Travel three hours west from Melbourne through the gold rush region of Ballarat, and you’ll reach the Grampians National Park, a land of five spectacular sandstone ridges, flanked on the eastern side by steep, craggy slopes, with gentler slopes to the west. This area of extraordinary beauty and native wildlife can be explored by a series of well maintained walking trails. For the active and adventurous among you, go bushwalking, rock climbing, fishing and canoeing. Discover ancient Aboriginal art sites at Billimina Shelter and Gulgurn Manja Shelter.
The Grampians National Park includes many impressive peaks such as Mt Difficult Range, Mt William, Serra Range and Victoria Range. One of the best natural waterfalls and wildflower displays with panoramic views can be found at the stunning Mackenzie Falls. This landscape of rugged mountain terrain offers ample opportunity for outdoor pursuits and activities. For canoeing, walking or fishing, these mountains provide an excellent platform for you to explore the great Australian Outback.
The Grampians National Park is home to an abundance of native animals and birds. You can find kangaroos, koalas, emus, eagles and so much more here. During the Australian spring time, when the weather is perfectly suited to a spot of trail walking, you will still find moments of rare solitude and blissful serenity when you’ll look around and be struck with awe by the beauty of such astounding wilderness.
When you combine this region with a self drive holiday you have the once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the Great Ocean Road between Adelaide and Melbourne and the opportunity to discover inspiring and dramatic countryside on one of the greatest road trips ever created.
Explore Aboriginal culture
For those who want to know more about the cultural history of Australia you will be fascinated to know the Grampians are also the place to study Aboriginal cave art, possessing some of the richest indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia.
At archaeological sites such as Billimina Shelter, Gulgurn Manja Shelter and Manja Shelter it is possible to see emu tracks and handprints that show how indigenous people have lived in the Grampians for at least 40,000 years. There are depictions of Aboriginal life and tribal law dating back 22,000 years. Their intricate use of iron rich clay (ochre) and kaolin (possessing white pigments for painting) has made this fascinating landscape an area of immense spiritual importance to local indigenous people.
Of course, the Grampians National Park is not just about cultural history, no matter how astounding it is. The elements that make the Grampians such a stunning landscape for exploring also contribute to modern cultural attractions. This area has been a fertile wine region since the middle of the eighteenth century. With grape successes from Shiraz and Riesling plus Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, any geological and cultural appreciation of this region will be complemented by many food and wine experiences.
There’s plenty of excellent local produce to be found and the history of the Grampians can also be tasted at its cellar doors. The Grampians Grape Food Escape is just one example of the pride the people in the state of Victoria have for top notch produce. Generations of farmers have turned this region into a fantastic destination for foodies worldwide.