Friday night was just what the doctor ordered, relaxing in an air conditioned cabin. I got to watch the whole Kyrgios V Tsonga match (whilst writing the last blog post) and the girls slept over 12 hours. Koel also slept well, I however was still awake at 6am with an itchy back from sunburn, is that even a thing? After two showers, trying to sleep on a wet towel, laying on an iced water bottle and self medicating its safe to say I have been very sun smart the last few days!
I didn’t mention it in my last post but I need to say how amazing the Wimmera Lakes Caravan Resort were to us. They let us keep the caravan on site all of Friday thinking we were leaving that night, asked me regularly through the day how the air conditioning was coming along and then made sure they had us a cabin that had had the air con going all day Friday. Saturday, due to our sleep ins, we didn’t check out until around 11:30am (checkout was at 10am) and I apologised to one of the cleaners when she walked past that we were taking so long. She just laughed and told me not to worry, and asked how we had gone with the bus! Just all round beautiful people and we are so thankful for their help!
We were all excited Saturday to only be travelling 80km’s to Hall’s Gap. We figured out there are two ways in- through Stawell or actually driving through the Grampians National Park. Because it was the first turn, we took the National park route. With about 25km’s to go we came across this sign.
In true Nicholl’s style, Koel just looked at me and said “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Well, about 100m up the narrow, winding, steep drop off with no rail cliff we got stuck behind two cyclists! I cant imagine how hard it was for them riding up this hill but there were so many places they could have pulled over for two seconds to let us past. Koel was letting out a few choice words and the girls were giggling in the back asking “can Mummy’s say those words?”
We arrived in Halls Gap to the temp of about 38 degrees, a little bit cooler then the past few days but still spent majority of the day in the pool. Poor Koel was left to pretty much set up on his own again, however I did help put the annex up! Its the first time we have used the annex and its been so nice for a bit extra privacy and shade! We also bought the girls a $14 tent from big W and they are loving having all their toys and colouring pencils in there.
The caravan park here is amazing and runs lots of activities through the week. Everynight they have a movie in the hall and Saturday night was the Minions. The girls were pumped and I went with them, however after three hours sleep I kept nodding off and woke up once to Lila-Rae putting her finger up my nose.
We all slept like babies Saturday night and didn’t wake up until 10am on Sunday. After an egg and bacon breakfast we headed to the pool.
After me nearly having a heart attack multiple times on Saturday, we finally got the girls to wear their floating vests. Turns out they didn’t want to wear them because they weren’t pretty enough. I was under the understanding in their world anything that was pink is pretty, but anyway I stand corrected and after some positive reassurance, they put them on and had the best time ever in the pool #mumisalwaysrightgirls. Frankie somehow punched herself in the nose when she was jumping in which resulted in her first blood nose, it didn’t really worry her she was more stressed about how many jumps Lila-Rae got in while I was cleaning her up!
We finally got organised and left the caravan park about 1:30pm. Our first stop on Sunday was at the Boroka lookout. As we pulled up there were a few families gathered near a log taking photos. I didn’t really take much notice because it was about 10 meters away from the path to the lookout. Turns out they were taking photos of a snake. I tried to turn back, Koel told me not to be stupid so I seethed the whole time. Took a few photos and ran back to the car. Of course I got the “there are snakes everywhere you go” talk, even the girls ganged up on me and told me they are brave of snakes. If I knew how to insert emojis, about four eye rolls would go here.
We went from Boroka lookout to Mackenzie falls, what a disaster. Lila-Rae was “puffed out” before we even got out of the car park and whinged cried and sulked the whole 100m to the first lookout. She then decided she needed to wee, we gave up and decided we would walk down late in the afternoon one day (preferably after the girls had a day sleep). We missed a turn coming back from Mackenzie Falls and ended up at Lake Wartook.
We then headed in search of the Brambuk National Park and Cultural centre. What an amazing building and story this place tells. From the structure itself, to all the artwork, sculptures and stories inside, this place was just incredible. I could have spent all day reading the history but of course with two four year olds speed reading was necessary. I won’t go into detail about all the meanings because I would hate to offend anyone if I got it wrong but I know the building was shaped like a cockatoo because Bambuk stands for cockatoo.
After all our exploring we had well and truly earned an ice-cream, stopping at the local ice creamery called Coola’s. We made it back to the caravan all needing a break, Mum probably more than anyone.
The girls entertained themselves in the tent and underfoot. I realised quite early into the trip that I packed way to many toys, and after watching them play with a bucket of pegs for an hour I just wanted to bang my head against the wall haha!
Parkgate resort, where we are staying, is probably the busiest caravan park we have been to family wise. Thankfully we have worked out a pretty good pool schedule, going just before lunch when everyone is out adventuring and again about 6:15pm when all normal people are eating tea!
We ate tea at 8:30pm last night, it was to hot to eat in the annex at the table so the back of the bus was the next best option!
It has been nice to settle into a little routine and both night the girls have been for a bike ride after tea, then go straight to bed without complaint. Last night as Koel and I sat outside and listened to a little boy cry for hours, the poor parents. I just cant imagine this trip with kids that wouldn’t go to bed!
This morning (Monday) we had another sleep in, cooked breakfast and a few hours in the pool. We set out at 2:30pm and about 10 minutes later both the girls were asleep.
We drove for awhile just doing some random exploring, and found a hidden gem in Barneys, unfortunately it wasn’t open today but we are heading back Wednesday for look inside.
By the time we got back into Hall’s Gap the girls had woken up so we visited another lake, then stopped at the supermarket for an ice-cream. The afternoon ended in disaster after Frankie’s melted all over her. I was the worst person in the world for not having a change of clothes for her to go to the park.
All was good in the world by the time we got back to the caravan, we again did our 6 o’clock pool trick, had tea and headed to Mackenzie Falls. It was such a beautiful night, 21 degrees with a nice breeze which is just heaven after the last few days. The girls surprised us and walked the whole way down and back the only complaint being about 100m from the top when Frankie mentioned her leg was about to break! The view was just incredible. We were the only people there as it was so late, so had the whole place to ourselves. Caravanning tip #1: Do everything when everyone else is busy! haha
Halls Gap is amazing, I feel like I’ve used that word 100 times in this blog but we have just loved the last couple of days! I swear 2 out of every 3 building is accommodation, Koel and I cant believe how many motels, B&B’s and backpacker places there are here!
I will leave you with a story we found at Mackenzie Falls, I’m not sure how clear the picture is so will type what it says. Thanks for reading and Happy Monday! 🙂
“Hello, my name is Pearl Cranage and I used to run the kiosk here. I’d stand where you are now and shout right across the gorge “How many today Jack?” The bus driver would yell back how many visitors he had on board and I’d put enough tea on for that number. No mobile phones in those days. My family lived here from the 1920’s- we built a corrugated iron house next to the kiosk. Before the, we used to run a sawmill nearby. Before you go, close your eyes and listen to the power of the water, its a mighty sound.”
Where Pearl would have been standing.