Saturday, September 22, 2012

Grampians National Park

Tony's parents came out for a month to visit and we enjoyed every moment of it. They travelled all over with Tony and Emma, as well as on their own. The two day trip we all took together was to the Grampians National Park, which is about a 3 hour drive from Melbourne. Since we couldn't all fit in Tony's car, Henry and I rented one. Yup, I drove again, but Henry did most of the driving! The Grampians is a series of sandstone mountain ranges and forests with lots of wildlife. It's a great place to go for camping, hiking, scenic drives, lookouts, waterfalls, and some areas have aboriginal artwork from long ago.

Our beautiful ugly colored car. You could see us coming for miles and miles. Tony nicknamed the car "lugi".

Along the highway up to the Grampians there were bright yellow canola flower fields all over the place.

The first stop was Reeds Lookout with a spectacular view of the mountain ranges as far as the eye could see, plus a lake in the distance. This was our view while eating lunch.

Henry and his rolled up pants.

Next we headed over to MacKenize Falls to see the beautiful waterfall.

As we drove along we saw a field of kangaroo's! So cool!

Look there is a big koala in the tree!!!....O wait, that's just Henry.

Near the Staplyton Campground we took a short walk to see some Aboriginal artwork from very long ago. There were also remains of campfires and stone tools found here. White clay was used to draw the picture on the rocks. The word Ngamadjidj means white person.

Then we went to a place called Gulgurn Manja Shelter to see some more aboriginal artwork and another stunning view. Gulgurn Manja means hands of young people. The paintings included hand prints, as well as emu tracks. These paintings were used to help to tell stories.

Emma and I working on our yoga poses.

There was a HUGE beehive up in the rocks. Thank goodness it was high up, it made me nervous just looking at it.

In the evening we headed to a town called Horsham and stayed at a caravan park to camp. We were the only two tents. Tony's parents stayed in a small cabin. The next morning we had breakfast and then went for a jump to get the heart pumping. We parted ways shortly after. Tony, Emma, and his parents toured a little more of the Grampians, and then headed to the Great Ocean Road. We had already done the Great Ocean Road so we decided to explore more of the Grampians.

Our first hike of the morning was at Mt. Zero. Easy hike with a beautiful scenery all around us.

Right after that we hiked up Mt. Staplyton which was much harder and steeper, but still managed to make it to the top. Shortly after making it to the top it started to rain and we hurried down because it was going to get very slippery walking across the rocks if we waited too long. The rain only lasted about 10 minutes, then it was blue skies again.

Rest break.

That's me sprinting down the rock trying beat the rain.

Ten minutes later, blue sky!

Our last stop was to Mt. Difficult Quarry and Heatherlie Historic Site which is known for it's high quality stone which has been used on many buildings in Melbourne such as the State Library, the Parliament House, and the Town Hall just to name a few. There were approximately 100 men employed and they also built a tramway to carry the stone to the main railway. It was in full production from the 1880's till about the 1950's when the demand for the stone declined. You can still see remains of the equipment used to excavate the stone. Today, extraction of the stone is only permitted for repairs.

Just a couple driving scenery shots.