The Grampians - best things to do

Things to do in The Grampians, Victoria

The Grampians National Park is popular spot for camping and enjoying nature in Victoria, with many things to do including waterfall hunting and an abundance of hiking opportunities. The Grampians can also be done as a day trip from Melbourne, if you can hack the 3.5 hour drive, though many prefer to see it over a weekend trip or during a longer Australia road trip.

I was advised Mackenzie Falls, below, was the must-see of The Grampians and they certainly didn’t disappoint. But there is much more to do besides this better-known gem, and thankfully a few of my fellow travel bloggers have stepped in to give you more ideas of how to plan your trip. There are also plenty of drive-able lookout points that give you an amazing idea of how beautiful the Aussie hinterlands are, though camping or hiking is assuredly the best way to make the most of Victoria’s breathtaking scenery.

Due to restrictions in Victoria and beyond, please do not travel at this time. Let’s keep our friends in Victoria safe and only use this post to
plan for a later and safer date.

PINNACLES HIKE

by Pauline from Beeloved City

If you love hiking, the Grampians will be your paradise. There are so many walking trails all around the national park but the best one is, without a shadow of a doubt, the Pinnacle. This 9.6 km hike will take you all the way from Halls Gap through the canyons and up to the summit. From the Pinnacle lookout, you can admire the jaw-dropping views over the Grampians and Victorian countryside. You will be amazed by how beautiful and preserved it is. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in Australia

The hike is classed as hard. It takes about 5 hours to complete if you go for the full loop from Halls Gap. If you don’t wish to walk that much, you can also opt for the shorter trail. It starts in Sundial car park and is only 1 hour long (2.1km)

No matter what, make sure you are wearing hiking shoes. You will be walking on a lot of rocks and it can be slippery.

HOLLOW MOUNTAIN WALK

by Neil from Bushwalking Blog

Some of the lesser known trails at the northern end of the Grampians are well worth a visit, especially because they’re away from the crowds of Halls Gap. There’s nothing like that feeling of solitude you get as clambering your way through the uniquely rugged landscape of the Grampians.

The Hollow Mountain Walk is one of the more accessible northern Grampians trails at only 2.2 kilometres, but it feels much longer than it is. It isn’t one for the faint hearted, since you’ll climb steeply up rocky inclines and shuffle around boulders near sheer drops. The reward at the end is worth every precarious minute, though. Standing atop Hollow Mountain with views across the entire region, you’ll feel on top of the world.

MT WILLIAM – A WINTER ESCAPE IN THE GRAMPIANS

by Erin from Australian Mountains to Sea

Although it is difficult to plan your Grampians getaway at a time when there is snow, if you do have any chance or flexibility in your Grampians winter escape, stay tuned for snow reports on Mt William, you will not be disappointed! Every year locals watch the weather report in July and August, waiting patiently for there to be possible snowfall to low levels, meaning there is a high chance of snow on the top of Mt William. 

Mt William is the highest mountain (1,168 metres) in the Grampians National Park and on a clear day offers magnificent views across the range. On a day of snowfall, you will find it near impossible to get a car park, finding yourself halfway down the mountain and walking to the summit to enjoy the white magic. If you’re lucky, you’ll find snow at the car park and be able to enjoy playing with the snow the whole way up the mount. 

Don’t take a chance on the temperature, despite being in Victoria, remember it is snow and it is cold, it can also be quite windy at the top! Pull out your Winter woolies, throw on your best hiking boots and head on up the road to the summit. On a good day, you’ll find several great spots to build yourself a little snowman to get a selfie.

The top tip is follow the reports on Live Fast cafe Facebook page, they have a keen runner who is known to take to the track early morning and report back to the world via social media. Get up there as early in the day as possible, to not only enjoy more of the snow but also to avoid some of the crowds. 

DUNKELD

by Alex from @AlexandreaTravels

There are so many things to do in this region of Victoria and spending a few nights here is a must. Most travellers stay in Halls Gap which is close to the popular hikes and waterfalls but Dunkeld is also worth a visit. The road that joins Dunkeld to Halls Gap is the most picturesque drive and when driving from Dunkeld town to Halls Gap you will be able to find many photo stops with the mountain backdrop.

If you stop off at Dunkeld, head to the Dunkeld Old Bakery and Café for a traditional Aussie snack and try some of the local pies or sausage rolls. For a local experience, if you are able to book ahead of time, the Bunyip Hotel is a secret gem. While it looks like not much from the exterior, a fine dining chef from Sydney works at the venue and on Sundays there is a $40 chef menu for 3 courses. It is totally worth the drive if you are a foodie and love off the beaten track experiences. 

VIEWS & LOOKOUT POINTS

by me

Viewing platforms aside, there are of course amazing views on any of the hikes in The Grampians – such as the famous ‘Halls Gap’ pictured on the Pinnacles hike above. There are many mountains in the region that make for great walking opportunities and endless photography spots.

Be sure to take a map, good quality hiking boots and snacks plus your reusable water bottle when taking on any of the hikes in this region. Take care to plan hikes in time to return before sunset – early morning can be best for short hikes, when the sun is not too hot. (On that note, don’t forget your sunscreen either!)

There are also many driveable lookout spots in The Grampians if you are short on time! Personally I went to Baroka Lookout. This lookout, with two different viewing platforms to get different perspectives of this vast national park, is only a 5-minute walk from the car park. I really enjoyed the panoramic views from this spot, and found it a good spot to combine with Mackenzie Falls (below) if you only have one day in The Grampians.

If you’re camping overnight, then you might enjoy visiting one of these lookout spots at sunset. If this is the case, I recommend choosing a lookout point near a car park (such as Baroka Lookout) so you don’t have to walk back in the dark which can be dangerous due to the steep cliffs and rocky pathways.

If you’re driving back to Melbourne, you’ll probably want to head back to Melbourne before sunset – but not to worry, the sunset is still beautiful over the endless countryside on the way back, and it’s also the best time to spot kangaroos. (Just drive slow if there are kangaroos near the road!)

MACKENZIE FALLS

This spectacular waterfall is a highlight of any Grampians getaway and is a must see for anyone with just one day in the area. After a fairly steep staircase down to the falls, which are in great condition, you make your way to the falls from behind. At this point, crossing the stepping stones to get the best view of Mackenzie Falls makes for a fun introduction to the awesome nature of The Grampians!

The walk to the base of the falls is just 2km return (up and down the fairly steep hill) beginning at Mackenzie Falls car park and it’s easy to find on Google Maps. There is also a 2km return walk to the Mackenzie Falls lookout point (also beginning at the car park) which doesn’t have any stairs, so this is a good option for anyone with limited mobility.

Although the waterfall isn’t huge at 35 metres tall, it remains incredibly photogenic. Although swimming is not permitted, the spray from the cool water as it cascades down the rocks is welcome and refreshing.

SPOT THE WILD ANIMALS

For me, the highlight of my Grampians day trip were the wild animals I encountered: wild emus, wild kangaroos and… a brown snake! Gotta say, it’s pretty weird when one of the world’s most dangerous snakes casually slithers out in front of you – it’s said to be the second most venomous land snake in the world!

Try and time your drive back for sunset to heighten your chance of seeing kangaroos, who tend to be out in their hundreds around dusk. This was my first time seeing this beautiful, famously Aussie creatures, and it certainly brought a big smile to my face.

Due to restrictions in Victoria and beyond, please do not travel at this time. Let’s keep our friends in Victoria safe and save this post for a later and safer date.
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19 Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of this place before but have saved this blog to look at when corona virus restrictions ease! Hope you are staying safe out there 🙂

  2. Ah, i’m so sad I missed the Grampians when I visited Vic! The lookout points look incredible, particularly Baroka Lookout! Definitely think Mackenzie falls is a must-do from your post, it looks beautiful! Cannot wait to go back to Victoria after this pandemic is over and explore here!

  3. This place looks incredible. I have never been to Australia whenever I plan to visit I will keep this in mind. Lovely blog and pictures. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I’ve heard so much about the Grampians! I can’t wait to check it out on my Australian roadtrip. It looks so amazing!

  5. The Grampians are soooo pretty! I love the look of all the hikes to viewpoints, as well as those stunning waterfalls. It’s nice that there is a mix of super short walks as well as more intermediate options. 🙂

  6. I lovee the Grampians! Just before lockdown I went on my own for a weekend and hiked the Pinnacle, McKenzie Falls, Mt Sturgeon and visited the Balconies lookout! Also another new track that isnt open to the public yet as my friend has been helping to build it! That’ll have to be added to this list some time next year (it’s epic!). Can’t wait to visit again!

  7. So weird reading this as I’m from the Grampian region of Scotland. Many of the place names have been taken from here to Oz. The original Dunkeld is a tiny village outside of our Perth 😀 Really great guide though and interesting to find out more about this area!

  8. I saved this post for when we can finally travel safely again! Australia just seems so abundant, with every type of landscape, and I hope to see it all one day soon…

  9. I’ve never ever heard of this place before and I am Australian! It looks incredible. I would love to visit Mt Sturgeon – thank you for sharing 🙂

  10. With international travel currently off limits, I am looking for places to go around Australia as borders open up. While I live close to the Grampians, I have never been. Very remiss if me! This post has given me the incentive for a road trip once I can travel that far into Victoria. Thank you.

  11. This is beautiful, I’ve never been to the grampians, but next time I’m able to visit my brother in Victoria (Melbourne) I know where to plan a day trip too!

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