Freezing wooden eco-lodge without electricity this is not!
From the minute you walk in, it’s easy to forget you are staying in a hostel. I am convinced managers Jason and AJ are closet greenies- every aspect of the running of the hostel is done with Mother Nature in mind! As I found out during my first stay at the hostel, the motto, ‘your bed doesn’t have to cost the Earth’ couldn’t be more spot on.
Clean as a whistle
Ever heard of ENJO gloves? They are a chemical free way to clean without using harsh cleaning agents. Not only does this mean that nasties are not being flushed down the sink, it also means asthmatics staying in the hostel can breathe easy!
Time to send a long overdue email home? Blow dry your hair? Jump on the internet to research the next stop in your Australian trail blazing adventure? We all use electricity when travelling, but rarely think about where it is comes from- Grampians Eco YHA uses solar energy. This got me wondering, does this mean that on a cloudy day we will be sitting in the dark?? My fears are short lived, as AJ assures me the solar electricity is backed up by the mains- phew!
I am baffled when I see the free range chooks come running to meet AJ in the yard! Are they just really fond of their owner? The answer of course is no; they become mini road runners at the sight of the yellow bucket! But what is in there you ask?
Nobody really knows… on this particular day it contains leftover pasta, carrot peelings, and an apple core among other things. How do I know this? Because these are my dinner scraps from the previous night. This is the disposal system that the hostel uses to get rid of food scraps, and the chooks are very pleased with the arrangement evidently! AJ brings in 3 free range eggs from the chook pen, 2 of which I use for my omelette- a very fair exchange in my favour!
All the leftovers not suitable for the chooks are collected and thrown onto the compost, which will then become fertiliser- these guys have thought of everything.
Go with the flow…
Flushing toilets are usually not something to write home about…but this hostel has the system down pat! Greywater from the laundry and bathroom sinks are treated by the sun then used to flush the loos inside the hostel. (Another swift dodge of the chemicals!)
In case you were wondering, the huge tanks are there to collect all the rainwater off the roof! Australia has had massive droughts in the past, so Aussies have concocted very clever ways to save and recycle water.
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
There is something very comical about a kangaroo; the size of their feet, the bored face when they chew and the surprisingly smooth bouncing. If you have never seen a kangaroo up close and personal, keep your eyes peeled at dusk because this is your chance! We saw a little family of three roaming around and munching the grass in the yard.
Being so close to the National Park means that furry and winged creatures very often venture onto the hostel premises! Other native visitors I spotted included rosellas, frogs, kookaburras, and though I didn’t see one this time, I am told that there is even an occasional echidna…good general rule of thumb for Aussie animals is, if it’s very pretty, very ugly, or doesn’t run away from you, don’t touch it!
Dinner on the road
Backpacking diets can become a wee bit…repetitive! Grampians Eco Hostel grows fresh herbs, and guests are welcome to eat whatever is in season at the time. There’s nothing better than a pinch of oregano to spice up the backpacking staple- 2 minute noodles. If you are getting more adventurous, try out some lemongrass chicken…but don’t tell the permanent residents out in the coop! Spring onion makes a great addition to the omelettes too!
Come on baby light my fire
After a big day of walking through the National Park topped off by dinner, there is nothing better than warming up by the fire in the lounge with a glass of red. Kindling for the fires comes from dry leaves and sticks in the garden, and wood comes from recycled sources like old fence posts- so you can warm your backside guilt free- bonus!
The Grampians National Park is one of Victoria’s gems. Visited by thousands of walkers, rock climbers, nature photographers and abseil enthusiasts, it is a haven of adventures waiting to happen. Don’t feel like this is a fitness freak, Swiss-army knife location though, trips can be as active or relaxing as you like! There is even a waterfall located just a short walk from hostel backyard.
FREE OR CHEAP ACTIVITES IN HALLS GAP/GRAMPIANS
- Get your Happy Gilmore on with Adventure Golf. Set over one acre, with themed holes, and a “jackpot hole in one”. Check out the mini waterfalls, landscaped gardens and ponds along the way! Adults $12.50. (YHA Members save 10%)
- Relax and kick back in Live Fast Lifestyle Café with a friend and enjoy a 2-4-1 coffee break. (With YHA card)
- Visit Halls Gap Zoo with over 120 species of animals, and an optional additional enclosure experience with a dingo. Adult entry is $20. (YHA members save 10%)
- Relax with mountain views, enjoy some bush tucker, or even create your own didgeridoo! Free entry and optional activities and tours.
Corner Buckler and Grampians Roads
P: (03) 5356 4544
Beds from $30 per night
Grampians Eco YHA –
Stay 3, Pay 2!
The beautiful Grampians National Park is made for mid-year mini breaks. Get off the beaten track and let loose on a canyoning, rock climbing, horse riding or 4WD adventure, or tackle some of the country’s great walks. Then follow up the fun and fresh air with a warming glass of local wine in front of the wood heater at Grampians Eco YHA in Halls Gap.
With this special Mid-Year offer – stay two nights and get your third night absolutely free!
- from $56 per person multi-share
- from $160 for a twin/double room
- from $196 for a family room
Includes: Three night’s accommodation. Valid to 20 September 2012 (excludes school holidays 29 June – 15 July). All prices YHA member rates, standard rate also available.