The Pinnacle in Gariwerd (Grampians National Park) is one of the best viewpoints and hikes near Melbourne.

 

Highlights

  • Explore the Grand Canyon, Silent Street and the Pinnacle
  • Water-crossing, rock hopping, and waterfalls
  • Expansive views over Halls Gap and the Grampians National Park 

 

From the craggy mountain peaks, verdant valleys, and ancient rock art, to the olden mountains bathed in the gentle light of sunrise. There’s something so special about The Pinnacle that keeps you coming back again and again.

A Sunrise Hike Up The Pinnacle

A 4.30am alarm sees us rub sleep from our eyes as we crawl out of the swag to the car and head towards the Wonderland car park. We start our hike to The Pinnacle under a blanket of stars, our head torches lighting the way. It’s a leg-burning climb as we scramble across ragged rocks and hunt for trail markers. I curse myself for not taking the easier, quicker route from the Sundial car park instead.

The warble of bush birds float all around us as they begin to wake, warning us that daybreak isn’t far away. Through heavy breaths we power to the top and wait, wrapped in beanies and blankets. 

Suddenly, an explosion of reds and oranges dance across the sky. As the sun sits itself on the horizon, the colours fade to fairy floss pink in the sky. Gold rays blanket the cliffs and valley below. The trees shake the frost from their leaves and the forest wakes for another glorious day.

The Best View in The Grampians

The Pinnacle is without a doubt the best view in the Grampians National Park, or Gariwerd as is its traditional name, given to it by the local Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung people. 

For non-hikers, or those after a more accessible walk, start at the Sundial car park. Level up your bushwalking skills with some beginner rock hopping and water crossings. This is the quickest (and flattest) path to The Pinnacle via the ominously named, but not all that scary, Devils Gap. You can stop in at Lakeview Lookout on your way back too for an alternative view over Lake Bellfield.

 

The Pinnacle – Grampians National Park's Best View, jaime wilson, grampians national park, gariwerd, victoria, sunrise

 

For those who love a challenge, or sore legs, there’s an alternative trail from the Wonderland car park, which links to the Wonderland Loop trail at the Grand Canyon – not quite as impressive as the US version, but still cool.

 

The Pinnacle – Grampians National Park's Best View, jaime wilson, grampians national park, gariwerd, victoria, canyon

 

The trail soon becomes a steep rock scramble, passing by Aboriginal rock art and Bridal Veil Falls before reaching Silent Street, an eerie, narrow rocky gorge and then on to The Pinnacle.  

 

The Pinnacle – Grampians National Park's Best View, jaime wilson, grampians national park, gariwerd, victoria, waterfall

 

If you can handle an early start, pack your head torch and a very warm jumper and begin your walk an hour before first light to ensure you make it for the most impressive sunrise of your life. 

No matter which way you go, make sure you keep an eye out for arrows, sometimes painted on the rocks to keep you on the right path. Whichever path you take, the views from The Pinnacle will surely blow your mind.

A note on safety: Although it’s tempting to climb over barriers for photos, it risks your life, the lives of rescue services who may have to rescue you, and the lives of others who follow your example. You don’t need a photo on the edge, just enjoy the view!

Essential Gear

  • Good, sturdy shoes
  • Camera
  • Water
  • Warm clothes and a head torch for sunrise/sunset missions

How To Get There

Halls Gap is 3 hours from Melbourne via Ararat. 

From Halls Gap, take Mt Victory Rd up into the mountains. For Sundial car park turn left at Silverband Rd and left again at Sundial Rd.

For Wonderland car park, turn left off Mt Victory Rd onto Wonderland Road and follow to the end.

Skill Level

From Sundial car park: Beginner – The trail has some seasonal water crossings and rock-hopping.  

From Wonderland car park: Intermediate – This trail has steep rocky areas which can be slippery in the wet.

Distance / Elevation / Duration

From Sundial car park: 4.2km return / 110m / 2 hours

From Wonderland car park: 4km return / 280m / 3 hours