Camping, we love it. We’ve spent the last few months dreaming about it and most weekends for the last month repainting and preparing our trailer for a trip to the bush.
Months ago, we planned a camping trip to Halls Gap. Most of the people included in the plans were from Melbourne. Melbourne had stay-at-home restrictions in place at the time of planning the trip, so we booked so far ahead assuming that the lockdowns would have eased. Unfortunately, when last Friday rolled around, this wasn’t the case and only those of us that are living in regional Victoria were allowed to go. That left myself and Eva, my brother Ed and his wife Jade (that also live in Geelong, like us) & my other brother Tom, who recently moved to Halls Gap.
Just after getting set-up, Ed and Jade arrived. Tom joined the party a few hours later and Mum popped in for a bbq on the campfire.
Mum happen to be in the area because she went to stay at her partners house months ago, which is in the Grampians, then she got stuck in Victoria as she’s from South Australia and hasn’t been allowed to cross back over the border ever since, due to the pandemic restrictions.
We normally like to head out to more remote campsites and rough-it a bit, but the original camping plans included a lot of people and some that hadn’t been camping in a long time, so we thought we’d ease into it and pick a location with facilities, near or in a town.
We stayed at the Halls Gap Camping & Caravan Park. It was a really nice and comfortable place to stay in the very centre of Halls Gap.
Waking up on Saturday, we didn’t feel like doing anything too strenuous. After a coffee or two, we drove up to Boroka Lookout to get a view down into Halls Gap from the mountain top. The view is similar to what you’d see from the Pinnacle, with one major difference – the car park at Boroka is right at the lookout and doesn’t require a several hour hike.
After soaking in the view and breathing in some fresh mountain air, we went for a hike from MacKenzie Falls, past Fish Falls to Zumsteins Picnic Area.
MacKenzie Falls is one of the largest and by far the most popular waterfalls in the Grampians National Park. To get from the car park to the base of the waterfall, there’s 250+ steep stairs, the trail is then mostly down hill for a few kilometres to Zumsteins, so instead of walking for an hour or so and then returning the same way, we brought two cars and parked one at either end.
The hike was Saturday’s highlight, afterwards we just had another bbq back at the campground and threw the Boomerang for a while.
On Sunday morning, we kept it sharp. Ed & Jade left once they were packed up, but Eva was eager to stretch her legs before heading home, so we went for a walk to Venus Baths.
The Venus Baths Loop started just next to the campground. It was around a one km walk to the baths along the river, then we returned on the other side and finished up in the Botanic Gardens. This ended up being one of the highlights of our trip, it was an amazing short walk beneath the Eucalyptus trees, beside masses of ferns. We could hear only the sound of the river and the birds chirping as the short and easy trail weaved around the ancient sandstone boulders. It was a decent way to end our weekend in Halls Gap.
Just as we had made it about 200 kms from Halls Gap and almost arrived home, our trailers frame snapped on the highway. Luckily, it was just as we were slowing down to stop for some traffic lights and other than the frame, no damage was done to anything else.
We got the trailer towed to our house and have put it in the shed to deal with on another day.
This was a nice and easy way to ease back into the camping season.
We’re going to head down the Great Ocean Road and into the Great Otway National Park tomorrow and take a look around. Be sure to come back to the BPTRV blog next week and to see what we got up to.