St Bathans


While at St Bathans I was determined to catch a sunrise over the lake. It was the middle of winter so I didn't have to get up too early; about 6:30am to be up at the lake just after seven. But while the late start was a bonus the bitterly cold temperatures outside weren't.  

Spot the Paradise Ducks floating near the edge
Several times through the night I'd open the door to check on the weather and each time a blast of freezing cold air would hit me. Nearly always the sky was crystal clear and inky black with a mass of twinkling stars reaching from one side of the horizon to the other. Perfect weather for a heavy frost each morning but not great for a sunrise; I needed a few clouds for the colour to bounce off. Each morning we woke to an icy frost and outside temperatures of -2c to -6c. Brrrrr.....

On the first morning when it looked like I might get a decent sunrise; by the time I reached the lake, heavy grey cloud had swallowed up what remained of the blue sky and blotted out any hope of colour.

I was waiting for something to poke it's head out of that hole, hopefully not a rat!
The cloud was quickly followed by thick fog and the temperature dropped sharply, if it could drop anymore, it was already about -2c. There was nothing for it but to head home to the warmth of the van.

A couple of days later I tried again, the conditions still weren't ideal but at least there was a little bit of wispy cloud streaking across the sky. 

The colour wasn't as brilliant as I'd hoped for, I think much of the initial intense colour was lost as the sun rose behind the Hawkdun Range before it popped over the top and filled our little corner of the valley.

On this morning I waited patiently as the sun inched its way down St Bathans Range, knowing that if the breeze stayed away there'd be some lovely reflections on the lake once it was light enough. I walked to the clay cliffs that overlook the lake and track down to the lake's edge. Once you could camp down at the lake edge but that's not allowed any more. 

A pair of Paradise Ducks (the same ones that were swimming on the lake earlier- see the 1st photo) were being chased by other ducks and landed on a pile of clay nearby. And then they spent the whole time honking and squawking at me. There'd be no chance of sneaking around the lake with a dozen or so Paradise ducks in residence, they make as much noise as though pesky Spurwing Plovers.

Afterwards I drove down to the lake and walked carefully around the edge of the lake clambering over gravel slides and more sticky clay until I could go no further.

The sun hadn't quite reached the lake but the reflections were amazing.

I've usually taken reflection photos from the tops of these cliffs on the other side of the lake so it was great to see them from a different angle.

I clicked away until my Paradise Duck pair returned to the lake and in the process disturbed the water. Soon afterwards there was a minor skirmish as three or four other ducks flew in to claim their territory.

I walked back to the carpark taking a few more photos of the cliffs below the village. You can certainly see why mining was stopped when the 'Glory Hole' got so close to the town.

Those ducks are following me around but at least they're not fighting this time!

The next day I headed back up to the lake for the golden hour; that hour of light before the sun sets,  when the light is soft and the shadows long. Though I left my run a little late, not allowing for the fact that the sun was going to disappear ahead of time behind St Bathans Range.

I quickly made my way along the cliffs, catching more beautiful reflections... 

...and making sure I captured the Post Office again in this brighter light (than the previous one I shot)

The light was perfect, the dark Blue Lake certainly living up to its name in this light.

You would think after so many visits to St Bathans, I would have realised what those black 'sticks' were on the cliffs opposite by now. I've always thought they were logs and wondered how they ended up there - ruining my perfect photos! I thought perhaps they were wildling pines that had been felled on the cliffs above and the trunks had then rolled (or were pushed) over the edge. 

Duh! After getting up close to them this time I now realise that they are rusted metal pipes, left over from the gold mining era.

Here are a couple more reflection photos...

This cream rock formation always reminds me of a resting dog or cat. 

And to give you some perspective, that is a full size willow tree to the right of it (this photo was taken on my walk back after the sun had dropped)

I got about halfway down the lake before the sun finally disappeared behind the hills and it was time to turn around and head back to the ute.

But not before catching the last of the golden light at the top end of the lake.

And here's one last photo to make you smile. This is what happens when you set your self-timer too long.

'Are you going to click or what?'


  1. I saw your photos on flickr, it looks like quite a rugged area.

    1. Hi Amy, not too bad. It's quite isolated although only 65kms from Alexandra.


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