Thursday, December 28, 2017
About three hours west of Melbourne is Grampians National Park. Living in the state of Victoria, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to weekend getaway options in the surrounding Melbourne area. Whenever Anthony and I are able to get out of the city, we enjoy wine tasting and exploring nature’s beauty. Our first visit to The Grampians together was no different as we spent three full days discovering the region at our own pace.
We found a lovely AirBnB in Halls Gap and could not have been happier with the location as we stayed right at the foot of the park. The ranges in The Grampians differ from typical mountainous regions. The rocky elevation here lingers independently from the surrounding flatlands which create vast views at any lookout. We chose a sweltering morning to hike Mount Zero (2.8km return, 1:30), but once we reached the summit, I couldn’t believe how seemingly green the plains below appeared. We had exclusively experienced dusty roads, dry fields and crunchy brown grass, but from up above, the green tree leaves almost appeared as if the area was in bloom.
The highest concentration of Aboriginal rock art in Southern Australia can be found in The Grampians. A short walk lead us to the Aboriginal art site at Gulgurn Manja which translates to “hands of young people.” Paintings included handprints from children, bars and emu tracks. It was a great place to visit and reconnect with the history of the local culture.
Locals mentioned to us that emus live in the area, so I was eagerly hoping to spot one. When we arrived at the popular destination of Mackenzie Falls, I was elated to see two wandering around the car park! These large flightless creatures are the second largest living bird by height and it is easy to see their relation to the ostrich. The two of them resembled a chicken the way they mechanically moved their necks back and forth, plucking bits of food from the ground. Aside from the obvious reasons why I love living in Australia, encountering the (harmless) resident wildlife is hands down one of my favorites.
Aussies will roll their eyes or laugh at me when I carry on about how much I love their kangaroos. Up until recently, I had seen more dead roos on the side of the road than live ones bouncing around in the wild. Fortunately, we were staying in kangaroo county and the amount that we got to witness even shocked Anthony; roos lounging in our backyard, roos hanging out on the footy (Australian football) field nearby, roos feeding in the car park of the pub, roos hopping down neighborhood streets. In the evening, you could find kangaroos everywhere you looked. What a treat it was to sit down at the end of the day and enjoy happy hour with a bit of roo service!