A stunning Highlight


After getting over our jet lag in Glenelg, we drove to Halls Gap the next morning. Limited to just 100 kph, the 500km drive was a rather long, yet very scenic one. I therefore fully recommend stopping by at every tourist destination you will stumble on. It might just be a small roadside attraction, but even these are quite great in a country like Australia.

Having arrived at the Kookaburra Motor Lodge, we were quickly instructed to do every hike at the Grampians National Park and Halls Gap is a great starting point to do so. However, the main reason to visit the Grampians was not to go on a hike – something, I have not done since my school days –, but the Kangaroos, which can be found basically everywhere! Especially the view out of our window was fantastic, as we overlooked a big open area with dozens of Kangaroos.

Venus Bath and Chatauqua Peak

We started our first hike in the afternoon. Along the Stony Creek, we first made our way to the very picturesque Venus Bath. Unfortunately, it was way to cold to jump into the water. From here, we started the climb to Chatauqua Peak. Up there, we enjoyed the view for a view minutes before we started our way downhill. At the same time, it started to rain.

Completely soaked, we reached the valley. After a short walk along the Grampians Road, we made it to the village centre, where we soon grabbed some crisps and a fine Australian wine before heading back to the motel. While Aris went straight to bed, I enjoyed the view on the terrace where I also had a funny encounter with a Kakadu.

Grampians Wonderland

The next morning, we started our day with a fantastic breakfast at the livefast lifestyle café before heading to the Grampians Wonderland car park where we started our hike for the Pinnacle Lookout. After a short walk, the hike starts to be a very beautiful one as we start climbing a bit along the Grand Canyon. Via a pair of stairs, we then reach a steadily increasing path which is very easy to walk on. Here we pass the Cool Chamber, as well as the Bridal Veil Falls before reaching our next highlight: the Silent Street. Here we gain a lot of altitude while the crescive is getting narrower and narrower. Luckily there were a bunch of stairs, which made the climb a little bit less adventurous, but still very recommendable. Once we reached the end of the silent street, the Pinnacle Lookout was in sight.

After a few moments of enjoying the view and sitting close to the edge, we then decided to start our descent. Instead of going down the same way, we took the option for a slightly longer path via the Gardens of the Grampians, where we first had to jump from one rock to the other. It was an easy hike through a forest. Back at the Grand Canyon, we then had to be careful not to slip. Especially the last meters back to the car were quite slippery.

MacKenzie Falls

While there were a lot of people on the way to the Pinnacle Lookout, the hike was not yet as touristy as you might imagine. MacKenzie Falls on the other hand is perfectly optimised for a huge number of tourists with a very large parking lot, all facilities you could wish for and very wide paths. Going down to the falls is very easy going and the MacKenzie Falls are indeed a sight of its own. This wide waterfall is very impressing, yet if can bring some time with you, you should not stop here. Further down the MecKenzie river, there are the Fish Falls, which are also very impressing on their own. Parking at the Zumsteins Picnic Area is fully recommended, as you don’t have to climb up to get to the parking lot on top of the MacKenzie Falls again, albeit you might miss the less impressive Broken Falls when doing so.

Boroka and Reed Lookout

On the way back to Halls Gap, we decided to enjoy the view twice more by stopping at the Boroka and Reed Lookout. While the Boroka Lookout is easily accessible and did not require any further walking to enjoy the view, the Reed Lookout is also the starting point for a small hike towards the Balconies from where you have a very impressive view. The return towards the car park however was very hard, as my whole body was getting sore. Back in the car, I had some time to relax before we headed towards our next destination.

Silverband Road

The Silverband Road is a fantastic road to drive on when going down towards Halls Gap. It is just plain fun due to the curvy characteristics of the road and the overall scenic drive. The Silverband Falls are also located on the road and while this waterfall is rather small, it is still a fun little hike from the parking lot. Even if everything was hurting in my body, this small stop was a great addition to a day with a lot of very impressive hikes.

Pictures Grampians National Park

Closing Words

Back at the motel, we relaxed ourselves a bit, before we headed to the Paper Scissors Rock Brew Co. to celebrate the Aris’ birthday. We had a fantastic dinner and some great craft beers. I would be glad to come back one day for more, as I was really impressed by everything Halls Gap is offering. I had a blast and even though we basically started our journey across the country in the Grampians, the two days we had, were the highlight of my holiday.


What do you think of the Grampians National Park and Halls Gap? Just write it here in the comment field below the report or visit our social media channels:



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The Turbo Slides of Poole

Splashdown Poole

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Water Park:Splashdown Poole (since 1990)
Address:Tower Park
BH12 4NY Poole
Operated by:Lemur Leisure Ltd.

Splashdown PooleClose to the English coastal town of Bournemouth, in the Leisure Centre Tower Park near Poole is the Splashdown Poole water park. As one of the first attractions of the leisure centre built in 1989, the water park opened its doors in 1990 with a total of seven slides. Eight years later the Outside Screamer Tower with its three PPK Promoplast slides, for which the park is known in the slide community, was opened. More slides were added in 2002 and 2012. So far, no slide has left Splashdown Poole Water Park; however, there have been changes, more about this later.

By entering the bath, one is immediately surprised by its 90s charm. As one is right at the cash desk, it can happen that one has to wait in front of the bath even a little longer. At least that’s what happened in our group, when the chip bracelets refused to be activated and the poor cashier even went to the station of the unoccupied cash desk. Here we waited about 10 minutes before the bracelets could be handed over to us. In the changing area – which unfortunately has to be entered with street shoes, whereby one stands inevitably in a rather dirty broth – another little problem awaited us; because the lockers are unfortunately not opened with the bracelet but by key and require a pound coin as deposit. Actually, this is not a problem, but who really has coin money with him in a country where almost everything can be paid cashless? Thus, back to the cash desk and change some money. Shortly afterwards the fun could start.

Black Thunder and Baron’s Revenge

Once you enter the pool, you are immediately at the stairs to the Black Thunder black hole slide and the Baron’s Revenge turbo slide, as well as the Mississippi Drifter tyre slide. The Black Hole slide is interesting because it is only in summer a stand-alone slide and is used without tyres; in winter it is the second part of the Mississippi Drifter. There was always a long queue here right from the start, which is why I did not test it. The situation was completely different on the Baron’s Revenge slide, which drops a good five metres to the ground in a steep turn on just nine sliding metres. This is extremely steep and despite the plump run-out it is highly brilliant.

Mississippi Drifter and Grand Canyon

One level higher you will find the access to the Crazy River Slide Mississippi Drifter, in which you move from basin to basin over several shots, before following the Grand Canyon to the outside, where you immediately fly off the tire. In the outdoor area of the Splashdown Poole water park you can now let yourself drift under the English sun, although this summer it rarely got warmer than 25°C before another slide follows. In a dark helix you quickly increase your speed. Towards the end of this section several water curtains are waiting for the slider and you get a bit out of balance, which makes it quite difficult to stay on the ring in the landing pool. A marvellous fun! A further drop later follows the transition to the inner area and immediately the end of this rather funny slide.

Red River Roller and Zambezi Drop

On the right-hand side of the pool, as seen from the entrance from the changing room area, are the stairways to the other slides in the indoor area. The back stairs are reserved for the three body slides Red River Roller, Zambezi Drop and Colorado Coaster. While the Colorado Coaster always had people queuing up, the other slides always had a very fast turn. While the Red River Roller is rather tame and can’t show any highlights, the Turbo Slide Zambezi Drop convinces after the first very leisurely turns by the constantly tighter turning steep curve towards the end of the slide, where you better shouldn’t underestimate the G-forces.

Colorado Coaster

Even the rather leisurely looking Colorado Coaster is a big deal. After the first few shallow metres of track, in which several left and right turns alternate, a nice drop awaits you, after which the following turn is completed with a lot of rocking. Shortly afterwards, a brilliant final awaits you with a thoroughly pronounced double drop, which releases you from the slide with a broad grin.

Dragon’s Lair

The front staircase in Splashdown Poole leads you to the Space Bowl Infinity, as well as to the largest slide in the pool, the Dragon’s Lair. Past the children’s area of the pool, the path leads you to another staircase, at the end of which is the entrance to Dragon’s Lair. This staircase used to be much larger and the access to the water slide was correspondingly higher. Over a longer straight line, one increases constantly in speed on the slide before a rather high shot pulls one down. This is followed by several curves and narrow curve changes that consistently slow you down before you reach the end of the slide. Unfortunately, the long slide ride, especially thanks to the quality of the joints on it, is not really convincing. For the height of the layout, the ride is simply too slow and hardly gets going at all; a comparison to the original layout of the slide would be interesting in this case.


After I had tried my first funnel slide with plunging exit in the Joyful Waterpark of the Japanese amusement park Nagashima Spa Land, the tension regarding Infinity was much less, but the anticipation for the ride was much greater. The local funnel is completely enclosed and features different light and sound effects, which are played at the user’s choice. Nevertheless, the urge to repeat rides, away from the already long waiting times, was extremely limited, because you could feel every single joint in the funnel. Due to the plop run-out and the resulting drop manoeuvres, the slide is still a lot of fun and can be recommended; without it, however, it would have been just one slide.

Screamer Tower

Now let’s get to the outdoor area of Splashdown Poole, where we already got lost on the Mississippi Drifter and the Outdoor Screamer Tower with its three PPK Promoplast slides. These three slides were originally located at the Centre 2000 in Southampton before they were moved to Poole after the closure of the Leisure Centre. By taking advantage of the hillside location, however, the slide tower looks as if it had been intended from the outset. A steel staircase takes you up quickly with cold feet, where the entrances of the two tire slides Tennessee Twister and Louisiana Leap, as well as the two turbo slides The Screamer and Velocity are waiting.

Tennessee Twister and Louisiana Leap

The two parallel tyre slides Tennessee Twister and Louisiana Leap are the first of these. With a small jumpstart you quickly build up speed and then slide along the curves of a horizontal figure eight. On the second diagonally running track, another jump awaits the slide, whereupon the final right-hand bend follows in a sweeping manner. Over a final shot, you are then released into the run-out pool, where you more or less elegantly separate from your tire. In fact, both slides are unexpectedly leisurely and offer quite nice airtime moments, but nothing more.

The Screamer

The green turbo slide The Screamer, which also came from PPK Promoplast, is also unexpectedly leisurely on its way. Fans of the former Grüner Hai slide of the Miramar Weinheim might be disappointed to find only a rather solid turbo slide here, due to the missing bend in the slide’s course and the absurdly wild swinging section afterwards. There is absolutely no reason to complain, as the slide fits perfectly into the large turbo slide portfolio of the Splashdown Poole Water Park.


The highlight of the tower, however, is the Velocity turbo slide built in 2012. Compared to its PPK sibling, this slide really does have a bend in its appearance, in fact, it has a double bend. The slide starts with a very steep shot, which shortly after turns into a more leisurely ascent. Mercilessly a short left bend follows, whereupon the landing pool is reached and first of all a gush of water is carried out of the slide. What an awesome slide! Velocity does what it promises and so you rush down this short slide in a speed rush.

Conclusion Splashdown Poole

Splashdown Poole is a solid water park, but its interior has clearly aged. The water slides stand out from the crowd for the most part and, except for the joints of individual slides, are absolutely convincing. We ourselves were lucky to have passed by at a favourable time, as the pool became more and more crowded towards the end of our visit. But as it is the case in every water park, the question is if one wants to wait so long for a slide, specially as the entrance fee is comparatively high; at least compared to the German pools. A visit is worthwhile in any case and can be perfectly combined with a visit to the picturesque city of Bournemouth.


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