Referred to affectionately as ‘The Grampians’ by Victorians, this National Park is a popular spot for outdoor adventures and there are plenty of incredible things to do in The Grampians to fully experience this unmissable destination!
This region of Victoria attracts visitors from far and wide with its incredible views and unique natural environment. It is particularly well-known for its jaw-dropping, rugged sandstone ranges which comprise of rock material that developed over 380 million years ago. Over 40 million years ago, the Southern Ocean was once crashing against the bases of parts of The Grampians mountains. It is no surprise that this ancient beauty is listed on the Australian National Heritage List.
The natural wonders, ancient Aboriginal sites and plentiful opportunities for spotting iconic Australian wildlife make The Grampians one of the best day trips that you can take from Melbourne.
The Grampians are a 253km from Melbourne’s CBD which is equivalent to around 3 hours of driving. It is a long but cruisy drive once you get away from the cities and suburbia. The easiest way to visit is by car but you can also visit by using V/Line train, departing from Southern Cross Station.
Here are my top 5 recommendations of things to do in the Grampians National Park that are perfect for immersing yourself amongst this epic Australian beauty.
1. Hiking and Walking
One of the best ways to explore the Grampians National Park is by foot! With over 160km of walking trails, there are a lot of options available suitable for all ranges of fitness levels, from easy strolls to multi-day challenges.
The most popular hike in the Grampians for day-trippers is The Pinnacles Walk and Lookout which rewards hikers with stunning views of Halls Gap and the Grampians mountain range. The Pinnacles Lookout can be reached via two walking trails:
- The Sundial Car Park is the easiest option, with a total of 4.2km (return) of walking which will take over 2 hours for a return trip. This trail includes some water crossing and rock-hopping and is of medium difficulty. This is the best option if you are hiking with children.
- The Wonderland Car Park is the option for you if you like a physical challenge with some steep uphill hiking and a tiny bit of clambering. This hike is of medium-hard difficulty. This hiking route goes through an impressive canyon which may make you feel like you are on another planet for a moment. On this hike, the views get better every step of the way and it is well worth the effort.
Tips for Hiking in the Grampians
When to visit
The best time of year to visit the Grampians for hiking and walking is in spring and winter. In spring, you may even be lucky enough to spot the colourful array of native wildflowers, blossoming in shades of yellow, pink, purple and orange.
What to wear and bring
- Wear either hiking shoes or your sturdiest walking shoes like runners. The rocky terrain can be challenging to walk on especially when it is wet.
- If you are visiting during warmer weather make sure you have adequate sun protection because there isn’t much shade on some of these hikes. Bring a hat and sunscreen to reapply.
- Bring a backpack with plenty of water and snacks.
Need more information or assistance?
Visit The Grampians Visitor Centre in Halls Gap for maps, assistance in selecting a trail and for any additional information.
2. Chasing Waterfalls
After working up a sweat from hiking, wander over to a waterfall to cool off with the refreshing waterfall mist. There are multiple waterfalls in the Grampians and they are quite easy to access by road.
One of the top things to do in Grampians National Park is to visit the spectacular Mackenzie Falls which is one of Victoria’s largest waterfalls. Nestled in bushland, Mackenzie Falls is a very picturesque waterfall.
Take the 30-minute walk (one-way) to reach the base of the falls, this is a steep walk with a lot of stairs. Alternatively, you can view the waterfall from above at the wheelchair accessible viewpoint.
3. Spot Iconic Aussie Wildlife
The Grampians National Park is home to over 40 species of mammals. Some of Australia’s most iconic national icons can be found here! Kangaroos, possums, koalas, echidnas, emus along with other birds, reptiles and amphibians roam wild in the Grampians.
The Grampians National Park is particularly great for spotting kangaroos in the wild! If you wish to spot them, I recommend coming to the area near the visitor centre, across the road there is a football oval which is a popular hangout spot for kangaroos. It is easiest to spot kangaroos and a lot of other native animals at dawn and dusk as most of them are nocturnal and are therefore more active when it is still dark out.
Safety tip for drivers
At dawn and dusk, when driving in The Grampians you have to be careful as you might find many kangaroos jumping out in front of your car as you drive.
4. Discover Indigenous Rock Art
The Grampians National Park was initially known as ‘Gariwerd’, which is a name from an Australian Aboriginal language. Gariwerd is considered to be a very sacred place to the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people.
The Aboriginal people have actually been connected to The Grampians for more than 30,000 years! As a result, many ancient artefacts can be found in this region. The Grampians National park has the largest collection of Indigenous rock art sites in Southern Australia. In the Grampians, you can find caves that are painted with depictions of humans, animals and animal trails.
To discover a fascinating part of Indigenous Australian history, visit the Brambuk centre in Halls Gap where there are displays of art and artefacts. You can also organise tours with Aboriginal guides through the Brambruk centre to learn about the local Aboriginal culture and to visit rock art sites.
Camping is a very popular activity for people visiting the Grampians.
For those on a tight budget, download the app ‘WikiCamps Australia’. It is a paid for app but it is one-time payment only and you can get a month-long free trial. This app will help you find free camping sites in the Grampians and throughout Australia.
You can also book a campsite with Parks Victoria and go bush camping! This can, however, end up being somewhat pricey especially considering that there aren’t really any facilities for you to utilise.
There are many other camping grounds available which offer a range of accommodations. There are even sites that offer glamping if you aren’t particularly keen on normal camping. You can find these types of accommodation on Booking.com.
Recommendations for a longer road trip
I recommend heading to The Grampians before or after going to The Great Ocean Road. Between the two destinations it is an easy drive with good signage.
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