Grampians National Park
The Grampians National Park is a stunning range of mountains in Victoria, just 3hrs’ drive from either Port Campbell or Melbourne City. The park offers many bushwalking trails that pass through varying terrains of canyons, waterfalls and peaks; some with gorgeous sunsets overlooking the mountains while others allow you to get up close with wild kangaroos.
We left Port Campbell in the morning. After 2.5hrs on the road (stopping at Warrnambool for lunch and groceries), we arrived at Dunkeld, the gateway town to Grampians.
From Dunkeld, it’s another 1hr drive through Grampians National Park to reach Halls Gap, the heart of Grampians. Keep a lookout for kangaroos and wallabies that come out to graze by the road, especially during dawn and dusk!
Our home for the next two nights was Halls Gap Caravan Park (AU$29/night), right at the foot of the mountains.
The kangaroos really emerge early morning and late evening to feed. Even around our parked campervan!
Anyway, here’s where we checked out at Grampians:
1. The Balconies / Reeds Lookout
Best place in Grampians for sunset. We managed to catch the blue skies turn orange, casting a bronze hue onto the rolling hills.
The car park is about 20min drive to the carpark from Halls Gap and The Balconies, an flat 5min walk from there.
Reeds lookout is right next to carpark, just 5min walk up the slope
2. Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is accessible via the Wonderland Carpark, about 10min drive from Halls Gap. This is a relatively easy walk (900m) that can be completed in 30min, but offers a unique experience of walking a natural path through looming stacks of boulders on both sides.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can also continue from the Grand Canyon towards the Pinnacle.
Trust me, it’s worth it.
3. The Pinnacle
A relatively harder trail but rewards you with breathtaking views of Grampians’ mountain ranges and Lake Bellfield…
From Wonderland car park, it’s about 2.5hrs return journey of adventure through winding bush trails, steep rocks and narrow passages.
4. Mt William
At 1167m high, Mt William is the highest point in the Grampians National Park. Start at Mt William car park, about 30min drive south of Halls Gap.
The hike is a 1hr return walk up a paved slope and is quite challenging given its sharp steepness. The summit offers pretty good views of the undulating ranges of Grampians and the unobstructed plains East of Mt William, but in my humble opinion does not surpass that of the Balconies/Reeds Lookout or the Pinnacle.
The straight road up was also rather uninteresting.
5. Fyans Creek Loop (wild kangaroos!)
This was one of the best place to see kangaroos in Grampians. Starting from Brambuk National Park & Cultural Centre, it’s an easy 40min walk through Fyans Valley good for spotting wild kangaroos and singing kookaburras (early morning and late evening).
Just 5min into our track, we walked right into a field of grazing kangaroos! The wild kangaroos can get quite cautious with the sight or sound of anything new, but slowly grew used to us as we sat peacefully among them and simply kangaroo-watched.
6. Boroka Lookout
Sworn by many to be the best sunrise lookout point in the Grampians, we were greeted with terrible weather when we arrived
It’s super accessible though, just beside the car park, a 20min drive from Halls Gap. Gotta come back the next time (to visit MacKenzie Falls too).
7. Coolas Ice-creamery
Home made waffle and ice-cream at Halls Gap in between hikes! ‘Nuff said.
Some tips for Grampians:
1. You can get all the information you need from the Information Centre
Maps, trails and important park info like where’s closed. Luckily we stopped by to discover that Northern Grampians was closed to public or we would have arrived at a burnt out MacKenzie Falls.
2. The petrol station opens 9am-6pm
We wanted to refill our low tank just before driving up to the peaks for sunset (and sunrise next morning). But they were closed!
3. The petrol station is much cheaper than the supermarket
Our loaf of bread costs 2.5x more at the latter.
4. The caravan park office closes at 530pm
Make sure you check in before that so you’ll have the barrier code to get in.
5. Scenic lookout points
Best place for sunrise in Grampians: Boroka
Best place for sunset in Grampians: The Balconies / Reeds Lookout
(both are easily accessible from the carpark)
6. Our favourite hike
The Pinnacle. Start from Grand Canyon to experience a bit of variety in the route.
(or go back to the start of our Great Ocean Road campervan trip)