I had never felt so happy and free like I did in the last three weeks. A different sort of happy. My muscles in my cheeks actually hurt from smiling so much. The amazing opportunity to just put yourself and all your belongings into a little camper with three other guys, to be able to go wherever we wanted, do whatever we liked, the freedom of backpacking is something everyone with that chance should take. I am seriously one for home comforts, the hot shower, clean clothes, comfy bed, good food and the availability of running water. All of this went completely out the window for our trip but, to be honest, I loved every second of it.
Beautiful green, rocky mountains lined either side of our drive as we followed the long stretch of road into the centre of the national park, Halls Gap, where we headed to our free campsite for the next two nights. An idyllic place for holidaying, school camps and caravans. Halls Gap is a sweet little village, with all the local amenities; great coffee shops, and lots of motels and caravan sites. Tame kangaroos covered the lawns, tourists taking their selfies and obviously we attempted too. Our free campsite was a five-minute drive out of the centre, down a dirt road and into the forest, with dotted spaces to set up camp, fire pits and the lovely portaloo with no running water. Wet wipes for the next few days!
Our first morning we awoke to the beautiful sunrise peaking through the end of our pop up bed. The light bounced off the mountains and gave off a warm glow through the pine trees – a perfect start to the day.
Today was our typical tourist day, we did the hike to the Pinnacle, one of the most renowned view points in the Grampians, which looked out over the National Park. The hike was relatively easy, with families of all ages able to hike it no problem, and the route easily mapped out with arrows and handle bars where rocks were unstable at times. It took around 45 minutes to reach the top of the Pinnacle; the views were absolutely breathtaking. The weather was perfect, sun shining, a cool breeze and beautiful surroundings. Unlike the Twelve Apostles, although it was touristy it did not feel overcrowded. We were able to take a spot up top and enjoy the views at peace.
I have to say that the Grampians was my favourite part of our road trip, a place that I loved the moment I saw it, whereas the Outback was somewhere very different, with not a lot going on and not really the most spectacular scenery. Another amazing spot we found amongst the forest was McKenzie Falls, again touristy but not to be missed.
Driving from Victoria into Southern Australia wasn’t anything special if I’m honest, and Adelaide did not impress me at all. I’ve got to say I will not be returning. We stayed two nights; one by the sea on a caravan park in the suburb Glenelg. The second night we treated ourselves to a hostel bed in the city. Treated I think is a little brash though, but it was at least a hot shower, my own bed and free pancake breakfast! There really wasn’t anything to see in Adelaide so lets leave it at that and move on to the real Australia; the Outback!