Victoria's Silo Art Trail Weekend Don't Miss Out! 1

Victoria’s Silo Art Trail – Don’t Miss Out!

Need inspiration for a weekend getaway from Melbourne? The Victoria Silo Art Trail is packed with fantastic art work and history. Get up close and personal to these monumental silo paintings which are truly fascinating and also give an insight into rural life in Australia.

Quick Index

Think you can tell apart a Monet from a Manet, a Van Gogh from a Gaugain? Well, you won’t have to on the Victoria Silo Art Trail because the massive grain silos have been painted by local Australian artists! Go and visit the countryside towns and inject some cash into the rural communities this weekend. 


Where are the Victoria Art silos located?

Situated about 2.5 hours drive from the city of Melbourne in the state of Victoria. The first town is called Goorambat. Even though it is called officially the North East Victoria Silo Art Trail, the first town with a silo is Goorambat.


How to get to the Victoria Art silos

You really need a car to get around the small rural towns to see all the artworks. They’re not as close together as they look on a map. They’re definitely not within walking distance of each other either.


Map of the Victoria Silo Art Trail

It is best to download this map from the Benalla Tourism office.

North East Victoria Silo ARt Trail map only1invillage courtesy of Bennalla Tourism
Download this handy map of the North East Victoria Silo Art Trail to your phone.

Incidentally, before you embark on the Victoria Silo Art Trail, you should stop off in the town of Benalla. At the local Art Gallery, which is free, there is also an excellent coffee shop. An attached gift shop, is also a chance to buy a unique Australian souvenir.

Benalla Art Gallery Vic is free Only1invillage
Stop off at Benalla Art Gallery if you have time. It’s free and there’s a great coffee shop inside.

Outside the art gallery, along the river, there are also some interesting Gaudi-esque type installations which are worth a look. Plus, the town itself has lots of wall murals to discover.

NedKellyBenalla wall mural Only1invillage
Pick up your Silo Art Trail map in the town of Benalla, which has its own murals. The famous bandit Ned Kelly is depicted by artist Dvate. There is a Ned Kelly museum in Benalla where you can learn about Australia’s most notorious bandit. 

What you’ll see on the North East Victoria Silo Art Trail

You’ve guessed it, tall silos with paintings on them!


Goorambat Silos

As the map suggests you start in Goorambat. This is where you’ll see the horses silo, the owl and the Church painting, (“the Sophia”) if it is open.

Clydesdale horses silo Goorambat silo Only1invillage
The Clydesdale horses, Clem, Sam and Banjo are now famous in Goorambat.
clydesdale horses were painted from a photo for the silo in Goorambat only1invillage
The three horses were painted from an original photo. The Clydesdale breed of working horses were removed from the endangered list in 2017.
scale of the silos in Goorambat photo taken by only1invillage
You can get a sense of the immense work that went into the painting of the silos. These silos are in full working order.

When you turn to your left, you’ll see the endangered animal bird of prey silo. 

Milli the Barking owl endangered resident of Healesville Sanctuary photo by Only1invillage
The owl is called Millibar and is a Barking owl. An endangered resident of Healesville Sanctuary. The artist is Jimmy Dvate. Painted in 2018. On the left is the Barking Owl’s habitat.

If you’re feeling a bit peckish or thirsty, head over the road to the Railway hotel pub!

The Railway Hotel Pub in Goorambat Victoria photo by Only1invillage
The Railway Hotel was established in 1884. It serves the usual pub fare and makes a great spot to admire the surrounding landscape.

Time to jump back in the car and find the next painting. Dubbed “Sophia”, she is the female representation of God. The artist is Matt Adnate. Originally the painting completed in 2017, was only meant to be open for the Easter weekend. It proved so popular that it is now open every day for visiting tourists. 

Sophia the female representation of God Uniting Church Goorambat
Sophia can be found in the Uniting Church in Goorambat. It’s a tiny building you can easily miss. Look out for it on your left hand side as you leave for the next town. Unfortunately on the day of our visit, the church was closed. This photo is from


Devenish Silos

After seeing the lady herself, it’s time to go to Devenish, which is 13kms away. It isn’t signed very well and Google maps isn’t great. Check your odometer and if you haven’t arrived in 10 minutes, you’re lost. Alternatively, you can follow other cars because there’s only one place they’re going, to the next silos on the trail, like you!

The Devenish silos pay homage to the military and in particular to ANZAC day. ANZAC day is an Australian holiday that commemorates soldiers in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. 

Devenish silos of two medics during military service Devenish silos photo by Only1invillage
Women played an important role in the 1st World War and still do in the military. The two medical staff also represent the way women’s role in general have changed. Artist Cam Scale.

The local town of Devenish saw fifty young men and women enlist for WWI. Seven never made it home and the artist, Cam Scale wanted to honour the memory of these fallen with the third silo painting of a young man and his horse. There are detailed information boards to read at every silo site, where you can get the full history of the paintings.

Devenish silos medics and fallen soldier with Light Horse Only1invillage
The third silo painting depicts the Australian Light Horse and was added in 2019 by Melbourne Street Artist, Cam Scale. Local ANZAC Day marches pass by this monument to the fallen.

If you’re feeling hungry again, or, you didn’t stop at the pub in Goorambat, you can have some scones at the Devenish pub, directly opposite the silos! Word has it that they’re very tasty!

Devenish road home of the medic silos photo by Only1invillage
The tiny town of Devenish. Don’t worry you can stand in the road and take pictures.

In Devenish in front of the silos are information boards which give you a deeper insight into the history of the silos. Right, onto the next town called St James.


St James Silos

The St James Silos tell a story about rural farming life and how one of Australia’s largest supermarkets started. You’ll see some familiar horses pulling bushels of wheat on a wagon, a truck, a portrait of George Coles and two men sewing up a wheat sack.

closeupSTjamessiloarthorses andtruckonly1invillage
The horses might look familiar from the Goorambat silos, but they are not same same. They are different! St James silos are a rural community’s history in huge, glorious colour.

Tim Bowtell is the artist. You might recognise his work from other pieces in the town of Benalla, including work in the Makoan Rest Area.

The St James silos tell the story of a rural community and a famous resident.


Tungamah Silos

Stop 5 is the small town of Tungamah. There are two colourful silos to see here.

Tungamah operating silosunpaintedonly1invillage
Just checking you’re still reading! These are the unpainted silos at Tungamah!

The Tungamah silos celebrate Australian birds. You will see dancing brolgas, a kookaburra, a pink and a grey galah, a Humming bird, an owl, a Sulphur-crested cockatoo, two small wrens and white Ibis. The tree is a native Australian gum tree. The silos still work and are privately owned. They have been fenced off.

How many types of birds can you name? The Tungamah silos were painted by a female artist called Sobrane Simcock.

The artist is Sibrane Simcock. She is the first female silo artist.

According to the map, you can now drive on to the Winton wetlands area. You may just spot some of the birds you’ve seen at the Tungamah silos! We didn’t get there, but if you do, we’d love to hear all about it. Please share your comments and thoughts below.

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Victoria's Silo Art Trail Weekend Don't Miss Out! 3


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Drawing Room Rocks NSW Only1invillage

Drawing Room Rocks Walk

The Drawing Room Rocks walk just outside of Berry, offers some of the best views across the Shoalhaven area. Along the way on this moderately challenging 4.5 km walk, you will see some pretty rainforest areas and some stunning, you guessed it, rock formations. 

Quick Index

views over Kangaroo Valley top of Drawing Room Rocks NSW
Amazing views over Kangaroo Valley and beyond to the Ocean at the top of the Drawing Room Rocks.

A fun and rewarding walk which ends with magnificent views across verdant green hills and a golden beach crescent. The Drawing Room Rocks walk has the wow factor you’ve been looking for on the NSW coast.

take in the view Drawing Room Rocks NSW Only1invillage
What an epic view – Drawing Room Rocks NSW.

Located in the Broughton Vale, the Drawing Room Rocks is a must do hike when in the Kangaroo Valley region of New South Wales. Located near the town of Berry, the walk ends with unfenced cliff edges, which is becoming rare in national parks around Australia.

unfenced edges Drawing Room Rocks sheer drops only1invillage
There is no fence to interrupt your view at the Drawing Room Rocks.

Pack your sandwiches and flask because the Drawing Room Rocks is a great place for a picnic with an awesome view. Bring a tablecloth too! Actually, we’re only joking about that part.


Why is it called the Drawing Room Rocks?

why the drawing room rocks are so called only1invillage
Can you see the tables and chairs in the Drawing Room?

For a while when you get to the top, it’s not obvious why they’re called the Drawing Room Rocks. Thousands of years of weathering and erosion have caused the rocks to have distinctive flat tops. Apparently they resemble tables and chairs of a drawing room. So there you go.

admiring the view Drawing Room Rocks Walk only1invillage
Take in the gorgeous vista at the top of the Drawing Room Rocks Walk. Take a seat on a “chair” and admire the view.

There are spectacular views of the surrounding  valley and you’ll be able to see a beach when you get to the top.


Where is the Drawing Room Rocks walk?

The Drawing Room Rocks Walk is located 10 minutes from the town of Berry.

The Drawing Room Rocks walk nearest town Berry NSW Kamgaroo Valley walks and hikes only1invillage
The Drawing Room Rocks is a 10 minute drive from the town of Berry, New South Wales in Australia. It’s about 2 hours from Sydney.


How long will the Drawing Room Rocks walk take?

This depends on your fitness levels and how much you like taking photographs. The sign at the beginning of the walk however, is totally inaccurate. So much so that someone has scribbled above it.

Drawing Room Rocks Walk sign. The official sign is not accurate. Only1invillage says so!
The official sign is not completely accurate for the Drawing Room Rocks Walk.

The Drawing Room Rocks walk will take you about 45 minutes on the way up and 30 minutes on the way down. It is a far cry from the 3 hours on the sign. It is quite steep at the beginning but you won’t need walking poles or hiking boots. Children can do the walk and we saw many (over the age of 5) happily scrambling up and down.  


Top Tips for the Drawing Room Rocks walk

When to go: As long as it’s dry, any season is good to go. A rainy day will not only dampen your spirits but you’ll see nothing much at the top. The view across the valley is best enjoyed on a sunny day, when the colours of the landscape will be sharper.

when to go Darawing Room Rocks Walk NSW only1invillage
Go on a bright day and your pictures will thank you!

Difficulty of hiking trail: Mostly moderate on the way up and easy on the way down. There are formed rock steps, a well trodden path and a bit of sand from the weathered sand stone.

sandstone weathering Drawing Room Rocks Walk NSW only1invillage
Weathering in action! There’s sand from the sandstone rocks. You’re on ancient ground!
Formed steps at the beginning of the DRawing Room Rocks Walk. it's steep but doable, even for children.
The start of the Drawing Room Rocks Walks has steep but formed steps. Despite what the sign says, children can do it as you can see in the picture!

Despite what the sign says, children can do the Drawing Room Rocks Walk.

Car Parks: There isn’t a car park as such.

Drawing Room Rocks where to park
Can you see the letterbox? You go up this road to start the Drawing Room Rocks Walk. Don’t go down the road on the left.

When you get to the crossroads on the map you can choose to go up this very narrow road. You don’t want to see another car coming down as it is very narrow for the first 300 metres.

narrow road leading to a small 'car park' for the Drawing Room Rocks walk
The very narrow road that really only fits one car. This leads to a very small area where you can park about 10 cars maximum.

We didn’t take the chance and left the car further down by the letterbox. All the better for a bit more exercise. 

very narrow road leads to limited parking at the start of the Drawing Room Rocks Walk
There isn’t a car park as such for the Drawing Room Rocks Walk. Don’t trust Google Maps, there’s about space for 10 cars when you go up the very narrow road.

Dog friendly: No dogs.

Provisions: We recommend that you take some food and water to enjoy at the top.

enjoy tea in your drawing room NSW Drawing Room Rocks Walk only1invillage
Tea on the table in your very own “Drawing Room”.

Sun protection: There’s shade on this walk. If you’re coming in Summer, you’ll probably be wearing sunscreen anyway.

Shoes: Hiking shoes are not necessary. You can get by with running shoes like we did. We don’t recommend flip flops or thongs.

Mobile phone reception is excellent all the way up and at the top of the Drawing Room Rocks walk.

Flooding: After heavy rain there might be muddy patches and slippery rocks, but nothing to write home about.

At the top it’s a little reminiscent of the Grampians National Park. If you love hiking, you’ll love our 7 day self guided walks guide.

looking like The Grampians in Victoria Only1invillage
Looks a bit like The Grampians National Park in Victoria. The Drawing Room Rocks lookout in New South Wales.

Don’t forget if you have done this walk, we would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment in the section below.

have you been DRawing Room Rocks Walk NSW only1invillage
Have you been to the Drawing Room Rocks in New South Wales? What did you think?

If you are looking for other walks in the Shoalhaven or Jervis bay area check out some of the suggestions at

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Drawing Room Rocks Walk the perfect picnic spot 5


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The Three Sisters Blue Mountains -

Blue Mountains a perfect weekend escape or day trip from Sydney!

A weekend in the Blue Mountains will leave you relaxed, refreshed and re-energised for the week ahead. It’s the perfect romantic weekend getaway. The Blue Mountains lookout points, stunning scenery, waterfalls and walks are not to be missed. You’ll want to return every weekend to the Blue Mountains to discover more. The Sydneysiders’ secret nature playground is out!

Quick Index

Blue Mountains haze Only1invillage
The Blue Mountains are so called because there is a blue haze over the mountains when seen from a distance. The blue haze is caused by evaporating eucalyptus oil droplets mixing with other particles and being refracted in the atmosphere. Now try re-explaining that!

The Blue Mountains is a national park with outstanding natural beauty and World Heritage status. For geology geeks, it’s good to know that the Blue Mountains is a mixture of all 3 rock types. Yes back to your school days to recall them. There are igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and landforms to gaze upon. The forces or uplift, erosion, weathering and even fire have all contributed to the stunning landscape that is the Blue Mountains.


fern forests in the Blue Mountains National Park near Sydney NSW ONly1invillage
Step into nature in the Blue Mountains National Park. Wander the ancient fern forests for a weekend getaway.


Where are the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are an hour away from Sydney, along the M4, heading West. The Blue Mountains are located in New South Wales, Australia. It’s a vast area over 1000kms squared. You will pass Parramatta, the area where Sydney had the 2000 Olympic Games. The Blue Mountains is a national park and area of designated beauty. It is famous for The Three Sisters rock formation around the world. International and domestic tourists alike are drawn to the Blue Mountains for the stunning waterfalls, jaw dropping lookout points and hiking opportunities.

Blue Mountains location only1invillage
The Blue Mountains are nearest to the city of Sydney in New South Wales.



How to get to the Blue Mountains

The best way to explore independently is by car. Hire a car for the weekend directly from the airport. If you’re a Sydneysider, you’ll obviously be driving. The two main towns which everyone visits are Katoomba and Leura. If you have time, or on a return visit, you can’t miss out the walks from Springwood, Blackheath, Glenbrook and Lawson. These towns all have walks of their own.

You can join day, or 2 day tours too which will take you to the “Big Three” sights – The Three Sisters, Wentworth Falls and Leura Falls. You can also ride the scenic railway, valley cableway and the skyway (suspended cable car). Some tours stop at Featherdale Wildlife Park, where you can get your picture taken with a cute koala. Meet kangaroos, wombats and dingoes too! Tours are best if you can’t be bothered with the hassle of driving in a foreign country.



Best time to go to the Blue Mountains

If you’re a keen hiker, the best time to go to the Blue Mountains are Spring and Autumn. Winter and Summer are still good. However, optimum conditions to avoid sunstroke and hyperthermia (if you get lost, which has not been unheard of) are Spring and Summer, as a rough guide. Also, rain is a big dampener on mountain scenery, so sunny days are best for those blue sky shots!

when to go to the blue mountains best time to go to the blue mountains Only1invillage
Take plenty of water on your Blue Mountains walks. The national park is enormous. Any sunny day with blue skies is a good day to go to the Blue Mountains.

The seasons in this part of Australia are:

Spring – September, October, November

Summer – December, January, February

Autumn/ Fall – March, April, May

Winter – June July, August



Your Saturday  Blue Mountains Walk Wentworth Falls

Where to start: At the Wentworth Falls Picninc area car park. Here is the Jamison Lookout platform where you can get a rough idea of the walk ahead. Wentworth Falls is after the town of  Bullaburra.

Jamison Point Lookout at the Wentworth Falls car park Blue Mountains Only1invillage
Jamison Point Lookout is accessible form the car park. If this is all you can do, well it’s still a great shot!


The Wentworth Falls walk was named after a famous explorer who basically wanted to discover if you could get through the mountains. William Charles Wentworth with two others, did it in 1813. Wentworth Falls are 867 metres above sea level.


Wentworth Falls Only1invillage
The spectacular Wentworth Falls view in the Blue Mountains, is just over 1 hour from Sydney, New South Wales.

The full circuit of going up and down the valley, in a loop, will take around 5 hours. This includes the Charles Darwin Walk, the Rocket Point lookout and Princes Point Lookout. This is quite hard work with lots of steep steps between lookout points. The rewards though are worth the sweat. The thing to note here is that there are loop walks within this walk. If, at anytime, you need to turn around you can.

You can get much closer to different parts of the falls on the loop trail.

Wentworth Falls near Sydney 1 hour drive Blue Mountains Only1invillage
Don’t go too close to the edge! This is the top of Wentworth Falls. Don’t fall!

So this walk can be as short as 1.5 hours if you wish. If you want  more of a challenge or a workout in nature, we suggest the entire loop. This will take around 5 hours, depending on your fitness levels.

near the bottom of Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains SYdney Only1invillage
This spectacular cascade is near the bottom of Wentworth Falls, about 2 hours from the top.

Bring plenty of water as you cannot drink the crystal clear water. On our walk we saw lots of people without water or sun protection. There are no water fountains installed on the Wentworth  Falls Walk.

water dragon in the Blue Mountains Only1invillage
Play spot the water dragon in the Blue Mountains. A water dragon is in fact a type of lizard. Intellagama lesueurii in Latin, because we know you want to know that!

The Gundungurra people occupied this area for over 40,000 years before European ‘discovery’. The Blue Mountains is home to indigenous species such as kangaroos and koalas. These iconic creatures are hard to spot however. You’re better off going to the Grampians mountain range in Victoria, to see kangaroos and even emus. You will see the Australian water dragon, pictured above catching the sun’s rays on warmer days.


Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains Sydney near the bottom Only1invillage
There are mini falls within falls at Wentworth Falls!


Your Sunday Blue Mountains Walk Leura Falls

The full circuit will take around 3 hours , if you don’t start at Leura Falls Picninc Area.  We started at the Bridal Veil Lookout point, which incorporates the Fern Bower Track. If you search for “best hikes Blue Mountains”, this one will surely come up! It can be difficult or moderate. You can even incorporate it into another walk, like the Gordon Falls walk.

Where to start the Easy Leura Cascades walk:

Go through the stone arch at the Leura Cascades picnic area. There is plenty of car parking. You start a set of stairs descending towards Leura Falls. This is really short and will take you about 5 minutes.

lookout point on the Fern Bower Track leading to Bridal Veil falls and Leura Cascades Blue Mountains Only1invillage
The lookout point on the Fern Bower Track which will lead you to the Bridal Veil Falls and the Leura Cascades. Gaze across to the impressive views of Mount Solitary and Kings Tableland.

Gordon Falls lookout area is a popular spot with families. With its magnificent panoramic views, excellent birdwatching, space for the kids to play and bushwalks, who wouldn’t come here? This will explain why you might see more people when you get to this part of the walk.

Gordon Falls lookout Blue Mountains Sydney ONly1invillage
Looking down over Gordon Falls. We think you’ll agree that this plunging waterfall is truly spectacular.

From Gordon Falls, it will take you about 75 minutes, depending on your fitness level, to reach Leura Cascades. But from the picnic area it’s only 3 minutes!

Leura Cascades Blue Mountains Sydney Only1invillage
The beautiful Leura Cascades can be found in the town of Leura! The blue Mountains is waterfall chasing heaven!

Now if you’re super enthusiastic, on the drive back to Sydney, we really recommend the Clarinda Falls walk near Springwood. It will be absolutely deserted as most people do the Wentworth and Leura walks when they go to the Blue Mountains. Here you will definitely feel like you have stepped into the film set of Jurrassic Park. Massive ferns and boulders and dense foliage envelope you until you get to lovely clearings of refreshing mini falls. Don’t miss out!

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Clarinda Falls near Springwood. A blissfully peaceful stroll.

The Clarinda Falls walk starts at Faulconbridge train station. It’s a bit confusing as you have to walk down a residential road called Sir Henrys Parade. Look for signs for Victory Track which will lead you down into bush land.

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On the descent down to Clarinda Falls, Blue Mountains.

Once you have found the track, you can smell the earthy forest floor and ferns. Look down at your feet for the lovely green moss.

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If you have time on the way back to Sydney, stop off at Springwood and do this amazing walk! This is Clarinda Falls.

The Clarinda Falls Loop Walk will leave you feeling energised or exhausted! Have you been to the Blue Mountains near Sydney? Share your comments below.                                    


The Grampians 7 days of wonderful walks 8

The Grampians 7 days of wonderful walks

Recently we returned to the Grampians National Park for a week of hiking, fresh air and nature sight seeing. It’s always a beautiful experience with a mix of dry eucalyptus forests, scrubby bushes, waterfalls, lakes and rainforests set amongst sandstone and granite rocks. There is an abundance of native wildlife. You will see many kangaroos and may see koalas, emus and vast range of marsupial and native animals. Below we share some of our favourite walks and photos as well as essential tips and advice, enjoy!

Quick Index

Grampians Mountains National Park Victoria Australia 3 hrs from Melbourne Only1invillage
The majestic Grampians area is a National Park just 3 hours drive from Melbourne. Smell the fresh air!

The Grampians national Park is a mountainous region in the state of Victoria. Fresh air, rivers, waterfalls, grey kangaroos at your door and stunning rock formations await.

Weird rock shapes Grampians Victoria Only1invillage walks
The rock shapes and structures are what you make of them. J is talking to the man on the other side!

Not only for outdoor adventures, such as rock climbing, the Grampians offers gourmet food and wine with a genuine friendly welcome. Gariwerd is the traditional name used by the indigenous peoples of the area. Gariwerd can be divided into North, South, East and West for hiking and tourist purposes.

Mount Sturgeon in the South of the Grampians National Park.Only1invillage.
Mount Sturgeon in the South of the Grampians National Park.


Where are the Grampians?

The Grampians area is a national park area under 3 hours west from Melbourne. It is situated between Stawell and Horsham on the Western Highway and Dunkeld on the Glenelg Highway.


What’s there to see and do in the Grampians?

What is there to see in the Grampains National Park Victoria Australia ONly1invillage
Hmmm…. What’s there to see in this national Park called Gariwerd by the original inhabitants of the area?

There are numerous peaks, hikes and waterfalls to conquer! It is the place to see kangaroos and wallabies and emus. We even saw some deer, which was a bit of a surprise. It has its own Grand Canyon! A growing foodie destination for wine. The Grampians region has the best indigenous rock art in Victoria.


Best Time to go to the Grampians

Best time to go to the Grampians Only1invillage
Winter is a great time to go to the Grampians. It may be cold, yes, it gets cold in Australia, but it’s way less crowded and accommodation much cheaper.

We went in Winter and we have to say, it was really good! Apart from the chilly starts, when the sun is shining and it’s not raining, Winter is a good time to go. Less tourists, often there were only about 5 other people on some of the more challenging hikes, such as Mount Rosea. Even the most popular Pinnacle walk wasn’t too bad in terms of foot traffic. You could even get a photo with no one else in the background along Silent Street. That won’t be happening in peak season! We don’t recommend going hiking in Summer, as there is no shelter as you clamber over ancient rocks. Plus you will have to carry a lot of water!  

Have the Grand Canyon all to yourself out of season in the GRampians Only1invillage
The popular Grand Canyon can be yours alone when you go out of season.

Here are the seasons in the Grampians area:

Spring – September, October, November

Summer – December, January, February

Autumn – March, April, May

Winter – June, July, August

Day 1 wonderful walks of the Grampians

We arrive on a Saturday afternoon at Halls Gap, after a fabulous lunch at a tiny town called Great Western, just 40 minutes from Halls Gap. The food was sensational and very much unexpected. Never judge a town by its cover!

Moroccan pulled lamb shoulder on a beetroot hummus with local goat's cheese. Crispy fried chicken on soft shell tacos with crunchy slaw and sriracha mayo. Not what we were expecting from a small town called Great Western. Available at the Great Western General Store cafe.
Moroccan pulled lamb shoulder on a beetroot hummus with local goat’s cheese. Crispy fried chicken on soft shell tacos with crunchy slaw and sriracha mayo. Not what we were expecting from a small town called Great Western. Available at the Great Western General Store cafe.

We learn that the indigenous peoples of the area call it Budja Budja. There’s only time to do a quick walk after checking in at the Gariwerd Motel. This will be our base for the 7 days of great Grampians walks.


Venus Baths via Stony Creek Loop Walk

We choose the Halls Gap Botanical Gardens, the Venus Baths and the Clematis Falls Walk. It is Winter so we have to get back to paved road by 5.30pm. 

Botanic Garens car park sign
At the entrance of the Botanic Gardens car park. There is parking for about 20 cars in unmarked spaces.

Every walk is very well marked. The first port of call is Venus Baths. An easy walk for all ages. This is a loop walk.

Stony Creek loop walk towards Venus Baths Grampians Victoria AUstralia photo by Only1invillage
The easy walk to the Venus Baths is via Stony Creek. A flat, easy walk for all ages.

You can get the 2.3kms done easily in half an hour each way, at the most leisurely of paces.

Venus Baths Hall Gap The Grampians Only1invillage
The amazing Venus Baths. In Spring and Summer it’s a great place to break for a rock picnic, while dipping those tired feet in the clear water pools.

You can also come back via a different track on the opposite side of Stony Creek.

Stony creek is a creek you guessed it full of stones Grampians Victoria Australia photo by only1invillage
The loop track towards Venus Baths takes you along Stony Creek.
You’ve guessed it, it is a creek full of stones!

On the way back from Venus Baths, we stop to wander around the Botanic Gardens. 

Botanic Gardens Halls Gap Grampians
Explore the Botanic Gardens in Halls Gap. It will give you great information on the plants you will see on your hikes.

Day 2 of our Grampians walks adventures

Our first full day of walks of the day of walks for those National Geographic moments, starts with the Bullaces Glen and Chatauqua Peak walk. Don’t forget to cross the road carefully to get to Bullaces Glen. A  medium grade walk with some rock scrambling. Hiking shoes recommended for grip. You can do it in running shoes/sneakers, but we find the ankle support of hiking boots much more comfortable.

After a lunch break we take on Splitters Falls. This walk involves a bit of rock scrambling. You can do it the easy way or the hard way. 


Bullaces Glen – official time and distance depends on where you start – medium grade 1 hourish return

How to get there – Start at Halls Gap Road and follow the now familiar green signs. This is a pretty  circular walk through a green fern covered glade that also has a small waterfall.

Bullaces Glen Grampians Victoria Australia
Bullaces Glen, probably named because it is reminiscent of Scotland? If you have watched Highlander, what do you think?
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Reminiscent of Scottish countryside? Bullaces Glen.


Clematis Falls – Official distance and time – 2.4 kms- 40 minutes to1 Hour easy grade walk

An easy walk from Halls Gap, that you can access from the recreation reserve. You may see emus or kangaroos along the way. The waterfall is best after a rainfall and a good place for a refreshing shower in the hotter months. 

Clematis Falls is a mini falls
Clematis Falls is the easiest walk to see a waterfall you’re going to get!


How to get to Clematis Falls
Various ways to get to Clematis Falls. This sign was taken at the bottom of the Oval car park.


Chatauqua Peak – 5.6kms circuit medium grade Official time 2.5 hours.

This is one of the lesser known and less popular walks in the Grampians. Make the effort to go though as you get sweeping valley views near the peak. Don’t be fooled by Google Maps. If you put in Halls Gap to Chatauqua Peak, it says 29 minutes on foot! If it was flat, that is achievable but it is a steep climb up.

Sweeping valley views Chatauqua Peak Walk only1invillage
Sweeping valley views on the way up to Chatauqua Peak. One of the less popular walks, don’t know why, it’s beautiful!

Where to start: This peak walk can be accessed after the Venus Baths or the Oval Car Park in Halls Gap. You can also take in Clematis Falls on the way up or on the way down.

There are some very difficult parts right near the peak, but, we agree with the official listing as medium.

Chatauqua Peak yellow markers near the peak only1invillage
It’s get very difficult near the top of Chatauqua Peak. Look out for these yellow markers to guide you. Almost there…
Chatauqua Peak conquered Only1invillage
We make it, well J does anyway! Chatauqua Peak conquered! What are you looking at? Let us see the view too!
Chatauqua Peak view only1invillage
Chatauqua Peak views are not the best from the actual peak, in our humble opinion.


Splitters Falls medium grade 2.7kms one way 1.5 hours each way

You guessed it named because the falls split! Getting there is quite the adventure, scrambling over rocks and walking through damp forest. At some points it looks as if you’re going to drop off the mountain, but don’t worry, you won’t.

Official grading – easy if you start from the Wonderland Car Park. It’s only 700 metres.

2.7kms one way – moderate grade which means medium. 

Splitters Falls so called because they er..... split! Only1invillage
Splitters Falls so called because they er….. split! That’s just a guess mind you. These dividing falls can be reached in two ways. The easy way, via the car park; or the hard way via Venus Baths.

Where to start: At the bottom of the Venus Baths there are some steps. Take these. If you want to cheat you can drive to the Wonderland car park, where it is then only a 700 metre stroll. Nah, we don’t do that, we have legs, they’re not painted on. Besides we have calories to burn.

sign for Splitters Falls Grampians National Park Gar
Start the walk at the bottom of Venus Baths. Take these steps. Venus Baths is reached from the centre of Halls Gap.

It’s not as easy as the official website makes out. It isn’t difficult, but it isn’t a flat stroll through a, park! So take the steps up and you will arrive here (picture of J below).

After steps at Venus Baths to Splitters Falls only1invillage
After the sign at Venus Baths you will be here. On the way to Splitters Falls. It looks like a dead end but it isn’t.
On the way to Splitters Falls from Venus Baths only1invillage
You see it’s not that flat when you take the rocks to Splitters Falls.

At times you can’t really see if the rocks will take you to Splitters Falls. There wasn’t anyone else coming back either to ask. We just keep going!

a sign you're approaching Splitters Falls only1invillage
This trickle of water is a sign, you’re on the right path to Splitters Falls.

Surely this trickle of water means we are not lost? Splitters Falls here we come!

dry riverbed before SPlitters Falls only1invillage
In wetter times there will be water here! The river bed before Splitters Falls. This is a good sign, we’re almost there!

It takes us about an hour and a half one way. We’re finally here, yay! Time for some photographs.

arrival at Splitters Falls from Venus Baths only1invillage
Our triumphant arrival at Splitters Falls from Halls Gap. 1.5 hours one way.

Day 3 exploring the Grampians on foot


Boronia Peak – officially graded medium – 2.5hrs return

A fabulous walk with magnificent views at the very top. A bit of vertigo for us! Very windy and suddenly cold at the top. Requires rock scrambling to the last part of the jagged peak. Breathtaking! (2.5 hours 6.6kms return official time) This was a medium grade track with some very steep parts. It took us about 3 hours, including time for photographs.

Where to start: You start the Boronia Peak Walk at Tandara Road. Just park on the street. 

Boronia Peak walk start here Grampians Victoria AUstralia
The start of the Boronia Peak Walk is off the street. The road is called Tandara Road. It’s a suburban road.

All the signs are one way. Make sure you factor this into your day. When going up to a peak, also remember that the change of terrain and altitude will increase your average walking speed, that you can do on a pavement/ sidewalk. We average 4-5 kms an hour in cities but on this walk there were parts where we averaged only 1km per hour, due to rock scrambling.

The path starts out as an easy pleasant stroll…. Don’t let that fool you for the hard work ahead!

Start Bonoronia Peak Walk on a flat path Grampians Victoria AUstralia
Start the trek to Boronia Peak on a leisurely flat stroll. If you’re lucky you might spot some interested deer, sharing the path with you.
Change in topography on Boronia Peak Walk from flat path Grampians Victoria Australia
After the flat footpath, the topography starts to change. (Path up to Boronia Peak ).

The path gets increasingly more difficult as you ascend.

On the Boronia Peak walk stop to take in the breathtaking scenery
Yep, you’re going higher and higher to get to that Boronia Peak! Time to take a rest!

It’s onwards and upwards from this point. By now, you should be a bit sweaty!

rock scrambling time narrow path to the Boronia Peak Grampians Vicoria Australia Only1invillage
Right it’s getting tough and tight! Scrambling time! This is where the fun starts! The only way is up!

We have walked about an hour and a half, scrambled over rocks and squeezed ourselves through ‘rock stairs’ walls. At times it might not look obvious where to go, but, as long as you’re still heading up hill, you know you’re on the right path!

Boronia Peak getting to the top almost there Grampians Victoria Australia photo by only1invillage
When you see this view you’ve almost reached the peak! Boronia Peak, that is!
Victory at the top of Boronia Peak The gRampians, Victoria, Australia by only1invillage
Victory is ours on top of Boronia Peak after 1hr 45 mins. It gets suddenly cold at the top and the wind picks up. Well you are over 1800 feet up (about 570 metres).

Time for the panoramic view that everyone says is well worth the trek up.

Boronia Peak panoramic View Grampians Victoria Australia photo by Only1invillage
Boronia Peak panoramic view. Now that is worth the climb! That’s what 570 metres above sea level looks like in the Grampains ranges.

Needless to say the way down, was much easier, with gravity helping us out. We complete the walk in about 3 hours. The official time is 2 hours 30 mins.

Boronia Peak vegetation Only1invillage
So much beauty at the top of Boronia Peak.

After a break for lunch, it was time for an easier afternoon drive and stroll to Mackenzie Falls.


Mackenzie Falls Walk 2kms return medium grade due to steep steps – 1.5 hours return

Mackenzie Falls Grampians Victoria Australia
The must visit waterfall in the Grampians is Mackenzie Falls. It never dries up and cascades over cliffs into a deep pool.

One of the most popular and accessible walks in the Grampians. Well developed with wheelchair access to 2 viewing points. 

Mackenzie Falls as seen from the wheelchair accessible viwing platform
If taking steep steps is a problem, don’t worry you can still see the stunning Mackenzie Falls. Go along the wheelchair accessible path from the car park and look down from the viewing platform.

How to get there – By car from Halls Gap Road you drive up the winding roads to the Mackenzie Falls Car park. From there it’s an easy stroll to the viewing point which is wheelchair accessible. To get to the actual waterfall, you descend steep steps. This will take you about half an hour.


Day 4 of hiking the Grampians


The Pinnacle Lookout Walk – From the Wonderland Car Park – 2.1 kms official time 1.5 hrs one way

This walk is a steep medium to hard grade walk but with so much varied terrain. Possibly the most famous walk of all. Taking in 4 other Google maps sights, this has to be the walk to do, if you can only do one. On our walk we saw plenty of children, so it’s a good family hike. There are plenty of opportunities to take rests and the most popular parts have had stairs built into the rocks. This walk takes in 4 popular sites and if you can only do one walk, we recommend you do this one.

Grand Canyon Australian style Only1invillage
Australia’s answer to the north American Grand Canyon….yee hah!

Grand Canyon

When you start this walk from the Wonderland Car Park, you immediately get the impressive Grand Canyon. This is Australia’s answer to the famous North American Grand Canyon. Since we haven’t been to the American Grand Canyon, this will do for now. It’s pretty cool, we think you’ll agree, for a smaller scale offering. Obviously, if you’ve been to the American Grand Canyon, you’re going to be a bit underwhelmed. But, for us, we think it’s fantastic.

Grand Canyon shot Only1invillage
You’re going to love the Grand Canyon, Australian style of course!

Cool Chamber 

This is a rock overhang that is easy to miss. About 30 minutes into the walk. It makes really good echoes. Watch your head if you’re tall. That ancient rock is hard!

The Cool Chamber sign Only1invillage
The Cool Chamber is on the way to the Pinnacles lookout point. A good place to take shelter if it starts to rain. In Summer, a great place to cool down from the relentless sun.

Bridal Veil Falls 

Best viewed after rain, to get the best effect. Just after the Cool Chamber, Bridal Veil Falls is refreshing on a hot day! You can stand under it to wash off the sweat in Summer. If you go in Summer to the Grampians, you can stand at the back, to get some much needed shade from the relentless Australian sun.

Bridal Veil Falls Only1invillage
Bridal Veils Falls was running a bit dry, so J is trying to summon some rain!

Silent Street

Silent Street sign Grampians Only1invillage
Heading down into Silent Street. Let’s see how quiet it is!
Silent Street Grampians winter time Only1invillage
Silent Street is pretty silent! There’s only us in the street probably because it’s early and off peak season. Yes!
Silent STreet scenery to the right Only1invillage
As you go through Silent Street, look through the rock gaps and see this awesome scenery.
Silent STreet all ot ourselves Only1invillage
Silent Street is also steep with some stairs. We still have it all to ourselves!

After Silent Street you’re almost at the peak. This is where you start to hear voices of other hikers coming down. It is still up hill, but the promise of a great view keeps you going.

Just after Silent Street rock posing Only1invillage
Time for a quick pose after Silent Street. The Pinnacles is almost within reach. You can see it’s at sky level.

Then you see it and hear it, the Pinnacles!!!

The Pinnacles view at the top Only1invillage
The Pinnacles view at the top. It is magnificent. Well worth the 1 hours 45 minutes each from the Wonderland Car Park. 

Before you leave there is a huge area to explore at the top of the Pinnacles Lookout. Grab a flat rock and have some lunch or do a balance walk that has now been discouraged for safety reasons. 

The Need le test of nerves at the Pinnacles peak Only1invillage
The thin ledge you see is called The Needle. You won’t see any signs for it though. Long ago there was a green sign. But, after a few accidents, the area was closed off. Now it is open again but it is not encouraged to walk along it.

Here is a closer look at The Needle nerves test. You don’t want to do this if it’s wet!

The Needle nerves test at the top of the Pinnacles Lookout walk Only1invillage
Do The Needle test of nerves at your own peril. It’s a balancing act and a test of nerves. For safety reasons it is not recommended and not promoted, but, you can make up your own mind!

Before you leave for the trek back down, grab a bite to eat or get eaten by a rock!

Admire the rock formations at the Pinnacles Only1invillage
Grab a bite to eat or get eaten by a rock at the top of The Pinnacles. Explore the relatively flat top, before you head back down to the Wonderland car park.


Boroka Lookout 6kms one way on foot hard grade about 2 hours each way or 90metres from the car park

This picture of what you should see is from Quincy Lee (Qlee679) we contacted him for his permission from Flickr. It has been taken from the viewing platform. We think you’ll agree it is awesome!

Boroka Lookout courtesy of Quincy Lee via Flickr Only1invillage
Boroka Lookout. Photo courtesy of Quincy Lee via Flickr.
Boroka Lookout sign Only1invillage
The Boroka Lookout is a difficult 6kms one way if you do it on foot. This will lead you down to the botanical gardens in Halls Gap.

You will definitely need your goat trekking legs for this walk. From the Venus Baths area it’s 6kms of tough going. The first 3kms seem “easy” but, don’t be fooled. As you climb, the terrain gets more and more difficult. On our walk it was misty and foggy the whole way, hence the lack of pictures. We could barely see our own hands at some points of the scramble. 

Luckily this walk can be approached the easy way too. Drive to a car park and walk 90 metres.

Boroka Lookout possible access points from Venus Baths at the foothills of the Grampians
The Boroka Lookout can be accessed from the Venus Baths. It’s an arduous uphill trek- be warned!

The lookout area is fenced off, but it hasn’t deterred those Instagram people from taking selfies and getting others to take pictures of them on the dangerous ledge. The day we went was misty and foggy and we couldn’t see a thing!

Boroka Lookout on a foggy day Only1invillage
Boroka Lookout in the fog. Not what you see on Instagram!

If you look carefully at our Chataqua Peak walk pictures, you will see a very similar view. Bellfield Lake and the valley below.


The Balconies 2kms one way from A car park easy walk

Easy half hour walk (2kms one way) through flat forest and gigantic rocks from the Reed Lookout car park.

The Balconies aka the Jaws of Death Only1invillage
The Balconies also known as the Jaws of Death. Now closed off due to several fatal falls. Those Instagram shots you see are either very old or illegal.

The Balconies used to be called the Jaws of Death. Either because they look like the jaws of a giant dinosaur, or, because people have actually died here. Whichever story you want to believe, it is a dramatic rock formation, which can be viewed safely from a viewing platform.

The Jaws of Death ONly1invillage Grampians blog
The spectacular rock formation of the Jaws of Death. Also known as the Balconies. Catch this breathtaking view safely from the viewing platform. You can also see down into the valley of lush forest, from this bird’s eye viewpoint.

You can drive up Mount WIlliam Road and see the Jaws of Death from a viewing platform. You used to be able to go on there and take pictures, but, not anymore. If you see shots of this on Instagram, it’s because of illegal activity, old pictures or clever photography.

forest valley view from Reeds Lookout Grampians Only1invillage blog
Looking down onto the lush green valley of forest from Reeds Lookout.

Before you get to the Balconies, there is a lovely flat walk across some very interesting terrain and really good views towards Lake Wartook. Park your car at the Reed Lookout car park and look for the signs. to The Balconies.

The Grampians 7 days of wonderful walks 9
Magnificent vistas towards Lake Wartook in the distance. As you head towards The Balconies, these round, flat rocks are unmissable.


Silverband Falls 0.8km one way flat gravel path

This is an easy walk from the car park. In fact, this is the easiest walk we did. It was completely flat! Sing hallelujah!

Silverband Falls a quick walk from the car park Only1invillage blog
A quick walk will lead you to Silverband Falls.
SIlverbandFalls an easy walk from the car park Only1invillage blog
The Silverband Falls. This is the easiest walk we ever did! A flat gravel path from the car park. A quickie, but, a goodie!

Day 5 of our wonderful walks of the Grampians


Lake Bellfield Tunnel Walk – medium grade 

A surprisingly beautiful walk with water views. From the name we thought you could go through some tunnels for the walk, but, no. You can see and hear a tunnel for water, but, you won’t be walking through it.

The walk starts near Pomonal, from the imaginatively named Tunnel Walk car park.

Bellfield Lake view from the ridge of the Tunnel Walk
The beauty of Bellfield Lake awaits. Seen from the ridge above on the Tunnel Walk.

This is where you can start the walk. There are other alternatives if you want to go on further.

Bellfield Lake walk sign starts at the car park only1invillage 7 days of wonderful walks the Grampians
Bellfield Lake can be reached in a mere 1.5 hours one way, from the car park at Pomonal.
Car park for the Bellfield Lake Tunnel Walk Only1invillage Grampians walks
Yup, that’s where you’re leaving your car to start the Bellfield Lake walk.

OK, head on up the steps and it is a gentle uphill walk for about 20 minutes.

start terrain of the Bellfield Lake walk
From the car park it is a gentle upward slope to start the Bellfield Lake walk. 

As this walk is not very popular and we are out of season, we only see 5 other people. For most of the walk, we are on our own and free to imitate the bird noises and make silly echo sounds. We don’t expect this walk to be as beautiful as it is. The lake itself is on par with some of the best New Zealand lakes in terms of beauty. At this point the scenery looks very much like Magnetic Island, in the far north of Queensland. This is an island where we have also covered every major walk.

Forest and low land views on the Bellfield Lake walk Only1invillage
This is pretty much your view for 45 minutes of the Bellfield Lake walk. Don’t turn around, the view will be amazing very soon!
glimpse Bellfield Lake in the distance Only1invillage
45 minutes later you’ll get your first glimpse of beautiful Bellfield Lake.
4x4 track towards Lake Bellfield Only1invillage
By the time you see this 4 x 4 track you’re about to see the beautiful Lake Bellfield up close and personal.
Bellfield Lake panorama Only1invillage
Hello Bellfield Lake, Only1invillage has arrived……Praise be!
Beautiful Bellfield Lake Only1invillage
Beautiful Bellfield Lake. It’s got a beach!
Bellfield Lake reflection Only1invillage
The beautiful reflection of Bellfield Lake captured by us the only ones here!
log at Bellfield Lake Only1invillage
Looks like a good log to sit on for lunch, at Bellfield Lake.
Bellfield Lake trees Only1invillage
We are fascinated by the scenery at Bellfield Lake, particularly these trees.


Heatherlie Quarry

Heatherlie Quarry Only1invillage
Heatherlie Quarry is a nice easy flat short walk into history.

A fascinating glimpse into quarry life with rusting machinery and some original sandstone houses for the workers. We learn a lot about stone splitting and marvel how anyone could have lived out here in the wilderness. Ah, the good old days.

Heatherlie Quarry landscape scenery Only1invillge blog
This is where your granite comes from! A quarry landscape in the Grampians.

As you walk around the area you start to appreciate the hard work that goes into making your kitchen bench top!

Rusting machinery at the Heatherlie QUarry Grampians Only1invillage blog
Rusting machinery of an bygone era. Heatherlie Quarry is an informative trip down memory lane.

There is even a little village, where the workers used to stay in “the bush”.

Heatherlie Quarry workers' village Only1invillage
The workers’ cottages at Heatherlie Quarry. Located right next to the granite boulders that have been used in some of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings, such as Parliament House, The State Library and Melbourne Town Hall. We are proud to say that in this village we are the only ones in the village!

The walls are very thick sandstone. Wonder why they weren’t made of granite? Many of Melbourne City’s greatest buildings we discover have been made from granite from this quarry. Well fancy that, you live and learn!

Heatherlie Quarry sandstone houses for the workers Grampians Only1invillage blog
J is forever trying to tell me it’s prime real estate. You can have granite floors AND granite walls when we renovate, he says!
interior of a worker's cottage Heatherlie Quarry Grampians Only1invillage blog
Well the interior needs a bit of a refurbishment! Heatherlie Quarry offers a fascinating glimpse into history.

There are information boards everywhere, painting a detailed picture of the working quarry.

Heatherlie Quarry information boards are jam packed with fascinating facts Only1invillage
Well now we know how to cut a stone properly! The information boards are dotted around Heatherlie Quarry and provide fascinating facts and information about the past. We learned a lot here!

Day 6 sore but soldiering on for our Grampians guide


Mount Rosea Official time 2 hours each way

Mount Rosea is 4.6 kms one way. It is medium to hard grade with a lot of rock scrambling and hard to see markers in places. The cardio workout of our dreams and totally worth it!

Mount Rosea peak Only1invillage blog
Mount Rosea Peak viewing platform. Take in the 360 degree views of the Mount William and Serra ranges. This hike is hard!

This walk is challengingly beautiful. Make sure you tell your accommodation or someone you’re doing this. People have had to be rescued on this walk.

Mount Rosea sign 4.6kms from the car park Only1invillage
The Mount Rosea walk starts at the Mount Rosea car park. This is the most challenging walk you’ll do in the northern Grampians region. Are you ready for it?

Don’t be fooled by the gently sloping first 1.6kms through lush forest and ferns.

lush fern and forest start of Mount Rosea walk Only1invillage blog
The Mount Rosea walks starts through lush fern and forest on flat ground. Don’t be fooled. It’s going to get a hell of a lot harder!
Mount Rosea walk needle grass Only1invillage
Needle grass is a pain in the arse! The greenery at the start of the Mount Rosea walk in the beautiful forest.

This took us 5 hours return and there is plenty of rock scrambling. It was by far the most challenging walk. We wish we had done this walk first, so all the other walks, would have seemed much easier.

After the beautiful messmate forest, you’re on a gradual ascent.  40 minutes later the terrain changes to sand! By now you have covered 1.3kms.

Mount Rosea sign after 1.3kms of walking from the car park Only1invillage blog
40 minutes after leaving the car park you will be here. Look down at your feet!
Mount Rosea walk suddenly there's sand only1invillage blog
At the 1.3kms section the terrain changes to sand for a bit! We’re heading to a beach?!!

Well that doesn’t seem so bad. A good start. and the sun is shining. We still haven’t seen anyone else. There’s about 20 minutes of this type of terrain (see below) and then things start to change. Even though it’s fairly flat you still have to look out for these yellow markers. They will be invaluable as all rocks start to look the same!

Mount Rosea yellow markers only1invillage
The terrain now has lots of big flat rocks and tree roots to trip you up. Keep an eye out for the yellow triangles, because pretty soon, things are going to get tough!

20 minutes later the going gets tough, but still smiling.

keep going Mount Rosea Walk Only1invillage
You’re starting to get a sense of how high you’re going when you get to this point. Mount Rosea walk. The familiar Serra and Mount William ranges are in the background.
walking amongst clouds Mount Rosea walk Only1invillage
The stunning natural beauty of walking in the clouds. Mount Rosea walk about an hour in.

Now the real rock scrambling begins and some of the rocks are like climbing apparatus in the gym! If ever you think hiking isn’t a good workout, come and do this walk. Our hearts are racing, our legs are aching and now we have to use our hands too!

Mount Rosea rock scrambling cardio workout Only1invillage
Now the fun begins! Rock scrambling at its best! This is a serious cardio workout the Mount Rosea walk.
Mount Rosea horse riding Only1invillage blog
Time for some horse riding! You know when you start to feel giddy and things look strange. C thinks she has found a horse to get to the peak! Yee hah! Mount Rosea walk, the Grampians.

At the 1 hour and 40 minutes minute mark we decide to stop for lunch. The lunch stop is a great time to marvel at the absolutely jaw dropping scenery enveloping us.

Lunch stop 1 hour and 50 minutes in to the Mount Rosea walk Only1invillage
Time to sit and stop the trembling legs! The majestic mountain scenery 1 hour and 50 minutes into the Mount Rosea walk.
Lunch pit stop on the Mount Rosea walk Grampians Only1invillage
Lunch view on the way to Mount Rosea peak. Could the view get any better?

As you rest, it’s good to look out for natural markers. As you’re ascending it’s easy to think you’ll remember your route on the way down, but, those rocks, will all start blending in to each other! Take the time to photograph some natural markers and look at the time stamp.

Bright rock vegetation at our pit stop for lunch on the ascent to Mount Rosea.. Grampian walks only1invillage.
It’s a good idea to look for natural markers on the way up and down from Mount Rosea. It easily all starts looking the same, so, a burst of colour is a welcome sight. Take a photo and make a note of the time.
sandstone relief Grampians Mount Rosea walk Only1invillage
It’s not all granite in the Grampians. You’ll be clambering over amazing sandstone boulders (not rocks) on the Mount Rosea walk.

Rested and rejuvenated, we hear some people coming up behind us! Hurrah, we are not alone! We like to look at their faces and see if they are panting and sweating too. Come on, you know you do that too, when you pass fellow hikers!

Mount Rosea challenging walk Grampians Only1invillage blog
You’re kidding! You have to squeeze through that small hole? Yep! Mind your head.

At the 2 hour point we almost give up. It’s been really hard and the rock scrambling is some of the toughest for a continuous 45 minute period.

Huge boulders to get over on the MOunt rosea walk Grampians only1invillage
The size of the boulders you have to get over on the Mount Rosea walk. It’s going to be worth the sweeping views at the top.
Lake Bellfield view on the Mount Rosea walk
This looks like a peak! Mount Rosea walk a lakeview (Bellfield) from high up. You’re not there yet, still another half hour to go!

We feel the oxygen deprivation and not seeing many people come down is not very uplifting. Finally we see 2 other hikers who tell us we’re nearly there about half an hour and the view is worth it. It had better be!

MOunt Rosea walk 2 hours in Grampians blog only1invillage
J surveys the landscape after being told we’re half an hour away. By this point we have been walking 2 hours and the weather is getting colder and windier. That’s Mount Rosea in the distance to the right. Ok, so down we go!
half an hour to go to the Mount Rosea Peak only1invillage
We see two other hikers returning from the peak. They tell us it is only another half hour from here. The path isn’t obvious. Keep looking out for the yellow triangular markers.
Mount Rosea chimney rocks that's our nameonly1invillage
This part looks like a dead end. You go through the “chimney” rocks as we name them.
Rock window view half 25 minutes to go to Mount Rosea peak Only1invillage
There’s a handy rock shelter with a beautiful window view, if it starts to rain!

We remember our accommodation manager telling us to look out for the bridge and don’t look down, if you’re scared of heights. Well it’s a bit late now! We are glad to see the bridge because it means we’re on the right path.

The valley bridge on the Mount Rosea walk 20 mins to destination Only1invillage
The valley bridge means you’re 20 minutes away from the Mount Rosea peak. If you don’t like heights, don’t look down, just run across. At least it isn’t a suspension bridge!

J is brave and stops to take some scenery shots on the bridge.

View from the valley bridge on the Mount Rosea walk Only1invillage
The view form the bridge, which plunges over 900 metres below you. Around 20 minutes to destination Mount Rosea peak!
squeezing through boulders Mount Rosea walk Only1invillage
Seriously we have to squeeze through here? This is a good physical marker to remember.
Trees on Mount Rosea walk nearly at the peak. Only1invillage
Well if the trees can survive up here, so can we!

Apparently we’re so close……

elephant skin rocks mean you're close to the Mount Rosea peak Only1invillage
This is the 2 hour 20 minutes point. The rocks look like an elephant’s skin. We saw 2 more people coming down! We’re close to the Mount Rosea peak!

Apparently we’re really close!

100 metres to go to the peak of Mount Rosea Only1invillage
Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Is there a sign? Please tell us we’re close to the Mount Rosea peak!

It’s been an epic 2 and a half hours but we make it! We’re 1009 metres up and above the cloud line!

Like we said earlier, we wish we had done this walk first because it’s hard and it is the 6th day of non- stop hiking for us. It’s really windy at the top. For video footage of the views at the summit, go to our Instagram page.

Mount Rosea viewing platform Only1invillage
On the Mount Rosea viewing platform. This is the amazing view 1009 metres high from the bottom.

Is it worth it? Hell yeah! Are we tired? Hell yeah! Doing another hike tomorow? Hell yeah!  All we have to do now is find our way back down before it gets dark! See you at the bottom.

Day 7 We are victorious in Gariwerd- Grampians National Park


Mount William 

1.8kms one way uphill, quite steep. It should take 45 minutes to one hour each way.

Sunrise shot on Mount William Grampians Only1invillage
Catch a breathtaking sun rise at Mount William in the Grampians national Park. 1167 metres above sea level. The highest point in the Grampians. The best place to get 360 degree panoramas of the entire Grampians peaks, lowlands and highlands.

To get to Mount William you need to drive to a car park called…..OK you got it, Mount WIlliam Car Park.

Mount William car park Only1invillage
Park in the Mount William car park for the walk to er… Mount William.
1.8kms to the top of Mount William sign Only1invillage
What there’s strenuous walking involved! Thanks for the warning. At least there’s no rock scrambling, we’re a little sick of that after yesterday’s Mount Rosea trek.

From here the road is fully paved but you cannot drive to the summit. It is quite a steep ascent and you should be at the top in 45 minutes. This walk offers splendid views of the mountain ranges from various angles.

Walking up to Mount William you will see the other ranges you have conquered in the Grampians Only1invillage
The Mount William walk is a chance to see the other ranges you have conquered in the distance.
counting off the various peaks on the walk up to Mount William Grampians Only1invillage
J counts off the peaks we have climbed over the last 7 days on the way up to Mount William, where you will see them all!
walking up towards Mount William view of other ranges Only1invillage Grampians blog
As you walk up towards Mount William you can tick off the other peaks you have climbed! Yep, did that one, been there, saw that one……..
Mount William commemoration stone ONly1invillage
Now you know why it’s called Mount William!

Right where to next? We decide to drive one hour south and head to a famous bakery that apparently has the best sourdough bread. Well let’s see shall we?

After a very pleasant lunch with very good sourdough, a pie, some salad and some good coffee it’s time for another walk! We decide on a short one called un-politically correctly, The Picaninny. We’re not here to judge the names of the walks, we’re just there to walk them.


The Picaninny 2.4kms return 1 to 1.5 hours easy to medium grade

sudden turn for the picanninny walk South Grampians Only1invillage
When you see the brown sign for the picaninny walk do a sudden turn!

There’s no car park for this walk, you have to look out for the sign. Actually, later we discover there is a car park, but it is up a very steep hill and we don’t have an all terrain vehicle. We park at the bottom.

Picaninny green sign South Grampians Only1invillage
The green sign for the easy to medium shortish walk to the Picaninny. This is a 45 minutes drive from Halls Gap. It is classed as the southern Grampians.
start the picaninny walk nice and flat Southern Grampians only1invillage
The start of the Picaninny walk is nice and flat. You go through some nice bushland. Watch out for the wallabies. We got our best joey shot from this walk.

As you walk in the southern Grampians, you will see Mount Sturgeon towering above you, to your right. We’ll have to save that walk for a return visit. It looks pretty high up!

Mount Sturgeon view on the way to the picaninny Southern Grampians only1invillage
Walking up to the Picninny you see Mount Sturgeon towering over the southern Grampians. That mountain is for a return visit!
wallaby spotting on the picaninny walk southern grampians
Wallaby spotting on the way to the picaninny.
easy walk to the top of the Picaninny southern Grampians only1invillage
Another peak conquered! Well actually, Mount Sturgeon is the one in the distance. This is it the top of the Picaninny.
J surveys his kingdom from the picaninny southern grampians Only1invillage
Lord J surveys his kingdom high up on the Picaninny. Looking down onto the farmland below. Southern Grampians near Dunkeld.


Fyans Creek Loop Walk 2.5kms easy grade

This walk starts where the Boronia Peak Walk starts as is effortlessly flat! This is the best place to see emu, wallabies and kangaroos. Not same same. Wallabies are like smaller kangaroos, so, OK, kind of similar!

emus at Halls Gap Fyans Creek Loop walk Only1invillage
Emus hanging around on the Fyans Creek Loop Walk northern Grampians near Halls Gap. They’re quite timid birds. They keep running away as we approach.
Fyans Creek Loop walk
The Fyans Creek Loop Walk is easy and flat. A perfect end to a week of strenuous hiking in the Grampians.
Fyans Creek Loop walk Only1invillage
The familiar ranges seen in the distance on the Fyans Creek Loop walk. We look up and say to ourselves, “we climbed that!”


That’s the end of our guide to some of the fantastic walks the northern Grampians has to offer. Time to go back to the big smog, but first, food!

Pomonal Estate Winery (see further below for pictures)- Well after a fabulous week of walking the Grampians, we need a good winery estate lunch, before heading back to the big smog. This place did not disappoint. Cosy, cute, good food and beer paddle tasting, what else can J want?

Grampians Estate winery – The Grampians area is fast becoming a destination for great wine. So when we see the sign for the not so imaginatively named Grampians Estate Winery, we have to stop for a sample or two. A lovely modern tasting room where you can also get lunch or light snacks.

Back to Melbourne we go!


Our Top Tips for walking in the Grampians

Do the hardest hike first, then everything else will seem easier. Looking back we wish we had done Mount Rosea first, because compared to that, Boronia Peak was easy! However having said that, you might get muscle soreness if you do the most difficult walk first.

Mount Rosea almost at the peak difficult walk first Only1invillage
If you do the hardest walk first, the others might seem easier. This is 2 hours into the Mount Rosea walk, another half hour to go. This is a difficult hike in terms of terrain and not getting lost.

Wear good shoes or boots if you’re serious about conquering peaks. The terrain is rough with small and large stones, sticking out everywhere to stub those toes and trip you up. Oh and don’t forget about those tree roots, that like to make their presence known too!

layer up for walking in the Grampians only1invillage
It’s four seasons in one day when you go hiking. Layer up, there’s nothing worse than being too cold or too hot.

Layer up for the walks. On the same walk you can wear one layer at the start and pretend you’re sunbathing on a beach, 15 minutes later you need a hat, gloves and that insulated jacket  (Winter hiking like we did).

top tips what to wear hiking the grampians Only1invillage
Layer up and wear sunglasses for the Grampians. One minute it’s like beach weather and the next…….

Take snacks and lots of water. Take your rubbish with you. Wear a back pack/ rucksack for the rock scrambling, you’ll want to keep your hands free.

For Mount Rosea, tell someone. We met a couple who got lost and they told us it took them 7 hours to get back down instead of the 4 to 5 hours, it should take.

Get really good at spotting yellow triangles. You know that saying that “all rocks look the same”? Ok, there isn’t one, but, on some of the less travelled walks it is really confusing and there is no clearly marked trail of footprints to guide you. Keep your eyes peeled for the yellow triangles to guide you. Sometimes it is better to go higher and look back to see where they are.

get good at spotting yellow triangle markers Only1invillage
Get good at spotting the yellow markers in the Grampians. Sometimes you have to step back a bit to see them.


Indigenous rock art in the Grampians

Indigenous rock art in the Gariwerd (the indigineous people’s name for the Grampians is plentiful and well preserved. The Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people have looked after their land for over 20,000 years.

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. There are over 200 sites but only 5 are “open” to the public. Each site has been fenced off to protect them from vandalism, so, you can’t get too close and touch them, which is a good thing.

We followed this guide to see all the amazing ancient indigenous rock art.

The Billimina and Majna rock art sites

Billimina SHelter rock art location map
Billimina Shelter is quite difficult to get to. Located in the heart of the Grampians national park.

Inside the Wartook valley the Billimina Shelter can be found along The Goat walk. It’s quite difficult to get to due to the narrow and twisting roads. From the Buandik picnic and camping area, it should take about 15 minutes. It is a steady uphill walk. Drive on 10 mins from the Buandik picninc site and you can see the famous “hands” (manja – pronunced man-yar) rock art.

Bunjil Shelter – Stawell

Bunjil's shelter location map Grampians 7 days of wonderful walks
Bunjil’s Shelter is closest to the large town of Stawell. Inside the Black Range Scenic Reserve.

Located in the Black Range scenic reserve the Bunjil Shelter is amazingly well preserved. This site is an easy walk from the car park.

The Grampians has an abundance of indigenous rock art sites Bunjil shelter Stawell
The amazing Bunjil shelter near Stawell in the Grampians. Bunjil is the creator of the world, people, plants and animals.


Grampians wildlife

Eastern grey kangaroos are everywhere in the Grampians
The Eastern Grey kangaroos are very docile. They are used to having their photograph taken. Humans, hey, have they never seen a group of kangaroos relaxing before?

The eastern grey kangaroos are everywhere. They come up to you in car parks, they wait patiently on the lawn and they hop around the grass lands, sometimes waiting to cross the road. These iconic Australian animals will be the most common sighting along with wallabies, their marsupial cousins.

A joey and wallaby in the Grampains, Victoria, Australia
Wallabies, the kangaroos’ smaller cousins are a common sighting. Not so common is to see a joey peeking out of a pouch! Awwww!

Possums will make their presence known in the trees above you. A rarer sighting will be squirrel and feather tailed gliders. But, good news sugar gliders often jump between trees when dark.

Beware of the snakes!!!! Eeek – poisonous types are known to be in the Grampians – the red bellied black, brown, tiger and copperheads. These short fanged reptiles are not ones you want to boast on your Instagram profile! Luckily we didn’t see any.

Grampains wild goat mountain trekking near the Venus Baths Halls Gap
A wild mountain goat seen trekking near the Elephant’s Hide, Venus Baths, Halls Gap.

We were surprised to see some deer in the forest foothills.

wild deer near Fyans Creek The Grampains, Victoria, Australia
Wild deer seen near Fyans Creek, Grampians.

Unfortunately Australia’s most unique monotreme, the duck billed platypus will be a rare sighting near the rivers in the Grampians. You’re more likely to hear Pobblebonk frogs, especially after fresh rainfall.


Food and produce

food and products of the Grampians at Seppelt winery
The food and produce of the Grampians is always locally sourced and produced.

There are plenty of wineries and some fantastic produce that only the clean air of the Grampians can produce. Before lunch we had to do a quick stop at the famous Seppelt winery. There’s no lunch here but a small cafe and a cheese platter option. They also do guided tours of their underground cellars. Book in advance. 

wine tasting at Seppelt Great Western near the Grampians region
Wine tasting at Seppelt winery is complimentary. Usually wineries charge $5 for tastings redeemable if you buy a bottle.

The Toscana (not in Italy as the name may suggest!) olive plantation produces fantastic olives and award winning olive oils including extra virgin.

Red Rock Olives A family owned estate specialising in , yep, you got it, olives!

Red Rock Olives serves lunch and of course you can buy olive products. Only1invillage
Red Rock Olives, Pomonal. A gorgeous platter made from local produce. Of course you can also buy olives, olive oil and olive flavoured salt.

The Pomonal Estate is worth a visit. Offering beer and cider tastings in addition to home made cakes and cheese platters. How can you say no? Only open until 5pm, except on Fridays, the only dinner day. so make sure you book in for a lunch time slot.

Pomonal Estate has a cosy feel Grampians Onlly1invillage
The cosy interior of the Pomonal Wine Estate. Bookings essential. Ring in advance to double check your booking.
Pomonal Estate winery open for lunch Grampians dining Only1invillage
Pomonal Estate winery serves great food in a cosy atmosphere. They also have beer paddle tasting.
beer tasting at the Pomonal Wine Estate Grampians Only1invillage
Beer tasting. Why have one when you can have 10? Pomonal Wine Estate Grampians.
dessert Pomonal Wine estate grampians Only1invillage
Desserts use local produce at the Pomonal Wine Estate, Grampians, Victoria.

Grampians Estate Winery – offers big and little snacks. Wine has been produced in the Grampians for over 150 years. Sweets and coffee in a very modern setting. Wine tastings are self guided. This winery is known for its Shiraz and sparkling wines. 

The Grampians winery Grampians Only1invillage blog
The Grampians Estate Winery is just off the main road back to Melbourne. One for the road?
Grampians Estate winery Only1invillage
Award winning Grampians Estate winery. The cellar door offers self guided wine tastings. Also local produce and cheese platters for a bite to eat.


Places to Eat in the Grampians

We tried a lot of eating places!

The Wickens at the Royal Mail Hotel Dunkeld. A 2 hat restaurant with 3 digit figure prices. A kitchen garden and farm produce with an award winning chef. Degustation menu 190 with matching wines an additional 130. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 they were closed when we  visited. There’s a cheaper version to the fine dining option. The Parker Street Project offers 3 course meals for a more reasonable price. It is now open though!

The Spirit of Punjab Indian restaurant – good Indian food, comfortable chairs. No pictures sorry. Very good value and nice and spicy!

The Views restaurant – rubbish – don’t bother- overly confident reviews on Google. NO atmosphere. Despite the food looking good here, the taste – meh! Overpriced too.

The Views restaurant Halls Gap Only1invillage
The Views restaurant Halls Gap. While it looked good, it was yuk. It also cost over $100. Avoid in our opinion. As it was dinner time, there was no view.

Rock, Paper Scissors brewery – Good cafe bistro meals. 

Paper Rock Scissors Brewery Halls Gap Only1invillage where to eat
Paper Rock Scissors Brewery in Halls Gap. Serves up tasty bistro style dishes like lamb backstrap for a good price.

Sen Vietnamese restaurant connected to Darcy’s restaurant and accommodation. Nothing to write home about. Not great, not awful. Good service and generous portions. Well priced food and alcohol. Not photo worthy we’re afraid.

Halls Gap Hotel Bistro – Good pub grub and good prices to match. Lovely roaring real log fires.

Halls Gap Hotel Bistro Only1invillage
Good old fashioned pub grub at the Halls Gap Hotel Bistro. Great friendly service and open log fires. Just what you need after a Winter’s day hiking.

The old bakery Dunkeld – supposedly the best sourdough in the country!

Dunkeld bakery best sourdough in Australia?Only1invillage
Is it the best sourdough in Australia? That’s what the Dunkeld Bakery says. Come and judge for yourself!

Well, that’s it for our blog on some of the amazing walks you can do in the are near Halls Gap. Known as the northern Grampians, it is an area of outstanding natural beauty. There’s something for everyone here. Drawing visitors from around the world, we do hope we have inspired you to come down, lace up those boots and see some countryside just 3 hours drive from Victoria’s capital city, Melbourne.

bye in the Grampians south from C and J Only1invillage
We sincerely hope you have enjoyed our blog and find it informative. We are happy to report that due to going out of season, for the most part, we were the Only1invillage! Bye for now!

Next time we’ll take on the South, East and West Grampians! It’s bye for now from The Grampians. Christina and Jason. 

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The Grampians 7 days of wonderful walks 10


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Grahams Dam walk Lerderberg State Park

Grahams Dam Walk Lerderberg State Park

An easy walk that everyone will love! There’s lots to see and explore along the river. Lerderberg Grahams Dam Walk is just 3kms long and can be completed in under an hour. A quickie, but a goodie! Remote enough to escape the city with a lovely river and rock escarpment. This walk is uplifting and good for the soul.

native forest and Lerderberg River
Native forest and the Lerderberg River. Even within close proximity to Victoria’s capital, Mlebourne, Lerderberg State Park still has that remote feel to it.

Set near Melbourne’s’ orchard growing area of Bacchus Marsh, Lerderberg State Park has something for every hiker. There’s easy strolls, challenging and 3 day walks. All this variety just 1 hour and 10 minutes away from Melbourne. If you’re coming from the satellite city of Geelong, Lerderberg State Park is just 5 minutes longer, at 1 hour and 15 minutes driving time.

Lerderberg State Park map location
Lerderberg Gorge is centrally located between Geelong and Melbourne in the Moorabool Shire, in Bacchus Marsh.

Check back later when we have completed the East Walk and Cowans Track Loop Walk, complete with European wasps and snakes! For now, we’ll stick to a child friendly walk.

walks information sign at Mackenzie Flat Picninc area
At Mackenzies Flat picninc area, this handy information board details your walk options. There are a surprising number of walks you can do in the Lerderberg State Park.


What is there to see and Do on the Grahams Dam Lerderberg Park walk?

Lerderberg State Park is an area of Permian era origins
Surround yourself with fresh air from the native forest on the Grahams Dam Walk in the Lerderberg State Park.

There is a river, which you will cross twice via some giant stepping stones. Hill top scenery overlooks the shimmering river and beautiful native forest, while traversing a sometimes rocky path.

shallow river bed Lerderberg River Lerderberg State Park
On a warm day, head down to the shallow river bed. It’s almost like a mini beach.
beautiful native forest Lerderberg state park
Lose yourself and inhale the fresh air in the beautiful native forest on the Grahams Dam Walk. Hug the paperbark and grey gum trees to your heart’s content. Go on, it’s good for you!

The rocks in the area for keen geologists are composed of tillite, unformed glacial sediments from the Permian era. That’s really old! In addition to the tillite is glacial outwash sandstone and conglomerate. In essence you’re walking on millions of years old land!

Permian era sandstone rock escarpment Lerderberg State park
Massive stone boulders. A reminder of the Permian era. Yep that rock is about 300 million years old!

The “bush” contains many plants native to Victoria. The yellow wattle is particularly beautiful. For a flora of Victoria guide, click here.

Where is the Grahams Dam walk?

Mackenzies Flat Picninc Area sign Lerderberg State Park
Start the easy Grahams Dam Walk from the Mackenzie Flat Picninc area.

The Grahams Dam walk is within the Lerderberg State Park. It is accessed by the flat picnic area called Mackenzie Flat Picnic area. You can’t miss the signs!

Grahams Dam Walk sign Lerderberg State Park
Start the easy walk to Grahams Dam here!

How long will the Grahams Dam walk take?

Under an hour’s return journey. Obviously, if you stop off for a swim and exploration at the shallow river bed, then longer. 

Top Tips for the Grahams Dam walk

When to go: To see the river flowing and cross over the man made stepping stones, Winter and Spring are the best times to go. Otherwise it will be dry in Summer and Autumn.

dry river bed in Summer and Autumn Lerderberg River Lerderberg State Park
If you go in Summer and Autumn, the river bed will be dry.

Car Parks: You park at Mackenzies Flat Picnic Area car park.

There are picnic benches here and a big lawn area too.

Mackenzies Flat picninc area Lerderberg State Park Victoria one hour from Melbourne
It’s flat. It’s a picnic area. It’s named after someone called Mackenzies. A nice spot for a picnic or barbecue. There is a free barbecue like in many Victorian state parks.

Dog friendly: The park is dog friendly, but, unfortunately, this particular walk prohibits your canine friend. Sorry.

Provisions: If you’re planning on a swim in warm weather then a towel will be handy. You don’t really need water as the walk is under an hour, so, you can leave liquids in the car.

Sun protection: Take the usual precautions for the season and your skin type. Check the UV index on your phone.

Shoes: Hiking shoes are not necessary. You will get sand in your shoes, so if you choose to wear sandals, plan in advance. There are parts that you need to go steeply downhill, so shoes with grip are recommended. However, you can get by with running shoes like we did. We don’t recommend flip flops or thongs.

Mobile phone reception is very good to excellent.

rocks, river forest at Lerderberg State Park Grahams Dam walk
What a great quick walk! Forest, river and ancient rocks equals awesome.

Remember to check back soon, when we have completed other walks in the Lerderberg State Park.

Don’t forget if you have done this walk, we would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment in the section below.

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Don't miss this quick 1hr refreshing Lerderberg Grahams Dam walk 11


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George Bass coastal Walk

George Bass Coastal Walk

Want a mildly challenging hike with spectacular coastal scenery, varied terrain, Australian native wildlife and plants?

Well, get those shoes on and let’s go walking on this amazing hike, just under 2 hours from Melbourne. Make it a day trip or take it easy and complete the walk over a weekend in regional Victoria.

George Bass coastal Walk vegetation and ocean views
Hmm can’t think why they call it a coastal walk?

What is there to see and Do on the George Bass Coastal Walk

George Bass coastal Walk vegetation and ocean views
This is National Geographic worthy scenery isn’t it? The George Bass coastal walk is full of native vegetation.

There are spectacular views of the ocean and countryside on the George Bass coastal walk. There’s beach, hills, gravel paths, swathes of grassland and classic Australian “bush” foliage. Spring (September to November in Australia , Melbourne region) is a fabulous time to go and see the coast beard heath in flower. The blue tongue lizard and over 300 bird species are just some of the creatures you’ll see on your walk. 

George Bass coastal Walk Australian native wildlife blue tongue lizard
Look out for tiliqua scincoides, otherwise known as the Eastern blue tongue lizard. They’re not venomous, but, can deliver a nasty bite, if frightened.

All of the walk is open and exposed to the elements. You’ll get sand in your shoes, stumble over rocks and walk on compacted gravel. In some parts you’ll feel like you’re walking through a scene of the film Gladiator. You know the part where Russell Crowe drags his hand along the grass!

George Bass coastal Walk
Look, all we’re trying to say is that the George Bass coastal walk is like being on a film set of Gladiator. The waist tall grass is well, like waist tall grass!

Where is the George Bass coastal walk?

The George Bass coastal walk is a mere 1.5 hours drive (in good traffic) from the city of Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, Australia. It is about 120 kilometres from Flinders Street Station in the city centre. So you can do this walk on a day trip! 

George Bass coastal Walk location from Melbourne Victoria Australia
The George Bass coastal walk is about an hour and a half from the Melbourne CBD. The one way walk starting in San Remo can be completed in 2 hours if you’re super fit. Do the return trip and it’s an easy day trip!

How long will the George Bass coastal walk take?

This depends on your fitness levels and how much you like taking photographs. Average times say about 2 hours. We’re good walkers and we took 2 hours 50 minutes because we were faffing with cameras and someone called J along the route! If you’re doing this as part of your fitness routine, you’ll definitely do this in about 2 hours. If you’re not fit, then allow up to 4 hours each way. Let us know in the comments section, how long it takes you!

Top Tips for the George Bass coastal walk

When to go: As long as it’s dry, any season is good to go. Being a coastal walk it is almost always windy. Don’t bring your favourite floppy hat unless it’s really tight fitting. If you’re prepared to hold onto it constantly, by all means bring it. They do look good on all those photos we have to admit!

Difficulty of hiking trail: Mostly easy to moderate. It’s 7 – 8kms one way. The hiking trails offer something for everyone. Even young children can do most of the walk. There is meadow land, compacted gravel and sand on this walk. There are some short steep hills and it is close to cliff edges. Make sure you keep your children or dog away from the edges, especially on a very windy day. 

mostly grassy paths on the George Bass coastal walk
A lot of the George Bass coastal walk is well trodden grassy path, gently undulating across the coast line. This makes the walk good for most people and even children.

Car Parks: You walk from one car park in Punchbowl Road, San Remo to the other one in Kilcunda. Or vice versa. There’s no charge to park in either car park. To access the one in Punchbowl Road you just turn on to the compacted gravel road. Be careful it is a two way road and narrow. The car park at Kilcunda is just off the fore shore.

George Bass coastal walk map showing car parks, road and paths
You can leave your car either in the car park in San Remo or in Kilcunda.

Dog friendly: Keep your canine on a lead. The park allows dogs but to protect the sensitive native fauna and flora, they ask you to make sure your dog is kept under control.

Provisions: We recommend that you take half a litre of water per person, per hour, that you intend to walk, on a hot day.You might want some fruit and muesli bars for a walking lunch. There’s no cafe along the way for a half way break! There are also no bins so take your rubbish with you. Don’t bother with an umbrella, it will get broken. If there’s a chance of inclement weather, you’re better of wearing a waterproof jacket with a hood.

Sun protection: There’s hardly any shade on this walk. Don’t get caught out with the harsh Australian sun. Wear sunscreen and a hat. You might not feel like you’re getting burned, but sun burn is never a good look!

George Bass coastal walk sun protection
Oops, we are not practising what we’re preaching! Forgot the hats for sun protection. Surely there’s an app for blurring out skin damage? In our defence we are wearing sunscreen and sunglasses.

Shoes: Hiking shoes are not necessary. You will get sand in your shoes, so if you choose to wear sandals, plan in advance. There are parts that you need to go steeply downhill, so shoes with grip are recommended. However, you can get by with running shoes like we did. We don’t recommend flip flops or thongs.

Mobile phone reception is patchy on the George Bass coastal walk. Sometimes you get a signal, sometimes you don’t!

Flooding: There are some areas close to the beach walk section which can become waterlogged and ‘pools’ may be deeper than they seem.

water pools after flooding on the George Bass walk Victoria Australia
These pretty looking water pools can be deep after flooding or heavy rain. Proceed with caution. Sandy Water hole beach.

Let’s get started along the stunning George Bass coastal walk! We started from the Punchbowl Road car park, in San Remo.

George Bass coastal Walk
C can’t resist trying to imitate that scene from the film Gladiator. You know the part where Russell Crowe runs his hand through the tall grass!

So, we leave the car in the Punchbowl Road car park. If we walk quickly enough we can be back in 5 hours! Doesn’t sound too hard!

We’re in high spirits as we trek along, with the beautiful blue ocean to our right and lush greenery on the left. The sweeping views are starting already and the blood is flowing.

George Bass coastal Walk
Wait for us! The stunning start to the George Bass coastal walk from the Punchbowl Road car park in San Remo. Keep going it’s 7 kilometres to the next car park on foot!
George Bass coastal Walk vegetation and ocean views
Start from the Punchbowl Road car park and you have sweeping ocean views on your right.

You’re 45 minutes into the walk and you see signs for Half Moon Bay. So far the walking has been pretty easy on gently sloping grass paths.

George Bass coastal walk sign for Half Moon Bay
45 minutes into the walk you get notification that the terrain is about to change.

In order to get down to the bay, there’s going to be a moderately steep descent. At the 1 hour 15 minutes point, the terrain changes to sand.

Half Moon Bay as seen from the cliff top headings towards Kilcunda only1invillage
It’s going to get sandy as you head down to Half Moon Bay. You’ll reach this point about 45 minutes into your walk. This is view looking in the direction towards Kilcunda.

You have to back track the same way you came to leave Half Moon Bay. You cannot continue to skirt along the coast line. Keep walking and your next sandy beach awaits.

sandy parts on the George Bass coastal walk
Time for sand in your shoes as you head down to beaches and bays on the George Bass coastal walk. This section is after Half Moon Bay heading into Sandy Waterhole Beach.

At times, after Half Moon Bay the route can get confusing. But continue to read and “she’ll be right”, see our Australian slang guide to understand what we mean! Our best advice is to keep the shore line in sight.

Along this part of the George Bass coastal walk there are some really cool ‘water holes’ or mini swimming pools. So as not to confuse things, Australians have named this part of the walk, you guessed it, Sandy Waterhole.

Sandy Waterhole section of the George Bass coastal walk
It’s sandy and that looks like a water hole. I know, let’s name this place Sandy Waterhole. Genius.

Remember, it’s not safe to swim in the ocean here. The rip tides are very dangerous and there are no life savers patrolling any part of this area.

Keep calm and carry on! The aptly named beach walk section is coming up next. After all the greenery of the rolling hills and dramatic cliff faces, comes the light yellow sand.

George Bass coastal Walk sand vegetation and ocean views
Beach Walk section of the walk. To get here is about 1 hour and 40 minutes if you’re starting from San Remo.
From green to yellow. The changing scenery colours along the George Bass coastal walk. Now you're at the beach walk section, nearer to Kilcunda and the end of this amazing hike.
Leave nothing but footprints as the old saying goes! On the aptly named Beach Walk section of the George Bass coastal walk.


George Bass coastal walk beach walk section.
Time to take the shoes off and get the sand between your toes. On the sand dunes of Beach Walk section near Kilcunda.

After the Beach Walk section, there’s more grassy path which leads you to a sign of colonial human impact on the landscape.

Steam driven winch from a coal mine in Kilcunda
A sign of the past. The remains of a steam driven winch. Coal mining stopped in Kilcunda in 1953.

If you’re interested in reading more about the mine sites of Victoria, click here.

Just when you think the walk hasn’t been varied enough you see this on the approach to the Kilcunda foreshore and the end of the George Bass coastal walk. There’s this sight to behold. Crashing waves!

crashing waves near Kilcunda section of the George Bass coastal walk
What a way to end the walk. Or start the walk, depending on which end you start the George Bass coastal walk.

At Kilcunda, we congratulate ourselves and wonder do we have the energy to walk the return journey?

Looking back over the view, we give it some serious consideration.

View towards Kilcunda George Bass coastal walk
Do we want to see this stunning scenery all over again on the way back to San Remo from Kilcunda?

But we decide against it. That’s for the next time!

Don’t forget if you have done this walk, we would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment in the section below.

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George Bass Coastal Walk 12


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Cradle mountain lake Tasmania

Top 5 things to do do in Tasmania

If you only do 5 things in Tasmania, it has to be on our list. Cradle Mountain, Mona, Salamanca Market, Port Arthur and Freycinet National Park.

Quick Index Tasmania things to do


What’s Tasmania famous for?

Tasmania is famous for the Tasmanian devil, jaw dropping scenery and fantastic food.

The Tasmanian devil is a rather ugly looking marsupial. Unfortunately, it is now becoming rarer and rarer to see a Tasmanian Devil in the wild. Your best bet is to visit a conservation project.

Tasmanian devil try and spot one only1invillage
You’ll be really lucky if you spot a Tasmanian Devil in the wild.

Apart from the Tasmanian Devil, Tasmania is famous for food. The culinary delights of Tasmania stem from the fresh produce grown in pristine surroundings. It’s easy to find restaurants and cafes in stunning locations too. Tasmania is a foodie paradise.

Tasmania an eating destination only1invillage 5 must do things
Eating fabulous food in Tasmania often goes hand in hand with great scenery.

Main land Australians and Tasmanians rate the cheese, salmon and beef in particular. There is a particular island that is even further than Tasmania, called King Island, where our favourite blue cheese is from. Fortunately, we don’t have to travel to Tasmania to get Roaring Forties cheese, it is widely available in all supermarkets and markets.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Walking through unspoiled forests is one thing Tasmania is famous for.

Tasmania is also famous for its rugged beauty. It has marvelous mountains and hills with lush green valleys and lakes. Think of trekking through pristine bushlands and ancient forests.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Magical carpeted forest floors await discovery in Tasmania.

Crystal clear, freezing water and curved bays also fight for your attention. Spectacular views are waiting for you!


Where is Tasmania? Is it part of Australia?

Tasmania map where is Tasmania
Tasmania is sort of south of Melbourne. You can see by the north coast that it used to be part of Australia. New Zealand is red. Indonesia is blue and Papua New Guinea is orange.

Tasmania is part of Australia. There is a running joke that Tasmanians have two heads. We can confirm that they have one head. Tasmania is a separate state, not a separate country!


Best time to go to Tasmania

Tasmanian climate and weather

Tasmania has a temperate climate. It experiences 4 seasons. Tasmania’s weather is the opposite of northern Europe and northern America and Canada. When it’s Summer in Tasmania, it’s Winter in the northern hemisphere. When it’s Autumn in Tasmania, it’s Spring in the northern hemisphere. Tasmania is after all, ‘down under’ too.

Australians who live on the mainland, often joke that Tasmania is a separate country. The winters are milder than on the main land and the summers cooler. It rains a lot in Tasmania, which makes for lush green vegetation. The air is also much cleaner!

Right let’s get onto our unmissable 5 things to do in Tasmania list.


1 Trek the amazing Cradle Mountain Area

The walking tracks of Cradle Mountain are unmissable in our opinion. There’s something so peaceful and calming when you are surrounded by nature’s beauty. The shores of the lake are perfectly framed by the rugged hills. If you only trek one place in Tasmania, Cradle Mountain has to be on your list of 5 things you must do!

Things to do in Tasmania Cradle Mountain only1invillage
Unmissable thing to do in Tasmania is to walk around Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain. We think we have captured the twin peaks reflection so well!

The walking paths are a mixture of boardwalks and off road trails.

5 things you must do in Tasmania Cradle Mountain walk
Around Dove Lake and the Cradle Mountain area. Elevated and ground board walks allow for a pleasant walk. You don’t need hiking boots.

Along some of the boardwalks you will see the cutest of marsupials, the wombat!

Things to do in Tasmania wildlife native wombat only1invillage
Wombats are surprisingly fast! These cute looking marsupials excrete cubed shape poo. We shit you not! Every single poo a wombat does has six faces. So, if you see cube poo, you know you’re in wombat territory.

There are other walks to do in the Cradle Mountain area such as climbing the peak! But if you only do one, we recommend the Dove Lake Circuit.


2 Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay

5 things you must do in Tasmania
White sandy beach at Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet National Park.

Coming in at number 2, is trekking Freycinet National Park. You can cheat and go on a cruise from Coles Bay especially if you have come from Cradle Mountain! Or, you will have to do the hike to get that view. It’s a mere 5kms from Coles Bay!

5 things you must do in Tasmania
A walking map to Wineglass Bay is essential.

For more information in general about the Freycinet area and a clearer map, click here.


3 Learn about life as a convict

Modern  ‘white’ Australians are the descendants of convicts, soldiers  and their families sent to Australia from England. There aren’t actually many people who can trace their ancestry back to the ‘First Fleet’ of convicts. It might be seen as a badge of honour nowadays if you could!

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Learn all about gaol life on this remote island. Sarah Island – there was no escape!

We went to two penal areas to see first hand the consequences of stealing food 200 years ago. Due to prison overpopulation in England it landed you on the other side of the world. The first ‘penal colony’ we went to is Sarah Island.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Get a fascinating insight on life two hundred years ago in a penal colony. Sarah Island was a working island where Huon pine was the main industry. Conditions were cruel and harsh.

Sarah Island is all overgrown now with only ruins remaining.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
There are no intact buildings left at Sarah Island penal colony, Tasmania. The contrast between the surrounding beauty of the wilderness and the harsh life of the convicts is chilling.

We used Gordon River Cruises.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
We arrive on a very different ship to the convict settlement on Sarah Island, Tasmania.

Their package includes a rainforest walk and a boat cruise with lunch. Can’t say no to a bit of history, scenic views, a nature walk and food!

5 things you must do in Tasmania
The view from one of the harshest penal colonies in Tasmania. For prisoners, there was no escape. If you survived this freezing cold swim, there was impenetrable forest to get through next. The view from Sarah Island.

Another great place to soak up the atmosphere of life as a prisoner or soldier is Port Arthur. Port Arthur has a somewhat sobering more modern tragedy too. In 1996 a lone gun man went on a rampage and killed 35 people. An additional 23 people were wounded. After this terrible incident, gun laws were changed and now thankfully, it is extremely difficult for civilians to get any sort of fire arm. The National firearms Agreement has made Australia a safer place.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Port Arthur penal settlement, Tasmania. From a distance it looks like a majestic historic house.

Port Arthur is now an open air museum. It has many fascinating and well preserved buildings. You can get a real taste of how harsh convict life was here.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Port Arthur is now an open air museum. The best preserved convict site in Australia!

People often forget that prisoners and guards lived side by side. In addition to this, food had to be grown and animals farmed for food. Today the grounds where apple orchards grow, the produce is used in the 1830 Restaurant and Bar.

Inside the buildings, you can see recreated cells, the governor’s house and many artefacts which have been preserved. Many people love trying on the chains and manacles (the keys are provided!). Port Arthur is a top tourist destination and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Catch a glimpse of the prisoners’ cells in the Port Arthur museum. Bet it wasn’t that clean in real life!
5 things you must do in Tasmania
The kitchen in the governor’s house, Port Arthur, Tasmania.
5 things you must do in Tasmania
Keep that man chained up! Feel the weight of the leg irons used on the prisoners in the Port Arthur penal settlement.



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The Mona is a privately owned museum. It is only 9 years old. Mona is very unique and ‘out there’.

Mona stands for the Museum of Old and New Art. Even if you don’t like art galleries you’ll like this one! It is so unique. We’ve never been anywhere like it.  There are some confronting exhibitions, so, best to check beforehand, especially if you have children! Most people who have been to Mona have positive reviews. The exhibitions constantly change and are fascinating. It’s a really weird mix of aesthetic art. You’ll be using immersive technologies in some of the exhibitions and there’s never a dull moment. Often in the warmer months, there is free music on the extensive grounds.

5 things you must do in Tasmania Mona
The Mona (Museum of New and Old Art) has an enviable water setting. It even has a mini vineyard!
5 things you must do in Tasmania
Some things are just plain weird at the Mona museum! We have no idea what the significance of these ‘hands’ are. If you do, please let us know! Everything at Mona is open to interpretation.

Mona is definitely a conversation starter. You’ll either love it or hate it. Be warned that a lot of the museum is underground. Also many of the exhibitions are in confined spaces, with low lighting or strobe lighting! There’s no middle ground. The owner, David Walsh, wants his museum to stand out and it will certainly stay in your mind.

Don’t listen to us, go and see for yourself!


5 Salamanca Markets Hobart

You must time your visit to include a trip to the famous Salamanca Market in Hobart. The market opens on a Saturday at 8.30 am and closes at 3pm. Don’t miss it. It is a foodies’ and craft paradise. Many stalls sell leather goods and you can even buy shoes. The market starts outside Parliament Square and ends outside the art gallery.

5 things you must do in Tasmania Cradle Mountain walk
The Salamanca markets, Hobart are a Saturday sensation. You can find unique food and handicrafts. The perfect place to find that sought after Huon pine chopping board.

A whole street is cordoned off and it’s pedestrians only. You can slowly wander from stall to stall, tasting and touching various goods. If you’re after new clothes or shoes that don’t come from a chain, head on down. There’s also jewellery and souvenirs to browse through. Hand made natural health and beauty products which are vegan friendly can also be bought at the Salamanca market.

Getting to Tasmania

Good news, there’s only 2 options! You will be flying or coming by sea. There’s no bridge you can drive from the Australian mainland from! For us, even though our Melbourne base is only a 2 minute drive to the ferry port, it is sometimes cheaper to fly and then hire a car.

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Inside the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’ ferry which leaves from Port Melbourne to Devonport daily. The journey time is about 10 hours. You can bring your car along.

Getting around Tasmania

Your best option is to hire a car, or bring your car on the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’ ferry from Melbourne. Public transport is not great outside the cities of Hobart, Launceston and Devonport. There are some limitations on narrow paths for camper vans and larger vehicles, such as mobile homes.

How long do I need?

You’ll probably want at least 10 days to cover the Only1invillage essential top 5 list. If you’re a hiker, you can easily spend 3-5 days in Cradle Mountain alone.

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Row Boat Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne

Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne was established in 1846.

A haven of green foliage and exotic plants in the middle of a fast paced city. The Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne is free and a delight for young and old.

The central lake of the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Lawns plus lakes equals lazy days in the sunshine. The Melbourne botanical gardens also have rockeries, garden beds, rotundas, rustic bridges and avenues of trees.

Taking a stroll in nature and then spreading out a picnic blanket, overlooking a lake is our idea of a great way to relax. Doing this in the heart of a city with over 4 and a half million inhabitants is still possible in the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne. 

Spread over 89 acres the landscaped gardens are a must see attraction when visiting Melbourne. 1 million people visit the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne every year. Are you one of them?

Quick Index Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne


Location, getting there and Parking

The Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne are, you’ve guessed it, in Melbourne! They are a short walk from the CBD (central business district). 

You can get here by tram, on foot, by bicycle or by car and taxi. Since we have a base in Melbourne, we always cycle or walk if we’re feeling energetic. If we have a picnic planned and need to bring food and drinks, we take the car and park just outside the gardens.

Parking at the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Parking at the Gardens is free on Sunday and Public Holidays. On Australia day there is usually a classic car show just outside the gardens. Also, Government House is open on Australia day and is next to the gardens.

Parking is not free (except on Sundays), but the gardens themselves are. Melbourne has a parking system that must be read very carefully. Often there are time restrictions, such as a 2 hour maximum period. The closer you are to an attraction, the shorter time period you get to park. So, if you want to spend about 4 -5 hours in the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne, you will need to park further away from the entrance gates. There’s nothing worse than worrying about a parking fine!

gardens Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Amazing gardens full of colour abound! The botanical gardens contain over 8500 species of plants.

The botanic gardens are of historical, scientific, social and architectural significance to the state of Victoria and Melbourne, in particular. There is an elm tree that has been growing since 1846. See if you can find it.

Herbarium Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
The Herbarium of Victoria tracks the biodiversity of the gardens. It is of great scientific value.
map Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
A map of the gardens can come in handy if you get lost! There’s plenty to see.
Signs Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
There are signs throughout the royal botanical gardens, to help you orientate yourself.


The Lake

It’s just like going to Venice when you see the lake in the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne. OK, we’re just joking, but you can go for a gondola ride! OK, OK, it’s a boat, not a gondola. The lake is a central point and you can admire the views from outside seating areas or from the restaurant. Often you’ll see ducks, swans and other birds swimming and sometimes chilling on the edges, doing some people watching! 

The central lake of the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
The central lake is a great spot for the picnic rug and relaxing. Many people bring their own food and drinks and relax in the picturesque surroundings!

In the warmer months, you will often see a wedding ceremony near the lake. 

A boat on the central lake of the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
A guided tour on a punting boat on the central lake is a popular option.


The Rain Forest walk

This is a really cool walk that makes you think you’ve gone back in time to the Jurassic era! The rain forest walk is completely enclosed like a true rain forest. The trees are really tall and it has a humid feel to it, all year round. Ancient ferns are the main plants at ground level. A walkway has been introduced for easy access and for those with mobility issues.

Rain Forest Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
A small picturesque rain forest near the centre of the gardens is a must see.

If it all gets too much, you can now relax in a swinging seat. You’ll have to fight for it however, children seem to like it a lot!!!

Swinging seat Rain Forests Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne.
There is a swinging seat in the middle of the rain forest. See if you can find it!


The Herb Garden

You can easily miss this little pocket of delights if you don’t look for the signs. There are many types of herbs that you can rub gently and inhale. Our favourites are the pineapple and chocolate mint varieties. They really do smell of mint and pineapple and chocolate and mint. Don’t try and take a sample to grow yourself, there are huge fines for those caught stealing! Children will find the herb garden particularly fascinating. It is actually very educational for everyone as the little placards tell you the scientific names and uses of each herb. The herb garden is one of our favourite areas when we visit the botanical gardens.

Our top tip – If you love taking bee shots, like we do, the herb garden is the place where most of them hang out.

Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Thyme for a bee shot! Excuse the pun. The herb garden is the best place to shoot these little honey makers.

You will find rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, chives, lemon verbena and much more. A couple of benches have been strategically placed to take in all the aromas!

Herb Garden Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
An astrology statue sits in the centre of the Herb Garden. Scratch n sniff all the usual kitchen herbs!


Children’s Garden

A place for big kids as well as small kids. When you go through these gates after the sign, a wonderful, interactive world awaits. It’s a space for children to discover and explore the wonderful world of plants, including vegetables. There’s a water fountain that sprays upwards (perfect for hot days), various trails, possums hiding in the roof and a vegetable garden to explore. Many educational school trips spend part of an excursion in this area. Therefore, avoid going on a Monday or a Tuesday, during Victorian school term times. 

Children's Garden sign Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Children’s Garden sign. Bring the little ones into this amazing landscape. Hours of fun to keep their young hands and mind occupied.

Use this excellent checklist – 50 things for kids to do, if you run out of ideas!

Children's garden and observatory house Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Children’s vegetable garden and observatory house. School excursions use this space to teach children about where food comes from! There’s also a little sand pit in the centre.


The Glasshouse

When you’re feeling cold in Winter, pop into the glasshouse for a reminder of warmer climates! The glasshouse is small and you can go through it in 5 minutes. We particularly like the pitcher plants and the orchids. Whilst nothing like the amazing orchid gardens in Singapore, you get to see native Australian orchids and some plants from all over the world.

the Glasshouse it's hot and humid in here. Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Get that hot and humid feeling inside the Glasshouse.
Chris in the Glasshouse Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Huge tropical plants live inside the glasshouse.


The Volcano

Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
A burst of colour at the bottom of Guilfoyle’s volcano.

Guilfoyle’s volcano is the most recent addition to the Melbourne botanical gardens. Guilfoyle was a director of the botanic gardens in 1873. Originally created as a water reservoir it was dormant for 60 years before recent restoration.

Volcano Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Steps take you up to the volcano and past many types of colourful succulents.
Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
It’s amazing what you’ll find hiding in the tall cacti! There’s also an easy path up to the ‘top’ of Guilfoyle’s Volcano. You can get to the ‘summit’ using stairs too.
Volcano top Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
The top of the Volcano in the Botanical Gardens. That’s a water filtration system in action around the clusters of plants.

At the ‘top’ of the volcano there is one information board we love standing in front of.

Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Compare the painting with the current view of Melbourne. At the ‘top’ of Guilfoyle’s volcano.
Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Looking down from the volcano it’s quite a view.


cactus Garden

All things prickly and drought resistant live here. We’re not just talking about that man in the photo below!

Cactus Gardens Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Cactus Gardens Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne.

Melbourne had a terrible drought in the last decade. Keen gardeners are encouraged to grow water saving plants such as cacti and succulents. Unsurprisingly, the cacti gardens came out of the drought unscathed.

Cactus Gardens Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Cactus Gardens Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne. These hardy plants just love the dry Melbourne summers.


Restaurants and Facilities

The gardens are used for concerts, plays, and movies under the stars! To find out what is going on at the gardens click here

There are plenty of toilets dotted around the gardens. They are well maintained. The biggest and best ones are just behind the building in the picture below.

There are two main places to grab a bite to eat. The more informal cafe Jardin Tan, focuses on the paddock (farm) to plate philosophy. You can get coffee here and ice cream as well as a full meal. The cuisine is from the Indo China area (modern Vietnam). Drool over crunchy  coleslaw with prawns or get that authentic bahn-mi you miss from Vietnam

Pho (pronounced ‘fur’) something more substantial, how does Flinders Island lamb shoulder, pickled vegetables, firecracker sauce and steamed buns sound? Er, hello, book us a spot online now!

Restaurant and visitor centre Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
A restaurant, facilities and the visitor centre are just outside the east entrance of the Royal Botanical Gardens. The ice cream is very good. We recommend it!

If you happen to enter through Gate A of the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne, you will be closer to the Terrace. This is the place for clotted cream scones and high tea. You have to book well in advance for high tea. Also touted as Melbourne’s best kept secret for wedding and corporate events.

Breakfast is served from 9 to 11.30 am. We don’t have any breakfast pictures, sorry, we’re not up that early!!! Lunch is from 11.30 to 3 pm. 

At certain times of the year, there is an electric mini bus for people with mobility issues. You can catch it just after the Herbarium. We hope you visit these magnificent gardens and love them as much as we do!

tour bus royal botanical gardens
Take a tour bus around the royal botanical gardens. You can hop on or off and various stops around the gardens,

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pristine empty beaches

Magnificent Magnetic Island and all its attractions

You’ll be blown away by the many attractions of Magnetic Island. No pun intended! This is possibly Australia’s best kept secret for a tropical island. Easy to get to and offering a vast amount of natural beauty, we tell you what to see, when and where to go, on this stunning gem, Down Under.

Quick Index Magnetic Island


Where is Magnetic Island?

Discover Magnetic Island only1invillage
Magnetic Island is in the far NE of Australia. It is in the state of Queensland.

Magnetic Island is located in North Eastern Australia. The closest big city is Townsville. It is a jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef. A clear favourite destination for Australians who live in the city of Townsville. Magnetic Island lures in international and local Aussies by the hundreds of thousands. Known as ‘Maggie’ to the locals in Australian Slang – once you go, you’ll want to go back for more!

Magnetic Island belongs traditionally to the Wulgurukaba people. In is called Yunbenun.


Is it really magnetic?

Well, the story goes that Captain Cook observed some ‘magnetic effect’ on his compass as he was sailing by. Scientists can’t agree if it has any more magnetic pull than any other island in Australia. What is clear, though, is that Magnetic Island has many attractions! You won’t be repelled or repulsed!


Things to do on Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Magnificent vistas of this granite boulder strewn island await! Definitely one of the best things to do on Magnetic Island is the fabulous walking trails.


Walking and Hiking on Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is just full of beautiful walks and hiking trails. If you love hiking and getting rewarded with great views, you’re in luck. There are over many secluded bays and hills to discover. The natural scenery is just breathtaking. This is one of the best ways to explore this beautiful island. So, lace up those shoes and let’s get going!

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Running shoes are fine to wear on all the walks. You’ll have to take them off though when you go for a cooling dip in one of the bays. It’s sweaty work all that hiking!

The walks and trails on Magnetic Island range from seriously easy to fantastically difficult. There is no drinking water available, except at The Forts Walk, so you must carry all your supplies. Don’t get caught out! Remember to always tell someone where you’re going if you set out on a long hike.

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
There is only 1 walk where you can refill your drinking bottle. The Forts Walk where you will see the wild koalas. For all the other walks there is no water along the way. We know this because we did every single walk!

Below we give you the official grading and time and the time it takes us to do the walking! You can use this online version to plan your walks. This walking map has less detail than the paper version. See below.

Magnetic Island walking trails
There are so many walks to keep you fit and occupied on Magnetic Island. We did every walk on this map! Pay attention to the grading of the walks, some are harder than you think.

Most walks you can do in hiking sandals or running shoes. You don’t really need hiking boots. Thongs or flip flops are not recommended as there is lots of uneven ground and rocks to stub your toes on. Also lots of the paths turn sandy, and it’s annoying getting sand and small stones under your feet. However, you can manage most walks wearing thongs or flip flops, if you don’t have any other shoes.

The walking tracks and hikes on Magnetic Island, offer splendid views. In addition, you’ll see native wildlife and the Australian Bush. Below we sort the walks into easy and moderate. Depending on your level of fitness you may find the moderate walks difficult. 

There is also a paper version of this map, which has more up to date walks and a bit more information on what you’ll see, along the way. We refer to use the paper map and we did every single walk on it! You can pick up a copy of this map at the ferry terminal.

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
This paper map shows 9 walks on Magnetic Island. We are proud to say we covered every walk on the island, including the snorkelling!

Easy Walks on Magnetic Island


Picnic Bay to WestPoint- 16kms return (5hrs)

This really is an easy walk on flat sealed road. This is labelled as walk number W3 on the paper map.

Attractions of Magnetic Island walks West Point Beach
The walk to West Point is easy but long. 16kms long to be precise. But that’s return!

The road is not really picture worthy. It’s a black road with some trees and grass on either side. There’s no path, so when you hear the occasional car coming, move aside!

Magnetic Island West POint walk start bitumen road only1invillage
Told you, it’s just a boring bitumen road. The start of the West Point walk isn’t that interesting.

But, the beach is very beautiful, if isolated. We had a bit of an accident and dropped the phone on the way. We were not able to fix the phone to get our own shot of the beach.

West Point Beach Magnetic Island
West Point Beach (picture courtesy of


Horseshoe Bay Lagoon- 200ms return (15mins) – official time according to somebody.

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Horseshoe Bay Lagoon Walk is along some boardwalk. We are happy to report it is easy and is 15 minutes long.

Labelled as W9 on the paper map above. We are glad to report it is easy and it only takes 15 minutes.

This is an easy one to miss! It is not very well signed at all. We went down the wrong road and it took us 40 minutes to realise we were going nowhere! Here is the correct way to go. As you walk along the road to Horseshoe Bay, go past the Koala Bay Village. Before you see this road sign,

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
If you’re coming from Horseshoe Bay, the rocks to start the Lagoon Walk are just opposite this sign. Don’t miss it, we did!

Then you need to look out for two large rocks!

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Look out for these stones to get to the Lagoon Walk off Horseshoe Bay Road. They’re well camouflaged!
Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
You’ll know you’re on the right path to the Lagoon Walk when you see this sign. Finding this sign, though, is the hard part!

We turn left at Henry Lawson Street and walk until it becomes a sand path. Don’t do this, it’s the wrong way to the Lagoon Walk, off Horseshoe Bay Road!

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Erm, if you see this while looking for the Lagoon Walk (W8 or W9 on the paper version), you’re going the wrong way! Turn around.

On the boarwalk get your camera out for blue butterflies, blue kookaburras and a crocodile.

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Along the Horseshoe Bay Lagoon Walk classified as easy, we see this beautiful blue butterfly.
Explore the many magnificent attractions of Magnetic Island 17
An iconic Australian bird, the kookaburra. You don’t often see them with a blue belly. Spot him (or her) among the trees at the Horseshoe Bay Lagoon walk.

Depending on the season, the lagoon can look a bit dry. 

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
In the dry season, it can be a bit dry! The lagoon is a bit low on water. You can see the exposed roots of the trees along the boardwalk.


Hawkings Point Track – 1.2kms return (1hr)

Labelled as walk number W2 on the paper map. This isn’t that easy if you’re not that mobile or agile as it starts with steep steps. Yes, it’s a short walk, but, it’s all up hill. When you get to the top of a huge granite boulder, you’re finished. The views are spectacular. You’ll be looking over Picnic Bay, Rocky Bay, Nelly Bay, Geoffrey Bay and even back towards Townsville!

Start the walk at the end of a residential street called Picnic Street in Picnic Bay. 

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
Walk number W2 on the paper map. Hawkings Point Track starts at the end of Picnic Street in Picnic Bay. It’s one of the shorter walks, but, it’s quite steep.

We always seem to be walking when it’s hot and sunny! Magnetic Island has over 320 days of sunshine, so a cloudy day would be strange!

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
You’re almost at the top of Hawkings Point Track, when you see these steps. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place!
Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
Victory is ours! It’s really windy at the top. Here you are looking out over Picnic Bay and the pier.
Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
At the top of Hawkings Point Track, you can see Townsville from a different view point.

When you get back down, take a walk along the Picnic Bay Jetty you can see from the top of Hawkings Point Track.

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
The jetty at Picnic Bay was used as the drop off point for passengers until 2001. Now all passengers alight at Nelly Bay.


Gabul Way – Nelly Bay to Arcadia 1.5kms return (0.5hour)

We are glad to report that this is an easy walk as advertised. It is a little misleading however as the walk starts after Geoffrey Bay, not Arcadia. This is the easier way to do it. There is an elevated walkway which runs alongside the busy road. It is flat if you start at Geoffrey Bay and gently rises as you progress. After you see a spectacular house on the corner on your left, it’s road only. Time to turn back.

Moderate Walks


Horseshoe Bay to Balding Bay and Radical Bay- 3.2kms return (1.5hrs)

This walk is labelled W8 on the paper map and W7 on the electronic version. It is definitely labelled incorrectly.  If you don’t carry water, don’t stop to take photos and don’t trip on rocks, then, sure, you can do this walk in 1.5 hours! We walked first to Balding and  then Radical as suggested. It isn’t going to take you 1.5 hours, unless you’re a top mountain runner! Also you’ll want to cool off at the nudist beach at Balding Bay!

Walking and hiking trails on Maggie Island
Start the walk to Balding Bay from Horseshoe Bay. After those people in the distance, you need to turn right, into the bushes!
Walking and hiking trails on Maggie Island
The Horseshoe Bay to Balding Bay walk starts on sand and finishes on sand. This is walk W8 on the paper map.
walk to Balding Bay from Horseshoe Bay
Follow the path to Balding Bay. This is just after the previous sign. It’s going to get steeper!
Horseshoe Bay to Balding Bay walk
Continue along the well worn path until you see these signs. Make your choice.
Nude Beach warning to Balding Bay one of the things to do on magnetic island
By the time you see this rock, you will have walked 30 minutes. Prepare to get naked!
Granite rock path to Balding Bay
These are the last granite rocks you need to climb down before you see Balding Bay.
Here comes Balding Bay
Finally after 45 minutes we reach Balding Bay from Horseshoe Bay. You’ll be dying to get naked!
Explore the many magnificent attractions of Magnetic Island 18
We finally get to Balding Bay, the nude beach. Why does J have his clothes on? It’s not a 1.5 hour return to Horseshoe Bay, if you’re going to Radical Bay, the next one along.

After a quick swim in the cold water, we feel refreshed to continue on to Radical Bay. You go back up the same steep steps and go past the ‘nude beach’ rock again. 

Signs to Balding Bay
You’ll be hot and sweating again when you see these signs from Balding Bay.
Radical Bay is the next bay along from Balding Bay
From Balding Bay, Radical Bay is another 30 minutes walk. It’s the next bay along. You can reach Radical Bay by boat or from the Forts car park. If you come from the Forts car park, it’s a very steep downwards road full of gigantic pot holes. Best to walk on foot.

The sand isn’t quite as yellow at Radical Bay, more a yellow/brown. There are also larger stones. Like most natural Australian beaches, there is little shade. If you’re going to make a day of Radical or Balding Bay, we recommend you bring a beach tent or umbrella. The water is cold and refreshing. As you can see in the picture, Radical Bay is quiet.


Unnamed walk – 1km – 30 mins

This walk doesn’t have a name. It starts at Picnic Bay. It is above the walk named W2 on the paper map. It’s a quick, steep walk with you guessed it, superb views over Rocky Bay.

unnamed walk Magnetic island view of magnetic island beaches
This walk doesn’t have a name. It is above W2 on the paper map. It’s a quickie and a goodie! On the left is Rocky Bay and Nelly Bay Harbour. It’s very windy too, so secure your hat! It’s hard to get a good posing shot, hence, we’re not in it!


Forts Walk- 4kms return (1.5hrs)

The Fort is in the distance
Yep, you’re going to get to the top of that fort to see some amazing views.

If you don’t stop to read the interesting placards and you never take a photo, you can do this walk in the advertised time. This is THE place to spot the koalas! We saw 9 on our walk and are happy to report, as far as reincarnation goes, we’re coming back as koalas. The cute fur balls sleep for over 20 hours a day! Now that’s a goal to aspire to! Just kidding, we would never travel far, if we slept that long.

There are many interesting placards describing daily life in this WWII outpost
There are many interesting placards describing daily life in this WWII outpost.

Start the walk at the Forts car park. The one bus stops here. It’s quite a difficult walk not in distance, but in gradient. There are lots of steps too.

Forts walk info board
Orientate yourself at the Forts Walk car park. Read the interesting information board covered in giant ants!

It is labelled as ‘moderate’ on the paper map and number W6. In our opinion, if you’re not fit, you’ll find this walk difficult. You can do this walk in 1.5 hours if you are fit and don’t stop. Otherwise, it’s more like 2 or 2.5 hours.

The walk starts on a flat path.

Forts walk flat path start
The start of the Forts Walk from the car park is along a flat path. Go off to the sides and this is where you will see the many cute koalas.
View over Arthur and Florence Bay Forts Walk
Just 10 minutes walk from the Forts car park, you will see this amazing view over Arthur and Florence Bays.

Keep going and keep your eyes peeled for the koalas. 

2 koalas Forts Walk
What’s better than seeing one koala on Magnetic Island? Seeing two koalas on the same tree! The Forts Walk, is the best place to spot these iconic Australian fur balls in the wild. It’s so crowded with koalas, koalas have to share real estate!

When you can tear yourself away from the koala spotting, continue on your history lesson about Magnetic Island’s involvement in WWII.

Discover amazing facts on Magnetic Island Forts Walk info
Learn all about how soldiers went about their daily lives on this remote part of Australia during WWII. If you don’t stop to read these information placards, you can do the Forts Walk in 1.5 hours return.

When you get to the top of the ruins of the Forts complex, this is where the fabulous views start. Persevere to the top. The stunning views at the top are worth it.

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
The trek to the top of the Forts ruins is totally worth it! Breathtaking views from all angles!

Of course there’s also the ruins of buildings and the giant gun emplacement to see. There are no gun remains and there is an interesting story about where all the ammunition went after WWII.

Attractions of Magnetic Island walks West Point Beach
The gun here could rotate on a 360 degree angle. It had a range of 18.3 kms. What happened to the guns remains a mystery. A soldier wrote an entry a week after Armistice Day in August 1945. He says that he and some friends went on a walk from Horsehoe Bay to the Forts and all the guns were gone!
Attractions of Magnetic Island walks Forts Walk
From inside one of the forts you can see the top of another fort in the distance. At 233 metres above sea level, the soldiers could see enemy ships coming! Yes of course we walked to the other fort.
Attractions of Magnetic Island walks Forts walk nerve centre
At the highest point of Magnetic Island. The nerve centre of the Forts complex offers outstanding views. Take time to take it all in.

Congratulations you have reached the top of the nerve centre of one of the forts! Stop to take in the fabulous views. Bring a few snacks and scramble up the rocks behind this picture to take a well deserved break. The way back to the car park will seem easier as it’s all downhill! Tick off walk number W6 on the paper map.


Nelly Bay to Arcadia- 5kms one way (1.5hrs) Grade moderate

This is walk number W4 on the paper map. It’s pretty steep in places. It starts with a steep hill climb and it keeps going.

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
To start the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walk, walk down Mandalay Avenue in Nelly Bay. This is walk number W4 on the paper map.

This is the most deserted walk we did. We only saw 5 other people on this walk. You start this walk by going down Mandalay Avenue, a street with houses on it. It’s on the corner of the Scallywags Cafe. When you get to the end of the road you see the sign for the walk to Arcadia. You cannot do it in the advertised time unless you run – non-stop – all the way.

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
There are some cool patches of ancient rain forest on the walk to Arcadia from Nelly Bay. It doesn’t get easier though. We don’t agree it’s a moderate walk for most people.
Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
It’s steep and tough going on the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walk. We’re about an hour in at this point and we’re nowhere near completing the walk in another half hour!

After an hour and half, we reach the half way point. We stop to catch our breath and admire the view. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water. There’s no where to fill up your water bottle on this walk.

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
Looking over Horseshoe Bay at a very high point on the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walk. At this point we are 1.5 hours into the walk. The official time to complete this walk is 1.5 hours.
Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
Time to take a well deserved break! Looking over Horseshoe Bay thinking about….. dinner! There’s another 1.5 hours of walking to get to Arcadia.

There’s a few hopeful signs along the way as you sweat through. Thankfully now the path to Arcadia is down hill!

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
Helpful signs to orientate you on the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walk. If you’re coming from Arcadia, it’s up hill. If you are coming from Nelly Bay, the descent down begins from here!

It takes a total of 3 hours for Only1invillage to complete this walk. Pfft to the 1.5 hours, who wrote that?

Tracks to Florence, Arthur and Radical Bays from the Forts car park

Arthur Bay-2km return (30mins) This is doable in 30 mins. Very steep non gravel road. Can get slippery if wet.

Florence Bay-3.6km return (1hr) This walk continue on from the walk above on the same unpaved road with massive pot holes.

Radical Bay-6km return (2hrs) This is accurate time. It starts downhill. Be prepared for the return up the steep road.

Searchlight Tower-3.7km return (1hr) You can do this walk in 1 hour.

Horseshoe Bay via Radical Bay-7.5km one way (2hrs) This is a realistic time for most people to walk one way.


Swimming, snorkelling and diving

The water is cold around Magnetic Island. It is definitely refreshing! It can be quite wavy at some of the beaches. The calmest beaches for swimming and ones with Surf Life Savers on patrol are Horseshoe Bay and Arcadia.

The clearest snorkelling spots are Arthur Bay, Florence Bay and the marked trail in front of the Base Backpackers. Geoffrey Bay is unbelievably murky and bordering on dangerous. You can barely see your own hand. At low tide, it is extremely difficult to get out past the sharp coral at Geoffrey Bay. We can’t comment on the snorkelling clarity in the Northern bays as these are only accessible by boat. If you’ve been to Maud, Norris or Joyce Bay, get in touch!


Native Australian wildlife and Flora

Magnetic Island is famous for its koalas! See the biggest group of koalas in the wild here! Boasting over 800 koalas in the wild, Magnetic Island is the place to see these cuddly fur balls. You can get really close to them and they don’t wake up! We saw 9 in one walk!

Native Australian Wildlife
Hands up if you want to come back as a koala in another life? Sleeping over 20 hours a day sound good? Maggie Island, boasts the largest wild koala population in the world!

Magnetic Island Rock Wallabies – Feed the tame wallabies! These cute little relatives of kangaroos are best fed in Geoffrey Bay. You should not actually feed them, but, if you must, they like carrots and paw paw. 

Rock wallabies at Geoffrey Bay
These wallabies rock! Rock wallabies are common in Geoffrey Bay. Look at the cute little joey! Best time to see them is around 5pm. They’re very tame. Try to resist feeding them if you can.

If you must feed them, please consult this list.

Rock wallabies at Geoffrey Bay
If you must feed the rock wallabies at Geoffrey Bay, look at this list of food they can eat.
Attractions of Magnetic Island walks
The multi-coloured rainbow lorikeet perches on native kapok branches. The bright green, blue, yellow, red and orange bird is common across Australia, including Magnetic Island.

Endangered Curlews – These rather plain birds have the most interesting call. They sound like they’re screaming and whining, it can be quite off putting. Some people call it haunting. We call it downright weird!

Attractions of Magnetic Island walks
The unremarkable looking curlew bird of Magnetic Island. Thanks to Katankart from Pixabay for this image. We only heard their eerie call. They are difficult to see and are endangered.
kapok tree has beautiful yellow flowers discover attractions of Magnetic Island
Magnetic Island is dotted with these magnificent yellow flowers. They come from a kapok tree. Kapok are native to Australia and are found mostly in Townsville and Magnetic Island. You can even eat the bright flowers. Apparently they taste like marshmallows!


Marine Life around Magnetic Island

The marine life, if you can see it, is not bad! It’s the murkiness of the water that you have to contend with. We don’t rate Magnetic Island as a top snorkel or dive destination. You are better off going to the Great Barrier Reef. However, for some free snorkelling, Florence Bay and Nelly Bay (the trail near Base Backpackers) are reasonable. The coral is a bit grey in colour and there are a few colourful fish to spot. 

Snorkelling around Magnetic Island marine life
We spot lots of lettuce coral at Florence Bay and Arthur Bay. The water can be a bit murky.

Some parts of Arthur Bay have some coloured staghorn coral. On the day we visit, there are a few bright fish around.

Different coral at Arthur Bay
Staghorn, brain and lettuce coral at Arthur Bay. A few bright blue fish make an appearance.


Magnetic Island Beaches

There are over 23 Magnetic Island beaches and bays to visit. Some are very easy to access, just off the main road. Other beaches are an hour’s hike on rugged paths. All Magnetic Island beaches are picturesque and rugged. Many of them are curved. The sand is generally a little course, although some have fine sand. Below we have photos of nine of the most popular Magnetic Island beaches.


Horseshoe Bay

Sand quality – rough yellow brown coarse sand. Water – not clear, but warm enough.

Attractions of Magnetic Island beaches of Magnetic Island Horseshoe Bay
Horseshoe Bay has some natural shade and lifeguards on duty. There are stinger nets to keep out the jellyfish.


Balding Bay

Discover attractions of Magnetic Island. Balding Bay is definitely worth the walk. A wide sandy bay with aqua water. Water is cold.
Balding Bay is definitely worth the walk. A wide sandy bay with aqua water. Water temperature – cold.
Balding Bay
Huge granite boulders on a pristine beach at Balding Bay. Balding Bay is isolated. It is a nude beach. The sand is fine and yellow to white, depending on the angle of the sun.


Radical Bay

Radical Bay beach things to do Magnetic Island
Radical Bay Beach is a lovely curved bay shouldered with giant granite boulders.


Alma Bay Beach in Arcadia

Attractions of Magnetic Island beaches of Magnetic Island
Arcadia Beach is popular with families. It has a grassed area before the beach with toilets and a playground. Beautiful bay with large granite boulders on either side. Don’t forget to swim between the flags.
Attractions of Magnetic Island beaches of Magnetic Island
Before you get to Arcadia Beach there is a good picnic area. Also there’s a children’s playground and some toilet and change facilities. The beach is known as Alma Bay Beach or Arcadia Beach which can be confusing. The town is Arcadia. 


Picnic Bay Beach

This is the end of the line for the one bus. Or it can be the beginning of the line. All ferries used to drop passengers off here. This is the beach you can see from Hawkings Point Lookout.

Attractions of Magnetic Island beaches of Magnetic Island
Picnic Bay Beach has fine golden sand. It has a long line of trees you can take shade under. Apparently there’s some good snorkelling off to the right of this picture.


Arthur Bay Beach

Explore the many magnificent attractions of Magnetic Island 19
Arthur Bay beach has some decent snorkelling opportunities. Known as fringe reef, it’s like mini reef before the Great Barrier Reef. The water is cold so a rash vest is advisable.


Florence Bay Beach

Located in between Gowrie Bay and Arthur Bay. Florence Bay is another beautiful curved beach on Magnetic Island for you to discover. This is a marine national park area. No fishing allowed. This is a good spot to go snorkelling, with some colourful reef. The water clarity is good.

Florence Bay Beach Magnetic Island pristine beaches to explore only1invillage
Florence Bay is another empty beach for you to explore. Easier to reach than Radical or Balding Bay. From the Forts car park, you can walk down hill in half an hour. Don’t attempt to go by car unless you have a ‘real’ 4×4′.


Cockle Bay Beach

A very small beach that is often wet. There is a shipwreck to swim out to but is quite difficult to locate. 

Attractions of Magnetic Island beaches of Magnetic Island
Cockle Bay Beach is small. Thousands of years ago, you could walk across the water to Townsville. At low tide you have to wade quite far out before you can swim. There is coral reef here.


Nelly Bay

Nelly Bay doesn’t have a beach since it is the ferry terminal bay. Nelly Bay is more of a harbour. But, to the right of Nelly Bay is a huge strip of beach where turtles have been spotted.

snorkelling to the right of Nelly Bay
Nelly Bay doesn’t have a beach since it’s the harbour and ferry terminal. But, to the right, there’s this huge strip of sand where there is well marked snorkelling. It’s where the backpackers called Base backpackers is located.
Nelly Bay Harbour doesn't have a beach
The harbour at Nelly Bay is picturesque for boat spotting. There’s no beach as such, since the ferry terminal is here.


When is the best time to Visit Magnetic Island?

Magnetic Island Weather

Magnetic Island has a dry tropical climate! With 320 days of sunshine per year, it seems it is always a good time to go to Maggie. As with all tropical places, Magnetic Island has a wet and a dry season. The biggest factor to consider for the best time to go to Magnetic Island is the jellyfish season.

As Australia is blessed with at least 60 deadly and toxic animals, you don’t want to be the tourist making the headlines! Stingers, or jellyfish, like to take a nibble on humans between November and April. Magnetic Island is not a great Christmas destination! The best time time to visit Magnetic Island is April to October. It is cooler but not much wetter, since it doesn’t rain much. 

There are hardly any mosquitoes on Magnetic Island! C is always the first to get bitten by a mosquito, they just love her blood! On Maggie Island though, the biting is far less severe than other tropical places, we have visited.


How to get to Magnetic Island?

The Magnetic island ferry is the only way to get to Magnetic Island!

Getting to Magnetic Island
Foot passengers get on the ferry at the Sealink Townsville Terminal. The terminal is well connected to the airport by bus or taxi. The terminal offers free wi-fi and drinking water.

Click here for the Magnetic Island ferry timetable. The prices are $34 AUD return per adult, if not booked online. If you book online, it’s only $30AUD for a return ticket. Children under 14 years old, only cost $17AUD. The same goes for concession card holders. Book your Magnetic Island ferry online here.

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
The Sealink Ferry whisks you to Magnetic Island in 20 minutes from the ferry terminal in Townsville.

If you’re driving, you need to take a different ferry.

Inside the ferry, it’s nice and spacious. There are comfortable and clean seats in an air conditioned space inside.

Magnetic Island getting there on the Sealink ferry
Inside the Sealink ferry there are comfortable seats. The interior is fully air conditioned.
The downstairs area of the ferry is air conditioned. There’s even a bar on board for the short crossing!

The Sea Link Magnetic Island Ferry even runs on Christmas Day! It’s a smooth easy 20 minute cruise on a very comfortable catamaran. You can even bring your mountain bike! There are at least 12 crossings a day from Townsville and vice versa. Book online for a $4 discount.

Magnetic Island getting there on the Sealink ferry
If you really can’t wait for a drink, there’s a bar on board the Magnetic Island ferry!
Groups can sit together and socialise in air conditioned comfort on the Magnetic Island ferry
Groups and families can sit and socialise together at the tables. You won’t miss out on the view if you get a window seat.
Magnetic Island getting there on the Sealink ferry
If you like to feel the wind in your hair, choose an outside bench seat on the ferry to Magnetic Island.

What we love about the ferry to Magnetic Island – It’s easy to find the terminal. There are frequent trips across the water. The journey only takes twenty minutes. It’s a clean, modern ferry service. You’ll have free wi-fi onboard  and at the ferry terminals, both in Townsville and Magnetic Island. A bus connects you at both terminals to all the major places of interest.

Top tip for tourists and Australians – buy the Entertainment book for Townsville. This gives you 25 per cent off the return ticket price for 4 adults. Also there are vouchers for 4 places to eat on Magnetic Island. In the Townsville section, there are over 100 discount vouchers for places like Reef HQ and the museum. Many dining establishments ranging from cafes to restaurants also honour the vouchers. You can even get an e copy of the Entertainment Book.


Getting around Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island car hire 

You can hire a sedan, four by four or a special ‘topless’ car. Going topless is optional!

getting around Maggie
Getting around Maggie (Magnetic) Island like the locals do! Going topless is an option for males only!
cute pink hire cars are called mokes on the island
Ladies, just because the car says topless, keep your clothes on! You’ll get a ticket for public indecency otherwise!

Many of the roads are un-passable off the bus route, so you may not need to hire a car. If you do want to get to the bays, we recommend a 4 by 4 as some of the pot holes are quite deep!

Getting around the island
The unsealed roads have SERIOUS pot holes. The roads to the bays are also very narrow. Pray another vehicle isn’t coming towards you!
Getting around the island
You need a ‘real’ 4 x 4 vehicle, with high clearance, to handle the deep pot holes of the unsealed roads on Maggie Island. Don’t think your Range Rover can handle the terrain. You have been warned!

The bus – Route 250 by Sunbus 

There’s only 1 bus that goes to all the major bays on Magnetic Island. The bus is crowded at times and there’s no space for luggage. Actually, one bus had a luggage crate, but otherwise, the bus driver will tell you to put your cases on the back steps of the bus. It only has regular seats. All seats face forwards in pairs. Click here for the one and only bus timetable.


Getting around the island
Sunbus Route 250. There’s only one number and one route for ‘the bus’ so you can always get on it!
Getting around the island
Sometimes the hourly bus gets so crowded! We couldn’t resist this shot. The driver told us to sit on the floor, or he would lose his job! We were not going to wait another hour for the next bus! Bringing back memories of our travels in some Asian countries.

You’ll never get lost on the bus, because it only goes 2 ways – to and from Picnic Bay to Horseshoe Bay. The only thing that may confuse people is at Arcadia Beach there is only one bus stop for both directions. At Arcadia Beach you will see on the bus timetable that the bus is labelled HB or PBJ. HB stands for Horseshoe Bay as the destination and PBJ for Picnic Bay (Jetty). The bus does a U turn to pick u up if it is coming from Horseshoe Bay! 

there's only bus route on Magnetic Island the 250
There’s only one bus route number on Magnetic Island. It’s the 250 and it only goes 2 ways. The only confusing bus stop is pictured here at Arcadia. Usually bus stops are on opposite sides of the road. At Arcadia, there’s only one bus stop. Read the timetable carefully and always check the destination on the front of the bus when you get on.

You still stick you arm out at the bus stop to get the driver to stop. You can buy your single, one day or weekly ticket when you get on the bus. The bus runs every hour only, so make sure you get to the bus stop in advance. You don’t want to miss it.

Taxis and Uber

We spotted only 2 taxis! A shuttle bus type taxi that can seat 10 people and a Toyota Corolla.

Uber is operating apparently, but we could never get a car! There is a business opportunity in the making!


Where to stay on Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island accommodation

There is a wide range of accommodation on Magnetic Island. Serviced apartments, houses and hotel rooms. There are some bed and breakfast places, a few backpackers and airbnb to choose from. A lot of hotel rooms are privately owned in the Grand Mercure Apartments in Nelly Bay. You will find many of these rooms advertised on Airbnb. 

Magnetic Island is not a cheap destination. You don’t get bargain prices except at hostels like the Bungalow Bay Koala Village, in Horseshoe Bay. This is a YHA hostel. Prices for a dorm bed start at around 30 AUD. They also have private A frame bungalows, some with their own bathroom. The best thing about staying here is that you will see koalas every day! Non guests can pay to have ‘breakfast with the koalas’.

Clusters of places to stay are Horseshoe Bay, Nelly Bay, Picnic Bay and Arcadia. There are a few Airbnb options in West Point, a ‘remote’ part on the western side of Magnetic Island. 

If you are travelling in a big group and need a whole house, at short notice, local estate agents will have a list of available properties. It’s still a good idea to book in advance though!!


The food on Magnetic Island

Unfortunately it’s quantity over quality on Magnetic Island. Portions are generous, but taste is not like you would find in the big city restaurants. There is one exception, the pub in Horseshoe Bay, which serves up a really decent braised beef cheeks and mash. 

Noodies Mexican – Horseshoe Bay

Noodies on the Beach Mexican Horseshoe Bay
Give the paella a miss at Noodies Mexican restaurant. The taste was bland and they haven’t used the correct rice!
huge tortillas at Noodies Horsehoe Bay
The huge tortillas are nothing special. The food is bland and overpriced. Sorry Noodies we are not impressed.

Sandis on the Beach at Horseshoe Bay. Yes, we ate mostly at Horseshoe Bay, The seafood platter was OK, not great value at 80AUD. A restaurant serving Modern Australian fare. That means seafood dishes, pasta and steak.

seafood platter at Sandis Horseshoe Bay
The seafood platter at Sandis includes half a dozen oysters.

Barefoot Art Food Wine at Horseshoe Bay was recommended by locals. The starters are impressive. The mains, unfortunately lacked taste. Great garden and balcony though, for scenic dining. Friendly service too.

Explore the many magnificent attractions of Magnetic Island 20
The scallops at Barefoot Art Food Wine are delicious. This place is attached to an art gallery in Horseshoe Bay.

Scallywags – Nelly Bay

Another recommendation that we do not recommend. Great friendly service but, sorry, the food was awful. The beefburgers were like frozen cheap patties that you might feed your dog. Maybe the breakfast is good, but, we went for dinner. It really is a case of quantity over quality. The burger is huge, but, the taste, yuk. They do have BYO (bring your own) and a bicycle you can use to go and get the booze from the supermarket, down the road.

Picnic Bay Hotel

This pub, hotel and bar is an all in one Australian classic. Recently refurbished with great views over Picnic Bay. They serve classic pub fare at good prices and an unbelievable special which we couldn’t bypass.

Naturally, being a pub, it’s open every day of the week! They also have a very large aquarium where you can find Nemo and Dory together! After a long day’s walking, it is a great pit stop and the bus stop is just outside too.

where to eat Picnic Bay hotel pub restaurant
Get an Aussie classic, chicken parmigiana with chips or garden salad AND a glass of white wine just $16 !

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Explore the many magnificent attractions of Magnetic Island 21


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Aussie Slang -

Learn 24 Australian Slang Words and phrases in our essential Survival Guide

You have finally landed in the land Down Under. You’re in Australia. Everyone speaks English, well sort of! You’re not alone if you don’t understand everyday spoken Australian slang. Fear not, we have put together a guide we think you’ll find useful.

Australians have a special kind of English, that takes some getting used to. Here Only1invillage helps you navigate the confusing speak of ‘Straya’.  Australian slang is confusing at first, but, persevere and you will understand these humans. Take the quiz and see how well you score, Australians and visitors alike. Let your inner geek shine.  You know you want to get all the answers right!

C is a born and bred Londoner. She thought ‘Staryian’ would be a breeze. After all, it’s just English with a different accent right? WRONG! It’s taken her a few years to understand the lingo. That’s the first word in our Australian slang quiz.

The Only1invillage Aussie Slang Guide. Learn essential words and phrases to make your stay in the land of plenty a breeze! only1invillage essential guide
The Only1invillage Aussie Slang Guide. Learn essential words and phrases to make your stay in the land of plenty a breeze!

Only1inVillage Australian Slang guide starts here mate

1 – What does ‘lingo’ mean?

(A)   a type of exotic fruit, a cross between a lemon and a mango

(B)   a language

(C)   a line that can move on its own

Answer: (B)
Is this what 'lingo' means in Australian slang? An exotic fruit, a cross between a mango and a lemon? only1invillage
Is this what ‘lingo’ means in Australian slang? An exotic fruit, a cross between a mango and a lemon?

2 – How you going? What is the Australian slang speaker asking you?

(A)   How are you?

(B)   What type of transport are you using to get there?

(C)   When are you leaving?

Answer : (A)
The 1 and only amazing guide you'll ever need for Australian slang 22
This is ‘how I’m going’ – by car! Australian slang phrases you’ll need to understand. Actually, it means, ‘How are you?’

3 – Who, what or where is a ‘servo’?

(A)   A waiter or waitress

(B)   You say this when you want someone to bring you drinks

(C)   A service station where you can buy fuel and possibly go to the toilet

Answer: (C)
This person isn't your 'servo' in Australian Slang! A 'servo' is a place where you can fill up your car with fuel. Of course, it all makes sense. NOT! only1invillage Australian slang guide
This person isn’t your ‘servo’ in Australian Slang! A ‘servo’ is a place where you can fill up your car with fuel. Of course, it all makes sense. NOT!

How are you doing so far? Got them all correct? Here’s more!

4 –  Someone says to you ‘She’ll be right’ Do they mean?

(A)   Women are always right and know the answers

(B)   She’ll be here soon

(C)   Everything will be OK