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Gulgurn Manja Shelter

Home > Melbourne > Art | Escape the City | National Parks | Outdoor | Walks
by Lyndsey V (subscribe)
I'm an ecologist and writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Also visit me at www.instagram.com/victoriafloraandfauna/
Published November 16th 2019
A short walk to a rock art shelter in the northern Grampians
Tucked away in the very northern tip of the Grampians National Park (Gariwerd) is the Gulgurn Manja Rock Art Shelter. The shelter is reached by a short walking track, which winds gently uphill through the banksia woodland. The art at the shelter includes bars, emu tracks and handprints, many of which were made by children, with the name of the shelter meaning 'hands of the young people'. Signs at the shelter tell visitors about some of the stories of the local Jardwadjali people.

Gulgurn Manja Shelter, rock art, Aboriginal cultural site, Grampians National Park, bushwalk, hiking, walking track
The spectacular view from the rock art shelter across the surrounding plains


The walk to the site is along an out-and-back track, which is well-marked and easy to follow. The walk is 1.5 km return in total.

Gulgurn Manja Shelter, rock art, Aboriginal cultural site, Grampians National Park, bushwalk, hiking, walking track
The signpost from the Hollow Mountain carpark


The walk starts from Hollow Mountain Carpark, located at the very northern end of Mount Zero Road. It's about an 8 km drive from the Western Highway. There are a number of walks that depart from this carpark: the track to the Gulgurn Manja shelter heads off to the left of the carpark area.

Gulgurn Manja Shelter, rock art, Aboriginal cultural site, Grampians National Park, bushwalk, hiking, walking track
Information about the shelter


It's a particularly lovely walk to do in spring, when the beautiful flowers of the Grampians are in full bloom. Look out for orchids and lilies along the side of the track, as well as the spectacular grass trees and heathland shrubs.

Gulgurn Manja Shelter, rock art, Aboriginal cultural site, Grampians National Park, bushwalk, hiking, walking track
The striking Rabbit-ears orchid can often be seen in spring


Along the way the track heads uphill, but the gradient is gentle and the climb is barely noticeable (particularly when stopping to look at wildflowers!).

Gulgurn Manja Shelter, rock art, Aboriginal cultural site, Grampians National Park, bushwalk, hiking, walking track
The track is well-marked and easy to follow


Towards the end of the walk, the track comes out onto a rocky outcrop, which is where the shelter itself is located. The surrounding rocky mountains loom overhead.

Gulgurn Manja Shelter, rock art, Aboriginal cultural site, Grampians National Park, bushwalk, hiking, walking track
The surrounding rocky mountains


These days, the rock art is protected by a cage, but there are small viewing holes to see the pictures. There are also a series of signs that tell visitors about the art, the history of the site, and the local people.

Gulgurn Manja Shelter, rock art, Aboriginal cultural site, Grampians National Park, bushwalk, hiking, walking track
Examples of the rock art at the shelter


It's worth allowing extra time to appreciate the shelter and the art, and to explore the rocky outcrop. There is also a spectacular view across the surrounding plains.

Gulgurn Manja Shelter, rock art, Aboriginal cultural site, Grampians National Park, bushwalk, hiking, walking track
The shelter is protected by a cage


The return to the carpark is via the same route.

If you've got time, there are several other short walks in the northern Grampians, only a short drive away. These include the lovely Beehive Falls walk, and Heatherlie Quarry.
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Why? See rock art in the northern Grampians
When: Any time
Where: Grampians National Park
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Any walk in the Grampians is picturesque but an aboriginal art site is a bit special. Thanks for the article.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|7509) 10 days ago
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