Thursday, April 4, 2019

Halls Gap ... "Under the Mountain," literally!

The Village of Halls Gap lies in a pass in the Grampians, quite literally "under the mountain," and often invisible in the morning mist. Here, we see it from Boroka Lookout, in late March 2019...

Driving into the village, you're tremendously aware of being in a mountain pass. The walls rise like ramparts, almost at the bottom of people's back gardens...

From the street -- where you'll find everything you could possibly need, from a newsagent to a supermarket, by way of cafes and ice cream parlor -- just look up under those vines:

The view from the roadside is spectacular!

There's more to Halls Gap than, at first, you assume. Quiet streets angle back from Grampians Road, which is the main thoroughfare, into woodland that's abundant in wildlife, right in the village.

On misty mornings (of which there will be many), Halls Gap drowses like Brigadoon until the sun burns off the fog ...

Up on Boroka Lookout here, it's already sunny (if not quite warm! You're 616 meters high), but if you look off to the left side, you can see the mist that still fills the gap --

...yes, Halls Gap is down there. Did I say Brigadoon?! Magical.

Having arrived in the village, you have about a hundred choices of where to stay. This was ours:

We booked a log cabin at the aptly named Halls Gap Log Cabins ... one word: fantastic! First, there are kangaroos, wallabies, emus, bilbies, in your backyard --

And perhaps just as importantly, the cabins are absolutely luxurious, with a combustion heater, TV/DVD, full size fridge, queen size bed, spa bath ... the works:

You might be in a village in the mountains, but you're certainly not roughing it! (Though there's plenty of that, if you want it: caravanning and camping are very well catered to.)

Now, what about dining out? We did brunch at Harvest, and dinner at Darcy's, which is the restaurant attached to the Comfort Inn...

The food is excellent, and in the evening, long after the sun is down, the grounds around Darcy's, back and front of the Comfort Inn, are thronged with grazing wallabies and kangaroos:

Check out the roo getting a drink at the fountain there! Too cute.

The cultural heart of Halls Gap is Brambuk, where 'Grampians' becomes 'Gariwerd,' and the country's original owners' voice speaks clearly:

We need to set aside a whole afternoon for Brambuk. There's far too much to see and do than you could manage by strolling through. Also, a very nice cafe and the usual gift shop.

On the way out of town...

Lake Bellfield is a man-made lake ... the reservoir serving Halls Gap and the surrounding area. Completed in 1966, just 18 years before Grampians National Park was declared. In Victoria, swimming and sailing are allowed on many of the reservoirs ... wish we did this in SA!

Leaving Halls Gap --

-- the only question is, where are we going today? Hang a right, head for the national park, and keep the cameras handy, because every time you come around a bend in the road, something spectacular happens...

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