At long last, I got out of Robinvale and traveled a little! Dan actually had 2 whole days (well, nights) off, so we could really go somewhere. And where do 2 outdoor junkies go? To a climbing mecca of course, even though we didn’t bring any gear. We had to scope it out for next time, right? :) The Grampians is a National Park in the middle of Victoria, where mountains spring out of the otherwise flat-for-miles-around land. Dan and I got there on Sunday afternoon, after taking a network of backroads like this one. This is technically a 2-lane highway, even though there was only 1 paved lane.
We drove in through the more remote west side of the park, mostly on dirt roads. When we got to a lookout in the main park, it was cloudy, but the light was nice:
And this is a beat – uh – u can’t touch: (oh, oh, oh, oh-oh, oh)
Dan stayed up for a marathon 30 hours, then we got a few hours of sleep before picking up Shannon at the bus station in a nearby town at 3am. She’s a friend from California who had been working near Adelaide, and amazingly enough, that was the ONLY bus option! So we all slept in, then drove through the park and went on a few hikes. This is called The Pinnacle, and overlooks the town:
The trails are pretty cool – this one in particular reminded me a lot of the via ferrata in the Italian Dolomites. There were metal stairs and ladders anchored into the rock, so that you could comfortably walk through canyons and up and down what would otherwise be chimneys and cliffs. It’s nice to have a few things accessible to the majority of the public.
This was the only waterfall still going at this time of year, and it was pretty spectacular. Note the small pink dot of Shannon to the left!
Dan had to drive back to Robinvale the next day, but Shannon and I decided to stay in Halls Gap for one more day. We hiked a cool loop from the town that went past a few waterfalls (dry right now) and up to a peak that overlooked town. And on the way down, I finally got my fill of kangaroos! There was a whole herd of them – 30 at least – hanging out on the edge of town. They were quite used to people, and Shannon and I watched them and took pictures for probably half an hour. I got some good videos of them hopping & boxing, but I’ll have to wait to post them until I’m back at home and don’t have to pay for bandwidth. :)
I also checked out an interesting shop in town – it was a felting shop called Garments and Gadgets. Not a yarn store, a Felting store. The owners make really beautiful felted scarves by wet-felting and nuno-felting, and they sell a bunch of roving in all sorts of colors. I talked to them a little while and watched a felting workshop going on in back. It was pretty cool – you can make a nice scarf out of about 50g of roving. The ones that were nuno-felted – meaning that fiber was felted together through both sides of a porous silk scarf – were quite lovely. I was amazed at how light and airy those were, with beautiful drape. It definitely gave me ideas! Here’s a little sample of their wares:
When we got back to our hostel, Tim’s Place, we invited our new friend Megan (pronounced mee-gan) out to dinner. She’s Tim’s niece and was watching the place for him. She said she’d go to dinner with us, if we’d go to breakfast with her tomorrow – and did we want to be on TV? It turns out that The Today Show, which I think is sort of like The Today Show or Good Morning America in the US, was filming the weather segment at Halls Gap the next morning. So Shannon, Megan, and I got up at 6, and were at the National Park Visitor’s Center by 6:30. And sure enough, we got our mugs on TV a few times. Too cool! I’m famous now. Well, not really, but I got to hold up a sign that said, “Hi, Dan!” and he actually saw it live. How funny is that? After those shenanigans, we hung out in town for a while, and I took pictures of a flock of cockatoos:
Then we took a bus to Melbourne!