But not everyone has the time, ability or inclination for the Grampian's more challenging walks, which can be rocky, long and steep. However, there are also plenty of short walks. These take visitors to a variety of scenic and fascinating places, including rock art shelters, historical features, waterfalls, and lookouts with stunning views.
Here are five of the best short walks in the northern Grampians. All are less than 3 km long and are relatively flat and easy to follow. These walks can all be reached by car on day trips from Halls Gap, along Mt Zero, Mt Victory and Roses Gap roads.
Always check conditions (e.g. road closures, fire danger etc) before you walk. A great place for current information and to pick up maps is the Halls Gap Information Centre.
1. Beehive Falls: approx. 2.8 km return. Highlight: Picturesque waterfall and rockpool
Beehive Falls is a very pretty waterfall, cascading down a fern-lined rock face into a lovely rock pool below. It's an out-and-back walk along a well-marked gravel trail. From the carpark, located off Roses Gap road, the track follows alongside Mud Hut Creek, with a gentle incline heading towards the falls. At the end of the walk, there are some steps and a short rock scramble to get to the waterfall itself. It's a tranquil spot to sit and relax.
The lovely Beehive Falls cascading down the rock face
2. Gulgurn Manja Rock Art Shelter: approx. 1.5 km return Highlight: Aboriginal rock art and history
Gulgurn Manja Rock Art Shelter is located at the northern end of Mt Zero Road. It's another out-and-back walk, with the trail heading gently uphill to the rock shelter. The shelter itself has a range of rock art, including handprints made by children. It's a great walk to learn about the local Jardwadjali people and to reflect on the culture and heritage of the site and the broader Grampians region. The views from near the shelter across the surrounding plains are also impressive.
3. MacKenzie Falls Lookout: approx. 1.9 km return Highlight: Spectacular views of MacKenzie Falls
MacKenzie Falls is one of the Grampian's most well-known attractions. The walk to the base of the walls is very steep and involves lots of steps. However, there is also a much easier and flatter option that gives visitors great views of the waterfall and its multiple cascades from a lookout up above. The walk is along a sealed wheelchair-friendly track, which winds through lovely bushland.
The sealed walking path along the MacKenzie Falls lookout walk
4. The Balconies: approx. 2 km return Highlight: Stunning views
The view from The Balconies is one of the most spectacular in the Grampians. At just two kilometres return, the walk is well worth the effort. The out-and-back track starts from the Reeds Lookout carpark off Mt Victory Road.
The walk to the lookout is also interesting. From the carpark, the track passes over a large flat rocky area with views of Lake Wartook, and then meanders through lovely bushland, dotted with wildflowers in spring. The views at the end of the walk are breath-taking, across vast valleys and mountain ranges to the south.
The view from The Balconies is one of the best in the Grampians (see photo above), but also look out for wildflowers and orchids (such as this Donkey Orchid) in spring along the way
On the day I was there a flock of yellow-tailed black cockatoos flew across the valley below, their calls echoing off the rock formations. According to Parks Victoria, it's a great spot for photographing autumn sunsets and misty mornings.
5. Heatherlie Quarry: approx. 2.8 km return Highlights: Spring wildflowers and Grampians history
Heatherlie Quarry is one of the best places in the Grampians to see spring wildflowers. The track winds through beautiful heathy woodland with a dazzling array of native plants, including orchids. It's a wildflower photography delight. The carpark is located on Mt Zero Road, south of Roses Gap Road.
It's also a fascinating historical site. Heatherlie Quarry was an active sandstone quarry in the late 1800s, supplying materials for many buildings in Melbourne (including Parliament House!) and nearby towns such as Stawell. There are plenty of historical remnants, including old buildings, railway tracks and quarry equipment. The interpretive signage is excellent, and visitors can learn lots about the quarry and its history and people.
Follow the trail through Heatherlie 'township' to see lots of wildflowers, and the planned layout of the streets
The walking track is flat and easy to follow. After visiting the main historical site, take the meandering track that winds its way through the Heatherlie 'township' (complete with road names!) to see more of the surrounding native bushland.
The area around Heatherlie Quarry is a wildflower delight in spring