“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” William Shakespeare
In July this year, I spent a long weekend in the Grampians, along with my sister and her children. We did a couple of short walks to Venus Baths and the Pinnacle, saw heaps of kangaroos, and, in general, felt the stress of everyday living evaporate because we’d found time to get out into nature.
So, when my niece – who lives in Pomonal, near the tourist town of Halls Gap – suggested that she and her partner host Christmas this year, I was thrilled.
The Grampians are situated in western Victoria, Australia, about a three hour drive from Melbourne – and I love going there. Like the Great Ocean Road and Wilsons Promontory, it’s a destination that is firmly entrenched in my heart.
I’ve camped and hiked in the Grampians National Park on numerous occasions, even bringing a few international visitors along to share my love for this place. When I was a child, I tagged along with my parents, walking the trails and picnicking at places where kangaroos kept us company.
In 2008, I cycled from Dunkeld to Halls Gap as part of that year’s Great Victorian Bike Ride. It was one of best rides of my life … and it was followed by a ‘rest day’, which gave me a chance to hike to MacKenzie Falls.
I love waterfalls and this is one of my favourites, so I always try to go there when I’m in the Grampians. But, earlier this year, if was off-limits due to the bushfires that swept through the northern area of the park. There was significant damage to the park and infrastructure – not to mention how terrifying it was for residents of the surrounding communities. My niece and her partner had to evacuate, not knowing if they would lose their home.
Fortunately, the wind changed and the communities were spared.
On Boxing Day, I hiked to MacKenzie Falls with several members of my family. It was so much fun. The trail descends steeply alongside the waterfall, so the views are particularly impressive.
There is always a good flow of water here, but it seemed to be more than my previous visit in 2008 (when most of Victoria was in drought). The spray kept us cool as we lingered at the foot of the falls and enjoyed the view.
From here, you can follow the MacKenzie River walk to Zumsteins via Fish Falls. It’s seven kilometres return and is a lovely walk through the gorge. We meandered to the top of the terraced Fish Falls before turning back.
Spending Christmas in the Grampians, surrounded by lots of my family, was a wonderful way to end 2014. I’d like to wish everyone an awesome New Year’s Eve. I hope that 2015 holds many adventures and journeys for us all ♥♥