Beginning at Brambuk, the National Park and Cultural Centre, we were delighted by the setting and architecture. Built alongside the wetlands, it is calm and tranquil. The first building is the National Park building and between them is a series of walls with information about the 6 seasons recognized by the Indigenous people of Australia. This was news to us, despite having visited many Aboriginal cultural centres around the country.
The final building, Brambuk, is built like a cockatoo, which is Brambuk in the language of the original local people. It is impressive, with its spread ‘wings’ and beak and the inside is laid out really well. Entrance is a gold coin donation and there is a room where, if you ask for assistance, children can learn dot painting.
I learned more here – that Australian Aboriginal people are the oldest continuous culture in the world and that there WAS a treaty signed between the government and the original owners of the land (I was recently asked by a student if there was one, and I said that I didn’t think there had ever been one that represented all original peoples of Australia).
You cannot take photos of Aboriginal people because of their beliefs about the dead, but there are many exhibits you can photograph, like traditional fish traps, paintings or anything not involving people or sacred sites. There are paintings for sale, decorated boomerangs and other souvenirs in the National Park Centre.
After leaving Brambuk, we made an unplanned stop at Lake Bellfield and walked across the dam wall, looking over water, mountains and valleys.
The drive to Dunkeld from here was about 20 minutes, along pleasant scenery, that included views of the ranges ahead, beside and behind.
Dunkeld held little of interest in its own right, for us, but we didn’t visit the information centre to search more features. There was a choice of eateries and some art, craft and local produce centres, as well as a chemist, hotel and bank.
For the drive back, we diverted along the Victoria Valley road, which is very narrow, and saw some beautiful farming land, rich and green, although it appeared to be sheep country.
Detour number one when we returned to the main road was Mt William carpark. We decided to start the walk to the peak (the highest in the region) but got perhaps 200-300m and decided the steep gradient wasn’t what we were up for this afternoon, so took some scenery shots and came carefully back down.
Number 2 detour was Sundial carpark, from where we did the 0.8km walk to Silverband Falls. This was an easy walk and very pretty, through stringybark gum forests, with brightly-coloured tine birds teasing us by flitting by too quickly to be photographed easily. The falls are quite picturesque and would be a lovely picnic spot.
Remember, water, hat and sunscreen.