Peter de Graaf checks into the Pinnacle Holiday Lodge, Halls Gap, in Victoria.
Halls Gap, a tourist town (population 600) in the Grampian Mountains about 250km northwest of Melbourne.
Check-in experience: Unusually, it was cold and bucketing down with rain when I arrived.
I was sitting in the car working up the courage to dash to reception when the owner, Barry, knocked on the car window, greeted me by name (though I’d never been there before), handed me my room key, and cracked a Kiwi weather joke. You can’t get a more personalised check-in experience than that.
Room: 26, a twin spa unit. A large room with a double and single bed, tea and coffee making facilities, a washbasin and a spa bath in a room off the back separated by saloon doors. Some of the other rooms are equipped with a log burner, a sign it gets chilly here in winter.
Bathroom: Modern, spacious, functional. The spa bath in adjoining room is the standout though — what could be better than having a hot soak after a day’s hike while you watch wildlife hopping around the back lawn?
What’s in the neighbourhood: The Grampian Mountains and more walks and wildlife than you can shake a stick at. A short drive away, the Brambuk Cultural Centre offers an insight into the area’s rich, and tragic, Aboriginal history.
Food and drink: There’s no on-site eatery but several cafes and restaurants are within ambling distance. All rooms have tea and coffee making facilities and there’s a communal barbecue. The self-contained units include a kitchenette.
Wi-Fi: Free, but limits apply. If you go over your data limit you can buy more at reception at $5.50 for 200MB or $11 for 500MB.
Noise: Man-made noise is just about zero. And even if there was a party next door you’d never hear it over the Grampians’ raucous wildlife. The sight and sound of hundreds, possibly thousands, of corellas — a rowdy, cockatoo-like bird — roosting in the branches of nearby gum trees or swirling in the sky has to be experienced to be believed.
Exercise facilities: A network of superb walking trails starts at the door; there’s also a tennis court and an indoor pool. No gym needed here.
Perfect for: Bushwalkers (that’s trampers in Australian) exploring the Grampians or holiday-makers keen to meet the local wildlife.
Price: Rooms start at $125.
Would I stay again? Definitely. Welcoming and good value for money, plus how often do you get a spa bath and tame kangaroos as part of the deal?
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