Three hours west of Melbourne, the Grampians National Park contains rugged rock formations, breathtaking vistas, and ancient rock art dating back 22,000 years. The region is popular with hikers since it has several walking trails and stunning lookouts, but it also contains some great art galleries and museums. Here are some of the best things to see in the Grampians.
Here are some of our favourite things to do and see in the Grampians, from the Silo Art Trail to haunted asylums and waterfalls.
1. MacKenzie Falls
If you visit only one waterfall in the Grampians, make it MacKenzie Falls. The trail to get there is a bit steep, but the view is worth it. There’s also a short detour on the way down that leads to some rock pools and another lookout over Victoria Valley, so be sure to take your camera and wear good shoes–it can get slippery!
The 2-kilometre (1.2-mile) walk from the MacKenzie Falls car park to the base of MacKenzie Falls takes you over a rough, muddy path through heathland and rainforest before reaching an impressive limestone backdrop. Alternatively, you may view the waterfall from the Bluff platform, which has wheelchair access. Although MacKenzie is the only Grampian waterfall that flows throughout the year, if you’re lucky enough to visit in winter or spring, you’ll be treated to a treat. The Grampians’ waterfall season is simply spectacular, particularly during spring when the wildflowers are blooming.
2. The Balconies
The Grampians National Park is home to some of the world’s best sandstone climbing, and the sandstone towers known as The Balconies are one of its most popular attractions.
The Balconies lookout, formerly known as the Jaws of Death, offers spectacular panoramic vistas over Victoria Valley. The 2km (1.2mi) walk to the Balconies begins at Reeds Lookout car park and passes through rocky outcrops and stringybark forest before arriving at Reedy Gap Lookout. Photographers should visit in the morning or at sunset to capture the beautiful landscape in its entire splendour.
3. The Pinnacle
The Pinnacle is a popular 350-meter (1,150-foot) climb that provides panoramic views of the Grampians. The path to the Pinnacle starts from the Halls Gap car park and takes about 30 minutes to complete.
The most convenient trail is a 4.2 kilometre (2.6 miles) round trip that starts at the Sundial parking lot and is ideal for families. The route starting in the Wonderland parking lot will appeal to avid hikers. Both tracks pass through steep rock formations before arriving at the Pinnacle, where you may view breathtaking panoramic views of the Grampians and feel like you’re on top of the world.
4. Boroka Lookout
Boroka Lookout is a smaller version of the Pinnacle, with views over Halls Gap and Victoria Valley. Boroka lookout can be reached from Halls Gap on foot, but there’s also a lookout from the Blacksmiths car park in Halls Gap. The walk starts with a steep incline before entering stringybark forests and heathland areas, where it becomes flatter.
From the car park, you can reach the lookout in minutes. The lookout, which has 180-degree panoramic views of Halls Gap and Lake Bellfield, is only a short walk from the parking lot. The Boroka Lookout is also a fantastic place to look for local birds. There are also restrooms and picnic tables available in the vicinity, so pack your lunch and relax while watching the scenery.
5. Brambuk: The National Park and Cultural Centre
Brambuk: The National Park and Cultural Centre, founded in 1989, is dedicated to preserving and disseminating the fascinating indigenous culture and history of the Grampians. Brambuk promotes indigenous culture and storytelling through interactive displays, theatre, cultural programs, and activities about 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) south of the Grampians tourist village at Halls Gap.
It’s also a very easy and scenic walk from Halls Gap. The centre lies on Grampians Road and is home to an Indigenous cultural gallery, factory store, art exhibitions, information booth, and staff accommodation. This makes it the perfect place for tourists to learn about things to do in Halls Gap.
6. Halls Gap Zoo and Animal Sanctuary
The Halls Gap Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is a must-see attraction for families, as it’s home to more than 160 rescued animals, including lemurs, meerkats, rhinos, giraffes, macaws, red pandas, and many other species. In addition, there are free daily animal presentations to learn about the zoo’s inhabitants and native habitats.
The largest regional zoo in Victoria is Halls Gap Zoo. The foothills of the Grampians are home to Halls Gap Zoo, which is involved with a variety of endangered species captive breeding initiatives and offers animal encounters and zookeeper programs.
7. The Grampians wine region
While the Grampians are perhaps more recognized for their waterfalls and wildflowers than their wine, they are home to some of the world’s oldest vines. The Grampians are located in Victoria and boast some of the state’s most diverse and individual cellar doors, many dating back to the 1800s.
It is a food and wine lover’s destination where you can enjoy award-winning wines, world-class cheese, meat, and olive oils. There are also around 30 cellar doors around the Grampians showcasing the best local produce.
8. J Ward Museum
The J Ward Museum in Ararat is one of the best places to learn about Victoria’s past and Australia’s convict history. The museum, located next to Old Melbourne Gaol, was created after a previous museum at Port Arthur closed down and prisoners were relocated to another prison called Prisoner Number One.
It was later sold and turned into an asylum for the criminally insane because it housed some of the country’s most dangerous people: murderers, rapists, and arsonists. It was not until 1993 that J Ward ceased operation and became a museum housing artifact from the 1800s to the 1980s.
Explore the macabre edifice and abandoned structures, including the gallows, of this medieval jail with its Gothic arches and spooky graveyards, where you may learn about the stories of the murderers and their victims, whose spirits are said to haunt J Ward — or so they claim.
9. Hamilton Gallery
The Hamilton Gallery is a renowned exhibition space showcasing Australian, European, and Asian pieces of art for nearly 60 years. The gallery houses various media, including ceramics, paintings, print, metalwork, furniture, contemporary art, and 18th-century watercolours. It is one of Australia’s major public galleries with a rich collection ranging from ceramics to paintings to print to metalwork to furniture to contemporary art and 18th-century watercolours.
This gallery features an eclectic collection of paintings that have been collected over four generations by Patrick Corrigan AM and has become a must-see place in Grampians National Park for people interested in painting and contemporary art.
10. The Victoria Silo Art Trail
The Victoria Silo Art Trail is a public art trail taking place all over the state of Victoria and is one of Australia’s most exciting outdoor public collections. It was launched in 2014 as part of the 150th-anniversary celebrations for both the state and country and is currently underway with approximately 100 silos to be transformed into murals.
The Silo Art Trail, which zigzags through the hills above the Grampians, is one of Victoria’s most popular new visitor attractions. Although attempting to see all of these fantastic painted silos on the Victoria Silo Art Trail in a single day might be a little too much — taking at least a six- to seven-hour road trip — some of the nearer ones, such as Sheep Hills and Rupanyup, are well worth seeing if you have spare time.
Grampians National Park is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with trails for hiking, mountain biking, and four-wheel driving.
Whether you go on a short hike or spend hours walking through heathland and along ridges and valleys among spectacular rock formations, there is something for everyone in Grampians National Park. You can even fly high above it all on a tandem skydive!
Horsham Holiday Park provides guaranteed comfort and convenience to make your stay more pleasurable. Book Now if you’re ready to stay or seeking a place to base yourself while exploring.