Now I’m not suggesting you can do the Grampians in 24 hours. There’s so much to experience, from the “Wonderland” hikes to the magic of Mackenzies Falls, from wineries and wildlife to everything in between. I’ve blogged about this area many times. Still, there’s always new places to discover.
So on our day off from work at Halls Haven, in the middle of last week, this is how we spent our 24 hours.
Bunjils – Sacred Rock Art
Our first destination is Bunjils Shelter, about 12kms away, just off the highway in Stawell. Bunjils is a place of history and legend. It’s unassuming yet special in its energy.
According to the creation stories of the Aboriginal people, Bunjil created all that the people saw: the land, the water, the trees, plants and animals. Bunjil is known to remain a protector of the natural world, his
people and their beliefs.
This sacred rock site is located off the Stawell Pomonal Road about seven kilometres from Stawell. Turn onto the Bunjil Cave Road where you’ll find the car park and signage describing the significance of Bunjils and a scenic 100 metre walk to the cave to see the painting. It’s heavily fenced to protect it from damage.
The rock art is possibly around 8,000 years old, and depicts Bunjil with his two helpers (said to be dingoes). This artwork is widely regarded as one of the most significant cultural sites in south eastern Australia as it’s thought to be the only known rock art painting of Bunjil. It’s amazing to contemplate.
In Winter and Spring, especially after rain, the Grampians come alive with flowing waterfalls. Although not as spectacular as Mackenzie Falls, Silverband Falls is a unique cascade and a peaceful short walk, found Just ten minutes from Halls Gap. It’s a scenic and fern laden path to reach these unusual falls. They cascade down a rock face in one silver looking band hence the name. Of course I couldn’t resist hugging a tree along the way.
Lunch was back in town at Panthers Cafe where we ordered a Mediterranean Pizza. The mountains are our backdrop and there’s kookaburras nearby. They’re cunning birds eyeing off the meals served outside with one opportunistic bird flying down to steal food off unsuspecting patrons plates. Cheeky little bugger! But our pizza was safe. And delicious!
The name sounds like a place in Ireland and it’s elusive too. With no map and only a vague idea of its location we head off after lunch down Mt Victory Road. Paddy’s is not well known, probably because it’s not well signposted. We turn down Glenelg River Road until we come to Boerong Campground. Even though it’s school holidays there’s only one camper set up there.
We continue further up the dirt track and just when we think we’ve gone the wrong way (2.2kms for the record) we decide to turn around. There we spot the tiny, almost hidden car park off the left hand side of the road. Had we not decided to turn around we would have missed it for there’s no signage at all on the road. The Universe is once again guiding us. I’m ecstatic we found it.
It’s just 350 metres and a bit of a rock scramble to reach the “castle” but what a view. We’re surrounded by mountain ranges and forest below and all we can hear is the sound of birds. As I sit on the rocks the winter sun warms my back and I lift my face to the sun. I breath in deeply, totally in the moment, filled with awe by the vistas around me.
I could stay out here for hours. But the air is starting to chill. We drive further to Burrong Falls, another hidden little gem accessed off Roses Gap Road. It’s just 350 metres downhill, to view the picturesque falls that cascade down a rock face.
Sunrises and sunsets
Back in the car we head to Reed’s lookout, probably one of the most scenic places in the Grampians to watch the sun go down. We walk to the fire tower and join a small group of people braving the cold night.
The arctic blast that hits doesn’t deter us from enjoying the blazing colours as they dazzle across the mountain range. Nor does it deter this avid photographer out on the rocks.
Humans are forever drawn to scaling heights and chasing the sun.
There’s nothing dreamier than seeing the day out over a mountain range and waking to a sunrise right outside our door. I love that our caravan gives us the chance to do both.
Where to eat
Our lunch time pizza feels like ages ago. The sun has now set so we head back to the van to change before dinner out at the Spirit of Punjab Indian restaurant. The food is amazing and our meals are enjoyed with a bottle of the local Pinot Noir. The service is somewhat unusual … our meals are served by a robot. Yep, it’s quirky and a bit of fun.
Halls Gap has many other great places to eat, the night before we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at the local Pub. There’s also the renowned Flame Brothers, the iconic Kookaburra restaurant and the Italian inspired Raccolto for the best pizzas in town. At Pomonal, about ten minutes away, there’s Barney’s which serves great food in a rustic barn like setting.
So that’s our 24 hours in the heart of the Grampians. We didn’t drive very far. I think in total we did less than 100kms. Still, it’s not very often you can visit sacred aboriginal art, walk to waterfalls and scale a “castle” and take your taste buds to India, all in one day.
New experiences are around every corner, even in a place we think we know well. . So shake off the shackles, take a day off occasionally from the serious stuff and explore what’s in your back yard, With the craziness of the world accelerating at a rapid pace, it’s more important than ever to ground ourself in nature. It’s so important to be conscious of our choices and place our energy where it matters.
Live life the way you want to. Add a spice of spontaneity and feel the freedom and joy that comes from stepping into new adventures.
Sending you love and light as we all continue this journey.