it’s around 3 hours drive to the grampians from melbourne but we had a couple of stops along the way for drinks and firewood and a tourist centre etc. we entered the grampians at the middle, so drove up a bit to see a couple of lookouts that supposedly had good views. on the way up though we spotted a kookaburra in a tree! another bit of wildlife to tick off, they are so tiny! after that excitement we made it to Boroka lookout which had a fantastic view over a lake, trees and hills, you could see for miles into the distance. the next lookout was called the Balconies, this had more great views but onto the other side of the mountain range this time. there was around a 1km walk to the lookout and on the way there were hundreds of piled up rocks and stones all balanced on top of each other, it looked amazing and we of course built one ourselves but just with 4 rocks, one to represent each of us! i’ve tried googling the little towers of rocks but nothing comes up about it’s relevance or why everyone started to build them there!
it had started to get late and from experience setting a tent up and cooking in the dark is not the greatest so we headed back to Halls Gap to set up camp for the night. all the campsites there you have to pay for but the receptions for them all were shut which was very annoying, after a bit of wandering around we decided just to set up the tent on the edge of a campsite that had a row of parking spaces just next to it, there was a fire pit and clean toilets which is all we ever really need! we walked over to the toilets after we’d set up and saw a kookaburra sat on the floor in a flower bed! it was so small and cute, we tried to get close but of course it flew off as soon as it decided it didn’t like the look of us!
there are tons of kangaroos at Halls Gap and they came to visit us at the campsite so we fed them leftover bread and they hung around our little fire all night which was nice. it was my birthday whilst we were there as well and when it got to midnight i had happy birthday sung to me in english (thanks sammy), swedish (sara) and welsh (matthew), I got to open my presents from sammy but after that we were all so tired we had to go straight to bed! we did actually stay in a tent this time as well instead of the car which was super comfy and completely bug and spider free!
unbelievably we got up at 6.30am on sunday morning! we left the campsite at 7.30 and drove to the northern part of the Grampians which is a place called Wartook, before driving all the way back down to the bottom where the Grampians meets the main road back to Melbourne, with several stops along the way of course. firstly we went to Broken Falls which were really pretty, in the same area is Mackenzie Falls which are a lot bigger and you can cross stepping stones across the bottom of it etc. we had breakfast sat by the waterfalls which was lovely, it was fairly cloudy all day but once you get walking it’s really warm.
we then drove down to Mt William, the walk up to the summit is basically a vertical hill, it’s absolutely ridiculous how steep it is! not for the unfit, we walked up it in about half an hour with some stops on the way to take pictures of the pretty views. the highest point is 1167m and worth the walk, you can see for absolutely miles and the sun came out for us at the top. the walk back down is also a killer! after we’d done that we drove the rest of the way to the bottom of the ranges and headed back to Melbourne, we had to stop quite a bit as sammy was really tired so lots of coffee was involved luckily the rest of us got a nap in along the way!
we got back to melbourne early evening and dropped Sara and Matthew off before continuing on to Phillip Island, that’s around 1.5-2 hours drive away. we stopped for fish and chips on the way, our first ones in Aus! you choose from about seven different types of fish, I had Snapper which was lovely and Sammy had Flounder which was a bit too salty for me! we got to the house we were staying at on the island which enough time to get changed and head straight back out to see the penguin parade 😀 the house is lovely, you walk up the steps to a side door which leads to the hall and bedrooms, bathrooms etc. then up a little flight of stairs is the kitchen and lounge, with big sliding doors that open out on to a balcony, it’s so beautiful!
we headed over to the penguin parade and had a look around their information centre and gift shop (of course), before going to sit in the stands on the beach. i didn’t realise you aren’t actually allowed to take photos once you’re on the beach, with or without flash, they said that even without flash the pictures can upset the penguins which I think is absolutely ridiculous, i don’t see how hundreds of eyes staring at them is different to hundreds of cameras but nevermind! we saw so many penguins waddling up from the sea to the rocks and hills, they are the smallest species of penguin and are very very cute! you walk back to the centre along a wooden boardwalk where you can see little groups of them still making there way back home. once we’d seen enough penguins we went for a quick drive to Cowes to see what was going on (nothing goes on anywhere in Phillip Island after around 10pm, especially not on a sunday!) before heading back to the house, i think i fell asleep in record time i was so tired!
the view from Boroka Lookout
stone towers at the Balconies
our own balancing stone tower
the view from mt william
our first fish and chips
penguin parade beach