Grrrrrrampians

I had lots of choices for today’s blog title and I went with Grrrrrrampians because we are in the Grampian Mountains and they are beautiful! My other choices for blog titles were: Brrrrrrrampians (Jeannie’s idea, because it is cold here), If You Don’t Like the Weather, Wait Five Minutes, or Hello Jim-Goodbye Britni. Keep reading to understand why they all would have been appropriate.

J&B and I left Warrnambool before 8 AM in the pouring rain and it rained for all the 150k’s to Ararat. We went to Ararat because Jim took the train there from Melbourne to meet us for a couple of days. Britni got on the train returning to Melbourne because she needed to see and experience more of downtown Melbourne. She also may have been a bit tired of hanging with her mother and aunt and was looking for a bit more excitement. But really, what could be more exciting than helicopters, koalas and whales!!! She’s at the footy game in Melbourne right now and I hope she is having a terrific time!

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We had an hour or so from the time we picked up Jim and and the time that Britni needed to board her return train so the four of us went to Gum San, a museum dedicated to the Chinese influence and role in the establishment of Ararat as a city in the mid-1800’s, during the height of the gold rush in this area. The museum was very interesting and we learned a few things.

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After saying goodbye to Brits (we’ll see her again tomorrow afternoon) we started our drive west to get to the town of Hall’s Gap in the heart of the Grampians. By now the sun had started to push back the clouds and we got some impressive views of these old mountains.

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This drive was all about wildlife because we saw emus and mobs of kangaroos! I was pulling off the road every few kilometers because Jeannie needed photos of these classic AU critters.

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As we drove into the town of Hall’s Gap we saw lots of kangaroos in the local cricket oval, chomping away on the grass! So I pulled the car over and we jumped out with our cameras! These kangaroos were used to people so just kept on munching as we moved around them taking too many photos!

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When we finally pulled ourselves away from the Roos we visited the Grampian National Park Visitor’s Center, where we looked at some of the displays and bought a hiking map. We decided to do a drive around the central part of the park and visit 2 overlooks and one waterfall. The road took us up, up, up until we were at the Boroka Overlook where we had spectacular views of Wonderland and Lake Bellfield.

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From the overlook we decided to go to the famous Mackenzie Falls. To get there we drove for a short time on a dirt road, which was rather exciting at times. When we rejoined the paved road we saw a sign indicating that the dirt road we had been on was for 4-wheel drive vehicles! We do not have one of those cars!

The rain returned as we arrived at the Mackenzie Falls car park so we waited it out and then headed to the falls overlook and then down 265 steps to the base of the falls. I love waterfalls and this one did not disappoint. This area has had a lot of rain in recent weeks so the falls were flowing good.

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Our last stop on this touring drive was at Reed’s Overlook and Balcony Overlook which presented impressive views of the Victoria Valley and the distant mountain ranges. We hiked in this area in the sunshine but the clouds were never far away which made for some dramatic and moody lighting.

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It has been very cold in the mountains with tonight’s low forecasted to be 2 degrees C. We have a 10k hike planned for tomorrow and we will have to hike fast and uphill to keep warm. We are also hoping to get the hike in before the rain returns.

One note about kangaroos. When we told people we were coming to Hall’s Gap, they all said we were guaranteed to see kangaroos because they are all over the town and they were right. When we pulled into the inner courtyard of our motel where we parked our car, we were very excited to see a kangaroo in the corner of the car park and she had a Joey peaking out of her pouch! As we jumped out of the car with our cameras, she jumped straight up and over the 4 foot fence that was in the corner! Wow! Such excitement!

I’ll close with a shadow photo of the three of us with our umbrellas – one of my artsy pics! Cheers!

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