Some bushwalkers approach every hike as a boot camp challenge, treading from A to B as fast as possible and paying only passing attention to the kaleidoscope of colours and textures, flora and fauna, and the geological artistry on show around them and underfoot. But not me. I stop so often for the views, the smooth, coarse, peeling, scribbled tree trunks and tangled canopies, the prettily patterned fern fronds, the insects on wildflowers and fungi on mossy logs and moist ground, that I rarely finish a walk within the time suggested in park notes and on park signs.
Setting aside my 10-year old Nikon D300 DSLR camera last year (parts no longer available) for a LUMIX G9 mirrorless – thanks for suggesting this upgrade Ewen Bell – has considerably lightened my photographic load when bushwalking; I frequently check my camera bag because it feels as if I have left my camera somewhere back along the track. But pairing the G9 with a Panasonic Leica 100-400mm zoom lens has slowed me down even further, because now I photograph birds!
The big lens doesn’t accompany me on every hike, and rarely on overnight pack walks, even though the combined weight of the G9, 12-35mm lens and zoom is less than my old DSLR with standard lens. But it is ideal on walks promising bird life, such as the Sale Wetlands loop in Victoria’s central Gippsland region.
It took me five hours to complete this flat 15km walk from the Port of Sale, around town lakes and down through wetlands to the historic swing bridge over the Thomson River.
New Holland honeyeaters
red cheeked wattlebirds
The Sale Wetlands walk is mapped, photographed and described in detail in Top Walks in Victoria, the 2nd edition of which is due out later this year.