Rock Climbing and Drive to Adelaide

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Had another early start today for 2 reasons. First was to hopefully get away with a free night and secondly because it was going to be another long day of travelling. I had purposely chosen this camp site because of it's close proximity to aboriginal rock art. So we packed up and carried on down the dirt track for a few further kilometres to the Manja shelter and walked the couple of minutes to the caves.

The paintings were fenced off and it was very hard to make them out but there were a couple of stick figures and some hand prints. When I see a big rock I have to climb on it and this looked like a challenge. It didn't take me long to climb to the top but it wasn't that easy and I was only wearing sandals. The views of the deforestation were incredible and I could just make out the volcanoes in the distance. Worth the walk.

Decided that was enough and headed off back to the sealed road and the journey to Halls Gap, the centre of the Grampians. As we were slowly making our way down the dirt track back to the highway we suddenly had to swerve and were nearly run off the road. Not to avoid a wandering kangaroo or emu but a 4wd Police car flying down the middle of the track at close to 100km/hour! No idea what they were after but they were in a hurry!

Drove along the sealed road for about 50km's until we arrived at Zumsteins, where there was supposed to be the spectacular McKenzie Falls. Well the last 50k's had been though completely burnt forest and the access road to the Falls was closed. Guess we keep going then?

Checked out a couple more lookout points along the way to Halls Gap and the destruction was incredible. Destroyed forest as far as the eye could see. The forests fires are necessary to keep the land fertile and the trees recover within a few years. Shows you how hot and dry it is out here and why they have fire bans in place.

Got to Halls Gap and it seemed pretty closed. Detours in place and to be honest we had seen a few good lookouts and with the devastation we had seen we couldn't be bothered to do any of the long walks, so refueled and got back on the highway. Every country seems to have a national dish and you would expect it to be the barbie here, well it isn't. The Aussie national dish as far as I'm concerned is the humble meat pie! Beef mince in gravy with ketchup on top and sold absolutely everywhere.

We still had 500km's to go to Adelaide and the roads were dead straight and deserted so Dave was putting his foot down a bit. Drive passed a police car and the lights come on and we have to pull over. 5 minutes later and we are issued with a $210 ticket, which we don't intend to pay. Even the police officer said, "should you choose to pay it...". We were only going 70mph but the highway speed in Aus is 65mph! It's a straight, sealed road and should be faster than that considering the distances that need to be travelled.

We had assumed that we could waltz up to any hostel in Adelaide without any trouble and get a place to stay without any notice. Well not when the Clipsal 500 is on it seems! Never heard of it but apparently the streets of Adelaide come to a standstill when the Aussie Touring Cars come to town.

Ended up finding a place in the terrible Blue Gallah YHA hostel. I don't know what it is about YHA hostels in Aus but they are always crap and the most expensive in town. $25 for a disgusting dorm room with plastic sheets! Think I'd rather sleep in the car! Plus we had to park in a multi story car park for another $20! Expensive place to visit.

Starving hungry and Antti had received a tip off about a bargain pizza restaurant down a nearby side street. $5.90 for a 12" pizza! Bargain of Aus so far. It was delicious and made me feel in a much better mood. It was Friday so we hit the town and went to the Woodshed bar. Heaving and unsurprisingly dressed up like a country barn, it was quite a cool place. Got a couple of jugs of the local beer, West End Draught, before feeling a little tired and heading back to the hostel to get things sorted.

One of the downfalls of sleeping in the car is the lack of access to facilities. So I had to recharge my camera batteries, get showered and wash my clothes. Sat down watching the movie Man on the Moon, which I thought was pretty good before finally heading to bed at 2am.
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