06 October 2006
Last weekend Pearl and I took a long awaited break in the Victorian "hinterland". This is not the outback, it is part of rural Victoria. We travelled about 250 km out of Melbourne towards the north-west. This took us to the Grampian Mountain range - the home of the Grampian National Park, a rather impressive collection of rocky massives, with waterfalls, spectacular views and endless gum tree forrests. Except that many of the forrests are still blackened after a massive bush fire in January of this year which ravaged the whole area. However there are promising signs of rejuvenation, with new fresh green sprouts eminating from even the very thickest parts of trunks of many of the trees.
The peacefulness of the environment and the friendliness of the inhabitants immediately made us feel welcome. We stayed at a B&B called Corella Rise (refer to www.corellarise.com.au for more info) run by a couple that moved up there from Melbourne about seven years ago. Obviously they stumbled into their intended vocation, because they were extremely adept at making people like us feel most welcome, and could not do enough for us. It is good to be pampered once in a while! They related the extent of the drought that they are experiencing, with the annual rainfall steadily dropping every year since their arrival. The edge of Lake Lonsdale which was within sight when they bought the property had now retreated much further, and we were told is not worth much these days.
Strengthened by a sumptious breakfast we explored the surrounding highlands, travelling from waterfalls to lookout points, cultural museums and the peaks. The effort expended in getting to the final objectives on foot ensured that we did not accumulate extra weight over the weekend, and in fact probably built up some extra stamina along the way.
The wildlife is very unlike Africa, and although Pearl stumbled across a wallaby en route to Mount William (I missed it 'cos I rushed ahead ...) but we saw three dead 'roos on the way home. This can be quite a driving hazard, since a roo can inflict considerable damage if hit at speed, and due care is necessary if driving at dusk, night or dawn!