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What Are Things To See And Do In The Grampians Melbourne?

The rugged rock formations and breathtaking panoramas of the Grampians National Park can be found three hours west of Melbourne. The park also features indigenous rock art that dates back 22,000 years. The area is a hotspot for hikers thanks to its abundance of walking trails and scenic lookouts, but it also has some impressive museums and galleries, as well as some truly unique attractions. Here are some of my favourite things to do in the Grampians, ranging from the Silo Art Trail to haunted asylums and zoos.

Grampians National Park, in Western Victoria's rough Grampians Region, is home to breathtaking scenery. Despite being devastated by bushfires in 2006 and 2014 and by floods and landslides in 2011, this magnificent nature reserve is thriving now. If you're looking for a place to get away from it all and reconnect with nature, look no further than this park, which is on the list of Australia's National Heritage sites. The following is our recommended itinerary for a trip to the majestic Grampians.

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Things To See And Do In The Grampians

The Grampians is an expansive national park to the northwest of Melbourne. Driving past Ararat, you’ll spot them in the distance – a lumpy collection of grand mountains splitting the horizon in two. 

This dazzling region is populated by high sandstone peaks, gorgeous wildflowers and the epic Pinnacle walk, so it’s known to most Melburnians as a great natural escape from the city. The traditional owners of this land know it as Gariwerd, and the area is known for having one of the biggest collections of Indigenous rock art sites in southeastern Australia. 

The Pinnacle

One of the most popular lookouts in Victoria, the Pinnacle is also one of the most challenging to reach. The most accessible trail is a 4.2km (2.6mi) return hike at the Sundial car park and is appropriate for families. 

Avid hikers will prefer the route starting at the Wonderland car park. Both tracks will lead you through rugged rock formations, and upon reaching the Pinnacle, you can marvel at the spectacular scenery of the Grampians and feel like you’re on top of the world.

Brambuk: The National Park and Cultural Centre

Known to the traditional custodians of the land as Gariweld, the Grampians have been home to the Jadawadjali and Djab Wurrung peoples for tens of thousands of years, and their footprints can be found all over the region. Established in 1989, Brambuk: 

The National Park and Cultural Centre was set up to preserve and share the fascinating indigenous culture and history of the Grampians. About 2km (1.2mi) south of the Grampians tourist village, Halls Gap, Brambuk celebrates indigenous culture and storytelling through interactive exhibitions, theatre, cultural workshops and activities.

Grampians National Park

To reach the peak, one must take a treacherous path that winds through a thriving forest and up and over rock outcroppings. Take in one of the park's most breathtaking panoramas.

While initially heading north towards nearby Signal Peak (780 m), the trail gradually ascends before making a sharp turn to the south-west and following an escarpment rim up Mount Abrupt. Once you get there, look out over Dunkeld to the south and the Serra Range to the north for some breathtaking scenery. Wedge-tailed eagles, nankeen kestrels, and peregrine falcons are just some of the birds you should look out for.

The Grampians are often praised because of their stunning beauty. You can get up close and personal with nature at this park, which features towering sandstone peaks, beautiful wildflowers, and the epic Pinnacle walk. The original inhabitants of this area gave it the name Gariwerd, and today it is renowned as a hub for Indigenous rock art in south-east Australia.

The park's network of walking tracks allows visitors to experience the park's many attractions, including its gushing waterfalls, spring wildflowers, Aboriginal rock art, and panoramic vistas of the Grampians' imposing sandstone peaks. Over 200 different kinds of birds and mammals and 900 different kinds of native plants call the Grampians home. You should bring your cameras because you might see kangaroos, koalas, emus, wedge-tailed eagles, and other native wildlife.

MacKenzie Falls

Watch the water cascade down Victoria’s largest waterfall all year round in the Grampians National Park. Starting at MacKenzie Falls car park, follow the steep trail downhill for 2km (1.2mi) until you reach the base of MacKenzie Falls. Alternatively, you can view the waterfall from the platform at the Bluff, which has wheelchair access.

 Although MacKenzie is the only waterfall here with water all year round, if you’re fortunate enough to visit the Grampians in winter or spring, you’re in for a treat. Waterfall season in the Grampians is nothing but spectacular, especially during spring when the wildflowers are out.

There’s nothing quite like the walk towards Mackenzie Falls. Found smack bang in the middle of the dry and craggy Grampians National Park, Mackenzie Falls is a gorgeous surprise. You’ll hear the falls before you see them as you descend the steep yet well-marked path. 

Eventually, you’ll set eyes on the cascade, which thunders over a vertical slab of rock into a deep pool of freshwater. Signs will say that you’re not allowed to swim here, but if it’s the middle of summer and you’re sweating through your capri pants, we would turn a blind eye if you wanted to dip your toes in.

Blaze Rock Retreat

Herewith your significant other? Go the full romantic getaway and book a self-contained villa at Blaze Rock Retreat, where the bed is one metre from a large claw-foot bath, and kangaroos hop across the expansive grounds outside your window. 

Just eight minutes from Halls Gap, it’s the perfect base for your hiking adventures. The villas are self-contained and offer outstanding views in a peaceful natural environment located 7 km from Halls Gap.

Each villa is beautifully appointed, and you are ensured of privacy and peace where you can escape the pressures of life and relax with just you and your partner. The villas are spacious and feature a wood fire, large claw foot bath overlooking expansive views, king-size bed, and double size shower with a massaging showerhead. So escape from the stress of everyday life and enjoy the spectacular Grampians region.

The Villas are located on the 50-acre property with extensive native gardens, ensuring peace and tranquillity. Awaken to kangaroos grazing, the abundant birds and other wildlife that visit the villas.

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The Balconies

Formerly known as the Jaws of Death, the Balconies lookout offers spectacular panoramic views over Victoria Valley. One of the best viewpoints in the Grampians, the 2km (1.2mi) trail to the Balconies, starts at Reeds Lookout car park and winds its way through rocky outcrops and stringybark forest. Photographers should visit in the morning or at sunset to capture the magnificent scenery in its best light.

Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre

Located in Ararat, the only city in Australia founded by the Chinese, the Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre tells the story of Chinese miners who journey from Southern China to Australia in search of gold in the 1800s. 

Built-in traditional Chinese style, the centre provides a snapshot into Chinese culture in Australia and invites visitors to try calligraphy, dress in traditional costume and try panning for gold.

The Pinnacle

The steep track winds its way through healthy woodland and over rock slabs to the summit. Enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the National Park.

Rising gradually as it heads north toward nearby Signal Peak (780 metres), the trail swings suddenly to the southwest and follows an escarpment rim toward Mount Abrupt. Once there, take in the wonderful views of the Serra Range to the north and over Dunkeld in the south. Keep an eye open for wedge-tailed eagles, nankeen kestrels and peregrine falcons.

There’s a reason the Grampians bring bushwalkers back time and time again. Rough and rocky at first glance, it surprises visitors with hidden waterfalls, hollow mountains and incredible natural amphitheatres. 

The walk towards the Pinnacle starts at the Sundial car park, where hikers can climb through fun geological terrain towards a big lump of rock overlooking Fyans Valley. However, if you’d like to test your fitness, there’s also a harder climb to the same destination that starts at the Wonderland carpark.

Halls Gap Zoo

Home to over 160 native and exotic animals, including meerkats, giraffes, rhinos, red pandas, lemurs, macaws and many other species, Halls Gap Zoo is Victoria’s largest regional zoo. Located at the foothills of the Grampians, Halls Gap Zoo is involved with several endangered species captive breeding programs and offers animal encounters and zookeeper experiences.

J Ward

Builtin the mid-19th century as the Ararat Gaol, J Ward transitioned into a maximum-security psychiatric ward for the criminally insane in 1887. Housing and treating Victoria’s mentally ill for over 125 years, J Ward was operating until 1991, when it finally closed its doors. 

Take a guided tour or ghost tour of the complex, with its eerie architecture and abandoned buildings, including the gallows, and learn about the stories of the murderers and the murdered, whose spirits are still believed to haunt J Ward — or so they say.

Live Fast Café

The Live Fast Lifestyle Café first opened in October 2010 and has been serving excellent beverages, food, and beer ever since. Our team is made up of young, enthusiastic people who appreciate the Grampians for what they are and all that they represent: a melting pot of artists, musicians, climbers, and other free-spirited adventurers.

There's nothing like a good climb, run, ride, or hike in the National Park, followed by a campfire and some good tunes. Excellent coffee and tasty fare, prepared with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients are the main draws. The cafe by the creek is open seven days a week and serves breakfast, lunch, and other hearty fare. Our goal is to grow and change all the time, so we're always on the lookout for novel resources.

Mount Abrupt

Photography enthusiasts will want to bring a camera to Mt Abrupt, a picturesque slice of rock rising 827 metres over the sprawling Serra Range to the north and Dunkeld to the south. It’s a steep climb to the summit, and keep your eyes out for kangaroos, lizards, peregrine falcons and other creatures on the ascent. 

The steep track winds its way through healthy woodland and over rock slabs to the summit. Enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the National Park.

Rising gradually as it heads north toward nearby Signal Peak (780 metres), the trail swings suddenly to the southwest and follows an escarpment rim toward Mount Abrupt. Once there, take in the wonderful views of the Serra Range to the north and over Dunkeld in the south. Keep an eye open for wedge-tailed eagles, nankeen kestrels and peregrine falcons.

Boroka Lookout

One of the best lookouts in the Grampians can be found on Mt Difficult Road in Halls Gap. From the car park, it’s only a short walk to the lookout, which features 180-degree panoramic views of Halls Gap and Lake Bellfield. The Boroka Lookout is also a great location to spot local birdlife. The area also has toilet facilities and picnic tables, so bring your lunch and enjoy the view.

Hamilton Gallery

With a history spanning nearly 60 years, the Hamilton Gallery is a world-renowned exhibition space showcasing European, Asian and Australian works of art. The gallery has an impressive collection featuring various mediums, from ceramics, paintings and print to metalwork, furniture, contemporary art, and 18th-century watercolours. It is one of Australia’s leading public galleries.

Fish Falls

There are three good reasons you should visit Fish Falls in the Grampians. First, the falls themselves cascade about 60 metres over several terraced rocks and collect in a gorgeous, black pool below. 

Two: the walk is just challenging enough to make a day of it. It’s a 4.6-kilometre return walk that starts at the Zumsteins car park and follows the MacKenzie River upstream with pleasant views across deep gullies. And three: it’s a significantly less crowded spot than the neighbouring Mackenzie Falls – score!

Reed Lookout 

From the summit of Reed Lookout, you will enjoy stunning views over the entire Victoria Valley, Victoria Range, Serra Range, Lake Wartook and the Mt Difficult Range. 

The viewing platform is a popular spot to watch the sunset over the mountains and snap the perfect pink and purple hues of a sunset sky. The path to the lookout is well maintained and fully accessible by wheelchair.

The Grampians Wine Region

While the Grampians may be better known for its waterfalls and wildflowers than its wine, the region is home to some of the oldest vines in the world. The perfect way to wind down after a day exploring, the Grampians are home to some of the state’s most varied and unique cellar doors, with some dating back to the 1800s.

The Royal Mail Hotel

You'll have to travel quite a ways. Few people decide on a whim to travel to Dunkeld, a small town (population 460 or so) at the foot of the Grampians in western Victoria. But it's also true that for the past decade, the three-hour drive from Melbourne to Dunkeld has been well worth the gas thanks to the Royal Mail Hotel. An exciting new phase of development is underway at this country pub with the goal of propelling it into the next decade, building on its already stellar reputation for food and drink.

The brand-new restaurant is the main attraction. The restaurant, which will now be known as Wickens at the Royal Mail Hotel and where Robin Wickens has served as executive chef for the past four years, will soon have its official name changed. If the new restaurant opens at the end of October as planned, the hotel will finally have the dining room it deserves, one that is completely isolated from the lounge and hotel reception area (the current arrangement can be best described as "clunky").

Now it's a 45-seat venue built entirely from native materials like sandstone, wool, and timber by Melbourne-based, Dunkeld-raised architect Nick Byrne (used to line the cellar shelves, making for some very cosy bottles). It will feature a "amazing, huge" open kitchen, as described by Wickens, as well as a bar and lounge area. Wickens has been planning this for quite some time; he first came to public attention as a sort of mad-scientist chef at his avant-garde Fitzroy restaurant Interlude.

He promises that "the dining experience will be greatly enhanced." There will be a sense of occasion as guests make their way there through the native vegetation and brush. The pub front bar will once again be a pub front bar, which is nice, and the cafe will relocate to the space formerly occupied by the restaurant (where we hope to instal a wood fire).

Stage two, as stated by RMH general manager Mark Whitnell, will include sprucing up the lodgings to appeal to the luxury market. The eight bluestone cottages and the larger homestead in the shadow of Mount Sturgeon will be the main attractions, surprising current visitors given the high standard of the "motel-style" accommodations offered.

But why hold off? Two years ago, RMH was not the same as it is today. Located across Parker Street from the hotel, the wine collection welcomes guests to peruse its 26,000-bottle collection, which includes Australia's most extensive collection of Bordeaux and Burgundy (and the even better news is that a Coravin system means tasting iconic labels is no longer the exclusive purview of the one per cent).

Also incorporated into the RMH experience is the kitchen garden. One of the largest restaurant gardens in Australia, hotel guests can take a free guided tour of the expansive organic allotment (try 18 types of tomatoes; three types of beetroot; three full-time gardeners).

It's well worth it to visit the pest-eating duck family, and the visit permeates the degustation menu, which features dishes that are steadfastly seasonal, such as the purest, greenest watercress soup with puffed rice and yuzu jelly, a vegetable course that employs corn in every conceivable way, and the fresh minty herbaceousness of basil puree, or a beef tartare with green tomato and coal oil. If you've never tried periwinkles before, now's your chance.

Ngamadjidj Aboriginal Art Shelter

One of five Aboriginal art sites in the park, the Ngamadjidj Aboriginal Art Shelter is only a short walk from the Mt Stapylton campground. Known as the Cave of Ghosts, the site features indigenous artwork depicting dancing, standing and squatting white figures different in colour and style from the vast majority of northern Gariwerd art sites. Aboriginal people associate white with death and the spirit world and may have viewed Europeans as ghostly figures.

Pack A Picnic

There are many great picnic areas in the Grampians where you can relax, enjoy the birdlife and take in the serenity of this stunning natural environment. There is a vast array of picnic spots, making it possible for you to eat a packed lunch in the middle of the forest, right near cascading waterfalls or in extremely remote settings.

Enjoy all of this and more on our Day Trip to the Grampians National Park. Our Grampians Day Tours are designed to showcase the extraordinary natural beauty of this region, comprising plenty of scenic stops where you can breathe in the eucalyptus-scented air and immerse yourself in this western Victorian wilderness.

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The Victoria Silo Art Trail

The Silo Art Trail, one of Victoria's newest and most popular tourist destinations, winds its way through the countryside high above the Grampians. Some of the closer ones, like Sheep Hills and Rupanyup, are well worth a visit if you can spare a few hours, but it might be a bit much to try to see all of the incredible painted silos on the Victoria Silo Art Trail in one day, as the drive would take around six to seven hours.

FAQs About Things To See In The Grampians

The Balconies are our #1 must-see destination in The Grampians National Park, as the rock formations and awe-inspiring views are simply incredible. Best experienced on a misty morning, as the sun sets or even as a stargazing platform on a clear night.

Three hours west of Melbourne, the Grampians National Park is home to rugged rock formations, breathtaking panoramas and indigenous rock art dating back 22,000 years. Popular with hikers, the area has a multitude of walking trails and scenic lookouts, but it also boasts impressive art galleries and museums, as well as more unusual sites.

MacKenzie Falls is the most iconic and spectacular waterfall in the Grampians. Watch the majestic waterfall from the lookout platform or tackle the steep climb to the base of the falls. Then, make the most of your day trip in the Grampians National Park with a strenuous walk through the beautiful MacKenzie River Gorge to Zumsteins Historic Area.

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