Just returned from five days of hiking in the magnificent Gariwerd / Grampians. Completely exhausted. Knees might never be the same (lots of rock scrambling). Had a brilliant time.
Day one – dusk at Boroka Lookout (above) and The Balconies (below). Balconies provides great views for little effort (i.e. an easy 1km walk).
Day two – Wah! We woke up to drizzle but threw on the raincoats and headed to Venus Baths and then walked up Stoney Creek to Splitters Falls, finishing at Wonderland. There was one bit of the track that was an absolute killer (very steep rock, scrambling required) but each turn in the path offered stunning views down the creek gully (below).
You might not think of regional Victoria as the place to find excellent Indian cuisine but it’s guaranteed at Spirit of Punjab. It had come highly recommended from a friend who is a tour guide (and has worked in India). The place was bustling and the lamb Rogan Josh one of the best I’ve had.
Day three – MacKenzie Falls. Beautiful but the walk down to the Falls was very strenuous (lots of stairs – basically ladders – that were narrow and could only have one person at a time). We also did a short walk to view the Falls from a distance – far more relaxing!
Day four – possibly my favourite day of walking, predominantly because of the superb scrub vegetation that we saw at the base of Mt Zero and Hollow Mountain.
We climbed Mt Zero first. The view from the top, toward Hollow Mountain and Mt. Stapylton was far more impressive than the pic below suggests.
But it was all about the flora, particularly the Banksia ornata (Desert Banksia) and the Xanthorrhoea semiplana (Tufted Grass Tree/ Kangaroo Tail), as well as the flowering ground covers and other banksia species.
We finished the day with a short walk into the Grand Canyon. Again, great return for little effort (luckily, because Mt Zero was brutal on the knees!).
Delicious wood-fired pizza at Raccolto finished the day (and we were shattered).
Day five – we started the day with another visit to The Balconies to see the mountains bathed in morning light, before heading off for a 5km walk to The Pinnacles. It was a spectacular spot to finish our holiday.
Other stuff: The place were we stayed had a deliciously deep bath – so good after a day of hiking. I remembered to bring some bath salts from 39 Degrees (they truly are the best).
Holiday reading (I did lots) – Friendaholic by Elizabeth Day; The Margot Affair by Sanaë Lemoine; Games and Rituals by Katherine Heiny; Soviet Milk by Nora Ikstena; and started The Reading Cure by Laura Freeman.
Holiday viewing – Daisy Jones and The Six (Prime).
Looks lovely Kate! As I said, my grandparents left the Mallee to retire to a sheep farm on the edge of Mt Zero, and I lived there for a while while I was driving for the owner of Rose’s Gap.
But my best memories were all from camps when I was in high school – scout camps in old army tents; and church fellowship camps (mixed!) in dormitories (just out of Halls Gap from memory)
It must have been a wonderful hike, such beautiful landscape. Probably too hilly for me, but I imagine it is worth the efforts, once you are up.