The Backyard Tourist

The Backyard Tourist by Amelia Crafter

The Backyard Tourist by Amelia Crafter

It seems like only a few weeks ago the air conditioners were pumping and we were sipping cold beers on the deck looking at the beautiful Grampians. At the time, I contemplated a bush walk but the thought of speedy snakes and my little kids complaining they were hot quickly put the idea out of my mind. 

All of a sudden, the days are cool, but not too cold. The fire is going at night and I have swapped the beer for a local shiraz. Now is the perfect time to set out and find a bushwalk that suits you, or even your little ones. It’s not too hot, not too cold and it’s perfect coming home to a warm house and slow cooker meal after a day in the mountains.

Just a few weeks ago, I set out with my 5-year-olds for our first ever bushwalk. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t nervous, I was very nervous. While my kids are full of beans all the time (I mean all the time!) they can also be lazy and have seriously short attention spans, so I didn’t know how this would go. 

I had talked to a few other people and researched trails and decided on one that was only half an hour drive from Horsham, wasn’t too long, but had something great for them to look forward to at the end- Zumsteins to Fish Falls. What a perfect choice it was! 

It was a cool and overcast day, which meant we didn’t get too hot on the undulating and clear track. And the boys were absolutely in their element. The bridge crossings with informative signs about the local platypus population had to be read in full and out loud and we kept a constant vigil for the elusive monotreme as we made our way along the track that hugs the creek.

This bushwalk definitely counts as exercise at 5km return trip but it is also easy enough for low fitness levels, beginners, or kids. Most importantly, it is stunning and in our own backyard. I am now dedicating myself to becoming a ‘backyard tourist’ as often as I can to show my kids how lucky they are to live in this beautiful part of the world. 

A picnic at Fish Falls is a must and there are plenty of rocks to perch on while you enjoy a break and a snack watching the water crash over ancient rock formation. If you wanted to go further, especially if your kids were a little older, you can keep going another kilometer to get to the gorgeous McKenzie Falls. That little trek will have to wait for another day for us. 

The wander back definitely started to challenge the boys, but despite a few ‘I’m tired’ comments during the last kilometer, they absolutely loved it. At one point they were even chanting ‘this is the best walk ever’.

There are plenty of walks and hikes all over the region and quite a few that kids can handle. So instead of turning on Netflix to occupy your kids this weekend, check the weather forecast and if it’s clear, then hit the trail- you won’t regret it.

A sample of other easy bushwalk options:

Venus Baths walk from Halls Gap – 2.30km circuit

Lakeview Loop from Sundial Carpark in Halls Gap – 1.8km circuit

The Balconies Lookout from Reeds Lookout carpark – 2km Circuit

Clematis Falls from Halls Gap Recreation Reserve – 2.4km circuit

Mount Zero and Flat Rock – 3.6km circuit