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2 April 2012 / leggypeggy

The Grampians—sandstone at its best

On the way to Turret Falls

Before we set out from Canberra to Perth, I reckoned that if we were driving all that way, I wasn’t going to miss out on seeing the Grampians again. I first visited this wonderful and scenic national park about 10 years ago—with two daughters, two exchange students, and an exchange student’s mum and sister in tow. We’d hired a ‘people mover’ and did the Snowy Mountains, Lakes Entrance, the Great Ocean Road and then turned right/north to see the Grampians. I’d never heard much about the Grampians before that, but someone recommended them as a side trip and what a wonderful choice it was.

Back then, I found that the road from Portland (Victoria) to the Grampians was one of the best-engineered roads I had ever driven on. My dad would have loved it. It was perfectly graded and a complete pleasure to drive. I wonder if it is still as good, and if it is also as good when you drive north to south?

This time we turned north after our visit to Warrnambool, and that road was pretty good too. Victoria must have some great road engineers.

But I digress.

The Grampians are a collection of sandstone mountain ranges. There are plenty of scenic walks, climbs, vistas and rock art displays. In fact, in 2006, the area was added to country’s National Heritage List for its outstanding beauty and for being one of southeast Australia’s richest sites for Indigenous rock art.

The path to Turret Falls

In recent years, the Grampians have suffered from some horrible extreme weather events. There were bush fires about six years ago. Then in 2011 there were severe storms and floods. Lots of the walks were washed out. Park staff have worked tirelessly to restore paths, but many remain closed.

We arrived on a rainy day. Poor John, who is always well-shod and very sure-footed, headed straight over the slippery rocks to the Pinnacles.

I followed him for some of the way, but having been there before, I succumbed to my in-built policy to ‘not break any bones when travelling’. So I turned back and hiked to Turret Falls instead. It was a sensible and practical choice. I got a good uphill aerobic workout with no ankle-breaking twists and turns. And I didn’t see another person on my track.

Poor John and I returned to the carpark about the same time, so headed off together to explore as many other walks as we could before the sun set.

We got chuckle out of the Cranage Lookout walk. A plaque there explained that the Cranage family used to run the kiosk in the Grampians. Every day, Pearl Cranage would shout across the canyon to Jack, the bus driver, to find out how many passengers he had, so she knew how many cups of tea to make.

There’s a kiosk there now, but it was closed when we arrived. So no tea for us, or anyone else.

Around sunset and after our exploring, we headed to one of the park’s two bush camps. You can’t bush camp just anywhere in the Grampians. There’s a ‘citified’ camp in Halls Gap, where we stayed 10 years ago, and two ‘rough’ camps—one south and one north. A rough camp costs $14.50 per night per tent.

Mackenzie Falls

Poor John and I went north and picked a flat spot, not too far from the toilets, and put up our tent. The campground has space for 25 campervans/tents and was about half full. Poor John reckoned the wood supply would be low, so drove off to find firewood. I gathered a lot of kindling and had it ready to go before he returned. Two sheets of scrunched up newspaper, a pile of kindling and one match were all it took to get the dinner-fire going.

It was a great night. The only downside was that it started to rain again just after 5am, so we had to pack up a wet tent.

Stay tuned for a posting about our drive out of the Grampians. There were kangaroos everywhere.

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  1. afterthelasttime / Apr 3 2017 10:24 am

    Very nice good memories, Peggy! So the Roos everywhere must’ve ducked into the bush when you pulled out your weapon of choice, your camera!

    Liked by 1 person

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