Grampians National Park is in the western Wimmera region in Victoria state, Australia. The Grampians ranges are renowned for their hiking trails, wildlife and wildflowers. Their Aboriginal name is Gariwerd.
The Grampians are a series of uplifted, tilted and eroded ranges. They form the western extremity of the Great Dividing Range. Even from a distance they look spectacular as they rise out of the surrounding plains. The only town and the main access point to the Grampians is Hall’s Gap.
Dunkeld is a beautiful village set at the southern entrance to the Grampians in the shadow of Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt, the highest mountain in the southern Grampians. It is also a gateway to enter the Grampians from an alternative direction.
- Grampians National Park Visitor Centre, Grampians Tourist Rd, (southern end of Halls Gap), +61 3 5356 4381. Every day except Christmas Day 9AM-5PM. Has very good displays. Free entry.
There are a number of routes into and through the Grampians. If travelling on the Western Highway from the Ballarat/Melbourne direction to Halls Gap, turn off at Stawell. Halls Gap is 260 km from Melbourne. The paved Grampians Tourist Road from Halls Gap to Dunkeld at the southern end of the ranges is a scenic drive through the ranges.
A bus runs from Ballarat to Stawell and connects with another bus to Halls Gap.
- Kangaroos come to feed in the park right across the road from the Halls Gap supermarket in the late afternoon.
- When you're visiting Halls Gap, look up, there are usually a few koalas in the trees for the keen sighted - and if you're lucky they'll be in a low branch for easy viewing!
- Emus also seen particularly in the areas around Halls Gap
- Spectacular views across the plains and overlooking Halls Gap from lookouts such as Rieds Lookout Boroka Lookout and the Balconies Lookout
- Waterfalls including Mackenzies Falls and Silverband Falls
- More than 70% of Victoria's Aboriginal art is said to be in this area with a number of sites open to the public including Gulgurn Manja (Flat Rock)and Ngamadjidj (Cave of Ghosts)
In the evening, hundreds of corellas, a type of white and pink cockatoo, fly around Halls Gap in large flocks and roost in the trees. The iconic laughing kookaburra can also be heard here. The noise is quite remarkable.
- Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre the Aboriginal Cultual Centre is a must visit as you can learn about the local indigenous people and see a short film in the Gariwed theatre where you will hear the story of the creator spirit Bunjil. There is also a gift shop, cafe and information can be obtained from National Park.
- Hiking. There are more than 160 km of trails offering everything from short easy strolls to challenging overnight hikes.
- Pinnacle. Take a hike through exciting canyons to the viewing platform on the pinnacle. Marked footpath from Halls Gap or from Wonderland Car Park.
- Rock climbing and abseiling the Grampians are also a popular destination for rock climbers of all skill levels.
- Chatauqua Peak. Be the only tourist to climb the Chatauqua Peak. Medium difficulty, some mountaineering experience required for climbing the viewing spot. On the way there, spot wallabies, lizards and more animals and hear the cycads chirp.
There is a supermarket at Halls Gap.
The Black Panther cafe offers great meals with value for money. It's better than a sandwich chop and less fancy than a restaurant. Fantastic pizzas.
The Halls Gap bakery offers great pies as well as staples like bread and cakes.
- Kookaburra Bar and Bistro, 125—127 Grampians Rd, Halls Gap, ☎ . Lunch and dinner, beer garden and lounge, and takeaway liquor sales.
- Royal Mail Hotel, Glenelg Highway Dunkeld, ☎ . Has a bistro and restaurant which has won a number of awards
There are 13 campgrounds throughout the park. All have toilets, fire places and picnic tables and most have water. Pay fees through a self-service permit system at the campgrounds.
Bush camping is permitted in many, but not all, areas of the park away from the designated campgrounds.
- Brambuk Backpackers, Grampians Tourist Rd, Halls Gap (southern end of Halls Gap, opposite the visitor center), ☎ , fax: .
- Grampians YHA Eco-hostel, Cnr Buckler St and Grampians Rd, Halls Gap (on the way into Halls Gap from Stawell), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A very well-designed, purpose-build hostel inside Grampians National Park. Designed with ecological sustainability in mind, it has features such as solar heating and recycling of shower water to flush toilets. The careful design has extended even to the vegetation plantings. The kitchen is well-equipped with utensils such as knife sharpeners, rice cookers and bread makers (bread-making ingredients are available for purchase). Fresh eggs are available for free from the hen-house. Has 4-bed dorms with lockers and private rooms. Prices may be a bit higher than most hostels but the standard of facilities, cleanliness and service deserve the extra couple of dollars. Dorm bed members $24, non-members $29, double/twin $30 per person, single $54, family room $78.
- Tim’s Place, 44 Grampians Rd, Halls Gap (on the way into Halls Gap from Stawell), fax: . Small hostel. Extremely friendly, excellent value. Watch the Kangoroos feeding on the nearby cricket grounds. Dorms $25.