Ah, Easter. We love it because it’s a four-day weekend (five days, before Kennet, not that I know I know anything about that little deal, seeing as I arrived in Melbourne only a little bit before he was defeated and I was at uni anyway). Of course, it’s also the anniversary of the death of Jesus Christ, and for those of us who are Christian it is therefore a sobering time of reflection – and joy. I love Easter because it’s the anniversary of my becoming a Christian; I was eleven this year. Yay for me!
We took the opportunity this year to go away for Easter. J was in the musical at St Jude’s – well, he was playing trumpet, which I guess isn’t technically “in” the musical, but he was participating in it – and the last night was Good Friday, which I really don’t get (I’ve also always been amazed that it is Good Friday: I mean, as a Christian I understand why it is a good day, but still…). This meant we didn’t go away until Saturday morning, but that was ok, since I’m on holidays and he moved his day off from Friday to Tuesday so we still had four days.
The first night we had in the Grampians. We had lunch in Ballarat with the in-laws – they’re on Stage Four restrcitions (actually, they are on tank water, but the town is on the restrictions), and if there are no changes they’re looking at having NO water by December); it’s really scary, until you remember that this is Australia, people, and we SO have to get out of the European mindset.* Anyway, we then went to the Grampians, and met up with MG and his fiancee (which is a bit exciting – been waiting for that for ages). They took some pics, then we eventually ended up at Burrough (sp?) Huts, at about 7.30pm, which was totally infested with people. We had a BBQ and went to bed.
The next day, Easter Sunday, we decided we would see what the Little Desert was like. J has this mad plan of taking pictures in every single one of Victoria’s national and state parks… it will be interesting to see how that turns out. Anyway, we travelled the 100km or so, went past Dimboola (and Wail, with a really cool nursery that we could only see through the glass), and finally got into the Little Desert proper. It’s not really a Desert, is the thing. When the Wimmera River is in flow (there were only a couple of bits with water – the bendy bits, mostly, which must be a bit deeper), it will/would be a most spectacular area. We camped at Acles Camp Ground, at about lunch time. I read for a large chunk of the day, and It Was Good. And when there is water – well, as I said, it will be spectacular. This is somewhere I would definitely go back to. J took some pics in the evening – a number of them from the riverbed, since it was as dry as a road.
After the night at Acles, with just one other car about 100m away (although we could hear some hoons over at Horseshoe Bend…), we drove a little way into the Desert, but turned around after 20km or so after we couldn’t go much further. We then went back to the Grampians, aiming for the Mt Stapylton campground, but going via Mt Zero Olives first: I love the idea of visiting organic-y, exclusive type places like this. And Mt Zero is really nice: a fantastic setting, great produce – we bought some basil oil, mellazina olives (my world has consequently been substantially changed), and some beetroot&orange relish. We also had lunch there, which was delightful – great food, great view, reading and ignoring the dog who adopted us because we were stupid enough to throw the stick for it… until someone else arrived, at which time we were promptly ditched as being Too Boring.
From Mt Zero, we went to the Staplyton campground, where again we sat around reading and dozing until J went to take pics (and being interrupted by middle-aged rednecks who thought that only non-English-speaking backpackers would be our age and in a Landcruiser like ours. Not sure how to take that.). He didn’t end up taking many good ones, which was a shame. We did end up sharing our campfire with some climbers, who were sort of interesting: a 25-ish bloke who works for a climbing gym and is obsessed, and a 30-something dude who works in the steel industry and is possibly even more obsessed, spending most of his weekends in the Gramps so he can climb, and 3 nights at the gym, and so on….
The next day we went to Horsham, via Natamuk, which J had heard was an interesting little town; he was so wrong. Then we drove to Ballarat for the night; we got some good light around Mt Buangor, which was good.
So our time away finished Wed morning, very early (we got home at c.8.30am).
*One of J’s cousin’s has really bad hot water, in Sheffield (UK), so they leave their water running for fully five minutes before putting in the plug to do the washing. I nearly died of shock. And I really will post some stuff about the trip at some stage….
I read this while we were on holidays. It’s by Tony Shillitoe – and it’s one of the few books I have ever read that is really, truly set in an Australian context: mallee country, numbats, bilbies… and it was very appropriate, since I was in the mallee when I read it. I’ll have a review of it up on ASif! soon.