Halls Gap in the Grampians, is the Wimmera version of Montville.
It’s greener and several degrees cooler than Horsham due to the trees and the higher altitude. It has a couple of caravan parks and holiday homes, as well as the usual tourist shops. The best part is that it’s only an hours drive from Horsham.
It is also the start of the Wimmera – Mallee pipeline system that supplies about 9,000 rural properties and 36 towns with fresh water. The piped system replaced the open earthen channels where over 100,000 megalitres of water was lost to evaporation each year. This dam, the Bellfield Dam, looked a very different place 2 years ago because up until the floods last year, you could walk along it’s floor bed and see the remains of the town that was flooded with the construction of the dam wall.
It seems so strange to hear how much rain they had here, enough to filled all the dams, rivers and lakes of the entire surrounding area. The areas wettest month on record was January 2011 with 152.2mm for THE MONTH. Horsham was flooded transforming the lakes and rivers from bone dry to over flowing. Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland received 108mm in one night last week and they don’t think anything of it.
The Boroka Lookout gave an amazing view of Halls Gap with the dam standing over the town. It makes you hope the engineers knew exactly what they where doing and that the dam wall is strong enough.
The people of this country are a tough lot. And we often wonder at the strength of the modern farmers as well as what their parents and grandparents had to endure.
The whole area has extremes of hot, dry weather. The dry wheat fields with thier golden stubble, the dead fire wood along river beds and ground cover (against the law to remove thanks to greenies) are hallmarks of the area. The hot winds are normal for this time of year prompting the council in Horsham to think of shutting off the electricity supply in the hottest parts of the day in, particularly on extreme heat days, to stop electrical fires caused by the power lines sagging in the heat.
We enjoyed lunch in town at Halls Gap and had a quick look around the gift shops and then it was off to Lake Lonsdale. With the rain the water sports are back in full force. Water skiing and fishing are now available on once dry lake beds and everyone is making the most of it.
We hope one day to repay Gayle and Andrew for their hospitality in showing us areas that we might have missed. We wouldn’t have learned about the finer details of some of the spots we have visited if it wasn’t for them. It was wonderful to spend the weekend enjoying their company.