General, Travel

Langhorne Creek to Ararat

I can’t believe that this is really the last leg of our Australian driving journey. We have so much to see and do before we leave on June 1st, and suddenly, we can talk about that in a week or so, rather than months. It’s nice to know we’re starting an iconic drive as well, Adelaide to Melbourne, including the Grampian Mountians and the Great Ocean Road; there are definitely worse ways to say goodbye to a country!

We fell asleep last night halfway through a Downton Abbey episode, so we decided that it was necessary to finish that whilst eating our breakfast before we got going. It certainly freshened the weetabix a little bit. The day ahead of us was filled with nothing but driving and hoping for WiFi, so we weren’t that eager to get going.

The driving between Langhorne Creek and Bordertown involved yet another ferry, which was thankfully free. The roads between Langhorne Creek and Bordertown weren’t the nicest we have had to drive. It was windy, and rainy (on and off) and made the journey one of the most unpleasant we have had. There wasn’t really anywhere to stop, and the outback, and small towns with nothing in, get quite boring and repetitive after a while.

We were on the hunt for somewhere that would allow us to charge the laptops. We had used a lot of the battery watching things and using the screnshots of the mapped routes for the day, so neither of us would have much left to offer for nightly entertainment if they died. It took stopping in various little towns, such as Bordetown and Nhill before we saw the sign for a McDonalds. In times like this it has been a refuge for us previously.

Our plan had originally been to stop at a free rest stop just outside of Bordetown. When we got there, it was still early afternoon, and the place was pretty dead, so we made the decision to continue on a plug hunt that took us to Horsham. The McDonalds, although strong in the WiFi stakes, was lacking plugs (as was the KFC, Hungry Jacks, and Subway), so we eventually stopped in the library, when we found it, for half an hour. It was enough to get us the end of the broken Hart of Dixie and to charge a little bit.

Our risk left us without somewhere certain to stop for the night, so we risked driving past the night rest area (minus toilets) and found one on the way to the Grampians. They may have had a huge grasshopper in, but at least there were actually toilets there. We used some of the remaining battery on my laptop to watch Pirates of the Caribbean, before going to bed.

It took us ages to set off the next morning. We put what we thought was The Little Mermaid on while we ate and got ready, but it turned out to be the prequel called Ariel’s beginning; it was lacking some of Disney’s finer film qualities.We persevered before setting out to Hall’s Gap and the Grampians. The information centre and lady on the desk gave us plenty of lookouts to see and walks to do for the day.

The roads were not good for my motion sickness, but the views were incredible, especially from our first stop Boroka Lookout. We risked sitting on the edge of the rock to take some cool photos and enjoyed the mountain and lake scenery, before setting off to the less impressive Reid’s lookout and Balconies. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly, but the small rock outcrop, and the view that seemed to solely contain trees and a couple of hills was just not as nice to look at for me.

Our last lookout on the main road through the mountains was at Mackenzie falls. We did a walk to a lookout over the top of the falls, and a walk to the base of the falls. They were more impressive from the base, but were still not the most impressive falls we have seen on this journey, or will see I am sure. The smaller Broken falls ear the same site were actually more impressive.

Our last (and cold) lookout was from Sundial car park that took us to a lake view lookout. The lake was fairly impressive, and surprisingly had been dammed. Although the attractio, such as the Cascades, Katoomba Falls, and the Three Sisters were singularly more impressive than the Grampian’s attractions, I preferred the Grampians to the Blue Mountains overall. maybe it was because we got to do more stuff there, maybe it’s because they’re nice, I don’t know, but I definitely preferred them.

In the evening, we stopped in Stawell to get a proper fish n chips dinner, before again using McDonalds WiFi to check emails and buffer TV shows. We were disappointed we didn’t just carry straight onto Ararat because discovered it also had a McDonald’s, but were glad we had got the stuff we needed for the evening. The rest area in Ararat, despite being full of huge spiders, is one of the first free stops we’ve found with showers! It’s just a shame the lake alongside it is dry at the moment, it would have been an impressive place to sleep at.

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