This week in Forte’s travel guide, the gorgeous Grampians are in the spotlight; a serenity awaiting your escape.
Soaring high above the west Victorian plains, the Grampians (Gariwerd) are a series of rugged, sandstone mountain ranges rich with forestry, wildlife, waterfalls, and adventure; all to be uncovered in this edition of the Forte travel guide.
Being one of Victoria’s most popular holiday destinations, the national park is the ultimate venue for camping, rock climbing, scenic drives, bushwalks, and nature study. Visit Grampians further highlights the network of walking tracks being perfect to explore the cascading waterfalls such as the magnificent MacKenzie Falls, brilliant spring wildflower displays, and panoramic views from lookouts such as the spectacular Boroka lookout.
Gariwerd is also home to over 80% of Victoria’s Indigenous rock art sites, one of the largest cultural destinations in Southern Australia. Brambuk hosts the national park and cultural centre, where the Dreamtime story of Gariwerd’s creation, as well as important heritage significance, is educated.
Halls Gap is one of the most popular destinations for holiday-makers as the village is nestled in the heart of the ranges and central to a plethora of activities. Stunning views are on offer with a variety of hiking options nearby, as well as inquisitive wildlife roaming nearby. Rock-climbing, abseiling, 4×4 driving and quad bike opportunities rest nearby, as well as the town being a short drive away from Lake Bellfield, Lonsdale, Fyans, and Wartook for canoers, fishers, and birdwatchers also. For the littlies, Halls Gap Zoo has over 160 native and wild animals on offer; as well as adults being able to sip and savour the region on a Grampians Wine Tour experience leaving from Halls Gap.
The Spirit of Punjab is Halls Gap’s award-winning, fully licensed Indian restaurant and takeaway with over 90 authentic dishes on offer. For dessert, the Gelato Guys have a range of sweet, frozen treats on offer, ready to tickle any tastebuds. The Halls Gap Hotel is the local watering hole with refreshing drinks for all to enjoy and a playground for children. We wouldn’t dare leave it out; the Halls Gap Bakery is the inaugural vanilla slice winner and freshly make all sweets, pies, bread, and more on the premise.
The Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park allows you to rest up for the night in amongst the bush scenery with both powered sites and cabins on offer and a heated pool.
Head a half an hour drive away from Halls Gap and you will land at luxury accommodation hotspot Meringa Springs. Deemed to be one of the world’s accommodation hot spots, Moringa Springs is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Boasting double showers, double spa baths, kingsized beds, a gourmet restaurant, and an infinity-edge swimming pool to relax in whilst enjoying the panoramic views of the Wartook Valley, Meringa Springs is a go-to for luxury stays.
Down south we have Dunkeld, a charming, historic holiday destination. Dunkeld rests at the southern tip of the Grampians and is easily accessible, even being the finishing destination for those braving the Grampians Peaks Trail.
In Dunkeld, dining options are aplenty. The Royal Mail Hotel is regularly voted one of the best dining destinations in Australia, whilst also offering accommodation to visitors also. Deluxe mountain view rooms or cottages are available for nature-loves to rest easy in nature, as well as a variety of luxury rooms on offer. Koopmans is another must-see destination for foodies; the trendy art-space cafe offering the best coffee and brunch in the Grampians.
For something a little unique, Gerad Murphy Furniture is a fascinating timber workshop gallery crafted from a range of fine, sustainably-harvested Australian cabinet timbers. Or check out the Dunkeld Arboretum, showcasing a living collection of the world’s trees on 18 hectares of pure beauty. With a stunning view of Mt Abrupt in the background, the sunset over Dunkeld is set to impress.
A must see
If you’ve got time, we highly recommend making a trip to the country town of Dimboola, which is about an hour and a 20-minute drive from Halls Gap.
Just by the Western Highway, north Dimboola and Little Desert National Park, you’ll find one of Victoria’s prettiest pink salt lakes – Loch Iel Pink Lake. The lake’s naturally pink colour comes from microscopic salt-loving algae. Colour intensity changes depending on temperature and the amount of water in the lake. In dry conditions more light reflects off the salt crystals.
Go for a walk and snap some photos of the amazing landscape or find shade under yellow gumtrees and paperbarks and tuck in for the prettiest picnic of your life. Just look for signs off the A8 to the rest area and Loch Iel (Pink Lake) Lake Reserve. You can thank us later.
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There is an endless array of things to do, places to go, and sights to see across the 1,672 square kilometres of sheer beauty, awaiting your summer escape.
For more options and info regarding your Grampians stay, head here.