Beauty at the Grampians

Before we ran the Great Ocean Road, we drove around in Victoria exploring the surrounds. One of the places we visited was the Grampians National Park. To get there we stayed at a night at Halls Gap.

This post takes readers to the top of The Pinnacle, a lookout 3km from Halls Gap.

In front of me was a pasture of green bathed in natural skylight, whispers of white clouds in the sky. To my right, there is a series of ridges leading to a lake. All the while, there is a light breeze playing at the nape of my neck. We had just reached the summit of the hike and were taking a well-deserved break.

The big “i”

Driving in the Victoria region, you can enter into any information kiosk – huts with the big “i” logo on top- and you will be able to plan your trip as it unfolds. The attendants there give you helpful tips on when to go, if the weather’s acting up and other nearby places you can consider.This half-a-day hike came quite highly recommended from them.

You would have no problems even without planning where exactly you’d like to go, just visiting the major cities. It is one of the most liberating feelings to have while travelling. Usually, I like to plan trips by the hour and we would be zooming from place to place. That you can do this was a welcome respite and quite honestly, I like the spontaneity.

Together with same group who were intending to run the Great Ocean Road, we went up to The Pinnacle via Sundial park- a return trip of 4.5km that takes about 2 hours .

The hike

The hike was of moderate difficulty. It wasn’t too tough but you definitely can work up a good sweat walking up. The vegetation thins significantly as you work your way up.

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Shrubs at the start

The moderate difficulty not withstanding, the trail was very well marked. Although there were spots that had you backtracking, by and large you were able to find the signs about 300-400m apart.

In terms of water, you have to be self-sufficient and carry your own bottle of water in a backpack. For food, we were blessed to have a friend reach out to us while we were in Australia who gave us some free bread before parting company. This we refrigerated and sliced the day before and in the morning took to making a wholesome chicken avocado sandwich.

The terrain

The climb involved some steep stairs that may be difficult for those who are afraid of heights. Still, there were hand rails to aid in your descent.

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Steep stairs

Depending on how fast you may be walking, you should be nearing the top after about 45 mins to 1 hour. At this point, you can expect the path to become narrower. This narrow path is appropriately named Devil’s gap.At this point, you should be about 5-10 mins from your destination so don’t give up!

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Getting narrow

The lookouts

Once you have emerged from the narrow alleyway between the rocks, you will find yourself in a clearing with a wide expanse of clear blue sky.

Here we found ourselves with another group of hikers and took turns taking pictures of each other.

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After taking photos, we came down back to Sundial carpark. There, we spotted another lookout and drove there to have a picnic, all the while, having the postcard worthy view you see below.

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Taking in the view and eating my chicken avocado sandwich, I realized something.

Here in Australia, we slow down. We do things together – like shopping for the groceries, preparing food, cooking it and washing up. But unlike Singapore, we don’t feel rushed doing these activities. We are not encumbered by the next thing we got to do, the next place we have to go.

Here, we take in the experience and fill it with chatter and life and camaraderie. And that is what I think is truly special, not only of Australia but of travelling in general. Our travels have the capacity to change  and mould us if we let it to. The best we can do is to let it do its job and take the time to find our true selves.

 

 

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