With the Great Ocean Road and Warrnambool in our rearview mirror of our trusty Kombi Gracie, Mr ESLT and I hit the road again this time our destination was Halls Gap in the Grampians National Park. The distance between Warrnambool and Halls Gap is 159km and google maps reliably informed me that the journey should take 2 hours and 13 minutes. Unfortunately, I did not factor into the equation that we were driving a 1970’s campervan and not a modern car! Therefore our journey took just over 3 hours.
The road between Warrnambool and the Grampians National Park is near enough one long straight road and in the whole 3 hours we were on the road I think we only passed a couple of vehicles. Having spent time in Melbourne and on the Great Ocean Road it was a completely different experience driving on this deserted road with nothing to see for miles. This is exactly what I had expected when picturing our trip into the Grampians. However, no matter how much I was enjoying the experience and the views I always had the niggling thought in the back of my mind that if we broke down we may end up in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre(esk) situation! Luckily for us, we didn’t (obviously)! It was hard to comprehend the actual size of the Grampians as it took up the whole of the windscreen of the kombi. It is in fact 167,219-hectares (413,210-acres). Proclaimed as a national park on 1 July 1984, the park was listed on the Australian National Heritage List on 15 December 2006 for its outstanding natural beauty and being one of the richest indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia.
We checked in to the Halls Gap Caravan Park which is right in the middle of Halls Gap town ($36/£18.85 per night). This holiday park was very similar to others we had stayed at on the Great Ocean Road – amenities block, camp kitchen etc but this one had something extra and I think it was the surroundings – they were beautiful. After setting up the kombi for the evening we just sat and appreciated where we were. The Grampian Mountains on 3 sides, the noises of nature and the clear blue sky – perfecto!
Halls Gap itself is a lovely town with everything you would need for 1 night or 2 weeks and very child-friendly (if you were thinking of a break with the kids). The town centre is nestled between the soaring rocky mountain peaks that constitute the Wonderland and Mount William Ranges. A number of cafes and tourist shops can be found facing the grassy areas fronting Stony Creek, while the attractive Halls Gap Picnic Reserve is just across the road from the rest of the commercial centre.
Halls Gap will also always hold a special place in my heart because in the middle of the night when my husband woke up to visit the facilities he came face to face with at least seven real-life truly Australian KANGAROOS! Having been in Oz for over a week and having not seen one he knew I was extremely frustrated. So he instantly woke me up too. It was a very surreal experience stood in the dark in our PJs watching a troop of kangaroos going about their business oblivious to us, even though we were only stood a couple of feet away from them – phenomenal!
Fantastic place – wish we had had more than one evening there! Getting back to nature, so relaxing!