I heard great things about the Grampians Peaks Trail. A section had opened earlier in the year and I was itching to get the boots on and head back on the trail. While on annual leave I set some time aside to hit the trail and I was excited to get the backpack out. However the weather wasn’t on my side. Hot days, strong winds meant I had to cancel the 3 day hike. I still wanted to head out even for one night, just to check out the Bugiga Hiker Camp. So I drove up to the Grampians hoping to get some photos and fit in some short walks.
Bugiga Hiker Camp – Overnight Stay
First stop I headed to Halls Gap and to Brambuk. Filled out a trip intention form with all the details. I had already booked a camp site online for Bugiga Hiker Camp. After a quick check of the gear, a short chat with the ranger I was off to get some lunch at Halls Gap. Around 2.00pm I decided to drive up to Rosea Car Park where I would leave my car and do the short 600 meter walk to the Bugiga camp site. It was HOT! My pack weight was around 18KG. All new gear to test and try. The short walk seemed like a few KM’s once I got to Bugiga.
As soon as I arrived, I set up the tent and had a quick look around. I booked camp site 8 which had an awesome view looking south west. Bugiga has toilets and tank water (water needs to be filtered and treated for drinking) and overall looks very impressive. One of the best camp sites I’ve camped while hiking. You place your tent on a raised platform and if you have a tent like mine which is not free standing (Vango Banshee 200), you may need to bring some additional cordage to tie to the side of the platform. There is a wire running around the platform to tie your guy ropes and to add additional stability to your tent. I set up the tent so the door opens to the incredible views.
I spent most of the day taking photos for Google, testing all the new gear I had purchased over the past few months and read the map on sections of the Grampians Peaks trail. Once the sun started to set I took some time lapse photos. The short video can be viewed below. Dinner was cooked around 08:00PM and tried out one of the dehydrated foods that was sitting in my bag for around 1 year. It’s incredible how much flavour these meals have considering you only add water to hydrate them.
After a long day I ended up going to bed around 09:00pm and that’s when the fun began. During the night I was woken up by a thunderstorm and high winds. That lasted about 5 hours from 10.00pm to 03:00am. Just shows how quickly the weather can change in the Grampians. It was around 22 degrees and apparently fine weather in Halls Gap, but at Bugiga, there was around 50KM/hour winds, lightening and thunder. I wasn’t sure if I would die from a lightning strike, a falling tree or even being blown off the mountain. At 03:00am just as quickly as the storm arrived it was gone. Not a single leave on a tree was moving, clear skies and no breeze to blow through the tent. I ended up getting about 2 hours sleep for the entire night. Typical mountain weather! Either way I survived to tell the story.
* Uploaded more photos from hiking trip – Via Flicker.
After the storms overnight I was happy to see the sun rise over Bugiga. It was a warm morning and with the lack of sleep I decided to pack up camp early and head into Halls Gap for a coffee. So I packed the tent up, had a light breakfast today’s choice being “Back Country Cuisine Freeze Dried – Cooked Breakfast“. To be honest, as a rehydrated meal, this was awesome! Great taste and filling. All you need to do is boil hot water and breakfast is cooked within 10 – 15 minutes.
After breakfast, I took some 360 degree photos for Google photosphere and started heading back to the car. On the short walk back I thought I saw a “Red Deer” cross my path, the deer stopping to check me out being only meters away. I couldn’t believe I didn’t have my camera ready. While I was scavenging for the GoPro to get a photo, I must have scared it off with all the noise and my excitement, as the deer ran off like a rocket down the hill.
Reaching the car I headed back to Halls Gap to Baruka to let the Parks Victoria staff know that I was alive and checked-out of the overnight camp. Since it was early I grabbed a quick coffee and headed out to Lake Bellfied. I ended up spending about 30 minutes there taking a time lapse photo with my new GoPro gadget called GoPole Scene lapse. The time lapse worked out well see below. When I get some time I will eventually get a review done with some of the Gopro gadgets I use on a regular basis.
Now that I have checked out the Bugiga hiker camp, I’m keen to complete the whole 3 day / 2 night Grampians Peaks Trail. I’ll keep an eye on the weather and if we get some cool days, will head back out.
Regarding Phone Coverage with Telstra:
0.5 out of 5 for reception signal. Little to no coverage at Bugiga. At night when it was cooler and some low cloud coverage I was able to send 3 text messages and receive some SMS. However data in this location is almost non-existent. When the thunderstorms hit at about 3.00am I actually did get a little data coverage. So I downloaded the current weather conditions. It’s best to place the phone in “Flight Mode” where there is no coverage to save on your battery. If not your phone will keep trying to search for a network and eventually drain your battery.