The Grampians national park is one of the most spectacular areas in the country. Huge exposed granite hills tower above the lush bush landscape. The area is extremely popular and it is well serviced by the town of Halls Gap.
In January 2014, the Grampians experienced one of the worst bush fires in the area since the Black Saturday. Unfortunately, during the dry summer months, the area is prone to bush fires and they cause significant damage to the area’s native flora and fauna. Fortunately, the Australian bush has evolved over the eons to cope and recover after a bushfire and, when we returned to the area in October of that year, while the signs of fire were still evident, the bush had started to repair itself and I actually believe this magical regrowth is a wonderful sight to see.
We came to Halls Gap to see off our friends Kevin and Sharron on their around Australia adventure. We had been wanting to go away for a caravanning trip with them and this was out last opportunity before they left. We arranged to stay at the Lakeside Tourist Park which is almost right on the edge of Lake Bellfield at the southern end of the township. This is one of the best caravan parks in Victoria. It’s in a great location, there’s heaps of room and the atmosphere is very friendly indeed. Its surrounded by hills and is blessed with abundant native birds and other wildlife. If you have friends from overseas wanting to experience the Aussie bush, this is the place to come.
The sites are all covered in lush green grass and are well spaced apart. There are plenty of tress to over sufficient shade although you can still find a sunny spot to work on your tan. Many of the sites have large raised fire pits for you can enjoy a campfire, something very unique in a caravan park. Be mindful that there may not be enough to go to every campsite so you may want to share with your neighbour. Also, during days of total fire ban, you will not be allowed to use them.
I mentioned the birdlife in the area. You can buy bags of bird seed and in the evenings, the local Cockatoos will come for a feed and are tame enough to feed from your hands. You can imagine how much fun this is for the kids, although we adults get a kick out of this as well.
There are no shortages of things to do here. The Grampians is a huge area to explore. You could easily spend a couple of weeks here and still not see everything. Without doubt the must visit place is McKenzie’s Falls. It’s a bit of a hike down the natural ‘stairs’ to the falls but it’s worth the effort. There’s usually water running here all year round and the wide falls area is a spectacular sight and a photographer’s dream.
After visiting the falls, you will definitely develop an appetite on the climb back to the carpark. We found a brilliant place called Barney’s Bistro and Bar. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside is a rustic bush style pub and the meals here are fantastic.
I could go on and on about this area but the best thig to do is come and see it for yourself. All Victorians know and love the Grampians. If your visiting from interstate, make sure this place is on your ‘must visit’ list.