Day 78 – Grampians with the Griswolds

After a fantastic night of catching up with Bec, KJ, Don, Tobs & Rod (Toby’s dad) we enjoyed the warmth of the fire pit, along with a couple of lovely wines before retiring to bed at 11pm precisely. There was no coincidence with the synchronicity of all couples going to bed – the caravan park staff politely requested that all fires were extinguished at that precise time – time for bed!

Throughout the night there wasn’t a noise from caravan and tent alike. All families were in deep slumber until a not so friendly kookaburra decided to wake man and animal alike. I think it was around 4.30am. After the familiar laugh of this bush hooligan, a symphony of sound erupted from the nearby bush. Kangaroos hopping nearby, one so close that it ‘donged’ itself on our tow bar. The ducks began quacking, cockatoos squawking. The quietest of all the animals was the emu – I still am not sure what noise they make!

After the bush ensemble concluded the first few bars, it was time for the humans to get involved. Claudia’s (or Cordial as Ava and Audrey call her) – Bec and KJ’s youngest slumber was disturbed by the noisy kookaburra and decided it was time for her to join in. Shortly afterwards Ava contributed to the concerto with her familiar “Can I get up now Daddy”. Despite the noisy start to the morning, it was lovely to wake up at the foot of one of mountains within the Grampians with nature close by. We unzipped the ‘window’ at the foot of our bed and invited the girls into watch the spectacular sunrise. Beautiful shades of pink and orange over the oval in front of us, the girls extremely happy to be looking at the view from our ‘caravan television’. Kangaroo and emu alike were head down, bushy bottoms up picking and grazing in the fields. Just spectacular.img_2739

The girls had decided it was time to go out for a run and headed off in an eclectic mix of “active wear” for a small run. I have to admit I was a little concerned for Caroline, whom hasn’t run in around three months and would push herself to keep up with Bec and Don. The gentlemen held the fort while the wives were away, being extremely responsible. Children were fed, campsites were cleaned and preparations were made for feeding the adults. Don, Bec and Caroline returned to the caravan park in just under an hour, running just over eight kms. With any luck Caroline will be fit enough to drive tomorrow on our journey back home.

An adults breakfast of bacon and eggs on toast before going for a little explore. A bush walk to see McKenzie waterfalls. We drove for half an hour on a twisty turvy road, all three cars driving in convoy with UHF radios turned to channel 18. Before even leaving the caravan park the Beattie’s were in full swing, singing ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen in chorus. Car two in the convoy joined in, Don in full force belting out a few tunes.

After more wiggling and winding along the road we arrived at the car park for McKenzie waterfalls. The younger children were carried either on shoulders or in Claudia’s case within a baby carrier for the gruelling 850metre walk (it wasn’t gruelling at all, paved the entire way KJ seemed disappointed)! Half way through the walk all the kids except Claudia were off their respective parents shoulders prepared to walk to the waterfall. Ava and Noah darted off ahead, Beau and Audrey a few metres behind the leaders. After a few moments Audrey and Beau stopped walking, Audrey held Beau by his shoulders and planted a kiss straight on his lips. Later on I asked Audrey why she kissed Beau, her reply “It’s a secret dad I am not going to tell you”. Sad reality is I know it wasn’t her first kiss!

We arrived at the waterfall. It was spectacular. Thousands of litres flowing through by the minute, cascading down the sheer rock faces. We took a few group pictures from the adjacent walkway before commencing our return journey.kjl_6551

Back at the car park, we left the other two families who wanted to continue exploring while we headed back to the caravan park. Girls strapped in, Caroline in next, I get in the car and start reversing before I hear a familiar noise. A noise I heard when Caroline reversed the car into the poor unsuspecting tree. Crunch. My heart sank. Some silly plonker had placed a pole behind the car, right where I was reversing. I exited the car and was pleased there wasn’t too much damage – some superficial scrapes, not as bad as the carnage Caroline previously inflicted. Despite me reassuring Caroline there wasn’t too much damage, she just chuckled saying that my damage (of the same spot where she previously caused damage) would now take the focus of her previous accident. I think she was right.

Returning to the caravan park we had a quick lunch before heading to the pool. A heated pool that was heated by a wood fire! Crazy huh! The pool was a lovely temperature – inviting enough for Caroline to go in for a swim. Ava and Audrey had a ball, swimming, splashing and causing a muck.

After swim time, it was my turn to have some down time. An hour long relaxation massage at the caravan park. Blissful. So much so that I fell asleep. Kids dinner followed by a few stories read by Bec and it was adult time. Salads were made, cheese consumed. Time to relax into the evening with a wine in hand by the fireside.

2 responses to “Day 78 – Grampians with the Griswolds

  1. What an awakening to the campsite with all the animals waking up so early, sounds like our friendly kookaburra here at Eastwood who likes to sing to us. What a wonderful day despite the reversing bump, one questions is there a blind spot as it’s the same spot. At least it was a pole and nothing else!
    What a great day with friends and wonderful for Ava and Audrey to have friends to share special times with.
    Goodness you are going to have fun with Audrey as she grows up, she maybe petite but she is determined, strong willed and obviously likes boys! A kiss at three.
    Caroline’s car is parked at Beecroft in an appropriate spot and selfishly as requested. Saw Jack on the veranda at Donna’s but did not go near him for fear of “rocking the boat”. Will be lovely for you all to be reunited safely at Beecroft. The house and garden looked great but just missing something, “The Beattie family.”
    As you farewell your friends and head home today what an amazing adventure and experience you have had. You have all seen a huge part of this wonderful country of ours, you have had a wonderful bonding experience for your family and you have had three months to relax and enjoy. You have both worked hard for this and now you can look forward to the next one in ten years. Sadly being self employed we have not been able to have three months off but we certainly have made up for it with shorter breaks.
    We finished our task at 361 yesterday with only items to go to a resting place that could not be sold and the cleaners in on Thursday making it well in time for settlement on 31st. We did it!!!!!
    So looking forward to seeing you all, will be lovely to all catch up with the family.
    Drive carefully on you last leg.
    Love you all
    Mum, Nanna, Rosiexxxx

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  2. Sounds like a perfect day and a most fitting way to round off your holiday. Fun and laughter make a good recipe. Lovely to see you all together.
    Shame about the car Lachie, but at least it makes it all even with Caroline and with all the driving you have both done – not a bad result at all.
    We are off to Charlotte and Dan’s to see their home then to Anne and Peters for lunch with the gang, after which we head to Folkestone for our drive to Megève. So next time we contact you it will be from France.
    Safe drive home and loads of love, hugs and kisses from us both. xxxx

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