Journeying to the Grampians was an experience in itself. We marvelled at the mountain ranges which emerged from completely flat surrounds and then at the beauty of the winding, bush-lined road leading to Halls Gap. Successfully negotiating the aforementioned road’s plethora of hairpin turns, caravan intact, was also a memorable plus. Intending to stop in the Grampians for just two days, we ended up staying for seven. Each place we went to was better than the last, which made it difficult to leave.
Being a national park we worried that we might encounter insurmountable prejudices against Neddy (ahem, NSW). However, we’re happy to report that taking a dog to the Grampians is do-able. We stayed at the pet-friendly Grampians Gardens Tourist Park and made sure to do the lion’s share of our sightseeing early morning or late afternoon. This meant that Neddy, worn out from el mucho ball chasing, could doze in a cool car.
Our favourite spots, in no particular order, were:
Mount William (probably our favourite even though the clouds hid what would have been a beautiful sunset)
We also spent a day exploring the Grampians’ many 4WD tracks (and saw only two other vehicles the whole time). The tracks vary from regular dirt roads to more technical medium grades which meant they gave Bernie a good work out and Laura and Jono a couple of nervous moments. The area has been impacted by a number of fires over the years so it was really interesting to see the different stages of bush regeneration. We found many out-of-the-way lookouts, saw two bush deer and generally had an awesome time.
The 4WD adventure was an occasion when our navigator really came into its own. It was great to drive all day and get as lost as possible before instructing our trusty Hema to take us home. The other outcome of this day was that Neddy got Pavloved, That is, he became conditioned to associate bumpy roads with kangaroos. Now, anytime we drive onto a dirt track, Neddy is on full alert.
Neddy also found plenty of reasons to practice alertness while back at the caravan park. Apparently the Grampians Gardens’ ‘pet friendly’ policy wasn’t limited to dogs, so excitement levels went up a notch when he heard a cat miaowing in the tent right next door. A trio of very bold emus threw another element into the mix when they swaggered right up to our caravan and engaged us in a stare down. Happily, the situation defused before any punches or pecks were thrown.
The seven nights flew by and before we knew it we were packing up again – this time in preparation for a border crossing.