Why, hello there! This post might contain affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you!) if you purchase from them.
As someone who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, I have fond memories of spending school holidays taking road trips around our home state of Victoria. Some of my favorite trips included day trips to Lorne, bringing visiting family members to the Great Ocean Road or weekend road trips to the Grampians.
It’s been more than 3 years since we’d spent Christmas in Australia. For years I yearned for a white Christmas. When you grow up with sweltering hot Christmases, the idea of a cold, snowy Christmas is exciting. It’s like something out of a movie or an American TV show.
After spending our last 2 Christmases in Boston, and the Christmas before that in Finland (one word: Lapland!) we were ready to re-embrace the (hot) Australian Christmas.
And while the TV show “Bondi Rescue” will have you believe that an Australian Christmas involves spending Christmas day at Bondi Beach (truth: Australians don’t really go to Bondi!) Australia is such a multicultural country that everyone has their own Christmas traditions.
For me? The perfect Christmas was spending time with someone I love, and embracing the great outdoors!
We decided to spend a couple of days visiting the Grampians National Park. More commonly known as “the Grampians” to locals, this national park is known for its sweeping rocky formations and is located a 3hr drive from Melbourne.
It’d been a couple of years since I last visited, but my memories of Grampians did not betray me. Our trip was filled with sweaty uphill hikes where we were rewarded with grand views. For the life of me, I couldn’t believe it had taken me this long to re-visit this beautiful part of Victoria.
Even though it was peak summer period (the combination of school holidays and Christmas break will do that), we still loved our visit. On Christmas day we woke up at 4 am (yes, 4 am!) and drove an hour in the dark, carefully avoiding wallabies and kangaroos who like to wander in the dark before we made it to the Sundial carpark.
We hiked through the dark (unfortunately forgetting our headlamps) but made it to the Pinnacles lookout in time for sunrise. What was more special was how empty this beautiful place was. The colors in the sky started amber, then became a beautiful pink color before the sun had well and truly risen.
I’ve been blogging for more than a year now, and sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in photographing an experience. Sometimes you’re so busy taking photos you forget to embrace where you are and be present entirely in the moment.
Hiking through the dark early on Christmas Day, and then experiencing one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve been lucky enough to see made me realize how much of a risk I run into this idea of “photo-driven” travel.
So this year, I want to focus on experiences. While I’ll still be sharing advice and travel guides, I’ll also be sharing more about the experiences behind my photos.
Visiting the Grampians was the holiday I didn’t know I needed. The area is so beautiful, so remote (for most of our trip we barely had phone reception) you can’t help but fully embrace where you are and what’s around you.