15 Ways to Fill a Weekend Away in the Grampians
Posted by Stephanie Mikkelsen on Thursday, May 24, 2018
Wild and rugged, breathtaking and unforgettable; the Grampians landscape offers its visitors a rich tapestry of sights, sips and spectacular ways to fill a weekend itinerary.
No matter if you’re travelling with friends, family or just one other, there are pursuits throughout the Grampians that will guarantee you get the most out of this beautiful region in Victoria’s west. So if you’re the kind that loves to pre-plan a weekend away, we have pulled together 15 ways to fill the hours between morning and night. There are activities for outdoorsy types, gourmet-lovers, families and loved-up duos. Cherry-pick the ideas that take your fancy and bookmark this round up for future reference.
For the Nature Lover
Chase waterfalls at Mackenzie Falls
Admire water thunder over the crest of Mackenzie Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria. The beauty of the waterfall can be admired from two vantage points: the base where a fine mist hangs in the air, or the lookout point at the top of the cliffs. From the car park, visitors can take the one-kilometre path to the viewing platform, or tackle the more challenging 30-minute trail that leads to the base pool.
Watch sunrise from Boroka Lookout
Tear yourself away from the cosy depths of your bed to watch the sunrise from Boroka Lookout. The walk from carpark to lookout platform is only five minutes and there are two viewing points to choose from. Expect to gaze across panoramas extending from Halls Gap, the Wonderland Range, Mt William Range and Fyans Valley.
Take in the views at the Pinnacle
Get your blood pumping with the trek up to the Pinnacle Lookout from Halls Gap. There are two options for walkers: an easy-to-medium route that leaves from the Sundial Carpark, or the more difficult ascent departing from Wonderland Carpark. Any huffing and puffing is well rewarded once you reach the summit; incredible views sweeping across Halls Gap and the wider Grampians landscape.
Image: The Pinnacle. Robert Blackburn; Visit Victoria
For the Romantics
Cheers to sunset at the Balconies
Romance and sunsets are a match made in heaven and the Balconies in Grampians National Park offer once of the best perches for watching the sun sink into the horizon. Reach the Balconies from Reeds Lookout – it comes in at a two-kilometre walk – and remember to take a torch to help you navigate the route back to your car.
Image: The Balconies, Grampians National Park. Robert Blackburn; Visit Victoria
Graze on a picnic at One Tree Hill
Another lookout point, another spectacular sight. Enjoy the vista from One Tree Hill Lookout with your special someone, packing a picnic to graze on as you look over Ararat Hills Regional Park and Mount Langi Ghiran. Couples can drive up to the lookout, or those fond of more active pursuits can make the near 10-kilometre round trip from Ararat by foot.
For the Whole Family
Get wild at Halls Gap Zoo
Home to native Australian mammals, exotic birdlife and even a primate or two, Halls Gap Zoo is Victoria’s largest regional zoo. As well as giving families the chance to roam between habitats housing Tasmanian devils, ostriches, elk and giraffes, visitors to the zoo can get involved with meerkat, reptile and dingo encounters. Animal lovers can also play at being a zookeeper for a morning. (Additional costs required).
Cool off along the Venus Baths Look Walk
The Venus Baths Loop Walk is an easy meander located at the edge of the Botanical Gardens. The path takes walkers to a freshwater lake and a network of rock pools – some with slides. A dip in these pools is the perfect respite from warm weather. The circuit to and from Venus Baths takes about an hour.
Image: Venus Baths Loop Walk. Julian Kingma; Visit Victoria
Have dinner on the banks of Lake Fyans
Be it a serve of fish and chips, a packed dinner or a buffet of your favourite antipasti fixings; all options make an enjoyable feast when savoured from a perch on the banks of Lake Fyans. A paddle in the lake is a great pre-dinner activity and will help work up an appetite.
For the Culture Vultures
Gawk at art at Hamilton Gallery
The collection at Hamilton Gallery encompasses more than 8000 pieces covering ceramics, paintings, Asian art, prints and contemporary work. A calendar of curated exhibitions and collections changes annually, and groups can also pre-arrange guided tours of the gallery.
Drive between outdoor works along Silo Art Trail
Explore a gallery of a different kind by bundling into the car and discovering sections of the outdoor, 200 kilometre-long Silo Art Trail. The route weaves through the Wimmera/Mallee region, taking visitors between small country towns to catch a first-hand glimpse of an art project that transformed humdrum silos into glorious works of art.
For the Foodies
Vineyard hop between cellar doors
The Grampians isn’t just a landscape of hills and peaks; it is strewn with rows of vines too. Purse your lips around a glass of the Grampians’ finest by making a day of touring local cellar doors such as Mount Langhi Giran, Pomonal Estate, Mountainside Wines, Grampians Estate and Seppelt. So you don’t have to relegate someone in your group to role of designated driver, book a place on a winery tour.
Image: Mount Langhi Ghiran Winery. Robert Blackburn; Visit Victoria
Savour the taste of degustation dining
The Royal Mail Hotel is a juggernaut of the Grampians’ fine dining scene. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Wickens at Royal Mail, is fresh from a recent facelift but still delivers outstanding degustation dining to its guests. Menus are five or eight courses and feature many ingredients from the hotels’ kitchen garden. Hardcore oenophiles will swoon for the 28,000 bottle-strong wine cellar.
Stock up on pantry staples
Get a flavour for local Grampians produce by paying a visit to the farm gate at Red Rock Olives. The olives harvested from the grove are turned into award-winning extra virgin oil, table olives, olive salt and vinegars. There is also an onsite café.
For the Thrill Seekers
Scale new heights or just hang about
What better way to see the Grampians’ glorious peaks than scaling down the face of one? Hook yourself up with ropes and harnesses to descend cliff faces throughout Grampians National Park or Mount Arapiles. Look to companies such as Hangin' Out or Grampians Mountain Adventure Co. to help you out.
Image: Grand Canyon in Grampians National Park. Robert Blackburn; Visit Victoria
Come down with the chills
Thought thrills all had to be of the adventure sport variety? The hairs on the back of your neck will surely stand up as you venture into Aradale Asylum with a ghost tour. Once known as Ararat Lunatic Asylum, these ghost tours take inquisitive visitors through the halls and wards of a century-old institution. Those especially prone to frights will be relieved to learn that all tours are conducted during the day.