Grampians National Park
The Grampians National Park, situated in the middle of Victoria, is a stunning piece of Australia’s country side filled with Kangaroos, waterfalls, rugged mountain ranges and 360 degree views. This National Park is known extensively for its variety of easy and hard hiking trails, bush camping (camp fees do apply) and scenic drives (even 4WD). It is just a 6 hour drive from Adelaide, through Bordertown.
Deciding to brave the cold winter, Mim and I went camping in the Grampians National Park for just short of a week to join her extended family from NSW for some hard-core hiking adventures, camping and a family reunion.
Everyday we awoke to ice falling from the trees and surrounded by fog, cooked every meal over the large campfire, spent the days exploring either by car or foot, and always had a hot drink close by to warm us up. Dusk bought the kangaroos out to graze nearby and we went to bed with a hot water bottle to warm the sleeping bags.
We stayed at a camping ground called Smiths Mill which provided 25 campsites, long drop toilets, a bush shower and a rain water tank (not suitable for drinking). As you can imagine there were not many other campers around when we were there in the middle of winter, when the average daily temperature ranged from -1 to 13 degrees. Be sure to keep the food packed away so the Crows, Magpies and Kangaroos don’t get to it.
The hikes that I embarked on and the sites that we visited included the MacKenzie Falls, Mt Difficult, Golton Gorge, Reeds Lookout, The Balconies, and Boroka Lookout. The MacKenzie Falls are a 1.9km return, easy grade walk – good to see if you haven’t seen waterfalls before but nothing special. Mt Difficult is as you can imagine grade hard, roughly taking 3 hours up and 2.5 hours down but well worth doing, a good experience with spectacular views.
Golton Gorge is grade hard with a 1.5 hour loop – a challenging walk, however the path wasn’t well marked especially near the top. Reeds Lookout is accessible from the car park and The Balconies is grade easy with a 2km return to the same carpark. Both of these provided very similar panoramic views and were quite touristy.
Lastly, Boroka Lookout is grade easy and just a 2 min walk along a concrete path, which was nice to get your bearings and look down at Halls Gap (the main local town where the Information Centre is located). Unfortunately due to Mim being injured she could not join us for the hikes.
The Grampians National park is a great place to escape to is you are looking for some peace and quiet (no mobile phone reception), a different outlook and view every day, and some fresh air. The locals are friendly (people and kangaroos), there is a lot of Australian history to discover if you’re interested, and the breathtaking landscapes give for a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday trip.