Decisions on where to go camping can be made based, on one hand, on detailed research, or on a whim without too much knowledge of the selected location. The great thing about the latter approach is that one does not have any great expectations and therefore is not disappointed with the outcome, as was the case when visiting Lake Charm recently.
Having been based at Sea Lake a few times, the lakes to the south east of Swan Hill intrigued me, but were slightly too far for a day trip. So, when I was planning a return visit to Sea Lake and combining this with a long weekend for K and I, Lake Charm seemed to be a good option. The attraction, based on reviewing the maps of the area lay in the proximity to a couple of nature reserves and the caravan park being at the edge of the lake. Apart from that we had no great expectations.
That said a few days before leaving we had two totally different views on the location. One was: “Why are you going there – there is nothing to do’ and the other was: ‘we had many a great time around the lake’.
Arriving at Lake Charm Foreshore Caravan Park on the Saturday of the long weekend, it was clear that the majority of people there had arrived on the Friday to maximise their time there. We were the last take up their allotted site in the fully booked caravan park.
The caravan park
The bulk of the sites are taken up by long term ‘annuals’ – fully serviced caravans with fixed extensions. The few sites available for casual campers are located along the lake side, with great views around and across the lake. Our site was one of these. The park is well serviced with the usual facilities, although the showers lacked a shelf and bench.
When we arrived, however, the views were partially obstructed by a number of temporary marquees that were occupied by large groups. This highlighted the main attraction of the area – water sports. We set up to the background roar of jet skis (I am not a big fan of these), power boats towing water skiers and children having a ball playing in the water and being towed behind boats.
It was clear that this was not going to be a quiet weekend!
However, there was a silver lining. The next set subject for my camera club competition is sports and recreation, so this was an ideal place to get a few shots. Not having photographed water sports, or indeed any sports before, I made quite a few mistakes and missed a few great opportunities. I soon learned that shutter speeds and continuous focus settings along with a long focal length lens are paramount.
Whether I have any shots worthy of competition entry is yet to be decided, but here are a few in the meantime.
By Sunday, the increasing wind mean that water skiing was cancelled, but did not deter the ‘audience’ overlooking the lake. As a consequence, the camp was much quieter.
We were not leaving until Tuesday, so it was very interesting to see the general exodus on Monday, leaving only us and two other caravans – yet again a totally different atmosphere. By Tuesday we were last out.
We managed to walk along the edge of the lake in both directions. Anti-clockwise, we cut through the Power Boat Club private area, but didn’t get much further. In the clockwise direction, the public access path took us across private properties until we reached one that had their sprinkler running at the gate! Not a bad deterrent for roaming members of the public!
Although not the best time of the year, we visited the Ibis Rookery at Reedy Lake. This featured a hide, although the vegetation in front of it required cutting back to give full views, a nature trail and a cultural trail.
The nature trail was very poorly maintained, and at times left us guessing as to where to go and we didn’t get past ‘Go’ on the cultural trail – signage was sadly lacking and there was no obvious track.
Attempts to find other features such as the homestead and original General Store failed miserably, however we did find an excellent walking track on the west side of Kangaroo Lake, where there was a string of very nice properties with lake views.
Although disappointed at the lack of Ibis at the rookery, we were very well compensated by K spotting a couple of Tawny Frogmouths roosting in the tree waiting for dark behind our site. Unlike many of the birds she photographs these were very obliging by sitting very still. But they are very ugly (or as K prefers, they are well camouflaged and blend with the trees)! This is my attempt at bird photography!
Other bird life we spotted and K photographed included kookaburras, parrots, various honey eaters and a White Necked Heron
So, we left Lake Charm without any feelings of disappointment – would we go back, not sure! I am now back in Sea Lake and will write about that soon.