We left the coast today, and headed inland to the Grampian mountains. A month ago we’d booked a cabin on the shores of Lake Fyans for Christmas and New Year – we’d been warned that as soon as Boxing Day arrives it gets incredibly busy, and most people book 6 months ahead for the sites – so we thought we should book one place for the whole period around Christmas, rather than risk moving around and being without any accommodation at all! The Grampians are about two hours drive from the coast, across typical Australian farmland – dry, yellowing grazing land, dotted with corrugated iron shacks and corrugated-roofed houses.
Lake Fyans is an artificial lake, created by damming an existing hollow, but with the drought that has been affecting Australia for the last few years, it’s a lot smaller than it should be – it got 40% of the water in it that should be there. So instead of a small sandy beach in front of the cabins, there’s actually a HUGE sandy beach – about 100 metres wide – running down to the distant shore! The plus side of this is that the water skiers, powerboaters and jetbikers have all had to go and find another lake to zoom around, so it’s a lot more peaceful than normal. Apparently the lake has been very low for over 5 years, and it has started to recover a little, now that the worst of the drought is over. But its going to be another 4 years of rain before it starts to look like the waterfront cabins on the front of the brochure again!
Once we’d settled in to the cabin, Michael, Gloria and Sarah went off to the nearest big town for the Christmas supermarket shop. This wasn’t nearly as harrowing as a normal Christmas food shopping expedition, as we didn’t have to buy turkeys or many of the other traditional Christmas Day delights – and because the Australians don’t make a huge thing of Christmas Day either, the supermarket wasn’t heaving with thousands of people desperately fighting over the last tub of brandy butter!
Although we’ve not going to have a traditional Christmas, we’ve still got a few traditions to continue for the children – including fixing the stockings up on the bunk beds – and waiting three hours for them to fall asleep. Emily finally succumbed to sleep at 11:30pm!