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Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, improving cyclist, reformed gym bunny, broken runner Collector of exercise DVDs & equipment. Cake is my weakness together with cider (Westons only thanks)and brandy. Noisy spectator of running & cycling events. Owner of Tribby the campervan

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Aussie Adventure - Hall's Gap, The Grampians

Tuesday 19th to Friday 22nd January

Up early this morning to join Lou at the gym.  The YMCA run a lot of gyms/leisure centres in Victoria and Lou's was just around the corner.   It was about £10 for a one-off session - a bit steep but it got me out of bed and moving about.   Luckily I'd taken my gym stuff and my Ipod!   I commandeered a bike, turned on my interval track and gave it some welly - while Lou did her normal morning routine of machinery.   Back from the gym we got stuck into getting packed for Halls Gap and by 11 o'clock we were on the road.

Lou & Andy have been visiting Hall's Gap in the The Grampians for a very long time and we were very excited that they wanted to share they're holiday destination with us.   Hall's Gap is about 3 hours drive from Melbourne still in the state of Victoria.

The mountains are very similar to Cheddar Gorge and the area is susceptible to bush fires so we were on high alert during our visit.

There are lots of places to stay in the area but Lou & Andy love it at the Hall's Gap Caravan Park and it's quite easy to see why

Our "home" for the next week
Within a couple of hours of arriving and unpacking the cars we were surrounded by wild kangaroo and Cockatoos

It's amazing how tame the kangaroos were, but you still have to be wary of them, those back legs could pack a helluva punch.

We also found a kookaburra (sorry photo quality isn't great)

Up early the next morning after a very uncomfortable night in the heat - luckily we had 3 fans to cool us down in the living room where we slept.  It had rained overnight and the smell of the eucalyptus was a little overpowering, but great for freeing bunged up sinuses.  It was lovely to have a cool swim before the rest of the campsite invaded.  After breakfast Shaun headed out on the bike for an hour.  When he got back he was very excited to report he'd seen a snake on the side of the road and an Echidna.  Lou then suggested that while Andy was out on his ride we walk to a local beauty spot known as "Venus Baths"

Beautiful scenery made it hard to keep up with the others

Lou & I in normal putting the world to rights mode

After a little paddle we walked back to the caravan park and met Andy for a coffee before heading to Stawell (pronounced Stall) for lunch and shopping for food.  On the way back we stopped at Seppelts (Chalambar Shiraz comes highly recommended), and then Best's Wines Great Western (2013 Dolcetto was my favourite) to taste and buy some wine, and Lou bought us some lovely glasses as a momento.    Back to the pool at the campsite to cool off then a delicious BBQ feast of Roo Burgers and prawns for dinner.   We also managed to hook up to the internet and Skype with Danni back at home, it was lovely to be able to show her the wild animals and beautiful scenery.

Another hot and sticky night on mattresses on the living room floor with ALL the fans going.  We didn't quite make the early morning swim but Shaun did push me to get out on the bike with him - glad I did.  Our circular route was via the Sundial car park

Well earned water stop & get ready for the descent

Venus Baths from the top
 It doesn't look much but it was a 500m climb over 8k - steep enough for me, on a strange bike.  The descent back into Halls Gap was heart stopping in points with sheer cliff face down into the ravine below.  The whole ride is about 23k and it took me just over 2 hours (time included stop to look at the view).  I was so pleased with myself having done it.  Back to the coffee shop for a well earned cappuccino.

After lunch Andy took us and the girls to Mackenzie Falls, we weren't expecting much as it was the height of summer & Venus Baths was low ....... how wrong we were.   The long walk down and back up was well worth it!

 More wildlife through the campsite tonight - a family of Emu

and another BBQ dinner - Roo Bangers!  After dinner we got packed ready for me, Shaun and Andy to travel to Victor Harbor, South Australia - the next part of our adventure and the UCI Tour Down Under!

Good news - the bush fire threat went from extreme to danger.

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