Dominating the Wimmera region of north west Victoria lies the Grampians national park; home to Victoria’s fourth largest mountain range that’s known for its incredible sunsets and overhang cliff faces. Hiking in the Grampians is sure to be on any serious hikers (and beginners) list of trails to tackle.
The Grampians national park marks the end of the great dividing range that stretches from far east Queensland through NSW and ending in the Victoria’s Wimmera.
There’s a range of both short hikes and extended hiking trails within the Grampians national park that can take you anywhere from day hikes, overnight hikes as well as multi-day hikes like the brand new Grampians Peaks trail that runs over 160 km.
The grampians have been home to the Djab Wurrung and Jardwardjai first nations Australians for over 20,000 years and the Grampians national park contains the highest density of Indigenous art work anywhere in the country.
We’ve done a bunch of walks in the Grampians and have made this list of some epic hikes for you to try when visiting.
READ MORE>> The Grampians are just one of many amazing adventures from Melbourne
A brief history of the Grampians
Gariwerd; as it’s known to the Indigenous population is a collection of rugged sandstone mountain ranges aligned perfectly that form ridges, surrounded by thick rainforest and waterfalls.
Parks Victoria are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the park and the walking tracks inside, including the campgrounds.
The Grampians national park runs from Dunkeld in the south to Laharum in the North and is divided into the Northern Grampians, Southern Grampians and central grampians.
Geographically the western highway and the Glenelg highway border the park and Grampians road runs straight through the main town of Halls gap.
What you need to know before you go hiking the Grampians
Roughly 252 km from Melbourne CBD at 3 hours and 18 minutes is the town centre of Halls Gap, where you’ll find the Grampians tourist information centre along grampians tourist road.
All the hikes here are marked with either red or yellow pointers showing you the direction of travel once inside.
Feeling a bit lost in the Grampians? It’s a huge area with dozens of day hikes to explore so we’d recommend joining this highly rated small group eco walking tour of the Grampians national park that starts and ends in Melbourne Visit GetYourGuide to find out more
Make sure you prepare for the conditions of the hike, including any water and food, overnight cold weather gear as well as GPS alert devices in case of emergency.
Many hikers and rock climbers find themselves in unfortunate circumstances and often the only way out is a winch from a rescue helicopter.
When to visit the Grampians national park
The hottest times of the year are December through to April, when it’s mostly dry and there’s little rain; it’s also school holidays and a lot more people trek through here.
Halls Gap hosts an annual Grape Escape food and wine festival in late April, and the Stawell gift is a running race that’s held early to mid April also.
The cooler months begin in May when Autumn slowly fades away and turns into colder, more wet and unpredictable weather making hiking unsafe and difficult.
We recommend dates between February and March when weather is mild, dry and the crowds have gone back to school.
The Grampians are divided into three distinct geographical regions, the Northern, Central and Southern Grampians routes.
The Southern Grampians are home to the Victoria range, the Serra ranges and the Victoria Ranges, the Central grampians is home to the Pinnacle, Boronia Peak and surrounds and the northern end takes in the sights of Mount Zero, Mackenzie falls and Mount Stapylton campground.
This is where most hikers begin and end their journey through the Grampians, as it’s where you’ll find the information centre, grocery stores as well as accommodation and restaurants.
Most hikers come here to only do day trips and scenic hikes from halls gap and for good reason. If you’re wondering what to do in the Grampians then start here.
The Pinnacle lookout and Boroka lookout are stunning little hikes and viewpoints best seen at sunrise and sunset.
Of course hiking in the Grampians isn’t all harsh rugged terrain; for the waterfall lovers we recommend going to see Splitters Falls, the Venus baths and Silverband falls all within a short drive from Halls Gap.
The Serra range and the Victoria range in the Southern grampians are separated by a distinct region known as the Victoria valley, a collection of farm land, native shrub, wildlife and native flora.
Northern Grampians hikes
Mount Stapylton loop
Start/Finish: Mt Stapylton campground
Time: 4 hours
Distance: 12.2 km
The northernmost peak of the grampians national park and easily accessible from the Mount Zero carpark. If you prefer a bit more of a challenge we suggest starting from the Mt Stapylton campground.
Following the rocky terrain is simple enough as there are plenty of pained arrows along the ground to help lead the way.
The very rocky summit is a steep climb to the top and if your afraid of heights or getting your hands dirty we suggest stopping at the cave just below the summit and admire the 360 panoramic views.
To return from the Mt Stapylton summit take the same trail back down where you joined the main trail and follow it towards the Mount zero carpark.
The track descends steeply into small forested gullies that act as a natural amphitheatre.
Plenty of rock climbers use this space to practice climbing; coincidentally it’s also a common spot for helicopter rescues…
If you’re feeling adventurous then we personally recommend this rock climbing activity in the heart of the Grampians!
Start/Finish: Hollow mountain car park
Time: 1.5 hours
Distance: 3.2 km
For everyone reading who loathes the idea of an overnight hike in the wilderness and smiles at the thought of sleeping in hotel comfort after a short days hike, this one’s for you.
After a relaxing nights sleep in Halls Gap after hopefully a few days already of hiking in the Grampians, start your 40 minute drive from town along the Western highway turning left at Wonwondah dadswell bridge road, then left at Winfields road turning left again at Mount Zero road before reaching the Mount Zero picnic tables.
Follow the track until you reach the Hollow mountain car park.
The hollow mountain hike will take you through a series of hidden caves and caverns with shaded areas to take a break under, as well as a number of steep rocky scrambles that you’ll need to accept as an inevitable part of this hike.
If you can accomplish this then the rest of the hike will be no challenge.
We recommend taking the 750m flat sandy path to the Gulgurn manja rock art site on your return trip back to the campground. The paintings are very well preserved and some of the best you’ll see in western victoria.
Start/Finish: Beehive falls car park
Time: 4 hours
Distance: 10.5 km return
On the topic of difficult hikes in the northern end, Briggs bluff is one of those hidden gems that reveals a stunning landscape at the end of the walk.
To reach the beginning of Briggs Bluff it’s easiest to start from the Plantation campground and stay there overnight, otherwise the drive from Halls Gap to the beehive falls car park will take around 25 minutes.
Should you wish to stay inside the national park then staying at troopers creek campground is your best bet out here.
From Beehive falls you must cross the creek bed to the other side and begin the rocky ascent that very quickly takes you to the jagged ridgelines with bare rock exposed.
Walking the Bluff ridge is included in your small eco tour of the Grampians
The sandstone that composes the ridges and rock formations over much of this incredible national park in southern australia formed throughout the Devonian period roughly 415 million years ago to what it is today and continues to evolve.
The Grampians are home to the traditional owners of the land, the Djab Wurrung and hold the vast majority of ancient indigenous rock art anywhere in the country.
At a certain junction you’ll have to make a decision if you want to continue onwards along the main track through Briggs Bluff or to Mt difficult; take the left one.
The terrain is steep and rocky, and dips into numerous gullies before more steep climbs to the peaks. Make sure that you follow the signposted track, detailed with yellow arrows pointing you in the right direction a sometimes it gets confusing which path to take.
The summit of Briggs bluff is not protected by a fence or railings so always ensure your safety on cliff edges and faces.
Start/Finish: Troopers Creek campground
Time: 3 hours
Distance: 8.5 km
It’s not called Mt Difficult for no reason…
But well worth the views over most of the Northern Grampians national park. There are two main roads you can choose to take to reach the beginning of the hike from the campground.
One option is via Roses Gap rd via the Western highway; the other is a corrugated dirt road from town that will take around 30 minutes.
We opted for the sealed road to avoid unnecessary delays and problems that inevitably arise from driving on unsealed roads!
Start your hike from the south eastern exit of the campgrounds where you will surely start the gruelling climb up rocky hills that wind through switchbacks and gullies below the face of the cliffs.
If you’ve never been rock climbing then this is the closest you will get without actually rock climbing as you manoeuvre through overhangs, boulders and traverse through caverns like a true mountaineer.
The peak of Mt difficult lies north of Lake Wartook and south of Beehive falls to the south, and if you want to reach the summit of Mt Gar range then follow the cairns along the exposed rock for epic views.
A visit to Mackenzie Falls is included in your Grampians eco-tour from Melbourne with GetYourGuide
The most easily accessible waterfall location anywhere in the Grampians is Mackenzie falls.
One of the best things to do in the Grampians is to take Mt Victory road for 25 minutes west until you reach Wartook road where you turn right to follow the road to the falls.
The journey to the falls can be done as a short day trip from the carpark or as a longer hike that follows the mackenzie river for 3.5 km one way to the base of the falls via the Zumsteins.
Central Grampians hikes
Start/Finish: Wonderland carpark
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Distance: 4.5 km
The Pinnacle is one of the more popular hiking routes in the grampians national park and is best begun from the Wonderland car park, although starting at the sundial carpark is also a great place to start.
It overlooks the wonderland range and you’ll come across all sorts of landmarks like Silent street (a skinny crevasse), bridal veil falls and the Grand Canyon.
Both silent street and the Grand Canyon falls are within short hiking distance or drives of Halls Gap.
The Pinnacle is one of many hikes in central grampians, but there’s still two thirds of the national park to explore so we’ve chosen this tour right here to help maximise your time in the park and see the very best of the Grampians.
A short drive along an unsealed Stony creek road will see you at the stony creek campground right off Silverband road, and only 8 minutes from the Sundial carpark that leads to the Pinnacles hike.
The longest route to the pinnacle is from Halls gap however its 9.6km long and will take roughly 5 hours return.
Start/Finish: Reed lookout
Time: 40 minutes
Distance: 2.2 km
Definitely a top instagram shot and famous lookout point in the entire grampians national park is the balconies lookout. A short 40 minute walk to the ‘jaws of death’ that starts at Reed lookout which is situated halfway between Fish falls and halls gap.
Hiking the grampians can be a challenging task but this is one of the easiest day hikes in the grampians national park and the panoramic views from the top are simply incredible.
Arguably the best spot to watch sunset from, access here is also straightforward; simplydrive 12 km from Halls gap towards Reed lookout and in less than an hours hike up the hill you will arrive at your destination.
Mount Rosea hike
Start/Finish: mt Rosea carpark
Time: 3 hours return
Distance: 9.5km return
One of the longer hikes in the grampians but none the less spectacular, be prepared to work for this one as you go rock hopping in the exposed sunlight for most of it.
Packing lots of water is important for Mt rosea and making sure you observe the sometimes partially obstructed arrows to keep you on track.
You start this hike at the Rosea car park and can choose to turn this into a loop, however we’ve heard the return is not as pretty as on the way there so decide for yourself if you return via the same track.
The highest point of this rocky climb sees you stare out at Lake Bellfield, a beautiful blue lake shadowed by the rocky ridge facing east.
Mount William summit (Mt Duwill)
Start/Finish: Mount williams car park
Time: 1 hour
The highest point in the entire Grampians national park is mount william. A short 26 km drive from Halls gap to the mount william peak which also houses the weather station that relays the weather messages back down the mountain.
To be honest it’s not a super fascinating trail, as the first 50% is in fact a sealed road; it is however a must do in grampians national park.
The first 600m are strenuous elevation so be prepared for a hard flog first up.
From the weather station simply walk around the back of it and follow the signs to the ledge where you’ll find your viewpoint.
Southern Grampians hikes
Mount abrupt hike
Start/Finish: Mt abrupt car park
Time: 2 hours
Distance: 6.5 km
In the very southern tip of the national park less than 10 minutes from the town of Dunkeld is Mt Murdadjoog, more globally known as Mount Abrupt; one of the more difficult day walks down south.
The best access point is from the small mt abrupt carpark on the corner of the Mt Abrupt walking track and the Grampians tourist road junction.
To access the track you must first cross the road to start your immediately zig-zag climb up the steel hill, with Signal peak sits to the north of you at all times.
As the trail winds through the semi formed track the final 1 km from the baes of the hike changes to a steep climb up the rocky hill.
Once you arrive at the summit you’ll be greeted with amazing panoramic views over most of the southern grampians including the jagged peaks of the Serra Range.
There is an overnight camp spot south of the Mt abrupt peak that lies on part of the Peaks trail if you wish to stay overnight in the national park.
Grampians Peaks Trail
Last but certainly not least is Australia’s latest grade 4-5 difficult hike that traverse 160 kms of rugged terrain across the entire Grampians national park.
This hike is not for the faint of heart and only recently opened last month to visitors around the country.
It spans across 13 days depending on how many detours you take for cliff edges and beautiful vistas across the vast scenery, The Peaks Trail is one of the best overnight hikes in Victoria, and definitely one of the longest in Australia.
The grampians peaks trail begins in the North from Mount zero, traversing over rugged terrain through the summit of gar, passing through Halls Gap and eventually finishing off the journey at Dunkeld in the south.
The entire hike will cost app $524 AUD for all nights camping, with one overnight stop in Halls Gap of-park accommodation included.
We’ve included this track guide from Parks Victoria
This trail is meant to cater for the experienced and physically fit hikers so if you don’t feel like this is you then you can always break the journey up into smaller bite sized pieces of 3-4 night hikes at a time.
For more information you can visit the Parks Victoria website