Day 41: Christmas in Grampians National Park
Grampians was a pleasant surprise. Originally not on our radar at all, it was a reasonable place to camp because it lay dead-center in our path. By the time we arrived, it was late afternoon, getting on toward evening. We weren’t prepared for what lay ahead. Rarely does Australia boast any mountains of significant height. Grampians was reminiscent of the Great Smoky Mountains, or some hills on the fringe of the Appalachians. The highest peak is Mount William at 3,829 ft. The Southern Ocean touched the base of the northern and western edges of the these mountains 40 million years ago. Sandstone ridges run north-south, laid down by rivers over 400 million years ago. The national park is one of the richest indigenous rock art sites in southeastern Australia, associated with the Jardwadjali and Djab wurrung peoples. It is listed on the National Heritage List for its artistic depictions of humans and other animals in numerous caves around the park.
Below is the viewpoint from the Reed Lookout on one of the ridges in the park.
We pulled into a valley of ferns and old-growth eucalyptus trees towering overhead. Long-billed corellas and cuckoos called above us. We chose a campsite along Jimmy Creek. Kangaroos came into the campground to forage on new grass. Honeyeaters and pardalotes flitted in the eucalyptus.
Most of the waterfall trails were closed to public use due to flood damage, but we managed to walk to a lookout of the MacKenzie Falls.
We couldn’t stay long in the park - just one night - but it was a wonderful way to wake up on Christmas morning. First thing at sunrise, we looked up and there was a pair of long-billed corellas busy allopreening (a form of social grooming where the male and female bond by preening each other’s feathers).