The Grampians National Park is one of Victoria’s treasures, and is a must-see place for anyone traveling through Victoria. But there’s so much to do there, and not all of us have a week up our sleeves to do every hike and see every waterfall that the Grampians has on offer.. so how do you choose the highlight reel if you’ve only got a day or two to explore?
Well I did just that… I was heading to Horsham for a study day for work so I set aside two extra days in which to explore the Grampians while I was in the area – the problem was one of these days was before the study day, and one was after. This meant that there would be no overnight stays in the national park.
When doing my research online, I found it hard to pinpoint what exactly I wanted to do, I was torn between doing one or two really impressive sounding walks (albeit quite lengthy) to an amazing look out or waterfall or doing a lot of short walks to see a greater variety of things. Bearing in mind that I did the Grampians in a day and half – there’s a lot more that you can do and see if time is on your side.
To see what walking tracks were on offer, how long they’d take and where in the Grampians they were situated, I used a variety of websites, but this fellow travel blogger’s site was particularly helpful. Be sure to check out Brambuk, the national park and cultural centre, which will give you a bit more information about the park’s rich cultural history and what’s on offer in the area.
We decided (despite advice to the contrary) to visit the Halls Gap zoo on one of our spare days, and while it definitely has much more of an ‘animal farm’ type vibe, it is a quirky and fun zoo that offers very reasonably priced animal encounters which was the deciding factor for me, as I wanted to do the “Meerkat encounter” which was only $40 and is usually much more expensive at bigger, more commercial zoos. We were not disappointed!
The lookouts and walking tracks we decided to do are as follows:
– Boroka Lookout
– Grand Canyon (The Pinnacle)
– The Balconies
We could have crammed a lot more into our time but I knew we had a good 3 hour drive back to Portland and we both had work the next day so we took the cruisy path – but don’t get me wrong, there is a lot more you can do in the Grampians. You could camp there a week and do many day long or overnight hikes, but we were really only doing the highlights reel.
The Boroka lookout was actually an after work stop over after our study day, and is totally accessible no matter what attire you’re wearing… heck, I reckon it would even be considered wheelchair accessible. It’s actually quite unbelievable how amazing the view is, considering you don’t have to work for it at all – it actually made me feel a little guilty. So the lookout itself is about 20 metres from the carpark – a very easy and comfortable walk. Despite being so close to the carpark, this wee spot boasts some impressive wildlife and while we were there we saw a very friendly kookaburra.
It feels (and looks, in the photos) like you’re among the clouds, with breathtaking views over the Grampians national park. If you could only stop at one place on your way through – this would be it!
Grand Canyon (The Pinnacle)
The Pinnacle is probably the most talked about walk in the Grampians National Park, and to do the whole walk, it takes about 4 hours. To get to the Pinnacle you can go one of two ways, straight there or through the Grand Canyon (starting from the Wonderland carpark). Unfortunately on the day that we went, it was quite rainy and so we walked through the Grand Canyon, but the steep walk to the Pinnacle would have been too dangerous. But don’t let the Pinnacle take any of the steam away from the Grand Canyon, it is a beauty all in itself. It took us about an hour in it’s entirety and was an easy to moderate walk due to the uneven terrain and added challenge of the slippery rocks.
When you google the Balconies, you’ll see some of the most amazing photos, and based on photos alone, this was the place I was most looking forward to in the Grampians. However, like with all travel destinations, our ability to get amazing photos depends entirely on the weather conditions on the day. It was a rainy day (it was the same day that we walked the Grand Canyon) and so when we reached the Balconies, it was quite foggy and overcast. However, that just added to the mystical feel of the place. The walk itself took about half an hour to get to the lookout and was an easy walk with interesting views along the way which gave me a great opportunity to start practising with my new travel camera, including the built in macro function to get some great close up photography.
Overall the Grampians was well worth the trip, and we barely scratched the surface. It makes for a great road trip (albeit long) so make sure you take some good company, good snacks and great music (we can definitely recommend the little fudge shop next to the Halls Gap bakery – best salted caramel fudge everrrrr).
But it’s not only the walks and lookouts that make the trip, there are heaps of cool and quirky things to see along the way – including some spectacular wildlife, flora and fauna… so as always, don’t forget to stop (hammer time) and smell the roses.