The Grampians 7 days of wonderful walks 1

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?

Bullaces Glan only1invillage
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 2
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 pretty mush 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!

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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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