After a wonderful night’s sleep, like the best I have had in months, we ate a breakfast, splurging this time on toast and a mandarin along with a few cups of tea! I decided today was the day, I would drive! Our first stop was only 20km away so I thought it’s now or never! And now turned into be really fun! Once I got the hang of the blinkers being on the left and the windshield wipers being on the right, I was good to go! I got everyone to Tower Hill, an inactive volcano in one piece! There we did the beautiful hike around the rim of the volcano and saw stunning craters. At the end of the hike we noticed a few large birds, Emus to be exact! We petted the Emus and took pictures with them before spotting Bruce, the Koala up in the tree! Naturally then we turned all of attention to Bruce! He made quite the model, don’t you agree?
Pulling ourselves away from the beautiful animals, we piled back in the car for the longest leg of our journey, the drive to the Grampian Mountains! Upon arrival in this small town called Halls Gap while attempting to find our bearings I look to the right and notice something odd. The footy oval at the local park is covered in mammals, Kangaroos to be exact! Not that we didn’t get enough of kangaroos the other day, yet these ones were letting us approach them! We petted the kangaroos and some stuck around seeming as though they wanted to play! My favorite was the kangaroo that had a lovely little Joey in her pouch!!
The Balconies was our first Grampian hike and it was STUNNING! Even though the fog had settled in, we could make out the outlines of the mountain ranges off in the distance. The guys were much braver than I and hiked out the side of a cliff to get amazing pictures, I was happy with the photos I could snap from the comfort of behind the railings!
The main attraction for us to the Grampian Mountains was MacKenzie Falls. It took about 30 minutes to drive up this mountain to get to the entrance to the Falls only to find out that due to a bush fire, it was temporarily closed. A little defeated we headed back down the mountain to one of the only cafes in Halls Gap where Kristian and Gabriele split a Kangaroo Slovakia (my taste was quite delicious!) and I ate another PB&J.
Stopping by the Brambuk Cultural Center we decided to make the best of the Falls being closed and try out another hike before heading back to Melbourne.
The Pinnacle was what we chose! A 5km hike up rock faces, in the bush, and to a wonderful view! As we trekked up the mountain, I was leading and we got to this giant rock face where none of us knew where the trail was; we couldn’t make out human footprints, any trail indicators, or see the point we were supposed to reach. So what do 4 under 25 year olds do? Keep hiking! Eventually I spotted a faded, chipped-paint yellow trail marker, reassured we were on the right track we hiked on! A short time, and a few wrong turns due to chipped-paint trail markers we made it to the top! As I breathed in the fresh mountain air my tensions released and I grinned. Being on top of the world (it seemed) made me so excited for life, everything in it. Our hike down was lovely, albeit being rushed by the ever fading light of day.
On the drive back to Melbourne I was questioned about my faith and it was so wonderful to share the fundamentals of my faith with these guys I had the privilege of spending three days with. Once in Melbourne, we went our merry little ways and now share photos online!
This trip was marvelous for 5 reasons:
- God revealed himself to me.
- It refreshed me.
- I grew culturally.
- I’ve seen stunning views and feel as though I’ve explored a bit more of Australia.
- But most of all, I had time to think, time to learn, and time alone with my thoughts, God, and me.
In Jeremiah 25 we are promised that God has “ refreshed the weary and satisfied the faint.” I felt God actively doing this as I journeyed along. Such a wonderful feeling!
I rest in the assurance and cling to Psalm 23 and my journey and knowledge gained in the sights, experiences, thoughts, and joys of the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians.