Thru-hiking the Grampians Peaks Trail is the ultimate experience of Grampians / Gariwerd National Park. Your newly sculpted calf muscles will revel just as much in the sun-soaked geology of its windswept mountain peaks as they will in the hidden swimming holes of its lush fern forests.


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

About the Grampians Peaks Trail

The 164km Grampians Peaks Trail (also referred to as the GPT) is the definitive mountain backpacking experience of Victoria. In multiple senses, it’s an exhaustive traverse from the north end of Grampians / Gariwerd National Park to its southern terminus.

Vacillating wildly between over-engineered trails and essentially unmaintained trails, it never ceases to keep you on your sometimes-stubbed toes. Apart from this, the 8,600m of elevation gain will put all that practice you’ve been doing on the Stairmaster to good use. With such a dynamic trail, there’s truly never a flat or dull moment on the GPT.


Plenty of lovely sunsets to be witnessed; this one from Duwul, the highest point in the park

How to Get to the Grampians Peak Trail

Most thru-hiking itineraries have you starting from the northern terminus at Mount Zero, which is down an unsealed road and inaccessible by public transport.

It’s also kind of tricky to hitchhike to it, depending on what time of day you’ll be arriving. The Mount Zero car park is a moderately visited area of the park, where few day hikers and climbers will be headed, so plan accordingly.

The southern terminus is in the town of Dunkeld at the Visitors Centre, and can be reached by public transport. Apart from this, Halls Gap, which is the only town along the GPT, is also accessible by public transport (more info here).

In my ever-evolving yet persistent endeavour to make backpacking as affordable and accessible for as many folks as possible, my natural recommendation is to arrive somewhat early to Halls Gap and hitchhike from Halls Gap to Mount Zero. That way you can finish your hike in Dunkeld and hop right on a bus back to civilization.


So much sweeter when you can end your hike at Dunkeld with a cold bevvie too, thank you eternally for this precious gift Laura

Barring this, you’ll need to leave cars at both ends of the hike, which is permitted and easy enough to arrange. Or else you can give up multiple appendages in order to arrange paid transportation through either Ambush or Grampians Peaks Walking Co.

Grampians Peaks Trail Highlights

  • The peaks never fail to reward you with superlative views of some of the best sunsets, landscapes, and geology in Australia
  • Tonnes of wildlife, from Wedge-tailed eagles cruising the cliffs to questionably close-up encounters with multiple reptilian friends and every marsupial in between. Plus emus
  • The largest number of Aboriginal rock art paintings and shelters in southern Australia (also consider a side-visit to Brambuk, the National Park and Cultural Centre)
  • Over 975 native plant species, including more than 75 orchid species, many of which are only found in the Grampians. Spring and early summer are wildflower heaven


A gorgeous Grass Tree

Gariwerd / Grampians History

Known as Gariwerd by local Aboriginal people, the region has been home to the Djab Wurrung and Jardwardjali people for 20,000 years and contains the densest concentration of rock art paintings and the largest assemblage of Aboriginal art motifs in Victoria.

In 1836, Major Thomas Mitchell named the mountains ‘the Grampians’ after the rugged region in his native Scotland. European settlers soon arrived after hearing his favourable reports of potential grazing areas.

In 1984, after extensive settlement and grazing, the area was made a national park in order to protect both the Indigenous history and the remaining biodiversity.


Much of the area around Grampians Gariwerd is still grazed today

Skill Level

Intermediate – Advanced

Even though some portions of trail and campsites on the GPT are stalled in various stages of ‘development’, the trail itself is well-marked and easy to follow.

Despite this, 8,600 metres of elevation gain is no small feat. Even for folks that consider themselves to be relatively in shape, this trail is both beautiful AND brutal. You’ll be going up and down pretty much non-stop for the length of the trail, and should definitely consider taking that full 13 days if it’s your first thru-hike.

Please note! Remember to fill out a Trip Intention Form before heading out on any portion of the GPT.

Distance Covered / Duration / Elevation Gain

164km / 7-13 Days / 8,600m

Pragmatically speaking, there’s currently only one way to thru-hike the GPT. That is to follow Parks Victoria’s 13-day recommended itinerary. The itinerary places you at one of the 12 campsites/huts each night and averages out to around 12.5km per day. But for some folks that might simply be too little to travel each day – especially on a few of the more manicured sections.

The second option is to double up on campsites and huts, putting in about 25km a day. This will cut your trip time in half and makes the logistics of resupplying/carrying food much more manageable.

The reason this option – which is my recommended way of hiking the GPT – is totally unpragmatic, is because Parks Victoria has only made the booking of campsites available as package deals.

You can either book a pre-arranged section hike or the whole trail at once, but you can’t book individual campsites. This arrangement creates time and financial barriers on many people as the full thru-hike of the GPT costs $533.50 in campsite bookings alone.

Naturally this isn’t the best option as it means dishing out a whopping $266.25 on campgrounds you won’t even stay in.

H0wever! Come September 2023, changes to the booking system will allow walkers to create more flexible GPT itineraries that suit their timeframe, ability, and budget. How good!

Read more: GPT Booking Changes Will Allow for More Flexible Hiking Options

Essential Gear

  • Hiking boots or trail runners with gaiters (great for the sections with sand)
  • A free-standing tent that can be tied down / clipped on the tent platforms
  • SPF 50+ cause it’s gonna be real hot and real exposed
  • Water purifier like the Sawyer Squeeze, for both natural sources and rainwater tanks. There are rainwater tanks at each campsite, and each of them still had water when I did this hike, but there’s no telling what might have accidentally taken a swim in any of them
  • A 4-litre water carrying capacity is essential. Even though the distances between water tanks/campsites isn’t huge, the elevation plus the amount of exposure can be brutal on a hot day
  • Temperature-appropriate sleeping bag/quilt
  • Hiking stove and gas, or else a trusty cold-soaking container
  • Hiking first aid kit

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

If you don’t have a free-standing tent you’ll have to get very creative every evening

The Experience of Thru-Hiking the Grampians Peaks Trail

Day 1 – Mt. Zero trailhead to Barigar Campground

Distance: 12.1km

Starting the hike with a climb is the traditional way, especially when you’re brimming with that first-day enthusiasm. Lots of great, exposed rock scrambling, and it’s easy to see why the climbers love the northern half of the park so much. Go up and over Mt. Stapylton then replenish your water at the Coppermine Track crossing. Otherwise you can go for a nice dunk under one of the seasonal waterfalls along this section. Totally magic on a hot afternoon.


With socks that clean, it must truly be day 1

Day 2 – Barigar Campground to Gar Huts and Campground

Distance: 11.3km

Hopefully both the sun and your guns are out for this section, because there are a couple of fantastic little plunge pools for cooling off in these parts.

Or else you’re doing this hike later in the season, and the pools have dried up, but that’s okay too, because it was probably too cold to swim anyway. Look for some really sweet spots after filling up on water at the tank at Roses Gap Road.


Grampians Peaks Trail, Taylor Bell, plunge pool, creek, water

Cool off in one of the many swim spots along the trail


After a lil afternoon dip, it’s time to hit the climb up to the polarizingly placed Gar Huts and Campground. Apart from a beautiful communal hut equipped with rainwater tanks and USB chargers, there are also private luxury huts for rent, which form part of an unbelievably price-gouged section hike package on the GPT.

The least you can do is take advantage of the amenities that you didn’t ask for, like a nice, sturdy, well-manufactured chair – and soak up the sunset with a nice jar of cold noodles.

Day 3 – Gar Huts and Campground to Werdug Huts and Campground

Distance: 14.1km

After a short, imperative side-trip up to the top of Gar (formerly known as Mt. Difficult), it’s time for a bit of ridge-running most of the way to Werdug.

There are some lovely views to the west of Wartook Reservoir, and if you’re lucky you might catch a pair of Brown falcons that appear to have taken up residence in the cliffs in this section.


Wartook Reservoir. A great place to consider the the ecological differences between a bog, a marsh, a swamp


Finish at Werdug, where you’ll encounter more of the private luxury huts – but for better or worse, depending on how you feel, this is where the most egregiously over-developed sections of trail end. Say goodbye to those sweet little recliner chair thingies (except for one more spot later on).

Day 4 – Werdug Huts and Campground to Halls Gap

Distance: 13km

This section is almost entirely downhill. And you’ll probably be cruising fast enough to make it in time for lunch, a big ol’ pint, and sweet ice cream no sweat.

Then you can have a swim in the community pool, a siesta on a bench, and observe some half-domesticated kangaroos all before you even have to check in to your accommodation. See below for a full list of what to see and do in Halls Gap.

Alternatively, if you’re on the doubled up schedule, you’ll still have time to do all these things, plus a sweet resupply, before your afternoon hike out of town up to the next campground.

A very short side trip over to Clematis Falls for a quick dunk on the way down to Halls Gap

What to Check Out in Halls Gap on the Grampians Peak Trail

For the sake of frugality and practicality, I’ve only included businesses along the main drag of Halls Gap, since if you’re on a proper thru-hike, you probably won’t have a car or feel like walking much anyway.



  • Halls Gap Bakery does good classic Australian pies, salads, sangas, and rolls for takeaway. Plus, for the last hour, they’ve got the last of their stock at half price. I love their website too, lmao
  • The Town Fryer does no frills fish and chips

Bit More Spenny

  • Flame Brothers and Black Panther are more of a sit-down vibe with mouth-watering menus. Outdoor seating is always a plus, when you’re fresh and smelly off the trail too
  • Paper Scissors Rock Brew Co has some good beers and did a good-looking veggie burger as well. They also let me charge up some devices while I nursed a beer here for a couple of hours waiting around

Bougie AF

  • The Kookaburra Hotel has a bistro-style menu for all y’all ballers without a budget, but it could be a sweet place for dinner if you’re already staying here 
  • Raccolto Pizza was very tempting, and my greatest regret is that I didn’t have enough time to indulge in an entire large pizza to myself



Adult Bevs



  • If you’re travelling solo and just want a bed to sleep in for a night, the Grampians Eco YHA hostel is your best budget option. $46 for a dorm room ain’t too shabby for a national park


  • For a private room, you can’t beat the classic digs at The Grand in Halls Gap Tavern. These are the cheapest private rooms in town, and they’re also the most centrally located


  • If you just want to pitch a tent near all the amenities, you can book an unpowered site for $38 at The Breeze Holiday Park


  • Pop in to the Visitor Centre for a free shower and to learn a bit more about the history of the area. Plus you can see if there are any cool events on
  • The Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre is just down the road from Halls Gap, and an easy walk if you’re staying in town
  • The Halls Gap Pool is right across the street from the Visitor Centre, and was a great way to spend a hot, sunny afternoon


The Halls Gap General Store is the only game in town, so hopefully you’re prepared to make do with what they’ve got. It’s fairly bare bones, and definitely a bit pricier, but it’s still way better than carrying all your food for an entire thru-hike.

Looking back at Halls Gap from The Pinnacle

Day 5 – Halls Gap to Bugiga Campground

Distance: 9km

On paper it seems like nothing. In fact it’s the shortest section of the whole hike. You can absolutely do this in the afternoon after doing a big lunch and resupply in Halls Gap.

Or if you stayed the night, you can take your sweet sweet time getting out of town and over here; especially because this section, despite being the shortest, is also definitely one of the highlights.

You’ll start by climbing out of Halls Gap, passing by Venus Baths and Splitters Falls, which can potentially offer more swimming opportunities if you haven’t gotten your fill yet in town (depending on what season it is). Hopefully you don’t have waterfall fatigue yet, because these are some of the best in Victoria.

After this, you’ll pass through the Grand Canyon (maybe not quite Arizona levels of grand, but still marvellous nonetheless), and Bridal Falls.

The scenery through this section is honestly so variant and mesmerizing that the climb up to The Pinnacle barely even registered as a particularly gruelling ascent. Especially because the view from The Pinnacle is such a stunner.

After stretching that 9km out into half a day, feel free to amble on down the path casually into Bugiga, and enjoy one of the best campsite views of the GPT as well.


More campsite creativity at Bugiga. I would’ve given up all my Snickers bars for a freestanding tent by this point

Day 6 – Bugiga Campground to Barri Yalug Huts and Campground

Distance: 14.7km

Lovely views back towards Halls Gap and the reservoir on a cruisey climb up Mt. Rosea. Then it’s another great little section down to Fyans Creek, which was really pumping when I was there.

And being the weak-willed fool that I am, I took a long swim break in the creek, thinking that there would be shelter at Barri Yalug. How wrong I was. Regardless the swim was totally worth it, maybe.

This is where I’d say the ‘undeveloped’ portion of the GPT really starts to become noticeable though. Barri Yalug is quite the change of scenery compared to all the previous campsites to the north.

In fact, since there’s no shelter, and the primitive pads themselves are fairly exposed to the elements, there’s basically no shade anywhere in this campsite. Hopefully you didn’t do a side trip here just for a break, or you didn’t arrive too early in the day. (The old, historic water troughs were kinda cool though.)

The Parks Victoria Map has the section from Halls Gap to Barri Yalug recommended as one day, but honestly I’d say it’s so much better to just stay at Bugiga. Then you can do a long day that skips this campsite, or else chill out by the creek and make it a swim day.


Grampians Peaks Trail, Taylor Bell, creek, bush

Take some time to relax creekside

Day 7 – Barri Yalug Huts and Campground to Duwul Campground

Distance: 13.2km

This is one of the most brutal sections of the GPT. Carry extra water, because the climbs through here are very exposed, and can be very hot mid-day. Plus it will be slow-going through some of the spicier bits of trail.

Climbing up the stratified sandstone to Redman Bluff is totally wild. And the rollercoaster cliff hugging is an impressive bit of hand-over-foot affairs, but overall this section totally kicked my butt.

I was so glad to make it to a bit of untreated water. And since Duwul is another ‘undeveloped’ campsite with essentially no shade in the afternoons, I ended up taking a long, slightly-dehydrated siesta under one of the picnic tables. No regrets.


Grampians Peaks Trail, Taylor Bell, rocks, bush, trees

R.I.P ankles

Day 8 – Duwul Campground to Durd Durd Campground

Distance: 14.5km

Variety is the spice of life and this is indeed another spicy section. Start with the very steep road walk up to Mt. William, and make sure to refill your water on your way off.

The tank is a little bit past the summit, right before you hop back onto the single track trail. Make sure you don’t confuse it with the half-built toilet either.

After a brutal straight-up-and-down hike through Boundary Gap, you’ll find yourself admiring the beautiful privy in the middle of the meadow at First Wannon Camp.

This is basically the beginning of Major Mitchell Plateau, which climbs gently up to the summit of Durd Durd. This is the highest point in the park, and requires at least some sort of small celebration. One of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life was on this summit. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.


Grampians Peaks Trail, Taylor Bell, major mitchell plateau

The wildflowers of Major Mitchell Plateau are a national treasure

There’s a bit of steep and rocky descent down to the also ‘undeveloped’ Durd Durd Campground afterwards. Ride those sunset feelings for as long as you can.

Day 9 – Durd Durd Campground to Yarram Campground

Distance: 11.9km

This is a slow-going section of trail, with lots of rock-hopping and contouring through a rougher bit of the park. There’s a great opportunity for swimming if you take a short detour down to Jimmy Creek when you cross Jimmy Creek Road. But y’all already knew I’d be recommending that.

It’s a cruisey descent down to Yarram Campground, where you’ll hopefully experience plenty of solitude and an echidna or two.


Grampians Peaks Trail, Taylor Bell, luxury campsite on the trail

Nice views from Yarram Campground. Fencing seems like a bit of icing on the overkill cake though

Day 10 – Yarram Campground to Wannon Campground

Distance: 11.1km

This is a great time to reflect on how much the ecology of the landscape has changed around you, as the trail wanders through a few fairytale stands of Oyster Bay pines. Suddenly less rocky and more open, you’ll be walking steadily downhill until you reach Wannon, which is the cleared site of a former homestead. Say hi to the kangaroos for me.

There’s no shelter or tent platforms at Wannon, so I think it’s okay to feel free and explore the area a bit more with where you pitch your tent.

Day 11 – Wannon Campground to Djardji-Djawara Huts and Campground

Distance: 16.3km

Despite being one of the longer sections of the GPT, this is a pretty easy bit of hiking. The climb back up out of Wannon is very gradual, and will always be near and dear to my heart for all of the precious grass trees that abound through here.

Fill up on water at the Griffin fire break, and shake all the sand out of your shoes. Then keep your eyes peeled for Wedgetail eagles and emus on the climb up and along the cliffs to the lovely Djardji-Djawara Hut and Campground. This marks your re-entry into the developed portion of the GPT, as the rest of the southern half is as manicured as Dolly Parton’s nails.


Grampians Peaks Trail, Taylor Bell, luxury campsite, trail, mountains

Post-storm early morning at Djardji-Djawara. You can almost smell this photo

Day 12 – Djardji-Djawara Huts and Campground to Mud-Dadjug Hut and Campground

Distance: 8.1km

This is an extremely short section that involves two fairly long climbs. The first involves a very short side quest to the top of Signal Peak, but the second climb puts you right at the top of Mt. Abrupt. I wasn’t expecting these to be the best views of the whole trail, given the lower elevation, but the all-encompassing views of the entire park were total stunners.

After taking your sweet sweet time at the peaks, a short descent and side trail lead you to the also well-developed Mud-Dadjug Hut and Campground.


Grampians Peaks Trail, Taylor Bell, man standing on clifftop

I love two things: 1. When peaks are named hilariously inappropriate things like ‘Mary’s Nipple’ and 2. When peaks are named very appropriate things like Mt. Abrupt

Day 13 –Mud-Dadjug Hut and Campground to Dunkeld Visitors Centre

Distance: 8.1km

There are still two sizeable climbs left before you leave the park, but hopefully your enthusiasm is enough to carry you up and over each of them.

Plus there are two more water tanks along this section so, between the small water carry and your presumed lack of food here, your pack will feel almost weightless on your shoulders at this point.

After leaving the national park, the trail meanders along old farmland and crosses the Wannon River. There was lots of great birdwatching around here, and I loved how you don’t truly feel like you’re back in civilization until right at the last minute, when you hit the Visitors Centre.

Say hi to the sweet lady there who very enthusiastically helped me identify some of the wildflowers from the total dump of photos I took.

Once you’re in Dunkeld, you’re spoiled for food and accommodation options, of which you’d be remiss to not take advantage. Barring this, you’ll also be able to catch the bus from here back to the train line which will take you wherever you might be going next.

Grampians Peaks Trail FAQs

How do I book the Grampians Peaks Trail?

If you want to follow the 13-day itinerary, you can easily book the whole thing from this page on Parks Victoria’s website.

If you want to section hike the GPT, you can book pre-arranged itineraries from this page on Parks Victoria’s website.

Can I hike the Grampians Peaks Trail at a Different Pace?

If you want to double up on campgrounds and do the 7-day pace, or form your own itinerary in general, well then that’s too bad. Since Parks Victoria doesn’t offer the option to book individual campsites, or the autonomy to form your own itinerary on the GPT, you’re stuck going at their pre-arranged pace. Or else you can just book all 13 days and eat the extra cost of booking campsites you know you’ll be skipping.

Naturally this isn’t the best option. Apart from lying about your itinerary, it means dishing out a whopping $266.25 that you didn’t even need/want to spend in the first place.

When is the best time to hike the Grampians Peaks Trail?

Most websites bill this hike as a shoulder season endeavour, which I’d agree with. I did it right at the beginning of summer, and although it was hot every day it was still totally doable. Personally I’d say late spring is your sweet spot, as you’ll get to take full advantage of all the seasonal freshwater pools along the trail. Never skip the swimming hole, y’all.

Is the Grampians Peaks Trail suitable for beginners?

Due to the easy navigation and mostly manicured walking, this trail isn’t the most difficult of thru hikes. However due to the length and need to be well-supplied, the Grampians Peak Trail isn’t suitable for beginners. Hikers will need some previous experience and outdoor knowledge before taking on this hike.

What facilities are on the Grampians Peaks Trail?

Every campground on the GPT has USB solar chargers, pit toilets, and a rainwater tank. Some have huts and tent platforms, others don’t.

Halls Gap is the only town along the GPT, and is a great place to recharge and resupply. If you’re walking this trail fast enough, you’ll be able to carry all the food you need with a resupply here, and not have to worry about food drops.

Is there a way to organize food drops and transportation?

The two main companies that operate along the GPT and will facilitate rides and food drops are either Ambush or Grampians Peaks Walking Co.