Flopped on my couch at 7.30 on Sunday night, trying my hardest to stay awake, and a huge grin on my face. Yep – The Grampians had delivered an AWESOME weekend.
Well known amongst us hikers, The Grampians offers breath-taking views at every turn, well-maintained and varied trails, and the opportunity for some challenging and fun bushwalking that will test – and thrill – you.
It’d been a while since I’d walked with a group. One of the group was a friend from a previous hiking trip, but all the others were new to me. I love meeting new people, but I also get a few doubts and nerves kick in – what if they are all super fit hiking freaks that leave me in their dust? What if I don’t get along with anyone and I’m the weird outsider?
From the start though, our guides Tracey and Adrian were so friendly and welcoming that I forgot any earlier nerves. They managed to bring us all together straight away and we were all chatting and laughing from the start. Barriers were down!
Powering away along a pretty standard trail (dirt, some rocks, lots of trees), our first stop was a beautiful waterfall (pumping after all the recent rain) – where it was time for a snack. I soon learned that Tracey and Adrian take food very seriously – and we’d be eating very well!
Back on the trail, and as we got higher the views got expansive – and very impressive. This is what we’d come to The Grampians for! Walking through tight spots between towering rocks (sometimes on stairs), the trail would suddenly open up and we’d see out across the valley. Comments such as ‘wow’, ‘amazing’, ‘THIS is life’ were plentiful amongst the group, as we’d suddenly stop and turn around to fully enjoy the moment. We’d all heard the names – Grand Canyon, Wonderland, and The Silent Street – and now we were getting to experience them first hand.
Next stop was The Pinnacle. One of the most photographed and stunning spots in the Grampians, it didn’t disappoint. We stopped here for a while and enjoyed a delicious lunch of wraps, home made cauliflower salad, home made relish and tuna. Plenty of time for photos, then we were all keen to move on and check out the rest of the trail.
After lunch, the terrain turned to some rock hopping. It was very open, with huge exposed rocks to walk up, over, and across. This was made more interesting as we got used to a different sense of balance with our heavy packs on. There was always a helping hand from one of our guides, or another member of the group if it got tough.
The terrain then changed again, and we were walking on sandy well-defined trails, then along a ridgeline. Another stop at a lookout, then down into our campsite for the night.
Bugiga Hikers Camp is an impressive spot for hikers of The Grampians Peaks Trail only. I’ll write more about this special spot in a future blog post.
After we’d set up, it was time to tuck into some delicious chickpea stew, pulled pork stew, and cous cous. There was also some red wine, port, chocolate and popcorn going around. Following dinner we played a hilarious game of ‘what shouldn’t you have bought in your pack’ (my personal fave was an A4 sized mirror!), and lots of laughs and chatting. It was a really relaxed and fun atmosphere. With full bellies and happy hearts, we all piled into bed early.
After a chilly night, we were all packed up and ready to go by 9am.
The morning bought what would be our last climb on this trip. It was slow and steady, with the legs complaining at various stages, and the lungs fully engaged! The trail meandered along the ridgeline and offered more stunning views.
First stop was the impressive Sundial Peak lookout over the valley and onto Lake Bellfield where we’d later eat our lunch. Easily the best lookout of the two day hike, we all took heaps of photos and had big grins on our faces. Unlike the busy Pinnacle, we had this spectacular place to ourselves.
Then it was all down, down, down for a while. There were some tricky sections and tight squeezes down and over rocks, but we all had walking poles and there was always a helping hand if you needed it. The camaraderie was strong, and I loved the feeling of encouragement amongst us.
We were all getting pretty weary by now. The trail steeply descended and before we knew it, we were walking on a wide open track. We stopped to take in the view and looked up to the earlier lookout – we all felt proud at what we’d achieved in a short amount of time.
It was then time for lunch – any earlier pleasantries had disappeared when the food come out as we tucked into cheeses, dips, meat, olives and crackers.
The final few kilometres were along the road back into town. It was warm, flat, and it’s fair to say we were all keen to get back to our cars.
With hot water boiling away, we were offered a cuppa before heading off.
After some food, a nice hot shower, and clean clothes, I flopped onto my couch for some TV time. What a great weekend I’d had – amazing trails, great people, yummy food – all lead by our fabulous guides Tracey and Adrian, who made it all possible.
Trail Details: We walked along the Grampians Peaks Trail for Day 1 – this is a 3-day walk, so Day 2 we hiked up to Sundial Peak then straight down to Lake Bellfield lake via the Sundial Peak track. According to the Fitbit’s, it was about 25km all up over both days.
Please Note: I went as a regular paid hiker of Take Shape Adventures, and these views and opinions are my own. I’ve already signed up to their next walk at Wilson’s Promontory in less than a fortnight (at the time of writing there are still spots available).
Bio: Sam is a daydreamer, storyteller, and hiker. She loves getting outside, and you’ll often find her on the bushwalking trails close to her hometown of Geelong. You can follow along with her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. If you have any questions that she can help with, or would like to chat about possible sponsored opportunities, advertising, or affiliations (that will benefit her audience) please drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.