Robert Blackburn
Victoria
GrampiansSpend a night in the Grampians and watch the sunset over craggy peaks and vast valleys, in the morning you'll be welcomed by dozens of kangaroos bathing in the early sunlight...
The rugged mountain ranges of the Grampians National Park mark the centre of the Grampians region and rise out of the rural plains of the Wimmera in north-west Victoria. The impressive ranges are renowned for their unspoilt natural beauty and lookouts with stunning panoramic views, picturesque waterfalls, ancient Aboriginal rock art, colourful wildflower displays and abundant native wildlife. The region offers ample opportunity for outdoor pursuits, including some of the finest walking in Victoria. The Grampians is one of the main centres for rock climbing and abseiling, boasting challenging and easier climbs on various rock faces, including the famed Mt Arapiles. Other popular activities include fishing and canoeing in the region's system of inland lakes and rivers. Wine buffs are spoiled for choice on the Great Grape Road, with the region home to some of the world's oldest vines. Renowned wineries such as Seppelt, Best's, Mt Langi Ghiran and Montara offer tastings at cellar doors. There's also an abundance of local produce from ewe's milk, cheese and olives to locally sourced beef and lamb. The Royal Mail Hotel has made Dunkeld a renowned gastronomic destination. The town of Halls Gap is tucked in the heart of the Grampians National Park with wonderful views of the Wonderland Range and Mt William Range, while other locations like Pomonal and Wartook Valley are great bases for discovering the park. Explore the historic gold rush towns like Ararat, known for the Gum San Museum that reveals the history of Chinese gold miners, or Stawell, home of the prestigious annual Stawell Gift foot race. The agricultural towns of Horsham and Hamilton are known for their gardens, galleries and museums, and there are many smaller villages to explore on your way around the region. The Grampians region is three hours from Melbourne on the Western Freeway.
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Royal Mail Hotel
Royal Mail Hotel is designed to capture the stunning beauty of the Southern Grampians. The property features sweeping views, multi-award-winning dining and cellar, bars, quality accommodation, luxury corporate retreat and wedding facilities for the ultimate destination wedding or celebration. The hotel features two restaurants, the two-hatted Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel, open Wednesday to Saturday evenings and for lunch on Saturday, and Parker Street Project - casual diner, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days. Hotel accommodation ranges from Deluxe Mountain View rooms, apartments and shared houses. The Mount Sturgeon Station, located just five minutes from the hotel site offers alternative accommodation in eight fully restored 1840's bluestone cottages, or the Mount Sturgeon Homestead, a six-bedroom colonial homestead. with rolling lawns and stunning mountain views. Hotel activities include regular guided tours of the Royal Mail Kitchen Garden, wine cellar (including comparative tastings) and native animal enclosures. Self-guided private walking tracks are also available. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel - excluding Mt Sturgeon Cottages.
Best's Wines Great Western
Founded in 1866 in the Great Western wine region of Victoria, Best's Great Western is one of Australia's oldest continually family-owned and operated wineries. Best's is known to have some of the oldest vines in Australia and produces extraordinary wines with great longevity. Throughout the history of the winery, there have only been two owners, the Best family who founded the winery, and the Thomson Family with a fifth-generation Thomson is now running the winery. The Stables Cellar Door is a great place to taste the wines before experiencing the original underground cellar on their self-guided tour. Best's Great Western is located in the township of Great Western and it is an absolute must for any wine fancier. Few wineries are as historic or as atmospheric. The wines are excellent, with outstanding Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, savoury Dolcetto, and fresh Pinot Meunier among the reds, and top-quality Riesling and Chardonnay. Occasional specials, available only from the Cellar Door, are an added incentive to visit.
Billimina Rock Art Site - Wartook Valley
Billimina shelter is an impressive rock overhang where Jardwadjali camped from time to time and left many red paintings. Archaeologists who excavated this site in 1976 found stone tools and the remains of plant and animal foods. These materials demonstrated that groups camped here from late winter to early summer and caught kangaroos and small mammals such as bandicoots, possums and bettongs. They also collected emu eggs and freshwater mussels. The most interesting aspect of the paintings at Billimina is the many bars arranged in horizontal rows. We believe these marks were used to count events in retelling stories or to record the number of days spent at a place. While they are sometimes difficult to see, there are also emus, kangaroo and emu tracks, and 55 human stick figures painted here. Some of the human figures found in the middle panel are illustrated above, see if you can find them.
Halls Gap
Base yourself in the heart of Victoria's Grampians National Park at Halls Gap and choose between a relaxing getaway or wilderness adventures. Set at the foot of the Wonderland and Mount William ranges, Halls Gap boasts an array of local stores, galleries and yoga retreats, as well as companies offering adventure activities and tours. Set up camp in the wild or settle into your luxury eco-cabin and soak up the stunning bushland scenery. The MacKenzie Falls and Beehive Falls are both a short drive away from Halls Gap, and the nearby Bellfield, Lonsdale, Fyans and Wartook Lakes offer opportunities for canoeing, fishing and birdwatching. Rock climbing and abseiling opportunities abound in the Grampians National Park, as well as four-wheel driving, horse riding and quad biking adventures. Explore the many walking tracks around town. With a total of over 160 kilometres of routes to choose from, you're bound to find one that appeals. For sweeping views of Western Victoria, walk up to The Pinnacle and for a family-friendly climb, follow the track from the Sundial Carpark to the Pinnacle via Devil's Gap. See Australian native animals and birdlife while out on the trail, or visit the Halls Gap Zoo where you'll find over 130 species of native and exotic animals, from kangaroos and koalas to crocodiles, snakes and dingoes. Gariwerd is the traditional name for the Grampians, and Brambuk - the National Park and Cultural Centre is the perfect starting point for learning about the local indigenous culture. Discover ancient oven mounds, scatterings of stone left over from tool making, rock art sites and the beliefs handed down from one generation to the next. Take a guided tour from Halls Gap to the Aboriginal rock art shelters that are open to the public. Time your visit to catch the Grampians Jazz Festival in February, the Grampians Grape Escape in May, or the annual Run The Gap event, also in May. Halls Gap is 262 kilometres north-west of Melbourne on the Western Highway.
Auswalk Walking Holidays
The highlights of an Auswalk walking holiday go far beyond exploring the iconic landmarks that you are going to experience on the track. Auswalk allows you to discover Australia's greatest landscapes in comfort. You will be carrying only a day pack as your luggage is transferred on to your next accommodation while you progress along the track. Arrive each evening to your next comfortable accommodation, ready to enjoy another display of the local produce. Rest assured that a wine list will also never be too far away. On group guided trips you will travel with a group of like-minded people, accompanied by two professional guides allowing for the flexibility of easier and harder walk options. For the ultimate adventure and flexibility, Auswalk's self-guided inn-to-inn trips allow you to walk any day in the season, with your own group of two or more people. You will still enjoy their full support as you progress along the track from one accommodation to the next with luggage transfers, marked maps and detailed walk notes.
Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park
Mount Arapiles is a spectacular feature, rising sharply from the Wimmera plains to form part of the Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park. Mount Arapiles, widely regarded as the top rock climbing area in Australia, is of world renown. More than 2000 routes have been developed on the many cliffs, crags and pinnacles, presenting variety and challenge to climbers of all levels of experience. Aboriginal Traditional Owners Parks Victoria acknowledges the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Victoria - including its parks and reserves. Through their cultural traditions, Aboriginal people maintain their connection to their ancestral lands and waters. Before you go Conditions can change in parks for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the relevant park page on the Parks Victoria website. Be bushfire ready in the great outdoors. Refer to the Bushfire Safety section on the Parks Victoria website for tips on how to stay safe.
Dunkeld
Experience the stunning scenery and inspired cuisine of Dunkeld, a picturesque village on the edge of the southern Grampians with views of the Great Dividing Range. Marvel at the imposing mounts Sturgeon and Abrupt, explore the Arboretum and have a meal at the award-winning Royal Mail Hotel. For fine mountain views and innovative cuisine to boot, book a table at the Dunkeld Royal Mail Hotel – winner of two hats from The Age Good Food Guide. Taste the flavours of the Grampians through the creative menu incorporating fresh, locally grown produce and signature regional wines. Walk off your indulgences by following one of the Mount Sturgeon and Mount Abrupt walking tracks and take in panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Take the Piccaninny Walk for a brisk workout or enjoy a slow wander through the Arboretum's walking track and be inspired by the native flora and serene billabongs. Work on your swing at the Grampians Golf Course and visit during the Discover Dunkeld Festival in October to join in the celebration of the town's history, culture, food and wine. The Dunkeld Cup in November is another great chance to get together with locals and visitors for a day of horse racing, fashion and music. Soothe body and soul with a few days at the Griffin Hill Health Retreat, a sanctuary of yoga, meditation and healthy food. Dunkeld is 253 kilometres west of Melbourne or around three hours by car via the Glenelg Highway.
Seppelt Wines - Great Western
A visit to the Grampians is not complete without a trip to the region’s original winemaking pioneers at Seppelt Great Western. Open seven days a week, experience the beauty of country Victoria at the historic cellar door for a tasting or to purchase wine, coffee, a light lunch or cheese platter, and step back in time underground with a tour of the heritage-listed cellars, The Drives – first excavated in 1868 and the longest in the southern hemisphere.
Grampians National Park
Rising abruptly from the surrounding Western Plains, the Grampians (Gariwerd) is a series of rugged sandstone mountain ranges and forests rich in wildlife. One of Victoria's most popular holiday destinations, the park is a great venue for camping, climbing, scenic drives, bushwalks and nature study. A network of walking tracks throughout the park allows you to explore cascading waterfalls, brilliant spring wildflower displays, and panoramic views from lookouts. Drive to Reeds and Boroka lookouts for spectacular views or visit the magnificent MacKenzie Falls. The area has a rich Aboriginal heritage and a number of important rock art sites. Aboriginal Traditional Owners Parks Victoria acknowledges the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Victoria - including its parks and reserves. Through their cultural traditions, Aboriginal people maintain their connection to their ancestral lands and waters. Before you go Conditions can change in parks for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the relevant park page on the Parks Victoria website. Be bushfire ready in the great outdoors. Refer to the Bushfire Safety section on the Parks Victoria website for tips on how to stay safe.
Brambuk - The National Park & Cultural Centre
Brambuk - The National Park and Cultural Centre is a special place. Situated in Halls Gap within the natural oasis that is Grampians Gariwerd, it is the perfect place to experience Australia's native flora and fauna and Aboriginal culture. The site incorporates the National Park information and Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural centres. Brambuk - The National Park and Cultural Centre is 100 per cent owned and operated by Aboriginal people and is the longest-running Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Australia. Its multi-award-winning architecture interprets the traditional stories of the local Aboriginal people. Discover the culture of the Aboriginal communities of Western Victoria through multimedia shows, art exhibitions, artefact displays, cultural talks and lots of great activities such as didgeridoo music, traditional dance, basket weaving, boomerang throwing and painting. Discover the unique six seasons of Gariwerd through the displays or join the Aboriginal guides on tours to ancient rock art sites and experience the secrets of the natural world. Brambuk Gift Shop offers art and crafts, ceramics, paintings, boomerangs and music. The Bush Tucker Café is licensed and serves delicious bush tucker and contemporary food.
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