One of the first times we camped at the Grampians we were woken up to the sound of koalas mating in a tree behind our tent. Trust me when I say, koalas sound ferocious, even when they’re having fun.
It’s also not unusual to wake up to the laughter of kookaburras and a mob of boxing kangaroos.
On our last visit, barely three weeks ago, we were spectators to a highly unusual cricket match. The quintessential Aussie scene below gave new meaning to the bowling term “bouncer”.
That’s the Grampians, as Australian as it gets. However, this place has more than just prolific wildlife. The Grampians is a walker’s paradise.
Over the years, with our kids and with friends, we’ve walked just about every peak and trail, from the well known wonderland circuit, the Grand Canyon and the Pinnacle to many waterfalls and look out points. We’ve traipsed up Mount Hollow in the north and climbed Mt Zero and Mt Abrupt in the South, posing on many summits.
So it was a surprise to find a couple of walks that we hadn’t done before.
Here’s a scenic recap of our recent visit and a snapshot to whet your appetite.
“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
Chatauqua Peak Loop
This 5.km circuit loop starts at the oval in Halls Gap. We’d only been walking about ten minutes when we saw a herd of wild goats in the bush.
The track takes you past Clematis Falls (better after rain) and from there it’s all uphill.
It climbs steeply before the final rock scramble at the end which leads to incredible views over Halls Gap from the summit.
This 6km return walk is steep and gets the adrenalin pumping. Starting at Fyans Creek footbridge (off Tamdara Road) it’s a steady climb through tall messmate forest and native pines, along the western slope of the Mount William range.
We passed just one other couple along the way on our uphill climb. A rocky scramble at the end culminates in spectacular views towards Lake Fyans and the Fyans Valley
We also enjoyed a couple of old favourites:
I love this walk. It’s an easy 2kms and an incredibly scenic trail with wildflowers along the way and lots of opportunities to pose for silly selfies.
At the end you’ll be met by what looks like the jaws of a prehistoric beast.
Once upon a time you could walk out onto this ledge (yes, I’ve done it too) but the path’s since been fenced off, not that it deters all people.
The views across the valley are breath taking.
One of the Grampians most popular waterfalls, Mackenzie Falls is very steep and strenuous. There’s a lookout half way for those with mobility issues but for those who make it to the base of the steps it’s well worth the effort.
Down the bottom you’ll see the falls in all their glory. It’s a treat for the senses as you hear the roar, feel the spray and feast your eyes on this beautiful waterfall.
I could go on and on about the craggy peaks, the views that have your eyes constantly raised upwards as you take in the beauty but I think you get the picture.
There are so many walks here and, as we set off on each trail, I’m reminded that hiking is like life. When we start on our journey, all we need to do is put one foot in front of the other, again and again. And as you allow yourself to be present every step of the way you’ll open up to the beauty everywhere, not just at the summit.
The Grampians is special any time of the year. It’s my happy place. Throw in some lakeside camping, warm campfires and starry nights, good food, wine and company and you have the ingredients for a perfect getaway.
Cheers to travel, to living life to the full and enjoying those views wherever you are.
In light and love as we continue the journey
Footnote: this post was written and scheduled last week, pre hand and thumb surgery. Replies to your comments, which are always appreciated, may be slower than usual.
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