David and I tried out our camping equipment in Grampians NP for two days before we officially left Ballarat, and we were able to get an idea of any other items we needed, which weren't many. We went on some amazing hikes, one of which we got to a bit late in the day (we got there around 2 and the sun sets at 5:30), and even though we knew it was a 4-5 hour hike we decided we thought we could make it. There was a wallaby outside of the car and when we got out it came up to me and sniffed by hand! I didn't pet it, it's a wild animal, but let him sniff me, then he went over to visit David. So cute!! We decided to not take our water bottle cause it would be cumbersome, which in hindsight was not the best though, although it would have been. We left around 2:15, it's a difficult hike, there were parts where you have to climb over huge boulders and skip over creeks, etc. with only little yellow arrows painted on rocks showing you which way to go. It was one of our favorite hikes we've both ever been on, awesome! About an hour up we met a couple probably in their 50's coming down along with their son, they said that the top was about another hour and a half up, but when they heard we had done the last bit in and hour and they had in 2, they figured we might be ok. We decided we should probably walk quickly because about 15 minutes after we left the car we realized we had forgotten our torch (aka. flashlight ;P)... it was that damned wallaby that distracted us!! ;P
We ended up getting to the top in almost exactly an hour, and it was starting to get a bit dark due to clouds; that was at 4:15. We ate a quick apple for some water, and then headed down... about 20 minutes down we realized we had taken the wrong trail!!! There was another trail that went on to a waterfall and we accidentally took that one! So we turned around and about 40 waisted minutes later we were on the right track again. We pretty much booked it down the mountain, the whole time talking about what we'd do if we needed to spend the night up there. We met a couple who were hike camping to the top (there's a campsite there) that we'd passed on the way up, and they gave us a bit of water, which was nice, and offered their fire to us if we needed to turn around and come back, which was really nice! We continued down at an amazing pace, we really surprised ourselves! When we got past most of the dangerous bits before dark we were feeling much better, but once it got really twilight-ly we had to slow down quite a bit, also because we were going over a lot of watery areas. We ended up on the easy beginning trail just in time, it was dark enough that we could only really see the outline of the trail, which luckily was white sand so easy to see. We made it back to the car, go it and as we were driving out it was pitch black. We made it just in time, we are very lucky!!! We will be a bit smarter from now on. If we hadn't had that backtrack, we would have been back in plenty of time! That was intense and we still can't believe we made it down before dark. It ended up taking us about 3.45 hours.