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.
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.
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.
There was already evidence of some regeneration of eucalypts, and of course the opportunistic bracken fern was regrowing.
John kept remembering stuff he had forgotten to pack. This year’s had definitely been his most disorganized departure.