Located in Gariwerd (Grampians National Park), this three-day circuit traverses the panoramic Major Mitchell Plateau and provides access to some of the more affordable campsites in the park. The traditional loop covers around 40km, though can be extended to as long as 57km to take in Redman Bluff.

We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Djab Wurrung and Jardwardjali 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.

Quick Overview

The Major Mitchell Plateau is a 57km circuit, grade 4 hike located in Grampians National Park. The hike takes 3 days to complete. 

About Major Mitchell Plateau

The multi-day hike on Major Mitchell Plateau takes in the highest point of the Grampians, Mt William, and the iconic ridgelines and rock scrambling this area of Victoria is known for. 

The walk takes three days to complete, and can be made shorter by starting at Sheep Hills Car Park rather than Borough Huts Campground as we did. Major Mitchell Plateau offers access to a number of campsites, including two that are not part of the Grampians Peaks Trail, making it a more affordable overnight hiking option.

 

Major Mitchell Plateau – Hike the Best of the Grampians Over 3 Days, Hiking, Multi-Day Hike, Victoria, hiker sitting down on top Grampians mountain peak

Major Mitchell Plateau History

The hiking circuit around Major Mitchell plateau has been a longstanding multi-day hike in the region, being popular before the development of the Grampians Peaks Trail. Being slightly out of Halls Gap does mean that the trails are less busy than those around the Pinnacle

How to Get to Major Mitchell Plateau

The trailhead is located just south of Halls Gap, the main village servicing the Grampians region, which is a 3-hour drive north-west of Melbourne. Halls Gap is a great base for exploring the national park, with a range of accommodation and food options. The town is busy on long weekends and school holidays, so it pays to book ahead if you are planning to stay in town on either side of your hike. 

The hike starts from either Borough Huts Campground, 10 minutes south of Halls Gap, or Sheep Hills Car Park, 13 minutes south of town. 

Halls Gap is serviced by a V/Line bus that sometimes operates directly from Southern Cross Station Melbourne, as well as directly from the nearby Ballarat or Ararat train services. In order to get to the car parks to start the hike, you’ll need to have access to a car, or organise a transfer with a local shuttle company.

 

Major Mitchell Plateau – Hike the Best of the Grampians Over 3 Days, Hiking, Multi-Day Hike, Victoria, table and chairs on a platform overlooking mountain range

Where to Stay Along the Major Mitchell Plateau

There are now a number of options for camping along the route, thanks to the development of new campsites for the Grampians Peaks Trail (GPT). The route we took passed Duwul and Durd Durd campsites, which are possible camping options. 

However, the recommended route uses two other campsites, First Wannon Hiker Camp and Jimmy Creek Campground – which are a fraction of the cost of the GPT sites. All campsites must be booked with Parks Victoria ahead of time. 

First Wannon Hiker Camp is a basic, hike-in only campsite located just below the Major Mitchell Plateau. Several protected campsites are nestled in between the banksia and eucalypt trees. A basic drop toilet is available, though it is not frequently serviced. The campsite is based at the head of the First Wannon Creek, however, this should not be relied upon for a water source. 

Jimmy Creek Campground is a drive-in campground, with toilets, tank water, and even a shower operated by a bucket available. This campground can get busy due to its accessibility to car campers.

Skill Level

Advanced

This trail traverses through some remote parts of the Grampians National Park and whilst the track is generally well-signed with arrows, the track itself is often non-existent over rocky plateaus. Knowledge of navigation is highly recommended. 

There are a number of steep and technical ascents and descents, including rock scrambles that can be challenging with a heavy pack. This hike is best suited for those with a degree of confidence in multi-day hiking. 

Read more: A Beginner’s Guide to Map & Compass Navigation

Distance / Duration / Elevation Gain of Major Mitchell Plateau

57km / 3 days / 2330m

The Major Mitchell Plateau walk is typically shorter than the route we took, as we were after a bit more of a challenge, resulting in the first and third day being longer. We completed the hike in three days.

 

Major Mitchell Plateau – See the Best of the Grampians Over 3 Days, Hiking, Multi-Day Hike, Victoria, hiker walking on the Major Mitchell Plateau trail

Essential Gear for the Major Mitchell Plateau

  • Compass and map (downloaded and printed)
  • Personal locator beacon or GPS device
  • Hiking pack
  • Tent 
  • Sleeping gear (mat, sleeping bag, pillow)
  • Food for three days
  • 3L water and water filter – tanks are available, but best practice is to filter or purify your water. First Wannon Campsite has a small creek which is unreliable and often dry.
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection (hat, sunscreen, sunglasses)
  • Headtorch
  • First aid kit
  • Hiking boots or shoes

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

What It’s Like To Hike the Major Mitchell Plateau

Day 1: Borough Huts – First Wannon Hiker Camp

Distance: 21km
Time: 6-8 hours

After parking our car at Borough Huts Campground, we followed the signs to the Grampians Peaks Trail and made our way through the bushland at the south of Lake Bellfield. 

The track started off relatively flat, before commencing our first climb of the day. Before long we were out on exposed rock flats and trying to spot the elusive arrows marking the way. The track became quite technical as we made our way over two unnamed small summits, where we stopped to catch our breath and look up at Mt William looming ahead.

 

Major Mitchell Plateau – Hike the Best of the Grampians Over 3 Days, Hiking, Multi-Day Hike, Victoria

 

We were treated to a brief reprieve of downhill, but it didn’t last long before we were climbing again, this time towards Redman Bluff. The track was challenging, but great fun, as we pulled ourselves up boulders, hopped across rocks, and other questionable claims at a ‘trail’. We had another break at the summit of Redman Bluff, enjoying the views towards Halls Gap, before pushing on to Duwul Campsite for lunch.

 

Major Mitchell Plateau – Hike the Best of the Grampians Over 3 Days, Hiking, Multi-Day Hike, Victoria, stack of rocks with mountain range in background


Not long after lunch we came to the Mt William carpark, where we joined the sealed road that leads to the summit of Mt William itself. The final kilometres to the campsite included an extremely brutal and steep descent and ascent across a valley, before we stumbled into our campsite in the late afternoon.

 

Major Mitchell Plateau – Hike the Best of the Grampians Over 3 Days, Hiking, Multi-Day Hike, Victoria, Tent, Bush Camping, green tent in Victorian bushland

Day 2: First Wannon Hiker Camp – Jimmy Creek Campground

Distance: 15km
Time: 4-5 hours

It was a foggy morning on the plateau when we woke, which unfortunately meant packing up a damp tent and missing the views across the valley for the first couple of kilometres. The track wound across the plateau for the morning, alternating between boardwalks and rock flats.

 

Major Mitchell Plateau – Hike the Best of the Grampians Over 3 Days, Hiking, Multi-Day Hike, Victoria


With only 15 kilometres to cover for the day, and significantly less elevation than the day before, we opted to have a long morning tea-turned-lunch break at Durd Durd campsite, one of the purpose-built Grampians Peaks Trail camping locations. The sun slowly emerged as we dried out our tent and ate through our snack supply.

The final part of the day was a gradual descent down to Jimmy Creek Campground. The weather had completely turned around at this point and we were back to the stunning views the Grampians are known for.

 

Day 3: Jimmy Creek Campground – Borough Huts Campground

Distance: 21km
Time: 5-6 hours

Our final day involved following an old fire trail along the valley north towards Halls Gap. Compared to the tracks we’d covered the previous few days, it was certainly not as interesting or challenging, but made for a pleasant walk through the forest regardless. We even encountered some emus along the track, who were equally startled to see us.

 

Major Mitchell Plateau – See the Best of the Grampians Over 3 Days, Hiking, Multi-Day Hike, Victoria, hiker with blue backpack walking on the Major Mitchell Plateau trail


After a couple of hours of walking, we realised we were making quite good time, so we challenged ourselves to push on to our car so we could grab lunch in town rather than face another bleak rehydrated bean wrap.

Tips For Hiking the Major Mitchell Plateau

  • Check the weather carefully before attempting this hike. It’s not advisable to hike on days with high temperatures in the summer, due to the potential risk of bushfires and the exposed nature of the Grampians ridgelines 
  • Campsites must be booked in advance. The Grampians can be busy during school holidays and long weekends
  • Ensure someone knows where you’re going and your expected return date 

FAQs Major Mitchell Plateau Trail

Where is the Major Mitchell Plateau located?

The trail is located in Gariwerd (Grampians National Park) in Western Victoria, near the town of Halls Gap.

How do you get to the Major Mitchell Plateau?

Car is your best option, with the Grampians National Park being located a 3 hour drive north-west of Melbourne. The starting point for the hike is a 10-minute drive out of town.

When is the Major Mitchell Plateau open?

The Grampians are open all year round. Summer can be hot and exposed on the plateau, and in winter it has been known to snow on the hills.

Is the Major Mitchell Plateau good for beginners?

The trail is Grade 4 and is in a more remote part of the Grampians National Park away from Halls Gap and the popular day trails. Hiking in the Grampians requires rock scrambling and technical trails. It’s recommended for those with previous hiking experience and confidence in navigation.

How long does it take to complete the Major Mitchell Plateau?

The route is 57km and takes 3 days to complete.

 

This piece was brought to you by a real living human who felt the wind in their hair and described their adventure in their own words. This is because we rate authenticity and the sharing of great experiences in the natural world – it’s all part of our ethos here at We Are Explorers. You can read more about it in our Editorial Standards.