Designated as a national park in 1984, the Grampians is set in over 400,000 stunning acres of unspoiled natural beauty. A haven for nature lovers and thrill seekers, there are plenty of things to do in the Grampians National Park to keep you busy.
Bursting with stunning mountain ranges, countless hiking trails, and numerous lookouts perched high above jaw-dropping natural landscapes, the Grampians is a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors.
Alongside rugged mountains and viewpoints, the Grampians is also home to picturesque waterfalls and gorgeous vast open lakes that are ideal for fishing.
More adventurous visitors to the Grampians can also try their hand at abseiling, rock climbing or mountain biking.
The Grampians region is also of huge importance to the local Aboriginal population. Known as Gariwerd to the Indigenous population, the Grampians has the highest number of ancient Aboriginal rock art sites in southern Australia.
A number of Aboriginal rock art sights are accessible to the public, thought to be over 20,000 years old.
The Grampians region is also famous for its wine, particularly Shiraz, which is often described as being some of the best wine produced in Australia.
The Grampians are located in western Victoria, around a three hour drive from Melbourne and roughly five hours from Adelaide.
Many people travel up to the Grampians on a detour on the way back to Melbourne after completing a road trip along the Great Ocean Road.
It’s around an hour and a half drive from the western end of the Great Ocean Road to the Grampians National Park.
→ If you need to hire a car to get to the Grampians you can compare hire deals and book a hire car here.
Most accommodation in The Grampians can be found in and around Halls Gap.
Located right in the heart of the national park, and with shops, bakeries, cafes, bars and restaurants all close to hand, Halls Gap is the obvious place to stay when visiting the Grampians.
You can also find plenty of other options dotted around more isolated parts of the Grampians region. Plus there are a number of great places to stay in the picturesque town of Stawell, around 25 minute drive from Halls Gap and in Dunkeld at the southern tip of the Grampians.
→ You can search for accommodation throughout the Grampians region here.
If you need a few suggestions here are a few places that we recommend:
Tucked away in a secluded spot next to Lake Bellfield, Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park is an extremely comfortable and affordable option within the Grampians. Just a five minute drive from the centre of Halls Gap, there’s an outdoor pool and all cabins are well stocked with essentials.
A little closer to the centre of Halls Gap, we stayed at the excellent Halls Gap Log Cabins. Set in gorgeous grounds facing the Grampians’ mountain peaks, the log cabins are a wonderfully cosy base for exploring the national park. The log fires help keep the cabins lovely and warm on winter nights.
Top of the Range
One of the best things to do in The Grampians is to head out on a hike. The Grampians are pure hiking heaven. There are multiple hiking trails in the Grampians, ranging from short simple walks to whole day treks for the dedicated hiker.
All hikes pass through the national park’s incredible natural beauty, and many offer magnificent views of the Grampians.
Easier strolls include the two kilometre return walk to the staggering sweeping views at the Balconies viewpoint, which overlooks the breathtaking Victoria Valley.
Another easy walk is the Lakeview Loop, with beautiful views of Lake Bellfield and Mount William. A steep 45 minute hike leads to the peak of Mount William, the highest point in the Grampians and incredible 360 degree views of the whole region.
Tougher hikes include the trek to the top of The Pinnacle, where there are sensational views over Halls Gap and across the Grampians.
At the southern end of the Grampians National Park, a challenging yet rewarding seven kilometre return hike leads to the equally stunning views at the summit of Mount Sturgeon.
» The Grampians Peak Trail
The Grampians Peak Trail stretches the entire length of the Grampians, creating a multi-day walk similar to the legendary Overland Track in Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park.
Completed in 2021, the full trail is a thirteen day hiking route, stretching all the way from Mount Zero in the north to Dunkeld in the south.
You don’t need to trek through the mountain ranges to find an incredible view in the Grampians. Many scenic lookouts and their breathtaking vistas across the Grampians are easily reached by car.
Reed Lookout is probably the finest example. Right next to the walk to the Balconies, the sensational view from Reed Lookout hits you as soon as you get out of the car.
Nearby, Boroka Lookout also offers maximum reward for minimum effort, with astonishing views across the Grampians just moments from the car park.
Arrive early in the morning to see a beautiful sunrise or in the late afternoon for a jaw-dropping sunset.
Just one of a number of spectacular waterfalls in the Grampians National Park, MacKenzie waterfall is certainly one of the most popular.
Flowing all year round, MacKenzie falls is one of the largest (and most beautiful) in the national park. A forty minute drive from Halls Gap, there are two ways to see MacKenzie falls.
The first is from the vantage point that overlooks the falls reached by an easily accessible one kilometre walk.
The second is from the base of MacKenzie falls, at the bottom of a steep walking trail of almost 200 steps. Though tough it is the most rewarding view of the two.
From the base of MacKenzie waterfall there is a walking route to the idyllic and historic Zumsteins, sat on the banks of the MacKenzie River.
Originally built in the 1930s, the Zumsteins is one of Australia’s first holiday retreats, named after its founders, Walter and Jean Zumstein.
There are several other beautiful waterfalls to explore in the Grampians. A fairly easy walk through a shaded forest leads to the tall and narrow Silverband Falls near Lake Bellfield, whilst it’s a more challenging walk to reach the spectacular rocky Beehive Falls near Roses Gap in the northern Grampians.
The Grampians region has been home to indigenous Aboriginal peoples for tens of thousands of years.
Known as Gariwerd by the local indigenous population, the Grampians region is home to around 200 historic Aboriginal rock art sites.
Four of these are open to the public in Grampians National Park, thought to be at least 20,000 years old. Another rock art site, the Bunjil Shelter, is located in the nearby town of Stawell.
Of the four Aboriginal rock art sites in the national park, Gulgurn Manja shelter and the Ngamadjidj Shelter in the northern Grampians are the easiest to reach. From the car park, a ten minute uphill walk leads to Gulgurn Manja, alongside sublime views of the bush.
The Aboriginal rock art at Gulgurn Manja consists of ancient red hand prints, thought to belong to children. The Ngamadjidj Shelter is a fifteen minute drive away and just a few hundred metres from the car park.
Here the rock art is unique in that it is painted in white clay. There are sixteen white stick figures painted on to the rock, the meaning of which remains unknown. Seeing these historic artworks is certainly one of the most humbling things to do in the Grampians.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the local indigenous people then a visit to the Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre is a must.
Here you can learn all about south west Victoria’s Aboriginal communities and their heritage. Brambuk also organises in depth tours of the region including guided visits to the rock art sites.
The Grampians has long been known as a destination for rock climbing and abseiling. There are thousands of designated climbs across the Grampians, and rock climbing or abseiling are some of the best ways to explore the region.
Whether you’re a beginner looking for your first lesson or a seasoned pro, there are a number of local companies that provide rock climbing and abseiling sessions.
Courses can be booked on a group or an individual basis and can often be tailored per group. Most operators offer courses held over a few hours, a whole day and even multi-day sessions.
With a number of rivers, lakes and reservoirs the Grampians is a fantastic place for fishing all year around.
Lake Bellfield and Lake Wartook are two of the most popular places to fish inside the national park. There are more fishing spots just a short drive away too.
Lake Fyans and Lake Toolondo on either side of the national park are considered two of the best spots for fishing in the region. Redfin, salmon, and trout are all in abundance in the lakes around the Grampians.
The Wimmera River, further north near the town of Horsham, is a great place to catch catfish, trout, carp and golden perch. Be sure to check with local visitor information centres in advance in case you need a fishing license.
The largest regional zoo in Victoria, Halls Gap Zoo is home to over 160 species of native and exotic animals. If you’re travelling with kids, or if you’re just an animal lover, then a trip to Halls Gap Zoo is one of the best things to do in the Grampians.
The variety of wildlife at Halls Gap Zoo range from kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and emus to rhinos, giraffes and a beautiful pair of cheetahs. The zoo also has a large number of exotic birds, lizards, snakes, and an alligator.
The zoo also runs an animal encounter scheme, offering the opportunity to get up close and hands on with a number of larger animals.
The encounters offer the chance to have photographs taken with a number of the zoo’s animals, including giraffes, dingoes, wombats and even alligators.
It might be one of the oddest things to do in the Grampians, but no visit to the region is complete without stopping off at the Giant Koala at Dadswell Bridge.
Built in 1989 as an attention grabbing tourist attraction, the Giant Koala has become one of the area’s most famous landmarks. Fourteen metres tall and seven metres wide, the Giant Koala is a sight to behold.
The structure is made of seven tonnes of steel and covered in matted fibreglass. Inside the koala is a small tourist information centre, and behind it is a small petting farm with pigs, sheep, emus and a real koala. Next door is a slightly dated roadside cafe.
The Grampians region is home to some of the world’s oldest vines, with wine being produced in the region for over 150 years. A number of local wines are considered to be amongst the finest in Australia, particularly the local Shiraz.
There are a number of award winning wineries to be found in the Grampians, and their cellar door’s are well worth a visit. Best’s in the town of Great Western is a piece of local history, who’s original cellar door dates from 1866.
In 2016 Best’s Shiraz was awarded the wine of the year at the Halliday Awards. Other wineries nearby worth popping in to include Fallen Giants (previously known as Halls Gap Estate) and Grampians Estate.
Halls Gap is also the best place for a decent variety of food in the Grampians.
Head to The Kookaburra Hotel for a choice of excellent hearty meals. Booking in advance is often required, especially in summer. Livefast Cafe is perfect for a delicious and healthy breakfast or brunch.
If you fancy something spicy try the excellent Spice of Punjab for an authentic and flavour-filled curry. Again booking ahead may be required at busier times of the year.
In the south, the ploughman’s lunch at the historic Old Bakery and Cafe in Dunkeld is well worth making a special trip for. And as already mentioned, the two restaurants at the Royal Mail Hotel are easily the best fine dining options in the Grampians.
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