Roughing It Out In The Grampians, Australia

I’m writing this now 2 days after I arrived back in Kuala Lumpur. In fact, I meant to be back 3 days ago (12th October) but I missed my return flight.

There’s really no other explanation other than I totally neglected the date and time. Perhaps, the strong inertia from living out in a tent for 8 days got to me so quickly that I didn’t feel the need to go home.

Some people don’t fancy roughing it out. I love it. Although I still love having a home to come back to, I still need to eat, sleep, relax, and unwind in the wild amongst nature once in a while.

Every time I have this urge of being in a different place, I often look for books to read or films to watch. I mean, it’s a good way to get things started but there’s really no substitute for just going there. And that’s exactly what I did. I just went.

Yes, I lost some money just to get my return ticket but sleeping, eating, walking and driving in the Australian cold and windy spring outdoors is something I know I will have for the rest of my life. And the money I lost? — Well, I’ll just work to get it back again.

My road trip was in a span of 8 days but I figured I should start with my time camping in The Grampians because it’s one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Setting Up Camp at Halls Gap Caravan Park

Camping at the Grampians was the last campsite of the 8-day road trip. My ever so cool travel buddy from Outrex Adventure, Hafi and I have traveled nearly 2,000 kilometers starting from Melbourne before reaching Halls Gap. We decided to stay for 3 nights here starting from 9th of October.

When we arrived at the caravan park, we thought we were settled. The park lady instructed us to collect our access card at the late check-in box outside the office. But when we got there no access card, no key, nothing, zilch!

We slept in the car for one night in the cold — illegally by the roadside which was close to the caravan park. You’d be surprised how a tent can be warm. In Australia, you’re not allowed to camp anywhere you like. You can’t even sleep in your car. They have signs everywhere reminding you of it.

We later found out that the park lady thought we were checking in on the 10th of October instead of the 9th. I suppose shit happens. The next day we manage to settle in and make up for our uncomfortable sleep from the night before.

One of those days where the sun decides to show what spring really feels like
Transferring photos from my iPhone to my laptop
Tent Selfie 😉

The Pinnacle

It was a good day out. We stopped to feel the air
We started walking to the Pinnacle from Sundial car park

Halls Gap Caravan park is at the base of the sandstone mountain range. It’s at the heart of the Grampians National Park or known as Gariwerd in the Aboriginal language.

We can see the rocky spurs jutting out from the jagged cliff faces looming over Halls Gap town. It may seem like The Pinnacle is unnervingly high and difficult to walk but it really isn’t.

I can’t put words in this picture

It’s a 4.1 km walk. About one and the half hours to two hours walk for a return trip. It was a cold, windy and rainy day. The rocks were slippery but I loved every minute of it. Rain or shine, I was going to reach that edge.

I must say the wind was quite strong. I have never felt more like an ant in my entire life when I sat on the edge. The wind could have easily blown me off the cliff anytime. 

So if you ever get here, take a minute, breath, sit down, stand, feel the wind, and in my case get soaked. Just don’t jump, because you still have lots to see.

Lake Bellfield

Before we came to walking up this cliff, we were just from Lake Bellfield. The lake saves 103 billion liters of water a year and provides constant water supply to about 9,000 farms and 34 townships across the Wimmera and Mallee.

That’s a lot of water!

Looking at Lake Bellfield
Another shot of Lake Bellfield from a different point

The Balconies

Standing on the Jaws of Death. I was trying to get my hood on. The rain was getting heavier

From Halls Gap, it takes about 20-30 minutes to reach Reeds Lookout. We started a 2km walk from Reed’s lookout to reach to the Balconies. They say the best time to go to The Grampians is when the skies are clear and the sun is out.

I can only imagine how beautiful it would look like. Even though the weather was not in our favor, I still love how this place look. Precarious, misty, cloudy, and just the way it should be — magnificent.

Deciding if I should go further

Some Trip Tips

  • Generally, you can’t camp or sleep in your vehicle anywhere you like. It’s always wise to make reservations at least a day or two before you arrive at Halls Gap. There’s plenty of campsites and caravan parks. The cheapest campsite is for those who have tents. One night cost $30 AUD.
  • With $30 AUD you have access to all basic needs such as shower with hot water, toilet, camp kitchen, laundry and a place to dry your clothes.
  • Most campsites are family friendly. It’s not a good idea if you and your friends are looking to party at night. Campsites have curfews and noise policies.
  • If you feel like getting some work done, no worries. $30 AUD comes with wi-fi up to 100 mbp per day. The connection is reasonably strong too.
  • If you forget your basic necessities, there are plenty of convenient stores near the campsite. Just a 5-minute walk. If you’re cooking, you can get groceries too.
  • Before exploring The Grampians, always check the weather forecast. It helps when you need to decide what to wear while doing the bushwalks. The weather can get pretty unpredictable in the mountains.
  • Wear comfortable and proper shoes. My Adidas training shoes did its justice.
  • If you plan to explore the Grampians in spring like I did, it’s best to bring clothes that can keep you warm. I wore my dry-fit Nike tights. I didn’t have warmer pants because I didn’t prepare for the cold. I also had a jumper and my beanie.
  • Personally, I like bringing a bottle of water and snacks in my jog sports bag. It keeps me hydrated throughout the walk and not feeling too hungry.

Have you been on a road trip to the Grampians? 

Many thanks to Hafi from Outrex Adventure for making the road trip a breeze.

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