Only a short three hour drive from Melbourne, the Grampians is one of the best places in Victoria to get out of the city and enjoy some of the state’s natural wonders. It’s a wonderful place for hiking, wildlife spotting, lookout views and disconnecting from normal life.
Whether it’s your first or fifth time to the Grampians, there’s always something new to explore. Here are the top 10 things to do in the Grampians that you won’t want to miss.
1. Check out the lookouts
Without a doubt the best thing about the Grampians are it’s beautiful lookouts. Some of them are at the end of long hikes, while others are a short simple walk from the car park, making them easily accessible to everyone.
One of the things we love about the Grampians is that you can have a completely different experience depending on the season you’re visiting in. The first time we visited in September we felt like we were above the clouds at some of the lookouts. But this time, visiting in January we could literally see miles into the distance!
Some of the best lookouts around the Grampians include:
- Boroka Lookout
- Mount Rouse
- Reeds Lookout at the Balconies
- The Pinnacle
- Mount William
- Mount Abrupt
2. Make friends with the local wildlife
The Grampians is home to many wild animals, and you can often find them wandering freely around town or the grounds of caravan parks and motels around Halls Gap and the main town.
Most of these animals will peacefully graze around people, only moving along if you get up too close or they start to feel threatened. If you keep a good distance and stand still you can often watch them without them moving or running away.
Some of the animals that can most commonly be found around the Grampians include kangaroos, wallabies, emus and even deer around twilight!
3. Hike your way around the mountains
One of the main reasons to visit the Grampians is to check out some of the many hikes and walking trails around the national park. There are walks of all different lengths and difficulties, taking you to all different parts of the park.
Here are some of the Central Grampians Walks that can be found around Halls Gap –
Short walks from the town of Halls Gap:
Fyans Creek (Barri Yalug Loop) – 2.5 kilometre easy grade circuit, taking about 30 to 50 minutes.
Venus Baths Loop – 2.3 kiolmetre medium grade circuit, taking about 30 minutes to an hour to complete.
Silverbend Falls – 1.4 kilometre easy grade circuit, taking about 25 to 40 minutes.
Lakeview Lookout – 1.2 kilometre easy loop, taking just 30 to 50 minutes to complete.
Something a little harder:
Grand Canyon Loop – 900 metre circuit that’s graded medium to hard and takes 20 to 40 minutes to complete.
Sundial Peak – 4.2 kilometre return loop, medium to hard grade that takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to finish.
Boronia Peak – 6 kilometre medium circuit, taking about 2 to 3 hours to complete.
The Pinnacle Walk:
One of the most popular and famous walks from the region, there are all different walks to get to the Pinnacle depending on your level of fitness. Some of them start right in the town, while others start at car parks higher up the mountain.
Most of the walking tracks include rock steps, slippery surfaces, water crossings and rock hoppings, so make sure you wear suitable clothing and footwear for this one. The different walk lengths include –
- From the Sundial Car park – 4.2 kilometres return, 1.5 to 2 hours at a medium difficulty
- From the Wonderland Car park – 5 kilometres return, 2 to 2.5 hours at medium to hard grade
- Via Mackey’s Peak – 6.2 kilometres return, about 4 hours at a hard grade
Walking maps are available for $3.50 from the Visitors Information Centre in Halls Gap for all the details.
4. Take a dip at Lake Fyans
Just 10 minutes out of Halls Gap, Lake Fyans is the perfect place to take a dip and cool down from the hot weather. It’s also a great place for fishing, kayaking or picnicking. The water is beautifully warm and quiet shallow, making it a great place to come with children and pets who want to cool down!
There’s a Top Parks holiday park along the river too, a great spot to set up for your visit, with spots that are right on the water. But if you already have your accommodation sorted out there are also lots of day visit spots around the lake. Alongside the boat ramp you can even drive your cars along the sand right up to the water.
5. Brambuk the National Park & Cultural Centre
Find out more about the Grampians and it’s traditional history with a visit to Brambuk Cultural Centre, just a couple of kilometres down the road from the main town. Sitting amongst some of the rugged mountain range of the region, surrounded by wildlife and wildflowers the park is a wonderful spot to understand more about the Grampians and just what makes it so unique.
You can find out everything you need to know about the Grampians from Brambuk, including where to go and what to see. Or you can kick back and relax surrounded by mountain views and taste testing their delicious selection of bush foods.
They also offer a range of amazing cultural activities and experiences you can try, including boomerang throwing, a bushfoods discovery walk, didgeridoo workshops and dot art paining lessons.
Brambuk is open from 9am to 5pm each day. To find out more, check out brambuk.com.au.
6. Check out the Aboriginal Rock Art sites
The Grampians is the richest site for Aboriginal rock art in all of Victoria, with over 80% of the states rock art sites being located here, some of which date back more than 20,000 years. There are about 200 rock art sites recorded in the Grampians National Park, with the following 5 sites open to the public –
- Bunjil’s Shelter
- Billimina Shelter
- Gulgurn Manja Shelter
- Manja Shelter
- Ngamadjidj Shelter
In the centre of Halls Gap you can also find the Halls Gap Art Wall, featuring the Six Seasons of Gariwerd. The traditional land owners believe that there are six distinct weather patterns that are classified as seasons in the Grampians, each with their own distinct features and environmental events.
The wall is beautifully colourful and created from all different kinds of materials. It’s definitely worth checking out up close, the detail in some of the sections is just incredible.
7. Try some of the local produce
There are heaps of different farms, wineries and estates around the Grampians that proudly produce delicious foods and drinks in the region. Many of them either offer cafes and tasting cellars where you can try out some of their products, or at the very least opening hours where you can buy some of their goods.
Check out Red Rock Olives (pictured above) or Grampians Olive Co. for locally made olives, oils, salts and spreads. Along Ararat-Halls Gap Road you will also find Five Ducks Farm which offer free range eggs, chemical free berries and seasonal honey.
There are also heaps of wineries in the region that offer wine tastings, as well as delicious menus for meals. Some of the favourites of the region include Grampians Estate, Fallen Giants Vineyard and Barangaroo Wines. To make the most of the region you could also jump on a winery tour of the Grampians.
8. Get up early to watch the sunrise
There’s nothing quite like watching the sunrise over the jagged mountain ranges that surround you from a lookout in the Grampians. It’s incredibly beautiful and often, you will have the views all to yourself.
We woke up super early to catch this sunrise while we were staying in Halls Gap. There was not another soul around and it was so peaceful and beautiful watching the sunrise all by ourselves. It was the perfect way to start the day before exploring more of the region. The Balconies Lookout is a great place to head for the sunrise, with views over the ranges for miles around.
9. Hop around the waterfalls
In addition to beautiful lookouts and hikes winding you through the best of the Grampains natural landscapes, there are also heaps of hidden waterfalls dotted around the Grampians, which are a great way to keep cool if you’re visiting during the summer months.
The biggest and main waterfall in the area is Mackenzie Falls, which is the only waterfall in the region where water is actually falling all year round. It has it’s own car park and picnic area and is just a short (although very steep) walk from the top of the car park. It’s also the most easily accessible waterfall in the Grampians.
The rest of the waterfalls are a little harder to get to, often at the end or along different hiking trails and require a little more effort to visit. Do some research to find out more information on each of the different locations, but some of the top waterfalls include –
- Beehive Falls
- Ferntree Falls
- Fish Falls
- Nigretta Falls
- Silverband Falls
- Splitters Falls
- Wannon Falls
These waterfalls do not have water all year round though, so if you’re visiting during the summer time or during a particularly dry period of no rain, you might be a little disappointed. A great trick we use all the time is to check out some recent photos from the location that people have uploaded to Instagram, that way you can usually see if the waterfalls are dry or flowing from a few days earlier.
10. Visit Halls Gap Zoo
Halls Gap Zoo has the proud title of being the largest regional zoo in Victoria. Set of 52 acres of land, this zoo is proudly privately owned and immaculately looked after. Home to more than 160 species of animals from all over the world, there’s heaps to different exhibits to explore at the Halls Gap Zoo.
The zoo also offers a number of different animal encounters, where you can get up close and personal with some of their friendliest residents including alligators, dingoes, giraffes, lizards, meerkats, red pandas, rhinos, snakes, tortoises and wombats.
Admission: Adult tickets cost $35 AUD with discounts for kids and families.
Opening hours: 10am to 5pm daily.
Address: 1061 Ararat-Halls Gap Road, Halls Gap.
Where are your favourite places to visit in the Grampians?
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