The Grampians is only a three-hour drive from the city of Melbourne, but feels a world away; and is the perfect location for a Spring or Summer camping adventure.
With its towering ridges, abundant wildlife, relaxed atmosphere, and natural wonders all around, you really can either sit back and relax, or get out there and adventure your heart out!
What to see and do in the Grampians
Halls Gap lies in the heart of the Grampians, is surrounded by nature and wildlife, and is as close as you can get to the action.
We set up camp at the Halls Gap Caravan Park, which is just across the road from the ‘town centre’.
We were pleasantly surprised that some sites at the camp-ground were equipped with fire pits, and immediately regretted that our site didn’t have one — although that didn’t stop us toasting a cheeky marshmallow on our neighbours fire!
The camp-ground is spacious and offers excellent facilities, including shared bathrooms that can only be accessed by punching in a pin code.
It was also really handy having the local supermarket, cafes, and shops within walking distance; something that we hadn’t actually looked into before booking our site.
At night, the temperature dropped significantly, making for a very cold night. But, the local wildlife did come out to play, which was very cool. Halls Gap is home to a large number of kangaroos — many with joeys in tow — who didn’t seem to mind being started at or photographed as they grazed.
The MacKenzie Falls Walk is a deceptively challenging one, but well worth the effort.
Pro Tip: Make sure you take water with you!
The track is quite narrow in parts, and steep as you make your way down to the waterfall. Although, heading down was fine, going back up to the carpark is another story. Unfortunately when we visited, it was a hot day, and we didn’t take our water bottles with us, making the uphill trek difficult and a bit uncomfortable.
The waterfall itself is spectacular, and I do recommend doing both the walk to the base of the waterfall, and to the lookout — ensuring you experience both views.
A must-do for any trip to the Grampians is the hike up to the Pinnacle, which overlooks the National Park.
Yes, it is a hard slog to get up there, but boy-oh-boy is it worthwhile! The views are simply breath-taking, and you really feel like you have achieved something great, making it to the top.
You can access the trail from Halls Gap itself — if you have a spare 5+ hours — or take the road up to a couple of different car parks that provide access. We parked at the Sundial carpark, giving us a 4.2km track to reach the Pinnacle.
It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted, and I do recommend taking breaks to soak in the view, the quiet, and the surroundings. Parts of the track can be tricky to traverse, due to rocks jutting out everywhere, but it was so rewarding.
Pro Tip: Wear Sunscreen!
Although the ‘on the ledge’ photographs you see look rather death-defying; once you get to the top, it is actually quite safe and flat. I wasn’t at all worried about perching near the edge, and looking out at the scenery below was just amazing.
At the opposite end of the scale, the walk to the Balconies is a gentle 15-20 minute walk that offers another great view at the end.
Although you’re not supposed to sit on the ‘balcony’, people still tend to jump the barrier to get the money shot — potentially risking their life in the process!
However, we were content to watch and admire the stunning view.
Wartook Reservior is a peaceful lake offering wonderful views of the surrounding mountains.
It provided a welcome rest for us after a morning spent dragging our bodies up to the Pinnacle.
What’s for eating?
The Wander Inn: Feeling slightly dehydrated after the MacKenzie Falls walk, the Wander Inn popped up like some oasis on our drive to find refreshment. We weren’t sure what to expect, but fell in love with the decor! Unfortunately it was too early for dinner, so we settled on an icy cold drink each, and sat outside to enjoy the Spring weather, where we were soon greeted by their friendly Foxy dog who was keen for a belly scratch.
Bonnie and Clyde’s Pizzaria: Because Hall’s Gap is a small township, there were a lot of visitors during the weekend, and we were already halfway there, we decided to visit Horsham for dinner. A quick Google search sent us to Bonnie and Clyde’s where we were not disappointed. Their service was top-notch, the food delicious, and with the weather so lovely, we dined outside in the setting sunshine. Perfection.
Livefast Cafe: A trip to the Grampians is not complete without brunch at Livefast Cafe. We thoroughly enjoyed their pancakes — and I believe we were treated to a mix between the adult and kids version — the coffee was delicious, and we managed to score an excellent table outdoors in the sunshine.
Supermarket: If dining out isn’t your thing, then the Halls Gap supermarket is probably your best bet. It’s a mini supermarket, but offers a range of options for a BYO camp dinner, including a decent selection of alcoholic beverages. The prices are slightly higher, due to their location, but that is to be expected.
We barely scratched the surface of all the Grampians has to offer; but thoroughly enjoyed our small slice of heaven. Next time I would love to check out the Halls Gap Zoo, actually dine at The Wander Inn, and explore more of the walking trails, watering holes, and attractions in the area.
Over to you:
Have you visited the Grampians before?
If not, is it now on your travel list?