From Melbourne, I took a rental car and made my way towards West. I spent the morning in Ballarat, a former gold mining city, with the main attraction Sovereign Hill, a reconstructed Victorian gold mining town. There is even an original gold mine left that I visited joining a guided tour, but the overall experience resembled more like a theme park with not too much authenticity. I also stopped by the city centre of Ballarat that still has a couple of impressive historic buildings.

After noon, I drove further West to the Grampians National Park, a mountainous area with a lot of hiking opportunities in beautiful landscape, lookouts and waterfalls. Fortunately the expected thunderstorm did hold off and I managed to see the most important spots and do one longer hike in the afternoon. The possibilities in the park are currently limited though, since parts are still closed due to a large bushfire in January 2014.