Hall's Gap township from Boroka Lookout
typical Australian Eucalypt forest - but easy to get lost see here
don't forget to right-click on the images below and select open in new window to
see larger version
all images on this website are copyright Gary Ayton 2006
desolation 9 months after the Jan 2006 bushfires - Reid's Lookout looking
The Balcony after sunset looking south-east - you could walk out onto
the bottom ledge but its a long drop if you fall - safer to just take the
Reid's Lookout looking SE
from Mt Mitchell
Mt Mitchell - now the walk up here should be renamed heart attack walk
- you need to be a little fit!
Best times to go:
- Sept-Nov - Spring flowers, waterfalls, good bushwalking weather, not too hot & not too cold, although cold
nights still (1-4degC overnight) and most popular time so lots of people - avoid school
- March-April - great time for camping and bushwalking, although streams are
likely to be dry and nights are cold; busiest time;
- Summer - warmer for camping and star-gazing but may be too hot for some
walks and most streams are dry, and from December onwards in SE Australia,
flies become a nuisance.
- NB. the Grampians were ravaged by major bushfires in late 2005, and whilst
re-growth is occurring, many of the bushwalks and their carparks remain
- the wildflowers in Spring add to the ambience and with no flies to bother
you, bushwalking is fantastic, and wildlife abounds:
- Halls Gap is in the centre of the Grampians. The Grampians was given
National Park status in 1984 creating Victoria’s largest National
Park. Formally known as the Grampians State Forest, forestry and grazing
were already tightly zoned and much of the area was handed over in a
natural state with public amenities such as camping grounds and picnic
areas widely provided. Today motorists and bush walkers have unrivalled
scope to roam among striking landforms and richly diverse vegetation on
the westernmost heights of the Great Divide.
- Hall's Gap was named after Charles Browning Hall who set up cattle
runs there after discovering the pass in the mountains in 1841 when he
was trying to walk his cattle over the range. Major Thomas Mitchell had
climbed and named Mt William in 1837.
- Nearby abandoned Heatherlie was a sandstone quarry developed in the late 1800's
and supplied stone for Melbourne's Parliament House - this is a steam
pump used to store compressed air in the cylinder which was then used to
drive stone tools.
- getting there:
- Halls Gap is 254km from Melbourne and approximately 2¾ hour drive by
car. When driving to Halls Gap from Melbourne you take the Western
Highway to Ararat. Drive through the main street shopping area, keep on
going on the same road (You will pass the Post Office on your right).
Head towards Halls Gap, via Pomonal, that is 35km from Ararat (ten
minutes from Pomonal).
- Alternatively you can drive to Stawell and take a left turn on the
other side of the town onto the Halls Gap road. Halls Gap is 26 km from
- By train, you can catch a combination train and bus to Halls Gap. The
trains depart Melbourne (Spencer Street Station) daily and go to Stawell
where a Coach takes passengers to Halls Gap. For more information call
136 196 or see www.vlinepassenger.com.au for timetable details.
- places to eat:
- Quarry Restaurant - centrally placed, one of the few places open late.
- Mountain Grand, Main Rd Hall’s Gap, Ph 03 5356 4232
- Kookaburra Restaurant, Main Rd, just south of the shops Halls Gap, Ph
03 5356 4222
- Bush Tucker Café, Brambuk Cultural Centre, 2.5km from Halls gap on
Grampians Tourist Rd. Open 10am-5pm
- The Balconies Restaurant and The Limelight Jazz Café (downstairs) at
the Mountain Grand Main Rd Halls Gap, Ph 03 5356 4232
- Halls Gap Family Bistro, Stawell Rd Halls Gap, Ph 03 5356 4566
- The Flying Emu Café and Tearooms – Stony Creek Stores, Ph 03 5356
Breakfast, Meals, Snacks, Devonshire Teas, Country Style and home
baked. Fine Fresh Foods “No Gluten” & Vegetarian available.
- Darcy's Colonial Motor Inn, Ph 03 5356 4344
- Watch Tower Peak Bistro Halls Gap Hotel, Ph 03 5356 4566
- Blue Wren Tearooms, Craft and Art Gallery, Grampians Store Halls Gap
Devonshire teas served on fine china, cappuccino, home made cakes and
light lunches (10 minutes drive from Halls Gap).
- major attractions:
- Grampians National Park, Dunkeld Rd
- Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Dunkeld Road, Halls Gap, open 7
days 9am-5pm, Ph 03 5356 4452
- Entry is mostly free, however there is a small charge for some
activities. The Centre is named after Brambuk the white cockatoo.
The centre is situated in Gariwerd, the local name of the Grampians
National Park. Brambuk offers visitors a cultural experience unique
to the local aboriginal tribes. Such activities include: Dreaming
Theatre (multi-media presentation of Koorie creation stories),
Cultural Talks, Rock Art Excursions, Bush Tucker (walk along a
nature trail and learn about tradition bush tucker plants where
visitors are invited to have a taste and Evening Activities
(stories, traditional music, etc). There is a bush tucker café and
- Wonderland walk Hall’s Gap – Pinnacle
- The Wonderland area, near Halls Gap, is the most fascinating
and accessible. Eucalypts dominate the forests and woodlands, but
sightseers are especially attracted to the high heaths and their
brilliant floral displays between August and November.
- The Gap Winery, Pomonal Rd Halls Gap. (10 minutes from Halls Gap along
the Pomonal Road.)
- things to do:
- Abseiling & Rock Climbing on Mt Stapylton in the Grampians
National Park and the nearby Mt Arapiles
- geology of the Grampians:
- The Grampians - unlike most of western Victoria where volcanic
activity was prominent - were formed from erosion removing softer
materials surrounding an uplifted resistant Palaeozoic sandstone bed and
were formed in the following stages:
- deposition of the Grampian Sandstones upon an older bed of
metamorphic rocks (eg. schists) during the Palaeozoic period
- faulting and
- erosion during the Mesozoic of the newly laid down higher
sandstones to the east of the north-south fault line which runs
along the eastern border
- deep dissection from river streams during the Tertiary followed
uplift of the oldland, leaving the more resistant Grampian
Sandstones as mountain ranges with their eastern margin as a fault
- a syncline in sandstone beds has been dissected out to produce a
topographic basin which is now Lake Wartook, with the Mackenzie
River occupying a synclinal valley towards which the sandstones of
Mt Difficult and Mt Victory dip on either side.
- formation of the Hall's Gap valley (as with other valleys in the
Grampians) - a "subsequent valley" of Fyan's Creek, formed
by erosion excavated in shales between parallel north-south running
strike ridges of resistant sandstones
- picturesque village en route to Ararat
- gold rushes in mid-1800's - there is a old mine you can walk around at
- a Frenchman, Peter De May was an original settler after the gold rush
who established an orchard and vineyard
- despite contending with bushfires, rabbits, and grasshoppers, the
settlers expanded and by the late 1800's had developed an export trade
of fruit, particularly apples
- with govt tariffs to support them, tobacco growing commenced around
1920 but declined with reduced tariffs and blue mould before the 1939
bushfires finally destroyed the industry.
- the area immediately to its south was hit hard with the 2005 bushfires
- Lake Fyans
- boating, fishing, camping, bird watching
Fyans ph: (03) 5356 6230
- During the 1840’s pastorals runs were selected in the Stawell area,
however, it was gold, found by a shepherd in the district in May 1853,
which led to its development.
- By 1854, around 5,000 prospectors had descended upon the Pleasant
Creek Goldfields to seek their fortune. Later, in 1857, the discovery of
incredibly rich, alluvial leads at Commercial Street and Deep Lead saw
an influx of some 20,000 people to the growing city, and its goldfields.
- Proclaimed as Stawell in 1858 (originally named Pleasant Creek), the
city was to bear witness to the fading of alluvial mining and the rising
of big business, reef mining, heralding an era of substantial
prosperity, which continued through to the 1870’s. The town was named
Stawell in honour of a Victorian Chief Justice. Although there is a
modern goldmine operating beneath the township the casual visitor will
not readily see evidence of these activities.
- In April 1878 the Stawell Athletic Club staged its first Stawell Gift.
To this day it remains as one of the richest, professional foot races in
- Stawell Gift -World’s richest footrace
Easter Saturday -Easter Monday
Stawell is the venue of the world's best-known and richest
professional foot race, the 'Stawell Gift'. This historic race held
each Easter, attracts local and international competitors. It is
conducted by the Stawell Athletic Club, which was established in
1887. The race venue is the atmospheric, grassy and shady grounds
near the town centre. The grounds contain modern and historic
grandstands and open spectator areas and the 'Stawell Gift' Hall of
Fame, which has videos, photographs and equipment covering over a
century of Stawell Gift foot racing.
- In addition to being the home of the Stawell Easter Gift, Stawell
today is well sited for tours to the Grampians National Park.
- Great Western winery region:
- 30km from Grampians
- The Great Western wine industry dates back to the 1860’s. Winemakers
Seppelts and Bests have operated their vineyards at Great Western for
over 100 years. In earlier times Hans Irvine who was wine maker to Bests
(now Seppelts) built the Hermitage as an outlet for wines made in the
area. This building still stands, virtually unchanged and combined with
a new dwelling next door is now The Hermitage B&B.
- Another mountain range is the nearby Pyrenees Mountains (Mt Cole State
Park) with exciting scenery, camping and bush walks. It also boasts a
popular hang-gliding site.
- Great Western is central to many activities and offers a break in
quiet peaceful surroundings. You can dine at number of top class
restaurants and cafes in Stawell or Ararat; the two towns a short
distance either side of Great Western.
- The area also has a number of art Galleries with permanent collections
and regular exhibitions of a variety of art works. A private showing is
available at the galleries of a few Australian and internationally
- The Diggings Pottery & Australian Lighthorse Brigade Museum,
Wattle Gully Road, Great Western. Turn right off the Highway (heading
towards Stawell) at the service station. Turn right again approx 1km,
follow signs. Ph 03 5356 2203
interesting collection of memorabilia relating to The Australian Light
Horse Brigade – free admission. Pottery also for sale by accomplished
potter Leone Tyson. Photographs by Dave Tyson.
- “Bests Winery”, Wine Tasting, Ph 03 5356 2250
Turn right off the Western Highway on the
Stawell side of Great Western. Don’t miss the self – guided tour
through cellars hand-dug in 1860.
- Seppelt Great Western Winery, Ph 03 5361 2239
Cellar Door sales & Tastings Guided Tours. BBQ
facilities within outstanding native gardens. Offers a picnic area, soft
grass and shady trees.
- Ararat is 206km West of Melbourne and approximately a two hour drive
by car. When driving to Ararat from Melbourne you take the Western
- Mount Langhi Ghiran beside the highway is an imposing sight just
before Ararat, which is now the first main town before reaching Stawell
25km further on. Ararat nestles beneath the hills of the Ararat Regional
Park and One Tree Hill, which affords expansive views towards the
Grampians in the West and the Pyrenees Ranges to the East.
- Back in the early 1840’s, Ararat began as a small settlement for
cattle and sheep graziers. Along with neighboring regions, the discovery
of rich leads of gold in the 1850’s laid the foundations for the town.
- Today the town and its surrounding region is renowned for its fine
Merino wool, cropping and manufacturing industries and more recently,
its recognition as the source of some of Western Victoria’s most
- With several significant buildings, dating back to the gold rush
period and now classified by the National Trust, Ararat is an important
historic centre with plenty to see and explore.
- Gum san - Chinese miner
history tourist attraction
- the notorious old J Ward Gaol
- Aradale Mental Asylum (1864-1993) - currently closed to public
- Langi Morgala Museum
- see a 19th century painting of the gold fields at Ararat here
- Pyrenees and Avoca: see Pyrenees
- small town with great views of the southern aspect of the Grampians
- the largest Victorian city on the Glenelg Hway and Hamilton Hway west
- inland gateway to Portland and Mt Gambier in SA
- Wannon waterfall
- Nigretta waterfall
- Mt Napier extinct volcano
- Mt Eccles National Park - extinct volcano
- South-western Victorian coastline:
- the capital of the region, sited on the Wimmera River which is lined
by ancient Red Gums.
- nice Botanic Gardens designed by Guilfoyle who designed Melbourne's
- Spring Garden Festival - early October
- Western Highway north-westbound from Horsham:
- Little Desert National Park:
- Jeparit / Rainbow / Lake Hindmarsh
- half-way between Melbourne and Adelaide
- Bordertown (Sth Aust) (160km from Horsham)
- Adelaide (448km from Horsham)
- Henty Highway northbound from Horsham:
- Wyperfeld National Park
- Big Desert Wilderness Park
- 314km north of Horsham, 411km north-west of Bendigo, 375km
north-west of Echuca
- Rocklands Reservoir and the Glenelg River
- Henty Highway passing north-south between Horsham and Hamilton
- Wimmera Highway south-west bound from Horsham:
- Mt Arapiles - rock climbers heaven
- Naracoorte (Sth Aust)
sometimes you will find a tortoise trying to cross the highway
cautiously - I helped this one out, he was getting scared every time a car
passed at 100kph!