Why don’t you make this a gap year?
THIS spring or summer, why not think about a road trip to one of Australia's most spectacular locations…Halls Gap in The Grampians, Western Victoria?
Whether you're a grey nomad with your own caravan or trailer,or rent a car from Melbourne for a few days, this part of Australia has so much to offer.
First of all there's the dramatic scenery. Craggy peaks, towering cliffs and the mystery of an ancient land called Gariwerd by the Aboriginal tribes who inhabited the region for thousands of years.
This section covers 33kms and takes three days, two nights with accommodation along the way in camp grounds or huts…and if your legs start to feel the strain, you have the option of returning to base along the way.
Eventually the entire walk will be 144kms long and if you're up to it, will take 13 days.
Not for the faint hearted, but a wonderful experience if you plan ahead and train with determination.
For the less active, other attractions include Brambuk - the National Park & Cultural Centre right in town.
This extraordinary building has an undulating roof resembling the sweeping wings of a white cockatoo and provides an interpretive history of the culture of the area's Indigenous people, plus the Gariwerd Dreaming Theatre and a bush foods cafe.
Food and wine enthusiasts are well catered for in Halls Gap and the surrounding areas, with a number of fine restaurants and wineries close at hand.
For example, in nearby Dunkeld there's the famous Royal Mail Hotel and, for a less formal light meal, the Old Bakery with its 1856 oven turning out superb bread even today.
Or in Halls Gap itself, LiveFast Café and the Kookaburra Hotel are highly recommended.
Wineries in the region are numerous and tastings can occupy most of a day, if you're so inclined.
Top choices include Montara near Ararat, Best's and Seppelts at Great Western [remember Chalambar Burgundy and Moyston Claret?] and Arcadia Park near Hamilton to the south.
Accommodation around Halls Gap comes in all shapes, sizes and prices ranging from camping and guest houses to B&Bs and the superb Boroka Downs Luxury Boutique Retreat [couples only].
The Grampians are well worth the road trip from Melbourne or interstate and will certainly fill a gap in your most remembered Aussie vacations.