I'm an avid hiker, forest therapy guide and organizer of the Happy When I'm Hiking meetup group. I hope to inspire others with my writing to explore the great outdoors and connect with nature. Subscribe to my page for updates.
Published October 3rd 2016
Keep Calm and Go Hiking in the Grampians
There's no better time to go hiking in the Grampians than spring. And this year was special. With so much rain over the past weeks, our group of "Happy Hikers" expected to see some magnificent waterfalls – and a lot of spring flowers over the long weekend - we were not disappointed.
Our destination was Halls Gap in the Northern part of the Grampians - about 3 hours driving from Melbourne.
Day 1: Chatauqua Peak Arriving early on Friday morning, we decided to check in at the Visitor Center for maps and the latest weather updates. Soon after, we set off on foot towards the oval and onto the track leading to Clematis Falls and Chatauqua Peak.
Clematis Falls was absolutely beautiful! I would highly recommend getting to the Grampians while the waterfalls are at their most majestic. The hike is short but involves a bit of uphill walking and scrambling. So take it easy and stop at the top for a snack to enjoy the views across the ranges.
Returning to Halls Gap via the Grampians Flora Botanic Gardens, we were mesmerized by the gushing streams through the forest, stopping to sit on a bench and take in the atmosphere, lush green vegetation and 'ahhh, the serenity.' It was a magical day!
We settled into our cosy accommodation in the early afternoon before heading off to the Brambuck National Park and Cultural Center. Just a short drive from Halls Gap, the center is a fantastic source of information about the region, culture and significance to the aboriginal communities.
The Fyans Creek Loop walk is a little-known walking track behind the center; an easy 2.5 kilometer walk with great views and lots of wildlife, especially around dusk.
The end to a perfect day was a sumptuous dinner at "The Spirit of Punjab." I would recommend reserving a table as this is a very popular restaurant in Halls Gap. You can either dine in or order take-away.
Tip for accommodation: As it was a long weekend, we booked months ahead through AirBnB.
Day 2: Wonderland Loop On Saturday, we decided to take on the longer Wonderland Loop hike. It is a popular and really great hike, with plenty of breath-taking views and lots of lots of spring flowers. We couldn't help stopping and taking loads of pictures!
Quick fact:Described by the eminent 19th century botanist Ferdinand von Mueller as "the garden of Victoria," the vegetation varies from sub-alpine communities to mountain forest, open woodland to heathland and swamps. About one third of Victoria's indigenous flora can be found in the Grampians and about 20 species are found nowhere else.
The Wonderland Loop is about 10 kilometers and takes about 5 hours to complete. It is the most popular half-day walk that starts and finishes in Halls Gap, offering brilliant views and visits many of the park's main attractions including Grand Canyon, Silent Street, the Pinnacle, Splitters Falls and Venus Baths. This walk is a good option if you only have a day to see the park. I would rate it as a medium hike for novice hikers, and involves some rock scrambling and uneven steps. Best to be prepared with a day pack filled with food and water and always check the weather forecast. There is a shorter option to the Pinnacle from the Wonderland Carpark and the Sundial Carpark.
With a few hours of daylight still left, we could not resist checking out McKenzie Falls – about a half hour drive from Halls Gap. As expected, we were treated to a magnificent display of natures' power - a thundering waterfall rarely witnessed here. It also meant access to the bottom of the falls was closed for safety reasons – but for the most spectacular view, approach the viewing platform from the right-hand fork of the track.
Day 3: Mount Rosea We saved the best for last on our final day in the Grampians; my personal favorite, a hike upto Mount Rosea. Not many people venture out here, but our variation return hike of 9 kms offers the best views across the Grampians. Again, plenty of wildflowers on display. To get to the start of this hike you do need to drive about 20 minutes out of Halls Gap in the direction of Sundial Carpark, heading straight towards Rosea Carpark on the right. Check the map (get these at the Visitor Center) before you head off as it is a one-way road. This is a medium to hard hike, so only consider doing this if you have a good level of fitness.