9 PLACES YOU MUST SEE IN THE GRAMPIANS – AUSTRALIA

MacKenzie Falls, one of the places you must see in The Grampians

9 Places you must see in The Grampians. Everything you need to know about planning the perfect road trip to the Grampians National Park.

The Grampians National Park is one of Victoria’s natural beauties. An easy 3 hours drive west of Melbourne and 5 hours south-east of Adelaide, it is definitely one of those places you need to visit! The national park covers an area of 167,219-hectares, with 5 rugged sandstone ridges running north to south, forming the parks stunning backdrop. The area is famous for its prime bushland, hiking trails, wildlife and waterfalls, making it a nature lovers paradise. It also boasts some of the best preserved Aboriginal rock art in Victoria.

1. Halls Gap

Halls Gap is the first one of the places you must see when you visit the Grampians. As the gateway to the national park, most visitors base themselves here during their stay, due to its accessibility to many of the beautiful viewpoints, waterfalls and hiking trails. The quaint town located in the regions north, has a small selection of places to eat, drink and shop. And there’s a good amount of accommodation to choose from, suiting all budgets.

The town can get extremely busy during holidays and on weekends however, visit mid week off peak, and it’s a very different story! We love the chilled vibe around the town and it’s one of the best places to see native Australian wildlife such as emus, kangaroos, wallabies and kookaburras, just to name a few.

Tip: Kangaroos, emus and even deer can usually be spotted in the fields along Grampians Rd, just past the Big 4 Caravan Park. Listen for the sound of kookaburras laughing in the trees nearby too. And as, always keep your eyes open for the Echidna’s, you’ll never when will just appear!

Echidna in the Grampians

Love wildlife? Don’t miss our Wildlife of the Grampians blog HERE.

2. Reeds Lookout

  • Starting Point: Reeds Lookout car park
  • End Point: Reeds Lookout car park
  • Distance: 20m
  • Time to complete: 15-30min

Reeds Lookout is an easy 13km drive from Halls Gap up a sealed windy road. It offers beautiful views over the Victoria Valley, Victoria Range, Serra Range, Lake Wartook and the Mt Difficult Range. It’s the perfect spot to visit for sunrise or sunset and requires little to no walking to enjoy the spectacular views. Park at the Reeds Lookout car park, take a few steps and you’re there! The lookout is child and wheelchair friendly.

Reeds Lookout at The Grampians

3. The Balconies Lookout

  • Starting Point: Reeds Lookout car park
  • End Point: Reeds Lookout car park
  • Distance: 2km return walk
  • Time to complete: Allow 30-45min

From Reeds Lookout, follow the flat path for an easy stroll to the Balconies Lookout. This spot offers more stunning views, with some cool rock formations jutting out from the cliffs. This is our favourite sunset viewpoint. The path is well maintained, wheelchair accessible and an easy walk for families with children. We saw our first Echidna whilst walking along the path, so keep your eyes peeled.

Balconies Lookout at The Grampians

4. Boroka Lookout

  • Starting Point: Boroka Lookout car park
  • End Point: Boroka Lookout car park
  • Distance: A few metres
  • Time to complete: 15-30min
Boroka Lookout - one of the places you must see in The Grampians

Boroka Lookout is definitely one of the places you must see in the Grampians and hands down our favourite sunrise spot. Located just 15km from Halls Gap in the same direction as Reeds Lookout, the viewing platforms are literally next to the carpark. From Boroka Lookout, you can experience amazing views over Halls Gap and Lake Bellfield, along with Mt William mountain ranges and Wonderland. The viewing platforms are fully accessible for wheelchairs and families with small kids.

Boroka Lookout Sunrise

5. The Pinnacles Walk & Lookout

The Pinnacles walk & lookout offer stunning views over Halls Gap and the Grampians. There are a few different ways to access the lookout and each one varies in difficulty:

The Pinnacles - one of the places you must see in The Grampians
  • Starting Point: The Sundial car park
  • End Point: The Sundial car park
  • Distance: 2.1km return hike
  • Time to complete: Approx 2hr

The Sundial car park is a 13km drive from Halls Gap. This is the easiest, quickest and best trail to take if you have small children with you. Expect some seasonal water crossings and a few rocks to negotiate.

  • Starting Point: Wonderland car park
  • End Point: Wonderland car park
  • Distance: 4.2km return hike
  • Time to complete: Approx 3-4hrs

The Wonderland car park is a 4.7km drive from Halls Gap. This trail is moderate/hard and the first half of the hike is almost entirely uphill. The best time to start this hike is early in the morning, avoiding the heat of the day. The well marked trail leads you through the Grampians ‘Grand Canyon’, typical Australian bushland and the ‘Silent Street’. Take plenty of water and enjoy a picnic lunch with breathtaking views at the top.

The Grand Canyon, one of the places you must see in The Grampians
  • Starting Point: Halls Gap Caravan Park
  • End Point: Halls Gap Caravan Park
  • Distance: 9.6km
  • Time to complete: 5hr + (depending on your fitness)

Hall Gap Caravan Park – The most challenging hike is suitable for experienced hikers. From here, follow the trail to Venus Baths. From Venus Baths, follow the trail to Splitter Falls and onto the Wonderland Carpark. Continue onto the Pinnacles Lookout.

Check out our ‘Best Viewpoints of The Grampian’s HERE

6. The Grand Canyon Loop Walk

  • Starting Point: Wonderland car park
  • End Point: Wonderland car park
  • Distance: 1km return hike
  • Time to complete: 30min

The Grand Canyon loop starts from the Wonderland car park, forming part of the Pinnacle hike. If you’re not keen on hiking all the way to the Pinnacles, this is a nice, much easier alternative. Admire the huge rock formations peering down on you as you stand in the gorge below. Keep an eye out for wallabies that frequent the area.

The Grand Canyon, one of the places you must see in The Grampians

7. Mackenzie Falls

  • Starting Point: Mackenzie Falls car park
  • End Point: Mackenzie Falls car park
  • Distance: 500m-7km *See below
  • Time to complete: 20min-4hrs *See below
MacKenzie Falls, one of the places you must see in The Grampians

Located 19.1km from Halls Gap, MacKenzie Falls is probably the most visited place in the Grampians, especially for families with children. It’s a beautiful spot for picnics (picnic and toilet facilities by the carpark) and a great place to appreciate the surrounding beauty. This iconic waterfall is the only one which flows all year round, making it one of the places you must see in the Grampians. As inviting as the water is, currents can be strong and swimming at the falls is prohibited. It’s worth noting that people have drowned here, there are no lifeguards and no phone signal at the base of the falls. Expect busy visit during holidays and weekends, especially during the summer months. However visit early in the morning on a weekday and you may just have the entire place to yourself!

MacKenzie Falls, one of the places you must see in The Grampians

From the carpark, you have 4 options:

  1. Broken Falls Walk: 500m return walk along paved path. Views of the upper falls from a viewing platform. Child and wheelchair friendly. Allow 15mins.
  2. MacKenzie Falls Lookout Walk: 1.9km return walk to Bluff Lookout, offering views of MacKenzie Falls and the MacKenzie River. Child and wheelchair friendly. Allow 20-40mins.
  3. MacKenzie Falls Walk: 2km return walk involves climbing down 260 steep stairs to the base of the falls. It’s worth the effort and is the best place to admire the power of the water spilling down into the Mackenzie river. Child friendly. Allow 1-1.5hrs.
  4. MacKenzie River Walk: 7km return hike along the Mackenzie river through eucalyptus forest (4km return walk to Fish Falls). Water crossings and rock hopping/scrambling may be required. Allow 3-4hrs.

8. Mount William

  • Starting Point: Mount William car park
  • End Point: Mount William car park
  • Distance: 4km return hike
  • Time to complete: 1.5-2hr with time at the top

Mount William is located 21km from Halls Gap and is the Grampians tallest peak at 1167m. From the Mt William carpark, follow the steep sealed road to the top, where you’ll be rewarded with 360° views over the Grampians rugged plains. You can visit Mt William any time of day, however, there is little shade, so we recommend visiting early morning or evening, when it’s not so hot. The light at these times are generally nicer for photos, to which there are endless opportunities.

Epic view from Mount William

9. Hollow Mountain

  • Starting Point: Mount Hollow car park
  • End Point: Mount Hollow car park
  • Distance: 2.2km return hike
  • Time to complete: 2hrs

Hollow Mountain is one of our favourite hikes and is definitely be one of the places you must see in the Grampians National Park. From the carpark, the route is marked by small painted arrows, but it can get a bit confusing at times, so pay attention to where you are going. We’d rate this hike is moderate-hard and suitable for people with a reasonable fitness level. There’s some scrambling and rock hopping over slippery surfaces, with lots of areas to explore along the way. At the summit, you will be rewarded with views over the Wimmera Plains and Stapylton Amphitheatre. From Halls Gap, it’s 36km to the carpark via Mt Zero road (mostly dirt track which can be rough and slow going), or around 55kms via sealed roads (2 main routes available).

Epic views from Hollow Mountain The Grampians one of the places you must see in The Grampians

Getting to/from and around

To get to all of the places you must see in the Grampians, you will need a car. Most of the attractions are too far from Halls Gap to walk to and there are no local buses operating from Halls Gap. By driving, you will be able to experience all of the above and at your own pace.

Regional buses do operate from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to Halls Gap, but once you arrive, you will be limited as to what you can see and do.

If driving isn’t an option, you may consider jumping on an organised tour instead. This is the next best way to experience the Grampians, with companies departing from Melbourne and Adelaide. But bear in mind, you will be on a schedule and travelling with a group of people.

Accommodation

Halls Gap is the gateway to the Grampians and there are quite a lot of accommodation options to choose from. We have stayed at both of the below and were happy with both options:

Grampians YHA Eco Hostel – Great budget option with dorms, private rooms shared ablutions, kitchens and common area. Very helpful staff.

Grampians View Cottages and Units – Great budget option with fully self contained units/cottages. Very helpful staff.

How much time do you need

Time is an important factor when planning a trip to the Grampians National Park. With some early mornings and a little hustle, you can get to all of the places you must see in the Grampians in 2 full days. Having said that, 3 full days would allow you to move at a more leisurely pace. There are plenty more hikes and places to visit in the Grampians, so if you like the outdoors, you could easily allow 4-5 days in the area to explore.

Best time to visit

The summer months of December – February offer the warmest temperatures and are considered the best time to visit the Grampians National Park by many. This is also the peak season, particularly school holidays from mid-December to end of January and is also the busiest time to visit.

Early Spring and early Autumn in our opinion is a better time to visit, as there are less crowds yet still nice weather. Winter usually brings cold, rainy and windy days and can be unpleasant time to visit. Having said that, Victoria’s weather is temperamental and can change without warning!

Try to avoid weekends, particularly in peak season, as these areas will be much, much busier. If you have flexibility in your schedule, check the weather forecast in advance and try to plan around the rain and wind!

Essential information and packing tips

  • Drive carefully, especially at dawn and dusk as Roo’s and Wallabies are particularly active. Use some common sense. These bouncy creatures can jump in front of your car in a split second. ‘Reduce your speed by 10 km an hour and reduce your risk of hitting wildlife by 20%!’ Wildlife Victoria.
  • During the summer months, bushfires can occur. For details on bushfire activity click HERE
  • Some of the roads are unsealed. You will need to drive much slower on these roads, so allow extra time.
  • Take some warm clothes and wet weather gear. The weather can change very quickly here and it can get very wet and windy.
  • Take sturdy shoes. If it has been raining, the trails will be muddy and slippery.
  • Take a refillable water bottle and do your bit to minimise plastic waste, as well as saving the pennies.
  • Pack Reef-friendly sunscreen. The Australian sun is brutal.
  • Don’t forget a hat and sunnies
  • Charge you camera batteries/phone.

Safety in the Grampians

A lot of the best viewpoints of the Grampians have some very steep drop offs, so use common sense and look where you’re going. There are now fences surrounding some of the most popular viewpoints. Be extra careful when climbing around on rocks, as they may be unstable, which is of course at your own risk.

If you’re thinking of doing some of the hikes in the area, particularly the longer ones, make sure you plan and prepare for them. Visit Grampians has more information.

If you’ve read our ‘Wildlife of the Grampians‘ guide you’ll know there is a lot of truly amazing native wildlife in this area. So when you’re driving from viewpoint to viewpoint, particularly around dusk and dawn please drive carefully and slowly.


Planning a trip to the Grampians? Don’t miss more Grampian and other guides on awesome Victorian destinations:

16 Stops along the Great Ocean Road

Wildlife & waterfalls of the Great Otway National Park

Best viewpoints of the Grampians

Wildlife of the Grampians

A guide to the You Yangs

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