Fantastic weekend tramping in the Grampians with a mate last weekend. My first trip into regional Victoria. After a relaxed 3 hour drive from Melbourne we arrived at the lovely township of Halls Gap and headed up into the mountains proper to take on Mt Rosea. Shortly after a remark about how the first hour of any bushwalk is usually the longest as you muck around finding the start etc, we managed to drive straight past the Rosea Picnic Area starting point and onto a one way road that resulted in a circa ~25km loop back via Halls Gap. The good news was we missed a torrential downpour and got to see the wonderful rock formations again as you wind up into the mountains. Take 2. Only to be confronted by a sign warning of track closures. After an epic journey to track start we decided to venture on and turnaround if things became unsafe. It was well worth it. The track wound its way through wonderful rock formations, shrouded in mist and light rain.
Upon reaching the ridgeline we traversed across the plateau with sheer drops the left with wonderful views revealed as the weather lifted. The summit was marked by a trig point – altitude approximately 1000m. At the top we debated whether to retreat the same way or continue on the loop track back to the car park. Our decision to continue proved to be an adventurous one.
The track gradually became more difficult to follow as we paused repeatedly to spot the next yellow triangle. About 45 mins after leaving the summit we dropped down off the ridge and into the forrest below. I remarked that the track was quite varied – very well maintained in parts, but then other sections that were covered in fallen trees and quite overgrown. As with our start to the trip, that comment brought us almost immediately to a point where the track was no longer visible. We clambered over some fallen trees to find ourselves with no clear path at all. I resorted to the maps and GPS while my companion did roving circles for 20 mins in search of potential track starts. No joy! 5pm, roughly 2 hours of daylight left (barely enough to get us back if we turned around) and no track ahead. With the help of the GPS we knew the general direction required and that if we trended down off the ridgeline we would find the road below in due course. After another hour of bush-bashing we emerged from the treeline to be greeted by the blissful sight of the fire trail leading back to the trackend. It looked like a freeway after the terrain we'd traversed to get there! We concluded around 6.30pm, approximately 3.5 hours in total to the cover the approximately 10km walk. Highly recommended, although in hindsight turning around at the summit would make for a better walk.
After a vigorous walk nothing goes down better than a good drink. We went straight to the "Kookaburra" Bar and Bistro in Halls Gap for a good meal and some local wines.
The next morning we were greeted by clear skies. After breakfast at the local cafe, we tackled the Pinnacle before heading back to Melbourne. Compared with Mt Rosea, the Pinnacle was an easy stroll. But the rockscapes and views were equally impressive.
All in all a wonderful introduction to the Grampians and I look forward to returning!