This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2006 Travels April 2

SUNDAY 2 APRIL     HALLS GAP

John slept in. After my breakfast, I went into Halls Gap for the Sunday paper. Met daughter and partner there. They came back to the park, to say goodbye to John, and to have a look at what the park was like, for  future reference. This time, they had been staying in a cottage in the township.

We went driving. Up to Boroka and Reids Lookouts, then to Roses Gap, Wartook and back to the van. All that way was through burnt country.

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Almost half of the National Park was burnt. It would be a long time before access was open again to many of the best places.

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Victoria Valley, Moora Track, Moora Moora Reservoir

White posts marking the road sides, and the road signs had melted, or were indecipherable. All the walks in the area behind Halls Gap were closed; tracks would have to be cleared of debris, signs and railings rebuilt before they could be re-opened. It would be a massive job.

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The view from Reids Lookout showed the devastation in the central Victoria Valley. That was country I had regularly hiked and camped in – impossible to visualize it as the same lush, green, beautiful area I had known.

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The Wonderland Range

We would not be sorry, tomorrow, to leave our neighbours in the next van. They had three whinging, wailing young children. They kept their heating system on all night – it started up every five minutes or so, and ran for a couple of minutes each time. It was most noisy and annoying. All I could think was that such inconsiderate adults deserved such horrible children!


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2006 Travels April 1

SATURDAY 1 APRIL     HALLS GAP

It was a chilly day.

After breakfast, we drove into the Halls Gap village. The evidence of the fire impacts were all around.

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Fire burned along the ranges, each side of Halls Gap

At the newsagent, where I’d gone for the papers, we encountered daughter and partner. The shop also stocked  tourist oriented items. I bought a heap of post cards – mostly to add to the stock that I use when remote, to regularly send to the grandchildren.

John bought polo fleece jackets for his two grandsons – a small koala one for the boy born last year, and a larger kangaroo one for the three year old. They had hoods with the appropriate ears and were really cute. We hoped they were a hit when they reached Brussels.

There were not a lot of people in the village, considering the time of year, and the weather.

We wandered up and down the main – only – street. Although still small, Halls Gap had changed a lot since I used to regularly visit, back in the 70’s and 80’s. Somehow, it seemed more developed. And the new aboriginal display/information centre had been built.

After lunch, went for a short drive down the Dunkeld road. We were not feeling very energetic.

It was sad that none of the popular tourist walks and attractions were yet open, after the fires. The village could certainly have benefitted from the tourists that would only come in numbers when there were things for them to do.

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Once was a picnic table and bench seats

The extent and ferocity of those lightning-started fires was quite awesome. They burned for a couple of weeks and extended across all the best parts of the Grampians. Halls Gap survived, but it must have been really frightening to have been in the village during the fires.

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There was already evidence of some regeneration of eucalypts, and of course the opportunistic bracken fern was regrowing.

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John kept remembering stuff he had forgotten to pack. This year’s had definitely been his most disorganized departure.


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2006 Travels March 31

FRIDAY 31 MARCH   BENDIGO TO HALLS GAP   345kms

Said goodbye to the grandson, as they left for creche and work at 8.15am.

We finished our breakfast and departed, quite calmly.

Reached Birchip at noon, as previously arranged with W.

His service work revealed that Truck needed a new fuel pump. It would be Monday, at the earliest, before the part would arrive in Birchip.

We had lunch with A and W. There was lots of talk about Pungalina, where we’d all worked last year. W told us that the manager had been in Darwin with his lady friend, when the heavy rains occurred, a couple of weeks previous. A monsoon trough that stalled over the Gulf. We were surprised that he was away, at all, during the Wet season, and surprised that he was not able to pick up the likelihood of that event from the weather forecasts, in time to fly his plane back.

According to W, there had been much damage, caused when the Calvert River flooded to a high level. Water had inundated the house to a depth of about a metre. A lot of the mud brick walls had dissolved. The Troopy, and much of the machinery on the place, had been partly submerged. A lot of loose items had simply floated away.

A and W were planning to go up to Pungalina in mid-May. It would have to be via the Calvert Road in the NT, as the Gulf track would not be open by then. There would certainly be plenty of mechanical repair work to be done!

Now, with a couple of days to fill in, we decided to go to Halls Gap and see what that  area was like, after the big bushfires that had occurred in the Grampians in late January. It was only a couple of hours away. Daughter and partner were going to be there too, for an anniversary, but grandson was being looked after by friends at home.

We headed south. Refuelled at Donald – $1.39cpl. Had done 456kms.

We reached Halls Gap just on darkness, in a deluge of rain and with it freezing cold. What suddenly happened to summer? It had still been around this morning. Somebody turned the off switch!

We had phoned ahead and obtained an en suite site at the Halls Gap Parkgate Caravan Park. It cost us $33.30 a night, after discount.

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