Last week I was lucky enough to spend a beautiful day exploring the Grampians National Park with Go West Tours. The Grampians is home to many of the state’s species of wildlife and flora and has earned itself the title “Victoria’s Garden” but such a description does nothing convey the sheer vastness and majesty of the area.
I was overwhelmed by the variety of different nature and landscapes on display here and want to point out five of the best spots which are bound to convince you to add the Grampians to your Australia bucket list.
Halls Gap lies at the foot of the Mount Williams ranges of the Grampians National Park and despite it’s size draws a huge number of tourists due to its scenic location. It is home to the longest running Aboriginal Centre in Australia, Brambuk, and plays host to a long-running popular food and wine festival called Grampians Great Escape.
If you’ve ever wondered where the common-held belief by tourists that in Australia you can spot kangaroos hopping down the street came from, it could well be visitors to Halls Gap. There are a large amount of wallabies and kangaroos in the area that can regularly be spotted grazing in the grassy parks and, yes you guessed it, hopping in the streets. If you’re looking for wild kangaroos Halls Gap is one of your best bets to see them!
THE GRAND CANYON
Just a short walk – or climb if you will – up a path forged mostly of rocks and you’ll reach Victoria’s equivalent of the American giant. Although it’s steep at times there are some conveniently placed hand rails to aid you in the tricky parts and there’s quite a bit of shade, both which will help you make it to the top without too much trouble (we even managed it in 35 degrees!)
Okay so it’s not quite a match for THE Grand Canyon but there are some impressive rock formations and the view of the surrounding National Park from the top is well worth the effort.
It’s no wonder this spot has been designated as a lookout. From here you’ll get an amazing view down over the Victoria Valley, Lake Wartook, and the Serra, Victoria and Mount Difficult ranges. But there’s nothing difficult about this one! While it may look like it’s at the top of the world you can get all the way to Reed Lookout by car, which is excellent news if you’ve just hiked up the Grand Canyon or climbed the Mackenzie Falls steps.
Speaking of which, who here likes waterfalls? Well if so you need to check out Mackenzie Falls, which is the only waterway with a guaranteed flow of water in the whole region. We had experienced the dryness in the area on a trip to Silverband Falls earlier in the day (where nothing much was falling) but Mackenzie is fed by Lake Wartook, which is held up by dams to ensure there is always a water supply – extremely important as it supplies the drinking water to a nearby town.
There are several walking tracks to take at the falls. One of the easier ones will take you around the top where you can look down at the waterfall. Pretty nice but if you’re feeling brave (or it’s not 35 degrees) I’d highly recommend doing the walk to the bottom of the falls. The view from the bottom is so great and the water so inviting you’ll have a hard time trying to resist jumping in. Sadly swimming is not advised but you can still get the benefit of the cooling spray coming off the water as it hits the rocks.
In the rare instance you’re not convinced yet I’ve saved the best till last. Boroka Lookout’s panoramic views across Halls Gap and Lake Bellfield truly took my breath away. On a clear day like we had you can even see Melbourne right in the distance. There are two lookout points to take in the scenery only a few minutes walk from the car park but beware – once you’re here you might never want to leave!
You can tick off all of these sites and more on Go West‘s small group Grampians Day Tour which costs $135.00 for a full day (8am-9pm approx) and includes morning tea, lunch and all National Park entry fees.
Special mention to our tour guide and driver Allan (who hailed from Scotland no less – the home of the other Grampians!) for his knowledge, humour and enthusiasm for Aussie Rules and Instagram!
Many thanks to Go West Tours for offering me a complimentary spot on their Grampians Day Tour. All opinions are my own.