Kelsey and I first visited The Grampians National Park in May 2014 during our 6 week tour of Australia’s East Coast in our little Hippie Campervan. We regretted not spending a little bit more time in the area and completing a proper hike.
We moved from the farm life to van life on Monday, October 16, 2017. By the time we had finished our final morning chores, showered, packed up and said our goodbyes it was already 2:45pm. We set off on our adventure; driving from Tintinara, SA to Halls Gap, VIC (approx 315km). With potty stops (#sorrynotsorry), a stop at a pink lake and a quick grocery stop in Horsham, we rolled into Halls Gap just as the sun was going down.
The fun began when we lost phone service and I had only a slight idea where our free camp was located (and an even slighter idea that it even existed at all). WikiCamps is great, but I’m still wary of some of the locations. No dramas though, we found our little spot for the night just as the last bit of light had disappeared. We were alone, in the mountains, the stars were out – and best of all, we were 300km+ from the farm.
We had our alarm set for 5:45am Tuesday morning. Call us crazy, but honestly, that was a sleep in for us! Plus, we wanted to start the day early, make the most of the daylight – and most of all, begin our day of hiking before the heat hit, it was forecasted to hit 31°C. We ate our breakfast, packed our hiking bags, applied sunscreen and laced up – ready to take on Mount Rosea.
We began at the Mount Rosea Car Park, the path lead us through the forest for the first bit, gradually climbing. Then it opened up and we were walking on a rocky face. The sun hadn’t yet broken over the surrounding mountains, so we were (luckily) in the shade (it was 7:30am and already 21°C). After ascending on the rock faces, a view of some of the surrounding mountains opened up before us. We welcomed the opportunity to take a break and snapped some photos.
We continued on and the landscape continued to impress. We climbed through and over big boulders, quickly gaining height. Thanks to the lack of gym while on the farm, as well as the heat/humidity, we were both out of breath.
After a good climb, views of the valley opened up in front of us. The wind whipped as us; but we were so excited to reach the top. Or so we thought . . . we realized after spending some time taking some photos and celebrating that the hike was not over. We weren’t at the top yet – we still had some way to go.
The trail continued on through heaps of cool rock formations – it was almost like a rock maze! Thank goodness for the little yellow arrows that were posted on the rocks at our feet or on the rock walls themselves. There’s a little white bridge that you cross over, if you see it – you’re still headed the right way! We were lead through tunnels and over and around massive rocks -it was probably my favourite part of the hike.
We finally reached the summit just after 10am (there was a little plaque and viewing platform, so we knew for sure we were in the right place this time). We were rewarded with gorgeous views over the Halls Gap Valley; the wind wasn’t quite as strong here – so we decided to have an early lunch and eat our packed sandwiches.
There was apparently another way to reach the carpark that makes the hike a circuit; however, we opted to go back the way we came. We were so happy we did – on our way down we ran into an older gentleman. We never got his name, but we called him Fred. He told us that he was 88 years old, 2 years ago he had a valve in his heart replaced, and that in two months he’s having his kidney removed due to cancer. We chatted to him for a bit and then said goodbye and well wishes. As we parted ways- Kels and I were truly inspired! We hope to be as active and full of energy at that age!
We arrived back at the van at 12:20pm – almost exactly 5 hours after we began. Not bad considering how long we spent taking photos, eating and chatting! The heat was in full effect and we were so so thankful to have finished when we did.
The Visit Victoria Website told us it was a 12km hike; however, the sign from the trail head said 4.6km one way. No matter how many kilometers we ended up hiking, in the end – it was totally worth it and I would 100% recommend.
After the hike, we refilled our water supplies, headed out of Halls Gap and had the ocean in our mind. East Coast – here we come!