Gariwerd National Park

Boronia Peak, Venus Baths, Reed Lookout, The Pinnacle  |  The Grampians, Victoria, Australia  |  2023

They say the journey is half the fun, but it was entirely the fun at the beautiful Gariwerd National Park.

Walking by the stream you’ll pass through neighbourhoods where wombats, echidnas and wallabies mingle. Stop to say “hi,” and move along when the Kookaburras begin mocking you. I’d run my fingers along the red rockface to one side, feeling the cold divots and ancient craters in the solid wall, wondering how many hands had made the same manoeuvre a thousand and one years before mine, while craning my neck like a magpie, attempting to frame the razorback above with the gumleaves and twigs in front of me. Yes, if I could paint that would be a nice frame. A click, snap and twirl of these dials will suffice.

The birdsong follows us through a labyrinth of towering gum trees and tall shrubs, a camouflage canvas of earthy browns, greens, stained whites, glowing reds and seemingly luminescent yellows. The wildflowers dance to the side, offering refuge to the cheeky lizards that feel our approaching footsteps. We make our way through mini valleys, around multi-storey boulders, and up, zip-zagging along warm bedrock, onwards until we summit — to find a welcoming party: The Three Billy Goats Gruff before us, and a sprawling landscape behind us. We greet them, but they’re shy and trot impossibly along the edge, almost rude in their blatant defiance of physics.

The view is magnificent, more breathtaking than our eager scramble up the incline. We rest and watch as the show begins: a rainbow stretches across the next peak, diving downward towards town, a flock of birds perform aerobatics below, and roos hop along a grassy field by the park in the distance. Once again, if I was a painter…

•  •  •

Walking back towards the car, we stretch our calves, silly smiles on our faces with the knowledge that we have the cosiest afternoon ahead of us at The Nook. The wine and treats in the welcome hamper called us from afar and feeling satisfied with our hike, we called back.

The Nook