Grampians National Park
Renowned for rugged mountain ranges and stunning wildflower displays, Grampians National Park is one of the State's most popular holiday destinations. Declared in 1984, the 167,000 hectare park is a home for almost a third of Victoria's plant species. Management of the park requires a careful balance between tourism and conservation of the environment.
Things to Do
Your first stop should be the Visitor Centre at Halls Gap. Displays, audio-visuals, publications, maps and informative staff will help you plan your stay.
Call in also at the nearby Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre, where you can discover and experience Aboriginal life and culture both past and present.
If you have half a day, drive to Reeds Lookouts for spectacular views.
In a day, you can visit The Balconies, MacKenzie Falls and Zumstein picnic ground, or walk through the Wonderland Range.
There are many camping areas in the park in a variety of settings directly accessible by car. They have pit toilets, fireplaces and picnic tables.
There is also a wide range of accommodation in Halls Gap and neighbouring townships.
Aboriginal occupation of the Grampians dates back beyond 5000 years and the area contains the majority of Aboriginal rock art sites in south-east Australia.
NSW Surveyor-General Sir Thomas Mitchell named the ranges after mountains in his native Scotland in 1836. As European settlement spread, the Grampians became and remain, due to schemes like the Wimmera water supply system, a vital source of water for farming and domestic purposes in a large part of north-western Victoria. The Grampian's rich and diverse post settlement history also included timber production, cut for mines and farms, gold mining and quarrying, of which the Heatherley Quarry is a good example.
The park is particularly important for its abundance of bird species. The low open shrubby woodlands in the park support many nectar-feeding birds, and the tall open forests are important for hollow-dependent species such as the Powerful Owl. Large populations of Emus are found throughout the lowland areas.
Over 40 species of mammal have been recorded in the park. They include kangaroos, possums, gliders, echidnas and koalas. The park supports populations of Red-necked Wallabies and Grey Kangaroos, a colony of Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies, and a growing population of Black Wallabies. Zumstein picnic ground is a popular kangaroo viewing area.
One of the most striking features of the park is its rich and colourful spring wildflower display, best seen during October. Heathlands come to life with colourful shows of Grampians Boronia, Grampians Pin-cushion Lily, Grampians Parrot-pea, Grampians Thryptomene and a multitude of other herbs and shrubs.
The park contains over 800 indigenous plant species. Twenty of these, including the Grampians Gum and Grampians Parrot-pea, are found nowhere else in the world.
Plant communities range from luxuriant fern gullies, to Stringybark forests and Red Gum woodlands in the Victoria Valley, to stunted heaths on the Major Mitchell Plateau. There are eight broad vegetation communities within the park - Sub-alpine, Sclerophyll Forests, Shrubby Woodlands, Savannah Woodlands, Heath Woodland, Heathlands, Swampland and Riparian vegetation. Fire plays a major role in the ecology of the Grampians' vegetation and fauna.
Looking After the Park
>> Dogs and other pets are not allowed except in vehicles on sealed roads and in sealed carparks.
>> Firearms are not permitted.
>> When driving, keep to roads open to public vehicles. (Some roads are closed in winter or after heavy rain.) Walkers should keep to marked tracks.
>> Light fires only in fireplaces provided, or better still take a gas or fuel stove to protect fauna habitats.
>> Take your rubbish home and where possible recycle.
>> Please do not feed native wildlife, especially kangaroos. It is bad for them and can be dangerous to visitors.
>> Please don't disturb or remove any plants or animals.
If you are planning an extended walk, tell someone where you are going and when you aim to be back.
Carry appropriate gear, food and water.
Rapid changes of temperature can occur. Be prepared for heat and cold.
Take care at lookouts above cliffs and steep slopes.
How to Get There
The 260 km drive from Melbourne along the Western or Glenelg Highways takes about 3.5 hours. There are approaches to Halls Gap (Vic Roads Touring Guide 56-A4) via Stawell, Horsham, or Dunkeld.
Visitor and Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centres
A large parking area and sealed paths make entry to the National Park and Brambuk Centres accessible for all abilities. The designated accessible car park and toilet facilities are currently not fully compliant but the Centre is generally accessible. There are many informative displays and good seating inside. Off-road wheelchairs are available from the Grampians National Park Centre.
The Reeds Lookout area is being upgraded. Currently the walk to the official lookout near the fire tower is steep and has natural steps but the area will soon be highly accessible, according to upgrade plans. This is a viewing site only, with no picnic or toilet facilities. Off-road wheelchairs are available from the Grampians National Park Centre.
Zumstein Camping and Picnic Area
Picnic and toilet facilities at Zumstein have been recently upgraded. Vehicle entry and car parking areas are sealed. The paths around the site are wide and generally accessible, and there is a short walking track starting from near the picnic area. The designated accessible toilet near the kangaroo viewing area has a narrow entry. Picnic area toilets include a new designated accessible facility. Off-road wheelchairs are available from the Grampians National Park Centre.
The track to MacKenzie Falls is relatively inaccessible due to steep sections, but Bluff Walk is a wheelchair accessible track beginning at the car park and winding through the bush to a viewing platform overlooking the Falls. The picnic area has a kiosk, picnic benches and accessible toilets. Off-road wheelchairs are available from the Grampians National Park Centre.
Stapylton Campground is reached via a long stretch of gravel road. It has well maintained picnic and camping facilities. The camping area has designated accessible camping and parking spaces, as well as a toilet facility. A new 500m loop walk to access the nearby rock shelter Aboriginal art site is under construction. This new track will meet current access standards. Off-road wheelchairs are available from the Grampians National Park Visitor Centre.
The track to Boroka Lookout from the car park is sealed, and is 100 metres return. The view is highly recommended, and although there is a constant gradient, accessibility is good. This track is detailed in the "Wheelchair Accessible Tracks" booklet, available at the Grampians National Park Visitor Centre. Access to the toilets is poor, but the site is being modified. Off-road wheelchairs are available from the Grampians National Park Visitor Centre.
Borough Huts Campground
The picnic and camping sites at Borough Huts are on firm ground, and there are no major obstacles. There are male and female toilets designed to be generally accessible, and meeting most standards for access. The picnic furniture lacks rain shelter. Off-road wheelchairs are available from the Grampians National Park Visitor Centre.
Jimmy Creek Campground
Jimmy Creek is a picnic site as well as a campground. The picnic facilities are well designed, and on a reasonably good unsealed surface. Some surfaces are sandy. The camping area is near the toilets, and on firm ground. The toilets do not fully meet standards for access, but have some access-enhancing features. Off-road wheelchairs are available from the Grampians National Park Visitor Centre.
Red Gum Walk
Both the 500 metre track and the 3km track at the Red Gum Walk are accessible, and seats are provided along the way. There are no toilets on site (nearest are at the Boreang Campground, 5km away). A wheelchair-friendly table, made from Red Gum and provided by Friends of the Grampians, is a great feature of the site. It is situated at the beginning of the tracks. These tracks are particularly subject to fallen branches.
Sundial Car Park
The Lakeview track is generally accessible from Sundial Car Park for the first 400m before becoming steep with steps and rocks as it approaches the lookout. Toilets are standard facilities without features for accessibility. The picnic area is free of obstacles, and has wood-fuel barbecues but no water. Off-road wheelchairs are available from the Grampians National Park Visitor Centre.
Wonderland Car Park
Wonderland Car Park is well designed and maintained. There is no designated accessible toilet, but otherwise the facilities are good, including seating and shelter. The walking tracks, which are the main attraction for visitors to this site, are strenuous and involve some rock scrambling. This makes the walks poorly accessible for many people with a disability. Off-road wheelchairs are available from the Grampians National Park Visitor Centre.
>> Black Range State Park
>> Langi Ghiran State Park
>> Mount Araplies-Tooan State Park
>> Mount Buangor State Park/Mount Cole State Forest
Barbeque, Camping, Four Wheel Driving, Horse Riding, Rock Climbing, Walking
4. Canoeing / Kayaking
6. Coach/Bus Tours
8. Four Wheel Drive Tours
9. Horse Riding
10. Horse-Drawn Wagon Tours
11. Mountain Bike Riding
13. Rock Climbing
14. Ski Touring
15. Spotlight Tours / Nightwalks
1. Beehive Falls
2. Brambuk Cultural Centre
3. Lake Bellfield
4. Lake Wartook
5. Manja Shelter
6. Ngamadjidj Shelter