The Grampians National Park isn’t even one of the biggest national parks in Australia. Yet you still need a car to get between the different points of interests there. If you’re wondering whether or not a day trip to the Grampians National Park is possible, it technically is but I’d advise against it. It takes at least 7 hours driving altogether plus you will be exhausted from trekking all day and it’s more dangerous to drive back at night with kangaroos on the road. I spent a weekend in the Grampians National Park which was the perfect amount of time to see the 5 main places.
How to get to the Grampians National Park
First you’ll drive to Halls Gap which is the main town in the Grampians National Park. It takes around 3 hours to get from Melbourne city centre to Halls Gap with no traffic. The great thing is that it’s basically one straight road the entire way!
I rented a car using Car Next Door (get 15 AUD off) which meant that I didn’t have to go to a rental car company and chose a car from the map close to my flat. It includes the price of fuel too!
Where to stay in the Grampians National Park
Since I booked the weekend trip to the Grampians last minute as always, I found a cheap Airbnb (get 50 AUD off) in Ararat. The town was a 40 minute drive from the mountains which was a slight hassle but the Airbnb was amazing.
If you’re more organised than me (very likely), then book accommodation in Halls Gap with Booking.com. It’s nestled in the valley of the park, meaning you can wake up and go exploring straight away.
5 awesome things to do in a weekend in the Grampians National Park
Reeds Lookout & The Balconies
Reeds Lookout is only a 20 minute drive from Halls Gap. The car park is right next to the lookout so it’s super easy to get to, the ground is flat and it doesn’t require much walking. There are a couple different lookout points beside the car park which give incredible views of the Victoria Valley, different mountain ranges and Lake Wartook.
The Balconies are a 1km easy stroll on flat ground through a forest from Reeds Lookout car park. There are panoramic views of the Victoria Valley. Even when it was overcast, I felt like I was on top of the world with the clouds below me.
MacKenzie Falls car park is only an 8 minute drive from Reeds Lookout along the same road. From MacKenzie Falls car park, walk down steep steps to the base of the waterfall for 1km. MacKenzie falls is a big waterfall with a deep pool which is ideal for swimming when the weather is nice. It takes about 1 hour return from the car park to the waterfall.
For an easier walk, follow signs to MacKenzie Falls lookout for views of the waterfalls from above.
On the way back from MacKenzie Falls to Halls Gap, you can stop off at Boroka Lookout (a 9 minute drive from Reeds Lookout). The car park is right next to the lookout so it doesn’t require much walking. The view of the mountain range, valley and lake is mind-blowing. Personally, this was my favourite view out of everywhere I went.
Check out the route for Day 1 here.
The Pinnacle & Lakeview Lookout
The easiest walk to The Pinnacle is from Sundial car park via Devil’s Gap (which I did). The car park is a 15 minute drive from Halls Gap. From there, follow the yellow arrows on the ground for 2.1km/45 minutes to reach The Pinnacle. The walk is uphill at parts but it’s easy and very scenic.
The harder option is to trek from Wonderland carpark to The Pinnacle which takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes. You will pass the Grand Canyon and Bridal Veil Falls.
On the way back from The Pinnacle, you will come across signs for Lakeview Lookout. It’s a short walk and you can return straight from there to Sundial car park. It’s less busy on these paths so be careful of snakes. My boyfriend nearly stepped on a brown snake before he saw it slithering underneath his foot and luckily hopped over it.
If you have time on the way back to Halls Gap, go the Venus Baths. Take a short 1km walk around the freshwater rock pools with slides and even take a dip if it’s hot outside.
Check out the route for Day 2 here.
Tips for your weekend in the Grampians National Park
It goes without saying that you need to bring water with you wherever you go. Don’t head out without it!
Check the weather beforehand and bring appropriate clothing
I didn’t realise that it would be pouring with rain on my first day in the Grampians. I had no umbrella or raincoat and I got absolutely soaked while walking to the Balconies. It dampened the experience a little bit…
Avoid driving at dawn and dusk
There are warning signs for kangaroos along the road to the Grampians National Park. It’s not uncommon for a kangaroo to jump onto the road, especially during dawn and dusk as they’re attracted to the headlights. Either avoid driving at these times or drive slowly. The cutest little Bambi jumped out in front of my car (and got away don’t worry!). I’d researched beforehand that you’re supposed to slow down without swerving, stop for the animal to cross or beep your horn in an emergency.
Look out for snakes and spiders
I thought there would be little chance of us seeing a snake because the Grampians paths are quite busy with people. Wrong. As Ed was walking along the path, a poisonous brown snake slithered underneath his foot. Luckily, Ed managed to hop over it just in time. Otherwise he would’ve stood on it and most definitely would’ve got bitten.
Check for fire affected areas
Forest fires are really common in Australia, especially in these massive parks. Check the government website for updates on which areas to avoid.
When the UV Index reaches 3 and above, you should wear clothing covering your body, a hat, sunglasses and SPF30+ suncream. Also try to walk in the shade. Even when it’s cloudy, the UV Index can be around 10 which is extremely high.
Bring mosquito repellent
Especially after a storm, mosquitoes are common and carry life threatening diseases. Bring repellent just in case.
Tree branches are unexpectedly fall and cause injury or death so make sure you’re always aware where you’re sitting or walking.
The police and emergency services number for Australia is 000.
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