HALLS GAP - One of the final duties Dorothy Patton performed as Northern Grampians Shire Mayor was to 're-launch' Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park. The event was attended by approximately 70 invited guests who were taken on group tours of the new office complex, residence and en-suite amenities block, past the heated pool, through the park to inspect the new family accommodation cabins and into the undercover barbecue area where the celebrations took place. Halls Gap Lakeside is different - it is bright, vibrant and modern while still allowing natural wildlife from the adjacent Grampians National Park roam free through the park grounds. The dream started for Dutch backpacker Josephina McDonald 12 years ago, when she met and fell in love with a dashing Aussie who drove a big mower in Lorne, Victoria. Josephina went back to Holland, but missed him so much she came back and supported by the McDonald family, married him in Halls Gap, the town which looks up to the towering ramparts of the Grampians National Park. Now she and husband Rohan (the bloke with the mower) have leased the park and re-launched a completely revitalised Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park with owners Alan and Pam Hislop following the $1 million redevelopment. The sign near the brand new office - Wildlife Hwy - points to Lakeside's difference. As this comes with new facilities, big campsites and new cabins with Josephina's personal touches Lakeside has changed big time. The range of new family cabins provide the newest accommodation facilities available in Halls Gap. In a proactive about-face the new cabins now look out of the caravan park to the Grampians mountain grandeur. With fences removed kangaroos and emus are part of the caravan park as they graze below the broad barbecue decks of the new cabins. The crisp new family cabins include multi-jet spas and flexible accommodation options. The major re-development of the caravan park also includes installation of a new En-suite amenities building, office, kiosk complex, staff amenities and three bedroom residence. Josephina is good with people. Rohan is good with grass. But not to worry Rohan says people are a lot like grass. Once they are established they just keep coming back. During the opening, Mayor Cr Dorothy Patton said she recognises the value of people like Rohan and Josephina in the risk taking world which establishes business and underpins communities. "Halls Gap and the Grampians Region are notable and fortunately typical of Australians who are prepared to put it all on the line and have a go," she said. Pam and Alan Hislop, who are members of the www.GoSeeAustralia.com.au team have owned Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park in Tymna Drive since 1996. They lived in Halls Gap until they moved to Geelong about seven years ago. "Halls Gap has been through some rough times over the past few years and we are excited with the new direction Halls Gap is taking with new marketing initiatives, the fitness and health opportunities provided with almost complete 'bike track' to Lake Bellfield, tours, attractions and festivals, all positive and inviting to visitors to the area," Alan said. "We are proud of Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park's new direction and support from past and new customers is extremely encouraging. We particularly made a point of using local tradesman and businesses in this major upgrade and want to make Halls Gap the place to visit."
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