Travel: The Best Walks in the Grampians

What is it that makes us want to climb mountains? It’s a really universal urge, I feel. I’m getting really into hiking lately, partly inspired by my fitness focus (I’ve been all about the bootcamp, surprisingly). Not to mention that I happen to live in such a beautiful place, surrounded by gorgeous walks. This weekend was my second trip to the Grampians and this time we focused on staying to the south and centre, rather than the north.

Grampians Mt Rosea

On Sunday we spent the day clambering up Mt Rosea, which is one of the longer and more challenging day hikes in the Grampians National Park. I’d really recommend this for anyone looking for a more challenging walk away from the crowds. We started by heading up Stony Creek Road from the Mt Rosea carpark, which is definitely the best direction to challenge this loop as you get to clamber up and then take an easier walk down again. It should take around 2 hours to reach the top via the Gate of the East Wind. Any aches and grumbles will soon be silenced by the unbelievable views that greet you once you reach the top. These are widely agreed to be among the best in the Grampians and the great news is that the difficult climb means you’ll get to enjoy them in peace, without the crowds of families that can be found on some of the easier walks.

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From the top, you need to make sure you turn left from the summit towards Burma Track, an old 4WD track. Be careful though as the signage isn’t great and the path itself is a little overgrown. Just make sure you turn left at any intersection and you’ll reach your original destination eventually. Also I came pretty close to being bitten by a snake, so watch your feet! After jumping at a noise, I turned to notice a large black snake slithering in the other direction. I couldn’t help but wonder how far away the nearest snake bite kit would be.

Other walks I really recommend include:

  • Mt Sturgeon for panoramic views to the south
  • Wonderland Carpark to the Pinnacle for iconic views and a challenging climb
  • Mt Difficult for a really challenging walk with waterfalls

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Music: Arrows Of Love

Flannel shirts, Alice in Chains, Love Buzz – no this wasn’t one of my grunge wet dreams, this actually happened. Nirvana, Live Tonight was playing on the TV screen and post it notes with song requests adorned the wall. It seemed Soundgarden, Mudhoney and L7 were the flavour of the day. Touch Me I Am Sick had arrived at the Victoria in Dalston and there wasn’t a synth in sight.

Headlining the evening were the Arrows of Love. I was definitely intrigued by this band as they definitely had the look down, but the real question was, could they play? I quickly discovered the answer was yes,. Arrows of Love had adopted the soft/loud model pioneered by the Pixies 25 years earlier and constantly changed tempo, keeping the audience on edge.

The lead guitar work was exhilarating throughout, cutting through the power verses without dominating the tempo of the songs. At times the bass was used as like a lead guitar reminiscent of long forgotten grunge band Failure’s album Magnified. And above all, it was really noisy; the lead vocals however probably owe more to Julian Casablancas than Kurt Cobain. By the end of the gig the crowd of mid twenties grungers were bobbing around furiously.

In true grunge tradition the band attempted a bit kit destruction set which saw the lead guitarist in with the crowd throwing around his guitar. It certainly sounded and looked impressive. The band exited the venue with their instruments still ringing, although the guitar lying on the floor looked like it would live to play another day.  On writing this article I discovered Shellac’s Bob Weston will be mixing their upcoming album and I have to say I can’t wait to hear it.