Back on the main road again, I continued to climb along the winding road, pulling off again when I reached the turnoff for Reid Lookout. Again, I parked and headed off on foot, hiking along narrow trails, taking photos of broad valleys and cloud-muffled peaks. It has begun to drizzle a bit, but this has not diminished the beauty of this dramatic place. (It has, however, made getting good photographs unlikely, at least of panoramas. Pretty dark and hazy.)
Then onward, to Boroka Lookout–a bit farther off the main drag, down a road lined with wildflowers in white, a dozen shades of pink (including the lovely Common Heath, state flower of Victoria), and the familiar yellow of the wattles. Here, the view was down across Halls Gap and the Wonderland Range, and the avian delight here was a sparrow-sized bird with a brilliant orange breast.
Half an hour later, I was winding down toward Halls Gap, through the Wonderland Range. This is a truly beautiful, craggy, wild area. (Which, besides being gorgeous, also makes driving “interesting.” Wet, winding road, and I’m on the “wrong” side. Definitely part of the adventure.) I passed the Elephant’s Hide and Indian Head (rock formations that really do match their names), stopping to admire them, and then dropped down into Halls Gap.
It was after 1:00pm, so I parked the car and walked along the main street to Stony Creek. The Flying Emu Café offered tables overlooking the creek, so I decided it would be a good for lunch. After eating, I popped into the craft store next door and bought a T-shirt for my sister-in-law. Then it was back to the car and onward.
Now I headed south, driving the entire length of the Grampians National Park, emerging an hour later at Dunkeld. On this stretch of road, I had the wilderness to myself. No other cars interrupted the silence on this dark, damp day. It was splendid: just me and the trees and the rain. I was delighted almost to giddiness by kookaburras, laughing and flying past, and kangaroos hopping across the road. At one spot, I saw a kangaroo hesitate and look back, and I read this as a signal that others would follow, so I stopped the car. A few seconds later, the first ‘roo was followed by several others. I waited until nearly a dozen kangaroos of varying ages and sizes had safely crossed the road before I continued on. Breathtaking.