The Grampians

Grampians National Park, Victoria.

 

There are some places in this world that stand out from the rest. They are spectacular; inspiring; peaceful; beautiful; liberating; remarkable. These are the true wonders of the world. Here, in Australia, one of our most beloved and spectacular natural wonders is the Grampians, situated 260km west of Melbourne and 460 kilometres east of Adelaide.

 

Snow in the Grampians

Snow in Grampians National Park, Victoria. Photo credit: green_pics

 

When I visited the Grampians in June, it was a winter wonderland. The scenery was beautifully green and lush; creeks and waterfalls were flowing; the local wildlife was lively; and the fireplaces that warmed the many holiday houses were welcoming. For an outdoor adventurer like me, the majestic nature of the Grampians filled me with peace every moment of my stay and made me feel like a meagre speck, immortalised in a vast, timeless land.

 

 

The Grampians’ magnificence has been long recognised with its classification as an Australian National Heritage site for its outstanding natural beauty and significance of being the richest indigenous rock art site in south-eastern Australia. And it’s no wonder, as you walk along the many trails that showcase the striking series of sandstone mountain ranges that were created from rivers some 380 million years ago, that this place is something truly special.

 

Bunjil's Rock Art

Bunji's shelter rock art, The Grampians, Victoria.

 

After just a 7 hour drive from Adelaide, I arrived in Halls Gap. As I entered the town, I was welcomed by the numerous kangaroos that were grazing by the side of the road; looking up to get a glimpse of our car. To the left side of the road, a mother emu and her baby wandered along some open space. We had arrived at the Grampians; a wilderness like no other. I thoroughly enjoyed my encounters with diverse native wildlife, which began at that very moment. The picturesque walking tracks and the spectacular lookouts they lead to were also magnificent. In the Grampians, you can’t help but fall in love with nature at its best. It’s a fantastic place to get active in the great outdoors, relax and simply enjoy the fresh air and stunning views.

 
Meerkats Playing

 

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Meerkats Playing at Halls Gap Zoo, Victoria. Video credit: Halls Gap Zoo

 

If you are travelling with a family or young at heart, there is also the Halls Gap Zoo and the Halls Gap Mini Golf park. The 18 hole mini golf course is set on two acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. It is a relaxing, fun and scenic experience as you make your way around the course that is centred around two mini mountains from which various waterfalls and streams meander around, over and under the greens. Many of the holes are named after popular landmarks in the Grampians such as 'The Grand Canyon', and ‘The Pinnacle’. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience; it was one of the fondest memories of my holiday.

 

Mini golf

The scenic and fun Halls Gap Mini Golf park.

 

You can explore the Grampians at your own pace, and by any means you choose. You might see it on foot, by bicycle or four-wheel drive, or by joining a tour and seeing the region through the eyes of a local.

 

 

There are many beautiful bushwalking trails to explore in the Grampians. One that I recommend is the walk to Mackenzie Falls, which is one of the largest and most popular waterfalls in the Grampians. Mackenzie Falls is a major tourist attraction because it is the only all-year-round flowing waterway in the entire region! You can pack a picnic, stroll through the grounds and enjoy various water activities.

 
Wannon Falls - The Grampians (Victoria)

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Wannon Falls, The Grampians, Victoria. Video credit: Ockert le Roux Photography

 

Another great walk to do is one of those that lead to the Pinnacle. The Pinnacle, which can be seen from the Main Street of Halls Gap, appears unnervingly high and potentially difficult to walk. In reality though, it isn’t difficult at all! The views from the lookout are stunning. This really is the best vantage point in the Grampians for views over a vast expanse of western Victoria.

 

The bushwalking trails that get you there vary in distance and difficulty, with the easiest route commencing at Sundial carpark and ascending to The Pinnacle via Devils Gap. This route, which is 4.2km return, proves to be quite good for those who want an easy, relaxing walk; it’s an easy going experience.

 

A more challenging bushwalking trail that takes you to the Pinnacle begins at the Wonderland carpark and ascends via the impressive Grand Canyon. While it doesn’t resemble the iconic Grand Canyon in America, I have to say that it is quite impressive with its unique Australian rock formations.

 

And for those days you don’t feel like bushwalking, you can stop at historic cellar doors for a taste of some of Australia's finest wines or dine out in renowned restaurants peppered across the region, from Halls Gap to Dunkeld to the Pyrenees.

 

Hall's Gap

The vines at Halls Gap Estate

 

The Grampians is a truly magnificent place. With its peaceful landscapes, awe-inspiring views; delightful bushwalks, wildlife encounters and dramatic rock formations, you really do feel like a meagre speck in a big natural world. This peaceful tourism attraction is powerful for your mind and spirit and you won’t want to leave. It is a place I return to again and again.