Planet View: S37°06.480’ E142°25.401’
Street View: S37°06.480’ E142°25.401’
On our way into the Grampians we stopped off for a night at the tiny country town of Harrow (S37°10.278’ E141°35.341’) in Victoria’s southwest. Nestled alongside the Glenelg River, Harrow isn’t much more than a go-kart track, a pub and general store, the latter two both in beautifully maintained heritage buildings. We found a brilliant campsite a short walk from the general store, where we had the beautiful banks of the Glenelg River on our doorstep and a nice swimming hole and rope swing to boot. We spent the late afternoon buzzing the Aerobie my mum gave us for Christmas between the Eucalypts, and also found a great spot for yabbies in a deep pool of the river. It was our first night sleeping back in The Tank since leaving Adelaide and what a beautiful spot, Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos dotted the huge gums around the campsite and such fantastic weather.
We left Harrow early and restocked in Horsham before heading into Grampians National Park. The mountains of the Grampians pop out of the surrounding plains like jagged teeth, beautiful forested peaks with an array of lakes and hiking trails throughout. Chris and Lisa had both visited the Grampians before so we didn’t spend too much time in the area, but we did complete a fantastic 10 kilometer hike to the famous Pinnacles near the town of Halls Gap. We spent our first night in the National Park at the site of an old wood mill near Lake Wartook, venturing to MacKenzie Falls and The Balconies during the afternoon before setting up for the night. Our spot at Smith Mill was another good location for yabbies, as well as for viewing some of the local wildlife. It was a bit of a treat to see a number of wallabies and kangaroos grazing around our campsite early in the morning. We parked Bessie and The Tank in the town of Halls Gap and headed out early on the 10 kilometer Pinnacles loop hike, the temperature was forecast to top 40°C (104°F) that day so we wanted to beat the heat. The hike took us past Venus Baths, Splitters Falls and through the striking walls of Grand Canyon on the way to The Pinnacles. The view from the top was amazing, awesome to see the town of Halls Gap a couple of thousand feet below, we would have been able to spot The Tank and Bessie with a good pair of binoculars. The trail down took us along the edge of the Wonderland Range with continued great views of Lake Bellfield and Halls Gap, we even came across a good-sized Echidna on the way, something I’ve only ever seen once or twice before in the wild. A well-earned lunch at the Halls Gap Bakery (another addition to my list) was our reward for the hike, we ran into Cathie and Damian Hamilton with 18 month old Rory in tow on their trip along the Great Ocean Road and back through central Victoria. It sure is a small world…
After our lunch at Halls Gap and a bit of a chat with the Hamiltons we took a scenic drive through the central and southern Grampians. Jimmy Creek and Wannon Crossing campsites didn’t take our fancy too much, although they’d both be beautiful spots during winter with a little more water around, so we ventured over the Serra Range into the southwestern portion of Grampians National Park. Tucked in the foothills of the Victoria Range we came across Strachans campground, a beautiful campsite shaded by dense Eucalypts next to a spring-fed creek. We had the place to ourselves for the night, each enjoying a hot shower courtesy of The Tank and a close encounter with some rare Gang Gang Cockatoos. A pair of Gang Gangs flew into the gums above our campsite and after Chris chatted with them for a few minutes (Chris is a zookeeper so knows how to do these things…) they became comfortable with our presence and allowed us to venture amazingly close for some photos. The female swooped down for a drink out of the creek less than a meter from where I was standing, very cool to see such rare birds up so close in the wild. We finished our tour of the Grampians with a solid breakfast of bacon and egg sandwiches, venturing back to the coast and the beginning of the Great Ocean Road before the temperature reached the mid forties (110°F+) that day in central Victoria.
This entry was posted on Friday, January 8th, 2010 at 7:00 AM and is filed under Australia, Victoria. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.