The Grampians: Venus Baths and Pinnacle walks

“Grampians National Park is a place of spectacular natural beauty in western Victoria. Aboriginal people have lived in the area for thousands of years and it is one of the richest Indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia. The park is renowned for its rugged beauty and spring wildflowers, and attracts more than 800,000 visitors each year.” Department of Environment (National Heritage Places)

The Grampians National Park is another of my favourite places in my home state of Victoria, Australia. I have been camping and hiking there on numerous occasions, and I also participated on a Great Victorian Bike Ride through this area in November 2008. The latter experience actually led to many writing opportunities, so it’s just another reason for why I love this place.

The park, located 235 kilometres west of Melbourne, was listed on the Australian National Heritage List in 2006 for its outstanding natural beauty and for being one of the richest Indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia. Aboriginal occupation of the Grampians dates back well over 20,000 years and the park is also known as Gariwerd, which comes from one of the local Indigenous languages.

The thing I love most about this park is the variety of walks and the stunning landscapes – views of sandstone mountain ranges, rocky plateaus, forest, fern gullies and many waterfalls. On my most recent trip – with my sister, nephews and nieces – we did two short hikes to Venus Baths and the Pinnacle lookout.

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Snapshot: Miyajima

“The Itsukushima Shrine, which gives the island its real name, dates from the 6th century and in its present form from 1168. Its pier-like construction is a result of the island’s holy status. Commoners were not allowed to set foot on the island and had to approach the shrine by boat, entering though the floating torii out in the bay.” Lonely Planet

Miyajima is a small island about an hour from Hiroshima in Japan, famous for its floating torii gate and the World Heritage Itsukushima Shrine. The island is officially named Itsukushima, but is commonly known as Miyajima (Japanese for ‘shrine island’).

We spent a full day here – admiring the torii gate, exploring Itsukushima Shrine, strolling through the quiet streets, catching the cable-car up Mt Misen and hiking to the summit. Here are some photographs from our visit.

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