I can’t say that I have ever hiked before. Honestly, nature isn’t really my thing. And don’t even get me going on camping. I suppose it could be because we never really did these kind of things when I grew up. Talk to my mum, she’s the same.
But something happened when we moved to Australia. Hiking became so incredibly accessible. It’s just so easy, so that even for someone like me, it wasn’t too bad. Since the move I have then hiked in a bunch of places, and sometimes I even suggest hiking as an activity. If you know me you know that’s a big step. Like a giant one.
Anyway. A month ago I steered my aim towards Grampians. I have heard so many good things about this area, that I just had to try it out. These are my (as well as some trusted Grampians advisors from Melbourne Young Hikers) top 5 spots to visit in The Grampians.
Oh, and if you were curious, that man in the picture above, that’s my dad. You’ll see him in quite a few of the pictures because he was my hiking buddy. Hey dad!
1. The Pinnacle via Grand Canyon
This is probably one of the most classic hikes in The Grampians. First off, it’s easily accessible from Hall’s Gap, which is kind of the entry point to this national park. You can walk all the way from there, but we opted to drive a few kilometers and walk from the Wonderland Car Park.
It’s not an extremely hard hike (I’m not particularly fit, neither is my 69 yo dad), but it isn’t super easy either. You’re constantly going upwards, all in all almost 300 meters up. If you get out of breath, take a pause and look at the beautiful scenery. And do take that short detour through Grand Canyon. It might not be as large as it’s namesake, but it’s still awfully pretty.
|Start||Wonderland Car Park||Time||Approximately 2-2.5 hours return|
|Distance||4.2 km return||Grade||Medium/Hard, elevation 280m|
There are a lot (a lot!) of pretty lookouts around Grampians. Most of them are also very easily accessible. Most of them you simply drive, park, stroll a few meters and BAM you’re hit with a view that would floor anyone. We like the views of Boroka Lookout and Reed Lookout. Our favourite is the Balconies though, which kind of reminds us of the look of NSW’s Blue Mountains. You get there by a 10-15 min easy walk from the Reed Lookout Car Park. Uh oh so pretty.
3. Wartook Valley
Wartook Valley is nestled between next to the Grampian mountains, and is a quiet, tranquil valley. Fewer of the visitors venture here, which adds to the lustre of it, but we still find it a bit odd. It’s set in a peaceful valley, with varied nature and offers a dramatic entrance to the Grampians National Park. Lean back and take in the view, or go out to spot some wildlife, such as emus or mobs of kangaroos.
4. Hollow Mountain
This is what it sounds like – a hollow mountain. Follow the track through amazing wildflower areas to you reach the cliff-face. Then scramble through some rocks to see some beautiful wind scoured caverns. And oh, you’ll be able to quite the pretty view of the Mount Staplyton Range, so sit down and enjoy that for a while, before heading back the same route.
|Start||Hollow Mountain Car Park||Time||Approximately 1.5 hours return|
|Distance||2.2 km return||Grade||Medium, elevation 150m|
Photo: Visit Victoria
5. Aboriginal Rock Art Sites
The Grampians region has the largest number of Aboriginal rock art sites in all of southern Australia. Actually, it has more than 80% of the rock art sites in all of Victoria. All in all, there are some 60 art sites, adding up to more than four thousand different motifs. That’s a whole lot.
In the park there are five shelters open to the public. In the western Grampians you have Manja and Billimina shelters. In the northern there’s Ngamadjidj and Gulurn Manja shelters, and near Stawell you’ll find one of the most important sites in the whole of Victoria – Bunjil’s shelter.
While you’re at it, stop at Brambuk just south of Halls Gap. There’s a National Park Centre, which is like any National Parks Centre. Just walk on through and head to the outdoor exhibition, and then further to Brambuk, for an interactive and interesting visit to the Cultural Centre.
Brambuk – The National Park & Cultural Centre
277 Grampians Rd, Halls Gap, Victoria 3381
03 5361 4000
6. On your way back, stop at One Tree Hill Lookout
Ok, so I know that technically this isn’t the Grampians. Hey, it’s not even Grampians in the picture. But on this one, really tall hill, you’ll get a 360 degree view of the Grampians as well as Pyrenees, which are the ones you spot in this picture. The lookout is just a few kilometers from the township of Ararat, perfectly located on the drive from Halls Gap to Ballarat. Once you reach the hill, be prepared for some steep climbing (or driving). In just 2 small km, you climb 200 meters, until you reach the top and the rotunda. Bring a picnic and have a seat on the calm and grassy sides and eat with a view.
And for you crazy cyclists out there – I dare you to try biking up! It’s killer, but surely great for those calves.
How to get there: Go to One Tree Hill Road in Ararat. Simply follow it to the end. It’s roughly 3km north-west from Ararat’s town centre.