The Grampians National park is THE place to hike if visiting Victoria. Heck, if visiting Australia. The wealth of trails, lookouts and waterfalls is hugely generous. It’s mind-blowing really. The national park is full of adventure at every turn, with a trail for every level of hiker.
At Halls Gap, you’ll find the central hub of the Grampians, the main playground if you like. This area is most popular and with the most to explore. To the southern and northern ends of the Grampians, you’ll find life a little quieter. The crowds are fewer but the hiking no less impressive. Mount Abrupt to the south is easily one of the most recognisable mountain facades in the whole national park. Whereas Hollow Mountain to the north is garnering ever increasing interest due to its fantastic orange cave lookout.
The weather in the Grampians National Park does its own thing, but don’t let that put you off. Waterfalls are magnificently powerful after rain and cloud-covered peaks become eerie and mysterious floating platforms. Yet when the sun is out the landscape is transformed into a lush expanse of green and brown as far as the eye can see. Cloud shadows dance on the fields below and the sunrises are easy to rise early for. At night, with a clear sky, the Milky Way is ever present and streaks proudly across the night sky.
So let’s go through how you can hike the Grampians National Park in five days, so you can get the most out of what this much loved national park has to offer.
The Grampians National Park | 5 Day Hiking Guide
You’ll be hard pushed to fit every inch of the Grampians into one trip. You’ll arrive with an idea of what you think you might like to accomplish and find you’re very soon trying to pack in even more. However, speed hiking will give you a pretty close crack at it. It certainly enabled us to see as much as possible, especially during the shorter daylight hours of winter.
It’s hard to express how much we enjoyed hiking in the Grampians, other than to say- We LOVED it! Narrowing down your choices of what trails to hike will be hard, but choosing your favourite will be even harder.
All the trails in this guide have been officially graded by Visit Grampians. If the trail has no official grading/difficulty score, grading is rated by Travel Made Me Do It*.
The Southern Grampians is the perfect place to begin your Grampians National Park adventures. The main, but small town of Dunkeld is the perfect little stop for a morning coffee before a day of hiking and exploration begins. Within the southern Grampians region, you’ll find some of the most iconic mountains of the entire area. Most notable is Mount Abrupt. You’ll see it looming over the Grampians Tourist Road if you take this scenic drive.
The hikes here are quick and exhilarating. They offer some of the best views throughout the Grampians and compared to its more popular counterpart of the central Grampians, is less trafficked. So in some ways, it can feel more enjoyable. The Chimney Pots are a surprise highlight, and scaling Mount Abrupt & Sturgeon will leave you craving more of what this truly wonderful national park has to offer. It’s a good job there’s even more to come. But first, let’s explore the south.
DAY ONE: Wannon Falls, Nigretta Falls, Mount Sturgeon & Mount Abrupt
1. Wannon Falls
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 90m
- Time: Minimal
- Accumulated elevation gain: 26m
- Difficulty: Easy*
- Trailhead: Wannon Falls Car Park
Kicking off proceedings with a couple of waterfalls. Our five days in the Grampians National Park kicks off with a couple of waterfalls. Dan especially loves his waterfalls, so he was buzzing! The weather was wet and overcast. However, wet weather just means waterfalls are more powerful. Unfazed, we set out.
Our accommodation, in Hamilton, was perfectly located for accessing the southern Grampians area. A short drive brought us to the Wannon Falls Car Park from where we took the short trail to the lookout. We were able to view three cascades, freshly powered by the current rain. They flowed eagerly over the edge of a wide basin hole. It was hard to distinguish between what was spray and what was just general dampness in the air. But where better to be in the rain than at a waterfall.
The rock face is covered in vibrant green grasses, the perfect contrast to the black boulders that litter the edge of the water. The snippets of orange rock shine through brilliantly. A nod to the fact you’re still very much in Australia, irrespective of the weather.
2. Nigretta Falls
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 100m
- Time: 5 minutes
- Accumulated elevation gain: 20m
- Difficulty: Easy*
- Trailhead: Nigretta Falls Scenic Reserve
If you’ve visited Wannon Falls then you may as well head up to Nigretta, given their proximity to one another. In fact, Nigretta Falls sits a little further up the same Wannon River. Much like Wannon Falls, they look far more impressive after periods of heavy rain.
At Nigretta, you’ll find a lookout point just a short walk from the car park, as well as a wooden staircase that descends to the rocky outcrop surrounding the pool. It’s not the tallest waterfall, but it does pack a punch.
Unbelievably we had both waterfalls entirely to ourselves during our visit. At the car park, you’ll find a large reserve with a BBQ, plus picnic and toilet facilities. We imagine on a better day the spot to be a relaxing place to refuel and socialise. Certainly, in the summer months, this secluded spot must be bustling. But not today, today it was just ours.
Although flowing down the same river, both waterfalls feel very different. They have their own individual merits and sense of presence in the spots they occupy. Be sure to visit both.
3. Mount Sturgeon
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 7km
- Time: 1.5-2 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 340m
- Difficulty: Hard
- Trailhead: Intersection of Grampians Tourist Road and Victoria Valley Road
Let the speed hiking commence. After a wet morning of waterfalls, the first of the day’s hikes begin. Step forward, Mount Sturgeon. The rain clouds are still low and obscuring the top of the mountain and so we found ourselves staking out the summit from the Mount Sturgeon lookout (see map below). Here we waited patiently to peek the peak.
We knew the weather was set to improve, we just weren’t too sure when. From this lookout, which resembles a car park, you’ll have clear views, across the farmlands in front, all the way to Mount Sturgeon. By early afternoon, we began to see glimmers of blue sky and the top of Mount Sturgeon appear, just. This was our chance.
A quick drive around to the small car park, just off the Grampians Tourist Road, saw us begin our ascent. At 7km return, we knew we could thrash out this speed hike fairly efficiently. However, it would be tough given the 340m elevation gain to the peak. We’d come across differing accounts of the time it takes to summit Mount Abrupt. Whether you speed hike or not, you’ll likely walk it quicker than the advised times of 3 hours.
WHAT IS SPEED HIKING? Speed hiking is a faster paced walk than you would normally do. It gets the heart rate up and forces increased effort throughout a trail. The aim is to cover more ground in order to see more. This allows you to get the most out of each hiking destination you visit. Check out our post on How to Join the Wonderful World of Speed Hiking to discover more about what this high octane version of hiking is all about.
The Mount Sturgeon trail begins on a well-marked out track, under the cover of a light forest. It’s a pleasant walk that feels very much out in nature. Ultimately the track forms a giant ‘U’ shape as it makes it’s way to the summit. Watch for the wayfinding markers, as the track sometimes gives way to natural rocky crossings.
Also, watch out for the false peak. Yes, sadly Mount Sturgeon is one of those hikes that lures you into thinking you’ve reached the summit, when in fact there’s a little more to go. But don’t worry, it’s not too much further. A slight descent and then back up again and you reach the summit. All in all, the climb takes around 50 minutes. And the views that await you are worth the extra effort. The clouds had cleared just enough that we could grasp the all-important views of neighbouring Mount Abrupt. You’ll also make out the small mound of the Piccaninny lying just below.
The hike back down is quick. Then it’s on to the next hike. Our original plan was to take the Piccaninny trail that veers off from the Mount Abrupt trail and complete its pretty lookout trail. However, the weather had improved so much that we decided we had bigger fish to fry. Instead, we headed straight for Mount Abrupt.
4. Mount Abrupt
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 6.5km
- Time: 1.5-2 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 460m
- Difficulty: Hard
- Trailhead: Mount Abrupt Car Park
An iconic silhouette of the Grampians. The plan was to speed hike Mount Abrupt the day after we’d completed Mount Sturgeon. But when you have a glimmer of good weather in the Grampians, you just go for it! Luckily, Mount Sturgeon hadn’t taken nearly as long as we were led to believe it would, and so we were confident that we could fit Mount Abrupt into the end of our day.
The trailhead begins at the side of the road, at the small car park positioned there. In the initial stages of the hike, you’ll see many beautiful lookouts as the forest clears, before diving back undercover. Be sure to keep one eye on your surroundings as you steam up the mountainside. Our pace was quick. It was speed hiking to the max. Whatever the effort, we knew ultimately the trail wasn’t too long. We began late afternoon on a winters day and were keen to be back before nightfall.
The trail is predominantly uphill, so it’s taxing on the legs. Through the lower forest section, the path is clear, with the odd rock staircase to scramble up. As the trail ascends the tree canopy, there seems to be an endless stone staircase laid out before you. However, this well laid out and beautifully maintained staircase makes the final ascent much easier, just a continuous slog to contend with, especially as those legs are continuing to burn.
To the Summit
We keep our pace, feeling we must be nearing the peak. As we look around the views are exceptional. A dark blanket of green covers the surrounding peaks. The light haze covering the distant mountains looks magical. We’re boosted on to the finish line.
Similar to Mount Sturgeon, we felt Mount Abrupt had a sort of false peak too. Before the final ascent begins, the track cuts across the mountain, almost on an even level. It gives fantastic views down the backside of the mountain, of which you’ll have rarely had the chance to view until this point.
From the summit, it feels good to look back over to Mount Sturgeon, where less than two hours ago we were stood atop of. Looking back to Mount Sturgeon isn’t half as impressive as Mount Sturgeon to Mount Abrupt. And in fact, our favourite views from Mount Abrupt were the opposite direction altogether. Looking north, you can stare straight up the backbone of the Grampians National Park, and marvel at all that’s to come.
There are no public amenities at either Mount Sturgeon or Mount Abrupt.
DAY TWO- The Chimney Pots & Piccaninny Lookout
5. The Chimney Pots
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 2.8km
- Time: 2.5-3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 160m
- Difficulty: Medium -Hard*
- Trailhead: The Chimney Pots Car park
Day two in The Grampians National Park begins with a drive out to the Chimney Pots. The journey to these amazing rock stacks, the furthest hike out of the southern Grampians, gives you a real sense of just how spectacular this national park is. Rolling hills, mountain peaks, forest canopies and endless lush green fields stretch out in every direction. Even on a grey and wet day, we could still appreciate the beauty all around us.
This short but steep climb turned out to be one of our favourites during our stay in the Grampians. It has a completely different feel to many of the other hikes, with the rocks being particularly interesting and we suppose, unusual, even for Grampians standards.
The weather was not so great for this hike, but it didn’t matter. It turned out to be incredibly enjoyable in the low rain clouds and dense mist. Every so often we were offered glimpses of the tops of each Chimney Pot as the wind blew the fog. The hike felt enchanting and almost mystical. It wasn’t until the very end that we encountered any other hikers.
Beginning from the Chimney Pots Car Park, the 2.8km hike winds up and around the ancient totem-like structures. The sandstone disks of rock stack haphazardly on top of one another. They almost resemble that of an ancient temple. There is no summit, so to speak, just an offshoot from the trail that takes you to a rather epic viewing platform. Enjoy a short scramble to reach it. On a clear day, you can see Mount Abrupt and Mount Sturgeon in the distance. We’ll have to take everyone’s word for that though.
Although Dan and I were not fortunate enough to have views out across the rest of the national park, the climb did see us poke out just enough above the misty rain clouds to see that the blue sky did still exist. We enjoyed a rest at the top as the wind teased our views as the thick mist blew in and out.
A Technical but Doable Hike
The Chimney Pots trail is straightforward to follow but steep and a little technical in parts, especially when the weather is wet. Hiking boots with good grip are a must. Having said that, on our return we did see a family with two young children starting out and so it’s easily doable for the adventurous.
It’s completely optional which direction you take this trail in. However, we took the trail in a clockwise direction. We had read this meant the descent was not as steep and so easier to traverse. Having now completed the trail, it’s hard to say whether this was the case or not but clockwise is as good a choice as any.
Our descent coincided with a little rest bite from the wild weather. We were able to see, more clearly, the magnificence of these rock stacks. So quintessentially Grampians. So majestic and amazing.
6. The Piccaninny
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 2.5km
- Time: 0.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 120m
- Difficulty: Easy-Medium
- Trailhead: Piccaninny Car Park
The Piccaninny lookout has to be one of the most popular lookouts in the Grampians National Park. It’s surely a firm favourite with any visitor and should certainly be high on your list of attractions to see. The hike is easy, even for beginners, with wonderful views. It offers the same vantage of Mount Abrupt as Mount Sturgeon does, just at a lower level. In fact, the Piccaninny sits between the two mountains.
The Piccaninny can be hiked from the same trail as Mount Sturgeon. This would involve starting from the Mount Sturgeon Car Park. You’ll notice from the Mount Sturgeon track a turn off for the Piccaninny. This would make a slightly longer hike of 5.4km return, rather than the 2.4km return we’ll detail here.
If you don’t plan on hiking Mount Sturgeon, then we would recommend considering the longer Piccaninny hike. That’s because this longer hike will allow you to soak in more of this part of the Grampians. However, as the Piccaninny feels more like a little sister hike to Sturgeon, we recommend completing the Mount Sturgeon trail, if you can. In that case, the shorter Piccaninny hike is more than adequate.
So, instead, park at the Piccaninny Car Park further up the Grampians Road. There’s a short dirt track which leads you up to the car park. This actually looked a little hairy for our 2WD sedan. So we parked at the bottom of this track and added it onto our walk. It might just have been because the weather wasn’t great, but take this track with caution in a 2WD. You may well have to park at the bottom as we did.
A Short and Punchy Hike
The Piccaninny is perhaps the easiest, and the shortest, of the southern Grampians main trails. As bang for buck goes, this lookout is hard to beat. The trail is not as exhilarating as Abrupt or Sturgeon, and the views certainly not quite as epic. But what the hike lacks in grandeur, it more than makes up for in punchiness. Sometimes, good things come in small packages.
The trail is easy to follow, well maintained and laid out, with very little effort needed to climb. The track can be rocky in sections, but no bother. Winding through the forest, you get a chance to enjoy the Grampians nature at its finest. Compared to its larger next-door neighbours, the trail feels more relaxing and family friendly.
Having already hiked Mount Abrupt and Mount Sturgeon, we almost decided not to bother with the Piccaninny. After all, it couldn’t rival the views or hikes of the others. However, we’re glad we made time for this small and ultimately very enjoyable hike. The views are particularly good at sunset when the clouds aren’t hanging low and obstructing your view. If you arrive here on a clear day, perhaps hang around for sundown. The trail would be fair to follow at dusk.
Within the central region of The Grampians National Park, you’ll find Halls Gap. A bustling, welcoming, outdoor focused and family friendly main hub. Nestled within the majestic landscape of many a peak waiting to be scaled, the small town has an almost alpine village feel. Nature and people lovingly share the space. There’s no shortage of kangaroos or wallabies and you’d be unlucky not to catch sight of wild deer or even emu’s.
The area is understandably popular. Its location is hard to beat and is the best within the Grampians for accommodation and activities. Many a hike begins from the town centre itself, with awe-inspiring lookouts just short drives away. Sad as it is that all other townships within (or around) the Grampians take a backseat to Halls Gap, it really is, unavoidably, the place to be.
DAY THREE- Mount William, The Pinnacle & The Lookouts
7. Mount William
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 4.2km
- Time: 1-1.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 220m
- Difficulty: Medium
- Trailhead: Mount William Car Park
The highest peak in the entire Grampians National Park. At the beginning of day three, we pack up early from our stay in Hamilton, south Grampians, and headed north towards Halls Gap. The first order of the day will be Mount William. Standing at 1,167m tall, Mount William is the highest peak in the entire Grampians National Park. However, it is certainly not the most difficult to summit.
The hike itself is only a 2km slog, albeit purely uphill. But it’s not too much of an effort. From the car park, the trail follows a sealed road that winds upwards to the communications tower perched on the top. It seems a shame to have such an imposing structure laid out here but then such is the modern world. It’s certainly not the first peak we’ve come across with satellites at the top, and won’t be the last.
Our early morning efforts were shrouded in the low lying morning mist. The air was crisp and we knew it would be cold at the top. As we peered around us we could just make out the shadows of the mountainside. As we climbed, the vegetation began to change to suit its higher altitude positioning. Gone were the forest landscapes. As the switchbacks wound higher we began to glimmer the morning sun, sat proudly in its cloudless blue sky, piercing through the mist. It was a perfect start to the day, and we knew the low lying cloud, viewed from the peak, would be magical. Keen to witness this as soon as possible, we powered on.
Mount William Summit
Reaching the summit took us around 30 minutes. As we’ve said, it’s not a long walk, just a little strenuous. After skirting the edges of the communications tower at the top, you’re led out over the rocky outcrop and treated to expansive views over the Grampians. Looking down, the morning mist swept across the sleepy valley, like a fluffy white blanket slowly being pulled back from the awakening hills below. It was beautiful.
The hike back down was straightforward and very quick. Then it was back in the car and on to the next!
8. The Pinnacle Walk and Lookout
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 9.6km
- Time: 3.5-4 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 370m
- Difficulty: Medium-Hard
- Trailhead: Halls Gap Picnic Reserve
The Pinnacle is perhaps one of the most iconic and well recognised lookouts in the whole of the Grampians National Park. It’s certainly a very popular hike, with multiple route options- long or short, to reach the summit. We decided to hike the Pinnacle Loop, taking in Venus Baths, Splitter Falls and the Grand Canyon along the way. The 9.6 km circuit offered such varied and interesting sections, we hardly noticed the time go by.
The trail begins from the back of the car park at Halls Gap Picnic Reserve. Take the Venus Baths Walk to view this tranquil spot of natural rock pools. The clear water appears brown as it pools in the stone troughs. Although it’s winter, the waters still look inviting. Because we didn’t start this hike first thing, instead seeing Mount William, Venus Baths had already become quite busy. It’s a simple out and back from Halls Gap, without much elevation or difficulty, and so very family friendly or perfect for those not wanting to scale any peaks.
Venus Baths is a very popular swimming hole during the summer months, and so if you like your views quiet, we’d suggest hiking this first thing in the morning.
From Venus Baths the trail continues along the Wonderland loop track towards Splitter Falls. As you approach you’ll find a small turn off to reach the cascade. The track from Venus to Splitter is clear and easy to follow but the steep ascents do start to begin. Splitter Falls was no where near as busy as Venus baths. In fact, we saw just two people leaving as we approached, and then no one else for the rest of our time enjoying this pleasant cascade. We even managed to enjoy an early lunch to ourselves. Dan busy with the camera, as I poured the tea. Bliss.
It’s multi level drop cascade over laminated slabs of rock was somewhat mesmerising to watch. Its closed in position feels secluded and secret. Splitter Falls has a single drop cascade from the top that splits into three or four, or even more cascades at each rock level it pours over. It might not be the largest waterfall you’ll ever see, but its certainly a very pretty one. Do remeber though, Splitter Falls is a seasonal waterfall, and so it’s not unusual for it to dry up during summer.
After enjoying the falls, head back on to the Wonderland loop track. Now on towards the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon
On arrival at the Grand Canyon section, we were met with signs explaining there was damage to the track and so we would have to take a short detour around the canyon to continue to the Pinnacle. Disappointed but undeterred, we decided to head into the Canyon as far as we were able, and then loop back around, following the diversion. It probably added another kilometre or so onto the hike, but given the fact that The Grand Canyon is a main attraction of this trail, we were keen to see it.
The Grand Canyon is a magnificent gorge of typical Grampian granite. Grey and multi layered, it’s instantly recognisable. Its tall columns amazingly shaped like cubes, with defined edges rather than sloping curves. The Grand Canyon also features a smallish waterfall at its far end, which we’re told is seasonal, but the rock formations alone make this section a worthy part of the hike to pass through.
Close to the start of The Grand Canyon you’ll find Wonderland Car Park. This is a popular starting point for a shorter Pinnacles Lookout return hike. It is also possible to start the loop we’re documenting here from this car park, as well as just a simple Grand Canyon loop. Our original plan was to begin from Wonderland, but Halls Gap just felt like a more natural start and finish point.
From The Grand Canyon, the trail begins to climb. It certainly feels as though you’re beginning to ascend a peak. Along this next stretch you’ll pass Cool Chamber. We wondered why a cavern had been given such an oddly basic name. But, there’s a sign hanging there to prove it! For whatever reason, Cool Chamber is the official name of this long narrow cavern.
The deep crevice at the base of the mountain forms a long slim chamber that can be crawled into. Or, you can admire it as you ascend the stone staircase to the side of it and continue the trail. At this point we were keen to check out Bridal Veil Falls, the next notable landmark on the trail, and so we powered on. But by all accounts, it’s a wonderful place to stop and rest on a hot summers day.
Bridal Veil Falls
We imagine you’ve come across many waterfalls of this same name- Bridal Veil. A gentle, wide and elegant cascade, reminiscant of ,well, a brides veil. We had high hopes for the Grampians version.
Bridal Veil Falls quintessentially sums up a seasonal waterfall. Meaning if it hasn’t rained much, then there really won’t be much to see. This couldn’t have been more true. We’d had rain in the area the last few days, but this didn’t seem to have added much to the trickle we were greeted with. No wonder other hikers weren’t bothering to stop. Sadly, there wasn’t much to stop for. If we hadn’t been looking out for it on our map I’m confident we’d have walked straight past it.
We were a little disappointed, but that’s the nature of nature I suppose. We have seen photographs of this waterfall looking much fuller, whereby you can even stray from the path a little and walk behind. The cascade drops into a small pool at the side of the path, though nothing major and certainly not during our visit. We guess the falls are just a nice addition to an excellent hike, rather than the main attraction in their own right. If you do visit when Bridal Veil Falls is a little more active, then let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear about it.
Another fun and a catchily named section of the trail is Silent Street. Once you’ve arrived here, you’re on the final push to the top. The stacked rock walls, so typical of the Grampians, close in to form a tall, narrow gorge. You feel a sense of being small as the walls loom high either side of you, almost as though you’ve been shrunk down. The trail even feels like it gets narrower as you venture through, like Alice in Wonderland, only culminating with a small wooden staircase at the far end and not a door. From here you can squeeze out back into the open.
Now it’s a straight rock hop over the bubble-shaped rock pillows to the summit. There’s no path, so to speak, but the trail is obvious, and you’ll most definitely be in the company of others.
The Pinnacle Summit
The summit lookout is busy, with keen hikers, recreational walkers, families and more all revelling in their accomplishment and relishing their well earned reward of magnificent views. Dan and I don’t enjoy a busy summit, but then, who does. However, there’s plenty of space at the top to enjoy your little slice of the pie.
There’s a fenced viewing platform that extends over one of the rocky stacks on the edge of the mountain. We found there to be a steady conveyor belt of people all waiting to get there turn at capturing the view from this peak. We’d say you might as well do the same, after all, you put the effort in to get this far.
Looking out over the valley below, and to the left of the fenced lookout, is another rock platform that protrudes cautiously over the mountainside below. This is not fenced and so it is possible to access this ledge for some unimpeded photography. Be warned, it’s not for the faint-hearted. As usual, if you do decide to head out onto this platform, as many do, take great care.
Back to Halls Gap
From The Pinnacle, the return trail hugs along the edge of the mountainside as it descends through the forest back into Halls Gap. This Halls Gap to Pinnacles track feels steeper than our route to the summit, via Wonderland Car Park, and so we’re happy with our choice of walking the trail in an anti-clockwise direction.
The return routes are signposted at the Pinnacle summit but do take care in finding your path. We came across a father and son duo who had taken the Halls Gap track back down when really they wanted the Wonderland track. It does seem quite easy to lose your bearings a little at the top, due to the fact, as we’ve mentioned before, there is no definite path to follow. Just wide rocky expanse.
Once you’ve navigated leaving the summit, there’s only one track that leads you back to Halls Gap and so very straightforward. There are some steep stair sections but nothing technically demanding. The views out to your right over Halls Gap are wonderful, as you spy glimmers through the trees. But also take a moment to look right at the skyscraper rock face your traversing down. The stark orange of the rocks is pretty mind-blowing and easy to miss if you have a one-track mind on just reaching the bottom.
9. Boroka Lookout
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 200m
- Time: 5 minutes
- Accumulated elevation gain: Minimal
- Difficulty: Easy*
- Trailhead: Boroka Lookout Car Park
A firm favourite of the lookouts. Day three draws to a close with a couple of lookouts. Boroka was the first on our list, and just a short drive out of Halls Gap along Mount Difficult Road. We assumed, naively, that as there was next to no effort needed in reaching this lookout, that it probably would struggle to measure up to many of the other lookouts we’d see in the Grampians. However, we were wrong, very wrong. The Boroka lookout is quite simply stunning. The low rain cloud from the morning had well and truly burnt away, and the resulting views far reaching. The spiny backbone of the Grampians peaks was made out, sitting proudly and confidently in its lush surroundings. Boroka did, in fact, turn out to be our favourite lookout of the Grampians.
Of course, it was super tempting to jump the fence and position ourselves on the little circular ledge that hangs over the edge, but we refrained and to be honest, we hope you do too.
10. The Balconies/Reeds Lookout
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 2km
- Time: 0.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 58m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: The Balconies/Reeds Lookout Car Park
Enjoy the extensive views of this wonderful national park. Lastly, we drove to The Balconies/Reeds lookout. Set a little off Mount Victory Road, you’ll find a car park with ample space for your short stay. Both lookouts skirt the top of Mount Victory and offer wonderful views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
The two lookouts sit either end of a short 1 km walk. First, we headed to the Balconies. There are two viewing platforms here, an upper and lower. We found the upper to give the best views of the hanging rock platforms that make up the Balconies. As you’ll see, the Balconies are two rock platforms sat one on top of the other. They hang out over the beautiful scenery below. Access onto them is closed off, hence the viewing decks which have been made for safety. They photograph particularly well at sunrise and sunset, offering some prime vantage points over the valleys below and mountainous surrounds.
Head back to the car park and then continue further on for Reeds lookout. It’s about 50 metres up the track. Situated here are a helipad and lookout fire tower. However, they’re not too distracting from the views laid out before you.
Reeds lookout is clearly deemed safer than the Balconies, and so no fence restrictions are keeping you from the large boulders on the mountain edge. Therefore a little rock scrambling is possible to find your perfect shot. The lookouts don’t feel as high as some of the peaks we’d scaled so far, but they were high enough to still offer great views, with the added bonus of feeling more wrapped up within Grampians nature. We very much enjoyed resting here, soaking up the last few rays of the winter sun.
DAY FOUR- Boronia Peak, MacKenzie Falls, Mount Rosea & Silverband Falls
11. Boronia Peak
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 6.6km
- Time: 1.5-2 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 290m
- Difficulty: Medium
- Trailhead: Tandara Road Car Park
A new day and a new set of hikes. We were having the best time. Kicking off the day is the short but sweet Boronia Peak. We could see Boronia from our campground and had been eyeing her up the entire evening before. We took the short three minute drive to the suggested car park at the end of Tandara Road. Except we didn’t really find a car park, just a road, with a dead-end, where it is permitted to park, in parallel down one side. We were first to the scene and so hoped we were following the rules correctly (see map below).
From the end of the road, you’ll initially join the Fyans Creek loop before merging with the Boronia trail. The track is a simple U-shaped curve up to the peak. If you speed hike, its a quick little morning 6.6km return hike that shouldn’t take more than 1.5-2 hours.
There’s a little rock scrambling needed as you approach the summit, but footing feels secure and the ridge is more than wide enough to feel steady and balanced. We were lucky enough to wake up to clear and dry weather but we imagine this hike to still be manageable even in wet conditions.
WHAT GEAR IS REQUIRED FOR SPEED HIKING? Regular hiking gear is more than sufficient for speed hiking. However, speed hikers want to travel lighter in order to move faster and so there may be some areas of your kit that you want to consider altering in order to get the maximum out of each hike. See our post on How to Join the Wonderful World of Speed Hiking to learn more about specific gear suggestions.
Views From the Summit
The early morning views are wonderful. We can just about see down to our camp spot and can look across to the Pinnacle, admiring our efforts from the day before. We were the only people on this trail and loved the opportunity to speed hike a trail in the Grampians with ease and gusto.
Scaling a peak in the Grampians will never get boring. Each offers a new vantage point and new experience of successfully reaching that summit. Taking in the grandeur of our hiking playground, whilst stood atop of Boronia, was a special moment. However, there was much still to fit into the day, and so back down we went.
12. MacKenzie Falls & Broken Falls
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 2km
- Time: 1 hour
- Accumulated elevation gain: 91m
- Difficulty: Easy*
- Trailhead: Mackenzie Falls Car Park
Next is the steep but spectacular MacKenzie Falls. The waterfall was situated perhaps the furthest drive from town, but at just a 15-minute drive away, it’s hardly a long way. Also at MacKenzie Falls you’ll find Broken Falls, which we’d recommend seeing first.
The lookout for Broken Falls is only a few hundred metres from the car park. We did find it to be somewhat obscured by the surrounding trees. And by that I mean we couldn’t see the falls at all from the viewing platform. To the side is a fairly hidden but well walked track that leads you through the scrub to a better vantage point. Take care with your footing and don’t go too close to the edge. You can’t access the base of the falls, but the views are much less impeded from here and you’ll get a better sense of size and scale of the waterfall.
We were pleasantly surprised. Instead of a plunge into a pool at the bottom, Broken Falls was just that, broken. Laid out ahead was the huge dam of layered rocks, almost piled one on top of the other. The water fighting to flow over the edge was then having to split to find cracks and crevices in which to find its way down. The result is a stunning display of water flowing in all directions, showing the curves of the rock to its fullest, as it trickles down like rainwater.
Next, the descent down to MacKenzie Falls. The car park has ample parking and public toilets for your convenience. There is a viewing platform at the bluff, about a 1 km walk from the car park. This platform is a wonderful way to view the falls, should the steep staircase down not be for you. However, if you’re up for the leg burn return back to the top, we suggest heading to the base.
MacKenzie Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the whole of Victoria. So as you can imagine, it’s a very popular attraction in the Grampians National Park. Unlike some of the other waterfalls we’d seen already, MacKenzie flows all year round and so you’ll be met by this impressive show at any time of year.
There’s a fun set of stepping stones leading you across MacKenzie River. The embankment at the other side offers great head on views of the waterfall in action. The spray fills the air and throws out rainbows when the light hits just right. The stone around the plunging water is dark and wet. It is clear evidence of just how powerful this waterfall can be after a period of intense rain.
We have to admit, MacKenzie Falls is the best waterfall to see in the Grampians.
The Track to Fish Falls
There is a trail that continues from the bottom of the falls. This leads to another cascade called Fish Falls. Unfortunately, this track was closed for maintenance during our visit in July 2020 and so we were unable to go. Fish Falls was recommended to us and so if you can make the return journey of 2km there, then we suggest you do. It should take no more than 40-50 minutes.
13. Mount Rosea Loop Walk
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 12km
- Time: 4 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 760m
- Difficulty: Medium
- Trailhead: Rosea Car Park
Mount Rosea was a last minute add on to our Grampians itinerary, and boy are we glad we added it too. The weather leading up to lunchtime was taking a bit of a turn for the worst. The rain clouds were rolling in and hanging low in the air. A common theme of our Grampians trip so far. We decided to hike on regardless. At a 12km-4 hour loop, we were hopeful there’d be every possibility the sky could clear again. It did not. But it didn’t matter.
The hike begins from Rosea Car Park with the trail meandering through the forest along the Mt. Rosea track. Its a steady incline and the scenery, enclosed by trees, pretty beautiful. The canopy even offered us a short rest bite from the dampness of the rain.
Once through the forest, the hike to the summit is a long stretch across the exposed stone, so typical of the Grampians, with a similar feel to the final summit run of the Pinnacles. In all honesty, we couldn’t see more than 5-10 metres in front of us, such was the density of the fog. Still, it added a strange sort of excitement to the hike. Every turn was a surprise, and keeping an eye out for waymarkers sprayed on the stone became more like a game of Where’s Wally.
Hiking in the mist gives you a whole new perspective. Gone is the constant yearning for the next vantage point to open up. Instead, you pay more attention to the smaller things closer around you. You get a feel of the rocks underfoot and the shapes they form. You notice the vegetation growing. There’s also the silhouettes of objects you can just make out in the distance. Then there’s the contrast of a sheer cliff face dropping into the abyss of a whiteout, with no idea how far the drop is. It feels almost like you’re hiking on some floating island in the clouds. And you know what, we thoroughly enjoyed it.
SIDE NOTE: Of course, it’s important to remember not every hike is suitable to complete in wet weather, especially if you’re inexperienced. Always weigh up the safety aspects before starting.
Mount Rosea Summit
Upon reaching the summit of Mount Rosea, we had very little in the way of views to admire. Who we kiddin’, we had zero views to admire. Ordinarily, this might mar an experience of a hike. However, we loved the climb up to the summit and loved the climb back down too.
We came across maybe just two other couples hiking this trail. I imagine they too were enjoying the mysterious surroundings of Mount Rosea on a wet day. The track descending the opposite side of Mount Rosea can be a little slippery in sections, so do take care when planting those feet. The track does extend to encompass Glen Falls, however, we seemed to miss the turning for this and took a slightly shorter cut across. We blame the poor weather and visibility. Or maybe we just lost concentration and weren’t paying attention when we should. Either way, if you make it to Glen Falls, let us know in the comments.
The loop back to the start joins up with the Burma Track, through the forest, before rejoining the road that leads to the car park. It’s always a shame when a part of a hike has to include a road, especially when it’s at the end and uphill, but such is life. Luckily it didn’t affect our overall experience which we really did love from start to finish. And you know what, we can always try to enjoy Mount Rosea in the sunshine when we one day return. But I guess we’ll just have to see what the Grampians gives us on the day.
14. Silverband Falls
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 1.4km
- Time: 0.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 42m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Silverband Car Park
Another last minute addition was Silverband Falls. Knowing full well how much Dan loves a waterfall, it really should have been in the itinerary all along. However, at least we made it in the end.
The car park for Silverband Falls is a little down the road from Mount Rosea, and so makes perfect sense to visit after the Mount Rosea loop. There’s a short 700m walk to the base of the waterfall. A fairly simple and relaxing stroll is possible here.
Apparently, the waterfall was named due to its steady stream of water resembling that of a silver band (see Grampians Guide). The waterfall is seasonal, and so how brilliant this waterfall looks is very much dependent on the amount of rainfall. Although not the most impressive of waterfalls, Silverband did have a slight majestic quality as it hit the numerous layers of rock on the way down. The thin slabs, piled on top of one another, created little shelves for the water to hit as it poured from the top ledge.
At the northern end of the Grampians National Park, you’ll find a small playground of hikes. They include Briggs Bluff, Mount Stapylton, Mount Zero and Hollow Mountain, the latter of which we’ll talk about below. There’s also Gulgurn Manja, a rock cave shelter containing cave paintings by the Jardwadjali people who once thrived here. Sadly we didn’t get chance to visit here ourselves.
About an hours drive north of Halls Gap, the northern Grampians is the final area left to explore of this five day itinerary. Like the south, the area is slightly less touristy and therefore far less busy than central Grampians. But the hikes are no less worthy of exploration.
SIDENOTE: As our trip coincided with COVID-19 and the resultant travel and border restrictions (that were constantly changing), we weren’t able to hike as much of the northern Grampians as we’d have hoped. Long story short, we had to hotfoot it back to NSW. However, we hope you are able to complete all of the amazing hikes and trails on offer here. By that notion, your Grampians trip may turn into six days rather than five. We’ll document the two trails we were able to complete, and give a brief overview of those we were not.
DAY FIVE- Chatauqua Peak, Briggs Bluff & Hollow Mountain
15. Chatauqua Peak & Clematis Falls
- Type: One-way
- Distance: 11.3km
- Time: 3.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 372m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Zennor Bus Stop
A fabulous choice for a sunrise hike. Before leaving Halls Gap, we were keen to get a sunrise hike under our belt. So hike number one of the final day is technically still within the central Grampians region. Chatauqua Peak is a straightforward 5.6km loop, that, if speed hiking, shouldn’t take much more than an hour to complete.
Timing the summit arrival just before sunrise means an early start and parking at the rather dark and quiet Halls Gap Sports Reserve. Head torches on from here. Within the Chatauqua Peak loop is Clematis Falls. Knowing we wouldn’t be able to see much of the waterfall in the dark, we decided to take the hike in an anti-clockwise direction, and enjoy the falls on the descent.
The initial stages of the hike begin along Mount Victory Road, heading out of town. Soon enough you’ll see a sign on your right for Chatauqua Peak. The trail then heads into the forest and along a small dirt track. We were quick but careful as we navigated the trail.
STORYTIME: Dan’s head torch was losing battery life, and so I took the lead. Marching through the trail I came to an abrupt halt as I suddenly sighted, about five metres in front, a large kangaroo. He was sat in the middle of the already narrow pathway, enjoying his dawn breakfast. We’re used to kangaroos promptly hopping away as you approach them, however, this fella was neither interested in moving or allowing us past. As a Brit, I wasn’t keen to upset the dynamic here, but we were also on a very tight schedule for the day and so being cut off from the track was causing us delays by the second.
Dan decided he’d have a go at gently creeping behind the giant roo. This would bring them within a whisper of each other. To say we couldn’t discourage this enough would be an understatement. The kangaroo, not happy at being disturbed, or approached in the dark by a creeping man, quickly reared up tall, puffed out his chest and let out the deepest of growls. Yes, kangaroos growl if you were not aware. I’ve never seen Dan move so quickly.
Bullace’s Glen Walk
Determined to finish the track and make it for sunrise, we were fortunate to realise there was a little offshoot to the track that would detour around the kangaroo. Leaving him in peace and us in one piece! We swiftly backtracked around Bullace’s Glen loop and were soon on our way to the summit. Just a little more on edge than we had been at the start of our hike.
Please always be aware of your surroundings. Be wary of who or what shares the space in which we are so lucky to be able to hike. Kangaroos are commonly around at dawn and dusk, and so should you embark on a hike at these times, you’re more than likely to encounter a few. Remember to always be respectful.
The trail steadily climbs and the footing becomes more straightforward as the daylight begins to break through the darkness and cover of the trees. The final ascent is a bit of a scramble across the top ledges of rock, but nothing too challenging. To our amazement, as we reached the peak, a lone hiker was just beginning their descent. Clearly, Chatauqua is a popular sunrise hike. And we can see why.
Stood atop of the mountain, as the dark sky begins to fade into shades of pink and orange from the rising sun, you really do get to experience the Grampians at its finest. The moon holds steadfast to its prime position in the sky and looks magical against its violet backdrop as it jostles for position with the ever-encroaching sun. The mountains, valleys and lakes of the Grampians are just waking up. From here, you have the best seat in the house. Chatauqua might not be the tallest peak in the region, but it’s certainly no less beautiful and is fully worth the early get up. Just watch out for those kangaroos!
Once the sun had fully broken above the horizon line, and the pastel colours of the sky were turning pale blue, we made our descent, knowing there was still much to see for the rest of the day. We rejoined the loop track after leaving the summit and made our way around to Clematis Falls.
The falls here are seasonal, and so you’ll get the best experience after rainfall. Having said that, we didn’t encounter a hugely powerful cascade but enjoyed it all the same. It felt like a bonus to an already excellent hike.
Upon arriving back to the car park, the flat grasslands of the reserve were littered with kangaroos. So many kangaroos. We thought it best to swiftly jump in the car and leave them to it. Onwards to the north!
16. Briggs Bluff & Beehive Falls
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 10.6km
- Time: 3-3.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 400m
- Difficulty: Hard*
- Trailhead: Beehive Falls Car Park
Saving the best until last. Now before we get into this hike, we’d just love to say how much we enjoyed it. Briggs Bluff was perhaps one of the most satisfying speed hikes we completed in the whole of the Grampians National Park. It was high octane, a little off the beaten track in parts, hard work and ultimately hugely rewarding. Plus, we had the best weather we’d experienced all week, and so it was nice to view the Grampians in a whole new light. Quite literally.
After arriving at Beehive Falls Car Park around mid-morning, we were greeted by the company of just one other car. A welcome sight that the trail would be nice and quiet. Beehive Falls are popular on their own, and so the trail to Briggs Bluff may be quiet, but the initial section to Beehive Falls can be extremely busy. We would experience this on our return.
The trail from the car park follows a well maintained, sand gravel track. It leads to the waterfall. Although once you arrive at Beehive Falls, there’s a tiny section of a rock scramble to scale along the base of the falls. It is nothing too difficult at all. From the base, you can look up at this beautiful single drop cascade and admire its rainbow spray, as the water almost pails into insignificance as it reaches its pool below. It sits perfectly in its orange sandy stone walls, weathered by thousands of years of existence. The cracks resemble scars or wrinkles, showing its age. The surrounding vegetation is lush and of course, there’s the soft hum of bees. It’s a very tranquil place to be.
From Beehive Falls, the trail continues with a climb. There’s a little more rock scrambling until you level off at the top opening and join back with the path. From here there are two routes you can take to Briggs Bluff. A long and a short. As there’s another hike to fit into the day, we suggest taking the short. This was our intention too, although we missed the turnoff and had to backtrack after a fluke look at our GPS informed us we were on the longer trail.
STORYTIME: We may have initially missed our turning, but in doing so we did get the chance to meet a small herd of mountain goats. As a European, I certainly wasn’t expecting to see such Alpine looking residents on the hills of Australia. But I’m learning much about the wildlife here on every trip I make. I don’t think we’ve ever seen as much varied wildlife in one place as we have in the Grampians. It’s been such a highlight.
Find the Track to the Left
After reaching the top track after Beehive Falls, you’ll be following the route laid out by yellow arrows. But keep your eyes peeled as not far along this track there is a smaller track that leads you off this main one. It’s not so obvious at first and strategically placed just after its entrance is a yellow arrow directing you to continue ahead straight ahead. Almost a distraction to keep you on the path going forward. However, if you keep going along the path forward, you’ll be taking the long track. This will add a heck of a lot of time onto your hike, which is fine if that’s what you’re after.
Instead, take the track offshoot to the left. You’ll notice once you turn onto this trail there are also yellow arrows, reminding you it is a legitimate trail. Mind’s at ease, the real work begins. Looking out ahead is rough terrain with practically straight uphill vertical climbs over the exposed rock face. From a map’s perspective, you can see this trail cuts straight through the mountainside, whereas the longer trail would lead you around the back.
A Spot of Rock Climbing
This uphill climb is technical and so take care with your footing. We had a beautiful dry day for this hike and so the rock underfoot felt secure enough. In wet weather, extra care would most certainly be needed, with a recommendation to take the longer track. Perhaps that is why this left offshoot is less obvious. Less encouragement to hike it.
It’s a full body work out to summit this section, but once at the top, the trail levels off and you have the opportunity to regain some feeling in your achy limbs. Thoughts of how on earth we’d return that way were swiftly put aside to enjoy the rest of the hike.
At this stage, you’re about halfway through the hike. The trail is not easy to follow along this open section. There is vegetation all around and the path follows little rock mounds. A map is a very good idea just to make sure you are on track. We saw another couple up here, on their way back down, without GPS and they had to ask for directions to locate the spot from which to begin the return scramble.
The track guides you in a big loop to the summit of Briggs Bluff. Initially, you are heading away from the summit, before curving back around. There are some stepped sections, some path sections, and some open rock sections. Keep your eyes on the yellow markers and you’ll arrive at the top soon enough.
Briggs Bluff Summit
The summit is exposed, with the final ascent a pure scramble. Take care at the top, it can be windy and, during winter, can soon feel cold. There is a wealth of fantastic vantage points, with sheer drops, amazing rock geology and the wide expanse of forest and rolling mountains to take in. From up here, Briggs Bluff felt like a fitting farewell to our Grampians trip. With the clear blue sky helping us to bask in the perfectly lit midday sun, we really could see the Grampians National Park in all its glory.
The return hike is much easier. Retracing your steps is much more straight forward, although the GPS was used often for peace of mind. Approaching the edge to begin the steep rock scramble back down I was little apprehensive. But it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be, given the effort and care needed to climb it initially. So, rest assured, this path is perfectly suitable to return on. Having said that, if it has been raining, we’re not sure we’d have felt quite so safe.
By the time we arrive back at Beehive Falls, the trail has become extremely busy. The path is quite tight in this section and so it can become quite congested as visitors head to the falls and back.
There are no amenities at Beehive Falls Car Park.
17. Hollow Mountain
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 2.2km
- Time: 1 hour
- Accumulated elevation gain: 150m
- Difficulty: Medium-Hard
- Trailhead: Hollow Mountain Car Park
Cave window lookouts. The final hike of the Grampians itinerary, and third of the day, is Hollow Mountain. It’s a fairly uphill climb the entire way, but at 2.2km it’s easily manageable, even with tired legs. It’s a popular little circuit, so if you arrive in the afternoon, then you’ll find the car park already busy.
The hike is straightforward, but there are a few technical rock scramble sections to take into account. Nothing too taxing, and you’ll find many people completing this out and back with no problem. Just be aware in wet conditions you may find the track surface to be slippery in parts.
From the car park, the trail is open and switches from sand path to steady incline over rock. As you approach the side of the mountain, the rock scramble and steep climb begin as you start to wind around the mountainside. The trail then opens up onto exposed mountainside, where you’ll traverse the rock wall at a steep incline. So take care. It’s these sections that require caution when hiking in wet conditions.
There are arrows sprayed on the rock to lead your way. Follow these arrows as they spiral your path to the top. There’s another rock scramble to access the upper sections, but it’s a short and exhilarating hike. Plenty of lookout spots and cosy hangouts can be found as you access small ‘hollow’ sections of the mountain. We saw plenty of hikers who had found their tea break resting patch.
From Hollow Mountain, you’ll find views of neighbouring Mount Zero and Mount Staplyton (more on those below), as well as the rest of the mighty Grampians in the distance. It was nice to be able to look back and survey all we had conquered in the previous days.
If you’ve looked into Hollow Mountain, you’ll have seen the iconic orange cave shot, like below. We thought we were looking for a cavern to enter into with this amazing lookout. I suppose that’s what we’ve been used to when visiting places like Gosangs Tunnel at Jervis Bay. However, this lookout cave is accessed from the outside.
In fact, the trail leads you straight past the opening about halfway up. Somehow we missed this and so had a little pit stop break here, instead, on the way back down. We actually found more people on the top of the mountain rather than in this excellent natural shelter, and so you might find you have this place to yourself. Keep an eye out to your left as you hike up, and you shouldn’t miss it.
Hollow Mountain Car Park is the trailhead to a few other hikes in the area. There are drop toilets and picnic sites for your convenience.
Additional Hikes in the Grampians National Park
Even with speed hiking for the five days we were in the Grampians National Park, there were still hikes we were unable to squeeze in. Of course, that gives us an excuse to head back another time. But should you have a little more time, these are the hikes we’d recommend.
- Mount Zero | Out & Back | 2.8km | 1 hour | Medium | Accumulated Elevation Gain: 120m | Trailhead: Mount Zero Picnic Area
- Mount Staplyton | Out & Back | 4.6km | 2 hours | Hard | Accumulated Elevation Gain: 230m | Trailhead: Mount Zero Picnic Area
Officially graded by Visit Grampians.
The Grampians National Park 5 Day Hiking Guide Recap
So that’s our pick of the top hiking and sightseeing in the Grampians National Park. In all honesty, we could easily fill another five days with even more. There’s just so much. It’s certainly hard to squeeze everything into such a short amount of time. I guess that’s a good excuse to head back though. Not that excuses are needed. The Grampians will always be a huge draw for hikers of all levels. It has, by far, been one of the standout highlights of all of our Australian travels to date.
Getting to & from The Grampians National Park
You’ll need a car to get the most out of this national park. We visited the Grampians National Park after completing the Great Ocean Road. We drove north from Tower Hill on the western end of the Great Ocean Road to Hamilton in the southern Grampians. This drive to Hamilton took around one hour. We reached our accommodation the night before the itinerary began, to utilise the whole first day.
However you arrive, a car is definitely your best option for journeying through the Grampians National Park. A 2WD is fine, however, we did come across the odd road that a 4WD would have better suited. This was nothing that hindered our itineray though.
If you don’t have access to a car, then we always find RentalCars.com a great resource for hiring a vehicle. We’ve used them on numerous trips throughput Australia, including successfully for a week long trip in Tasmania.
Melbourne and Adalaide are the largest Australian cities in proximity to the Grampians. From Melbourne, the drive time is around three hours, with Adelaide being a slightly further five and a half hour drive away. As we’re Sydney based, we found the Grampians National Park to be a great part of a wider road trip, given the fact the Sydney to Grampians drive is around 11 hours. If you too are Sydney based, perhaps consider making a wider trip out of your Grampians adventure. We had the greatest time exploring the South Coast of NSW as well as Wilsons Promontory National Park and Phillip Island in Victoria.
If you’re travelling to Melbourne or Adelaide from overseas, we recommend using Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights. When flying abroad, we always get the ball rolling with a Skyscanner search. Also, if based in the UK or US, you should sign up to Jack’s Flight Club for the best flight deal alert service. By simply subscribing to the free weekly newsletter or buying premium membership, you could save lots of money with international travel.
After hiking the heck out of the Grampians National Park, we continued our journey north, back into NSW. We visited Wentworth and the Perry Sandhills, then on to the ultimate cultural adventure at Mungo National Park. If you have the time, you should do the same!
Accommodation in The Grampians National Park
Staying in the Southern Grampians
There are two main towns to base yourselves for a stay in the southern Grampians. The majority will opt for Dunkeld. However, because our visit coincided with COVID-19, we didn’t find much that suited our budget or needs here. Instead, we opted to stay in nearby Hamilton. It’s a little further out than Dunkeld, but it certainly isn’t far and made for an excellent base to explore this part of the Grampians National Park.
For our stay in Hamilton, we found an excellent Airbnb on a farm/horse stud. We had a private room with a bathroom located just outside, in an outhouse. The room was wonderfully quaint and relaxing. It felt luxurious in comparison to the recent car camping we’d been doing on the Great Ocean Road.
The farm was a real period property, with a lot of history and charm to enjoy. The host was great and very accommodating. We would stay here again for sure. Plus, the property is on the right side of town for driving to the Grampians National Park, so that’s a real added bonus.
A three night stay cost $171.90AUD/person ($127USD) or $57AUD/night ($42USD). This was by far the best value we found, at the time, in this area. We couldn’t have been happier with our stay.
Staying in the Central Grampians
As previously mentioned, our trip to the Grampians National Park was during the COVID-19 pandemic. So campsites and other accommodation options were only just starting to reopen. Rules on sharing public space and amenities were still being finalised and thought out. Therefore, our options for Halls Gap were somewhat limited.
With that being said, we settled on Big4 NRMA Halls Gap Holiday Park. With the Big4 being such a widespread and well known holiday park brand, we knew shared spaces would be reliably cleaned and social distancing rules set in place. At the park, we had the use of shared bathrooms and kitchens, which turned out to be not so busy at all.
It’s $39AUD/night ($29USD) for two people. We stayed for three nights, so the $117AUD ($82USD) total was more than reasonable. The holiday park is a perfect base in which to explore the central Grampians.
This particular caravan park just happened to suit our needs and budget during the time we visited. But Halls Gap has a wealth of accommodation options including alternative campsites. WikiCamp and CamperMate are great search engines for finding campsites and both have downloadable apps. Use Airbnb again or even Booking.com if camping isn’t your thing. They’re always our go-to accommodation searches.
Local Supplies in The Grampians National Park
We recommend Hamilton, Dunkeld and Halls Gap for buying groceries. The towns of Hamilton and Dunkeld in the southern Grampians are perhaps the most well stocked on local supplies. Hamilton has both an Aldi and a Woolworths supermarket in which to stock up on groceries to see you through your Grampians trip. Dunkeld is the smaller town of the two with much less option.
Halls Gap in the central Grampians is a little more set up for tourists and holidaymakers. There are no major supermarkets here, just the odd general store or market. We find these places to be less value for money, and so stocked up in Hamilton before we left. However, they are there if you need them. Fuel is also readily available in Hamilton, Dunkeld and Halls Gap.
Total Costs for The Grampians National Park
- Accommodation: $289AUD/person ($213USD)
- Food : $50AUD/person ($37USD)
= $339AUD/person ($250USD) + fuel costs for getting there.
Five Hiking Gear Essentials for The Grampians National Park
These are our five hiking gear essentials for tackling the Grampians National park. For a more comprehensive packing list, please check out the Ultimate Packing Checklist. It’s a great general summary of everything you’d need for a trip. For even more information check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. We go in-depth into what hiking and camping gear we use. There, you’ll find specific recommendations for all the products we love.
- Merrell Moab 2 Mid Goretex hiking boots – with all that hiking, you’ll need a reliable boot that is comfortable and durable. We love Merrells!
- The North Face Venture 2 waterproof/windproof jacket – mountain peaks are notoriously windy, even in the bright sunshine. A good windproof jacket means we can stay and enjoy the views that bit longer.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack – with a comfortable waist and chest strap to help distribute the load evenly throughout your upper body, this backpack is excellent. At 30L it’s deceptively roomy, yet in no way feels bulky when wearing. A good rucksack is a worthy investment.
- Karrimor 1L Clear Water Bottle x 2 – these water bottles fit perfectly in the side pockets of the Osprey Skarab rucksack. The ease of access to water is a big win in our book. And when hiking the Grampians you’ll be wanting to carry at least 2L with you per day.
- Nikon D3400 Digital SLR Camera – we’d be sad if you went home and didn’t capture any photographs of the Grampians National Park. Don’t leave without a decent camera. This is a fantastic entry-level DSLR that even the most novice of photographers will love.
Five Camping Gear Essentials for The Grampians National Park
We really enjoyed camping in Halls Gap in the central Grampians. Camping gear can make or break a trip. Without the right camping kit, your experience may not be as enjoyable. These are our five camping gear essentials for the Grampians. You can find more information on camping gear by visiting our in-depth packing checklist and travel essentials guide.
- Vango Banshee Pro Tent 300 – we’ve taken this little tent on so many trips. It packs down ultra small, is super light and easy to put up/down.
- Vango Ultralite Pro 200 sleeping bag – keeping warm at night when visiting the Grampians, especially in winter, is essential. These bags do a great job, plus, they’re pretty compact when in their stuff sack too.
- HIKENTURE inflatable sleeping mat – again, a game changer in our camping trips. The added comfort makes all the difference. Especially after a hard days speed hiking.
- Portable mini gas stove – sometimes you just need a hot meal. Warm porridge on a cold winters morning, yes please! Can’t think of anything better to fuel a busy day hiking.
- AeroPress Coffee Maker– hot cup of coffee in the morning? We thought so. Safe to say we don’t even leave the house without this little contraption now.
Although the majority of trails in the Grampians National Park are easy to follow, you may still want to use a map. To be fully prepared, consider downloading a GPS guided map before you set out. We recommend Wikiloc or AllTrails. For those not so prepared, if you’re needing navigation help during the hike and don’t have any phone reception, consider using Maps.me. Although you need to have at least downloaded the map of the general area beforehand. We often bring out maps.me on a trail.
For another exhilarating hike in Victoria, Aus, check out Wells Cave Track: An Epic Hike to Sugarloaf Peak. It’s a day hike to remember!
- Weather: I think it would be fair to say Dan and I experienced all manner of weather during our five day stay. Rain is not uncommon, nor is low cloud, especially in winter. Although some hikes may feel not worth doing in wet weather, as long as it is safe to do so, we recommend giving them a go. If you wait for good weather all the time, you may end up missing out on so much. You can check the weather for the Grampians here.
- All of the wildlife: The Grampians National Park is fortunate to house a wealth of wildlife. Kangaroos roam freely, wild deer make an appearance by the roadside and you may even see emu’s- we saw three! As touched upon earlier, it is important to be respectful of all animals, especially at dawn and dusk, so take care when driving and hiking.
- Packing: We travelled in winter and so layers were essential. Mountain peaks can be cold, yet it can be warm when exerting the effort to reach them. Always be prepared with base layers and windproof layers to suit all eventualities.
- Off-season: Although we suspect there is no real offseason to the Grampians, we’re sure our winter hiking trip was far quieter than in the summer. For that reason, if you don’t mind a bit of cold, then we can highly recommend visiting the Grampians National Park in winter. The hikes are just as breathtaking, and the trails much quieter. Plus, hiking in the summer can be unbearably hot.
The Grampians National Park does not allow dogs on the trails. However, you will find a few dog friendly spaces for your pooch to enjoy. See Visit Grampians for more details.
Be hiking smart. Before embarking on any hike in the Grampians National Park, it is always best practice to double check for any closures or issues on the trails. Use parks.vic for the most up to date information regarding the Grampians.
We hope you enjoyed this definitive guide on How To Hike The Grampians National Park In Five Days. Why not bookmark or share it for future use. Happy hiking!
For another exhilarating hike in Victoria, Aus, check out Wells Cave Track: An Epic Hike to Sugarloaf Peak. It’s a day hike to remember!
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