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The Grampians

Hall's Gap township from Boroka Lookout - great spot to drive to just before sunrise!

  • iconic spots to go to:
    • Boroka Lookout at sunrise 840m elevation
    • The Balconies at sunset 740m elevation
    • Mt William elevation 1070m looks out to east and west (car park is at 950m elevation and is a 6.8km walk to the hike in 1st Wannon Hiker Camp)
    • McKenzie Falls and optional walk to Fish Falls
    • very nice day walks:
      • Grand Canyon starts at 420m elevation at Wonderland carpark
      • The Pinnacle elevation 680m which look eastwards over the Halls Gap valley
        • accessible by hike from:
          • Wonderland carpark
          • Halls Gap camping ground
          • the closer Sundial carpark (elevation 700m) - side short hike to LakeView Lookout (660m elevation) overlooking Lake Bellfield
      • Splitters Falls 380m elevation
      • Venus Baths 290m elevation
    • if you are inclined, there is the new 13 day/164km Grampians Trail walk which can be done in shorter walks

all images on this website are copyright Gary Ayton 2006
desolation 9 months after the Jan 2006 bushfires - Reid's Lookout looking south 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 pic.
Reid's Lookout looking SE   from Mt Mitchell        
Mt Mitchell

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 hols!
  • 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 closed. 
  • the wildflowers in Spring add to the ambience and with no flies to bother you, bushwalking is fantastic, and wildlife abounds:

Hall's Gap:


  • elevation 236m and lies at the north end of a steep valley
  • temperatures are generally 1-3degC cooler than Stawell or Ararat
  • nights are quite cold from April-Nov inclusive with overnight minimums averaging 4-10degC with coldest being July when on average 8 nights fall below 2degC
  • nights tend to be cool in summer with overnight minimums averaging 11-14degC
  • Jan and Feb are the warmest months with average maximums of 28-29degC while the winter months June-Aug have average maximums of 12-14degC and these are the wettest months


  • 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 Stawell.
  • By train, you can catch a combination train and bus to Halls Gap. The trains depart Melbourne (Southern Cross Station) daily and go to Ararat where a Coach takes passengers to Halls Gap - total trip takes about 3.5hrs. For more information see 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 4400
    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 Rd, Pomonal.
    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 gift shop.
  • 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.)
    •  Ph 03 5356 4252

things to do:

  • Bushwalking: 
  • 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 monoclinal flexing
    • 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 line scarp 
    • 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 nearby Moyston
  • 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
  • Grampians Paradise Camping ground ~42 sites, small lakes, seems well treed and grassed but expensive! Surrounded on 3 sides by thirty wetland ponds of the Redman Bluff Wetlands.

Lake Fyans

  • boating, fishing, camping, bird watching
  • Lake Fyans Holiday Park includes unpowered camp sites in natural treed area


  • elevation ~320m;
  • 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 the world.
    • 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 renowned artists.
  • 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
     Houses an 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 Highway.
  • 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 celebrated wines.
  • 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)
  • Langi Morgala Museum
  • see a 19th century painting of the gold fields at Ararat here
  • free camp at Greens Lake with flush toilets and hot showers but can be very windy as there are very few wind breaks
  • Pyrenees and Avoca: see Pyrenees


  • Dunkeld:
    • small town with great views of the southern aspect of the Grampians
  • Hamilton:
    • the largest Victorian city on the Glenelg Hway and Hamilton Hway west of Ballarat
    • inland gateway to Portland and Mt Gambier in SA
    • Wannon waterfall
    • Nigretta waterfall
    • Mt Napier extinct volcano
    • Mt Eccles National Park - extinct volcano
    • Warrnambool
    • Portland


  • Horsham:
    • the capital of the region, sited on the Wimmera River which is lined by ancient Red Gums.
    • the half way point between Melbourne and Mildura via this route
    • 300km from Melbourne, 427km to Adelaide, 257km to Robe
    • 67km NW of Stawell
    • 52km north of Zumsteins in the Grampians
    • 310km south of Mildura
    • nice Botanic Gardens designed by Guilfoyle who designed Melbourne's Botanic Gardens.
    • Spring Garden Festival - early October
    • nice caravan park on the river - Horsham Riverside Caravan and Camping Park
    • post-Covid in Winter 2022 there did not appear to be any nice evening dining venues on a Sunday night apart from the Capital bistro which required booking
  • north-east: from Horsham eastwards to St Arnaud
    • Murtoa:
  • West of Horsham
    • Mount Arapiles rock climbing
      • camp grounds are 34km west of Horsham
  • Western Highway north-westbound from Horsham:
    • Dimboola:
    • Nhill:
      • half-way between Melbourne and Adelaide
    • Kaniva:
    • Bordertown (Sth Aust) (160km from Horsham)
    • Adelaide (448km from Horsham)
  • Henty Highway northbound from Horsham:
    • Warracknabeal:
    • Hopetoun:
      • Wyperfeld National Park
      • Big Desert Wilderness Park
    • Ouyen:
    • Mildura:
      • 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:
    • Natimuk:
      • Mt Arapiles - rock climbers heaven
    • Edenhope
    • Naracoorte (Sth Aust)

Borough Huts camp ground south of Hall's Gap

australia/vic/grampians.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/08 21:45 by gary1

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