While still enjoying our lunches, the clouds parted long enough for me to scamper back up to the top of the lookout and get a few nicer views of the surrounding area.
A proper panoramic of the view from The Pinnacle. It was a pretty great spot.
But as it turned out, that wasn’t my highlight of our hike. From here we descended a different direction. Our guide Steve had turned back earlier to retrieve the van and meet us at a different trail-head. This was very nice, as it allowed us to explore a different part of the Grampians on our way down the Wonderland track.
And there were really cool sections we passed through. The rain returned but it didn’t dampen our spirits as we were funneled through tight rock formations.
At the bottoms of these tight gorges you really get the feeling of water squeezing through here on a wetter day…
I was very much enjoying this hike. Some of the others were less than enthralled with the increased difficulty of slip and sliding over rocks, but I was having a great time!
The scale here was quite remarkable. You dropped well below the height of the boulders. A lot of the time rain/rivers had cut through the rocks in such a way that it felt like the gorges were man-made, running dead straight for long sections.
Finally we started to level out and come to the middle part, where we got some good outdoor views.
Looking back to the section we just came through, it’s a really odd looking place.
Our last portion of the descent took us through the ‘Grand Canyon’.
While absolutely nothing in comparison to the REAL Grand Canyon, this was still a wonderful ending to the hike.
Naturally, the sun came out when we got to the van. Looking back, it’s hard to picture that we had been hiking amongst those rocks, but most often several meters below what can be seen here!
Leaving the parking lot of the Wonderland area, we stumbled up a very lucky find – and Echidna!
As far as ‘Australia’s weird wildlife’ goes, the Echnida has to be somewhere on that list. It sort of looks like a porcupine, with a snout for ant eating. They are very shy, slow moving creatures. But the strangest thing about it is how it reproduces – the Echidna lays eggs. Yet, it is a *mammal*. The platypus (also in Australia) is the only other mammal that lays eggs. So very odd. This one moved slowly amongst the stream as we watched it. When startled, it would curl up a bit, much akin to hedgehogs and porcupines.
After watching the Echidna for a bit, we returned to the van and headed to Halls Gap, the town of the Grampians. Here we did a tour of a cultural center, along with spotting a few sleeping wallabies on the surrounding grounds.
That finished our tour. From here, 5 of us were dropped in the town of Ballarat while the rest headed back to Melbourne. For us 5, our journey wasn’t quite finished – we still had to make our way to Adelaide.