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Adventures in Victoria, Australia: Part 1   -   20.09.2012

During my last visit to Australia I spent roughly 3 weeks in Victoria catching up with old friends, climbing, hiking and showing my Dad around. My first adventure out of Melbourne took me to Mt Arapiles to climb with Geoff and my girlfriend Sophie, a lovely Welsh girl that I met in Spain last year.

We stuck to the classics and I even ticked a few routes that I’d backed off of before. I didn’t take many photos but one I did manage to get was of a rare instance where Sophie didn’t have a rock or cigarette in her hand. I believe it’s the only such photo in existence.

Alright, I can’t lie. . .she has a cigarette in her left hand.

Sophie sizing up the crux on Piccolo.

The Organ Pipes seen from the top of Blockbuster. (FYI: getting down from that spot was far scarier than the climb up and I don’t reckon I’d like to repeat it.)

On another trip out of the city Noel and I went to Mt Beckworth for an afternoon of slab climbing. After a very lazy start with breakfast and coffee in Ballarat, we climbed pretty hard and put in 7 pitches, making it a 100-point day in under 4 hours.

From runout-slab heaven we drove back to Ballarat where Anton, Natalie, Andrew, Asia, Victor and I enjoyed a home-cooked meal, beer, wine and loads of trash-talking. In the morning all of us but Natalie drove to the Grampians to do a loop walk that links up Hollow Mountain and Mt Stapylton.

I’ve been to Hollow Mountain many times in the past (don’t ask me how I managed to miss the hollow part of it) but this time Andrew showed me the inside of the mountain and I was blown away! We must have played around for half an hour on the sculpted roofs and swirling shelves of sandstone quartzite. It’s definitely worth brining rock shoes and a crash pad.

Victor inside Hollow Mountain.

Me playing in Hollow Mountain. The peak in the distance is Mt Zero, home of the best kalamata olives I’ve ever had. (Photo cred: Andrew)

The walk to Mt Stapylton, from the top of Hollow Mountain, involves several steps/leaps across voids. The first one didn’t bother me but this one turned my stomach. Before leaving Ballarat Andrew tried to convince Natalie, who doesn’t like heights, to join us. He described the move as follows, “Oh yeah, the fall is like death. . .but my Mom did it.” She decided not to join us.

Anton stepping across the void.

Anton standing next to the void.

Fortunately, we all survived the leap (Andrew and Asia walked around to avoid it) and made it to Mt Stapylton for some lunch and hot tea (thanks Victor for carrying a stove all the way).

Admiring Taipan Wall on the way down.

After my trip to the Red Centre, Dad came back to Melbourne with me and I showed him around for a week. Firstly, we went East to Gippsland Lakes Coast Park for a long walk on the beach and hours of seashell hunting.

From there we drove to Wilsons Prom NP where we camped at Tidal River and did all the day walks that I’ve never done (most of the park was still closed after flooding the year before so we couldn’t do an overnight walk). The wind blew a gale but the sun kept us warm.

Strong offshore breeze!

Dad, after a windy walk on the beach.

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