The Grampians is a mountainous area in the next state-Victoria. It is similar to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in terms of altitudes and size. I drove for quite some time along the Princes Highway through kilometer after kilometer of monotonous hay fields with grazing livestock and patches of various species of gum trees
. I stopped at a roadside café and had a sandwich for lunch. Later, I took another small break in a town called Kaniva, where I got some ice cream and stretched my legs for a few minutes. I traveled another hour or so and stopped at a rest area and took a walk among the gum trees. I saw a flock of Galahs. I traveled another couple hours or so and stopped at a McDonald's to get a drink. As I left the McDonald's, I could see the peaks of the Grampians rising from the plains of Victoria off in the distance. I turned south and headed toward the town of Hall's Gap. This section of road was a true test of my new driving abilities. The road is a narrow, 2-lane road, which winds back and forth with many hairpin turns. There is little to no shoulder on the road, and in many cases, only a couple of meters of gravel before a steep drop off or cliff. Also, I was keeping a watch out for kangaroos, which are known to dart out in front of cars at dusk (which was quickly approaching). It took me quite a while to wind my way through the mountain roads, but just before sunset, I descended into the little town of Hall's Gap. It didn't take long to find my accommodations, D'Alton's Resort, as everything in the town is found along a single 2 km strip of road.
They were expecting me at D'Alton's and gave me the key to my cabin. These little studio cabins they have are very nice. They have a porch, a kitchenette, a shower/hot tub combo, bathroom, king size bed and a little sitting area with a tv and stereo
. Radio and tv stations are few in this area. There is no phone in the cabin and there is no internet access here. Cell phones don't work well either. I had only one bar and it was intermittent.
I unloaded my luggage and made a beeline for an empty field adjacent to the resort property that I had noticed on my way in. As I had hoped, there was now a small mob of Kangaroos grazing there. I slowly approached as close as I could without spooking them and snapped a few photos. I also got some good photos of some Crimson Rosellas on my way back to the cabin. Next, I got in the car and made a quick trip to the General Store down the road. I picked up some groceries for the next few days and stocked the refrigerator. I cooked a frozen microwaveable dinner and ate it while I looked at a map of the hiking trails in the Grampians National Park. I decided which trails I would try to hike in tomorrow and then I hit the sack early-about 10 pm Victoria time.
A word on time zones-Australia has fractional time zones. In the US, each time zone is one hour different than the previous time zone. In Australia, they also have ˝ hour time zone increments. For example: Adelaide, in the state of South Australia, is ˝ hour different than Hall's Gap, in the state of Victoria.
I got up at about 7:00 am and packed my bags. I checked out of the Adelaide Hilton and caught a cab for the airport. At the airport, I picked up my rental car from Europcar. It is a gold colored, Hyundai Elantra. Nice car! I was nervous about driving on the left side of the road, so I drove around the parking lot a few times to practice. I tried turning, parking, signaling, etc. I must say it is a bit like learning to drive all over again. After about 30 minutes, I was ready to venture beyond the confines of the airport. I got on the road and headed back into Adelaide and then to the Princes Highway toward my next destination: The Grampians National Park.