Within weekend distance from Melbourne, the Grampians caters to foodies, Explorers and everyone in between. With world-class hiking trails, swimming, and top-notch local food, the only question you need to ask yourself is ‘How soon can we go?’.

We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.




  • Rock climbing for all levels
  • World-class Grampians Peaks Trail
  • The Grampians Way road trip, hitting top spots and local produce


Parts of the Grampians date back to the Silurian Period, around 420 million years ago, and have been a place central to the Dreaming for south-western Victorian Aboriginal people for more than 30,000 years. Add in a plethora of great outdoor activities and fantastic places to eat and stay, and you’ve got a recipe for an unforgettable adventure.

Single and Multi-Day Hikes

There are so many walks to do in the Grampians area that you could spend a lifetime there and still only scratch the surface. Whether it’s a quick mission or a longer escapade, you won’t be left wanting.


Boroka Lookout, The Balconies and The Pinnacle

Boroka Lookout should be high on anyone’s list. It’s perfect for a sunrise mission with panoramic views out over Halls Gap and east of the Grampians. It’s only a quick stroll too which makes it perfect for those chilly mornings and it’s paved and suitable for people with limited mobility. For a bigger sunrise mission, The Balconies or The Pinnacle are your ticket to a good time.


MacKenzie Falls (Mikunung wira) and MacKenzie River Walk

With that warm-up under your belt, head a bit deeper into Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park and check out the spectacular MacKenzie Falls (Mikunung wira). One of the largest waterfalls in Victoria, it’s an absolute must-do. You won’t be disappointed, with water flowing year-round and huge cliffs and deep pools leading into an epic gorge.



There’s an easy kilometre-long path to a viewing platform at the Bluff Lookout which is wheelchair accessible or a steeper trail to the base of the falls which takes about 30 minutes each way. To stretch those legs for a little longer, check out the MacKenzie River Walk, a 7km return track.

The Grampians Peaks Trail

This wouldn’t really be an article about hikes in the Grampians if we didn’t mention the Grampians Peaks Trail. The 160km, 13-day trail is a challenging Grade 4/Grade 5 long-distance trail suitable for experienced long-distance hikers. You can do it all in one big shebang from Mt Zero through Halls Gap and down to Dunkeld, or tackle smaller sections one at a time.


A great overnight option is the 16km Mt Zero to Gar section which takes you past a hidden waterfall, or try the three-day secluded Yarram and Wannon section that explores the Southern Peaks. 

Read more: The Pinnacle to Mt Rosea in 3 Days

Whichever section you choose, you’ll be blown away by the changing landscapes and incredible campsites. If you want to experience it but haven’t got much hiking under your belt, reach out to Grampians Peak Walking Co for a trip tailored to your needs (I’ll take the Luxe tour, thanks).


Venus Baths

I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Grampians and not swam at Venus Baths. In summer it can really heat up, but even on a frosty day, the Venus Baths are just too good to pass up.

They’re a quick trot from Halls Gap town centre, notching up about 2.3km for the loop. Honestly, this is one of my favourite spots in the Grampians, with deep plunge pools surrounded by nice flat rocks to kick back on and big cliffs on either side.

When the water’s running, you’ll find a steady flow between the pools for a little natural slip and slide. On hot days, the pools can get pretty popular and the rock heats up, so getting there early in the day is my tip.

Read more: Staying Safe Around Swimming Holes

Lake Fyans

If you’re chasing something a little bit bigger, Lake Fyans is a man-made catchment just out of Halls Gaps that’s perfect for a swim, water ski or even some sailing. At sunset, the lake lights up and the mountains around can get one helluva glow to them.

Road Tripping

The Grampians isn’t small and the only way to truly see it is, wait for it… ROAD TRIP. To go the whole nine yards, follow The Grampians Way, which circumnavigates the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park and hits highlights across the region.

Starting at Halls Gap, hit some of the hiking and swimming highlights before taking to the bitumen towards Dunkeld. The south end of the park has some incredible dramatic mountains such as Mt Abrupt (Mud-Dadjug) and Mt Sturgeon (Wurgurri).

Finally, on your way back to Halls Gap, make sure you head via Victoria Valley, Cavendish, the rock art at Billimina shelter en route to Horsham with a stopover at Grampians Olive Co. If you’ve got more time, Horsham and surrounds have some top-notch fishing, 4WD trails, horseback riding, and plenty of wildlife.

The great thing about The Grampians Way is that you can make of it what you wish. If you’re short on time, you could buzz through in a long weekend and hit some highlights, or make a longer trip of it and explore more of the smaller towns. The Grampians has such a rich history, amazing landscape, and deep Aboriginal culture that you’ll never be short on things to do.


Kayaking / SUPing

At this point, I’m surprised you’re still reading and haven’t jumped in the car and started fanging it towards the Gramps. But for those still with us, we’re not done yet.

Lake Bellfield is a great spot to cool off in summer, take a canoe along the waterways or try your luck with some bait and tackle. The lake’s surrounded by panoramic views of the mountains and supplies local water, meaning no powerboats are allowed on it – how’s the serenity? If you’re keen on a paddle but don’t want to bring one with you, hit up Absolute Outdoors in Halls Gap to book onto a guided canoeing or SUP tour on Lake Fyans.


The Grampians has some of the best rock climbing in Australia, and for a while, boasted the hardest rock climb in the world. But don’t fret, there’s something for everyone here, whether you’re a seasoned trad climber or just getting started. 

Hangin’ Out in the Grampians runs great guided climbs for those just starting to dip their toes in. The team know plenty of spots for all abilities and will sort you out with gear and an instructor.

For any climbers, it’d be sacrilege to head to the Grampians without making the pilgrimage to Dyuritte (Mt Arapiles). It’s just a half-hour west of Horsham and truly is Victoria’s, and possibly Australia’s, climbing mecca.

Just make sure you check the latest guide books and Parks Victoria website for updates as there are some areas where climbing is no longer allowed.

Where to Refuel & Stay

Where to eat?

There’s so much good food in the Grampians that you could write a whole separate article about it. Oh, wait we already did that… The short of it though is that you can’t go wrong. The bars we mention below all come through with a ripper feed, but that’s just the beginning.


The Ultimate Explorer’s Guide to The Grampians, Pat Corden - VIC, Grampians, Visit Victoria, Sponsored, food


Halls Gap isn’t the first place I’d look for an American smokehouse, yet here we are at the Flame Brothers Restaurant and Bar, getting just that. They’ve got a menu that’ll take you through the whole day, but if you’ve got a hankering for some country pastries, Halls Gap Bakery is the place for you.

After a hard day exploring in Pomonal, I usually make a beeline for the Fallen Giants Vineyard, or the Pomonal Estate. Both have fantastic food and wine, and Pomonal Estate even features a brewery and cider house onsite.

The relaxed Parker St Project at Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld has a next level garden where they grow the food you’ll be feasting on and the Dunkeld Old Bakery and Cafe is perfect for a classic Aussie pie and vanilla slice. 

And last but certainly not least, the Bunyip Hotel in Cavendish has been deemed to have ‘the best pub meal in the country’. Better find out for yourself! 

Where to drink?

In Halls Gap, you can’t go past the Halls Gap Hotel for a pub vibe, or Paper Scissors Rock Brew Co. for a great craft beer and regular live music. Paper Scissors Rock Brew Co. also gets points for settling the debate once and for all that anyone who says ‘rock paper scissors’ is simply incorrect.


Further south, the Bunyip Hotel beer garden in Cavendish or Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld will help cool you off after a big day of exploration. 

Where to stay?

With bush camping all the way to five star accommodation, you’ll be able to find the perfect place for your stay (and budget).

At Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park, you might be camping but you certainly won’t be roughing it with options for tents and caravans, or cabins with everything you’d expect from kitchens to a pool. 

There are also plenty of bush camping options inside Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park itself if you just can’t bear to leave at the end of the day.

I’d very happily steal the designs of DULC cabins in Halls Gap for my future house. Nestled in the bush, with decking, BBQs and gas log fires, the only downside to these private cabins is that you might never want to leave.


The Ultimate Explorer’s Guide to The Grampians, Pat Corden - VIC, Grampians, Visit Victoria, Sponsored, grampians, cabins, DULC cabins, Halls Gap


If you really want to treat yourself, someone special, or even me, Meringa Springs is the way to go. The small lodge has a restaurant and bar, and five-star accommodation with a spa bath in the Terrace Spa Villa. I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Further south, The Shearers Quarters at Mount William Station in Willaura offers a unique farm stay that’ll make you feel at home. The 1869 heritage-listed building with cosy couches and a crackling fire is the perfect haven after a day exploring.

Finally, Southern Grampians Cottages in Dunkeld are perfect for a romantic hideaway and a great base for bushwalks, waterfalls, wildlife or just simply sitting back and checking out the mountain views.

Essential Gear

How To Get There

The Grampians is a three hour drive west from Melbourne. Take the Western Highway to Ararat and then into Halls Gap. It’s a cruisy drive most of the way but be careful of wildlife on the road as you start getting into Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park.

Leave No Trace

Gariwerd/The Grampians is one of my favourite spots in Victoria. There are dramatic mountains, pristine nature and the cutest darn wildlife you’ll ever see. At We Are Explorers, we reckon it’s a good idea to keep it that way, so make sure to take all of your rubbish with you, minimise your plastic use as much as possible, stick to the paths and try not to disturb the area or animals. Mother Nature will thank you for it!

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!


Photos thanks to Ben Savage and Visit Victoria