Halls Gap Hiking

The Grampians National Park has a lot of hikes to offer for all fitness levels, there are shorter hikes, half day and full day ones. Monday 7 January was forecasted to be very hot and with total fire bans everywhere, so doing a long hike in the Grampians on a day like that was not advisable. Instead we decided to do a few shorter walks.

We started with The Pinnacles. There are several different routes you can choose, they all vary in length and level. As it was already around 30 C well before midday, we decided to go for the shortest route. The walk was only about 5km return, but the terrain was on the harder side in the hot weather, very uneven surfaces and some climbing, I would say it probably took us about 50 min to an hour to get to the top. The view from the top of The Pinnacles was spectacular and the landscape during the walk was great, it looks rather pre-historic, like something out of Jurrassic Park with the rugged rocks stacked upon each other. At the look out point we met a retired couple from the UK, who we got to talking to, turns out they too were out on a 6 month round the world trip. They gave us a few good tips on New Zealand and a few other bits.

Our second hike was a short one to Silverband Falls, which funnily enough one of the guides at the information centre said he would personally not bother with. We were so happy that we didn’t listen to him, it was a beautiful spot and the walk to the falls only took 10 min. The water was on the low side this time of the year, but it was still very pretty to see the high thin waterfall trickle down the stacked brown rock side and then it disappears into the rocks on the ground, instead of the usual river or rock pools.

Our third walk of the day was after lunch time in the afternoon, it was really hot at this point and we picked the perfect time to walk up to Venus Baths. The trail up there had just recently been reopened, it was closed for refurbishment during 2012. The trail that leads up there is smooth, short and easy to walk, it took about 15 min. Once up there we could make use of the rock pools and cool off a bit, it was so lovely to be able to slip into our own little rock pool, the water was refreshing but not too cold as it had been in the sun all day. This place was Mat’s highlight.

Our last hike of the day was to be McKenzie Falls, we thought we couldn’t miss out on this one as I had seen photos and it looked amazing. It was quite a drive to get to the car park. Once we got down to the bottom of the falls we were stunned by the beauty of this big heavy waterfall that falls right into a big rock pool, perfect for swimming in. Although you’re not allowed to, but there was quite a few who did anyway. The climb back up was said to be very hard and strenuous, but it wasn’t really that bad.

On our drive back down to the hostel we stopped off at another viewing point called Reeds Look Out and I have to say the view from there was better than from the Pinnacles. Although the Pinnacles are still worth it for the diverse landscape you get to see during your hike up there. What’s good with Reeds is that it’s very accessible, you can park up the car and just go to a viewing platform. If you fancy a better view there is a short hike of about 2 km return.

Once we got back to the hostel in the early evening there were loads of kangaroo’s hanging out on the grass opposite the hostel. It was a great site and of course we had to stop and take a few photos. Later that evening, just before we were going to bed, we stepped outside to look at the starry sky, there was a kangaroo on the lawn outside our room, just chillin’ and eating grass, he didn’t care about us one bit. So we popped out and admired the sky, I have never seen so many stars in my life, we even saw the milky way! A hard one to spot when you live with all the light pollution in London.

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