Grampians National Park - Gariwerd

The Grampians National Park is renowned for it's rugged mountain ranges and spectacular wildflower displays. At 167,000ha the park is comprised of four main ranges: Mt William, Sera, Mt Diffficult and Victoria Range. Rising to heights of over 1000 metres, they form the western edge of the Great Dividing Range.

Things to see and 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 Boroka and 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 10,000 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, a vital source of water for farming and domestic purposes in a large part of north-western Victoria. Timber was also cut for mines and farms.


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.


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

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.

Koorie Heritage and Rock Art

Koorie rock paintings are rare in Victoria and Australia. But not in The Grampians National Park. Five thousand years ago, the Koories who roamed the well stocked hunting ground surrounding Gariwerd as the mountain range was known to them, began recording their dreamtime legends and ceremonies on the recessed walls of caves, tucked away in rocky outcrops. It is a record of an ancient culture which was virtually destroyed with the arrival of European settlers.

Because these mountains provided a rich source of food and water, Koories were freed from spending long hours hunting and gathering. Spare time was dedicated to cultural activities, of which evidence may be seen today. Over 100 caves have been found where the rock faces are decorated by fine examples of Koorie art. You can visit about 10 shelters.

Nearly 4000 different art motifs have been recorded, although the major designs are emu tracks, human figures, hands, bars and straight lines. The oldest hand stencils are over 2000 years old, while the most recent where painted around the time Europeans discovered Australia.

Today, the Brambuk Living Cultural Centre, just two kilometres from Halls Gap, brings to life the rich history and culture of the Koorie communities of the Wimmera and south west Victoria. From a stone chimney, atop the Brambuk Centre, smoke lazily drifts upward, in a way reminiscent of a campsite fire. Inside there are rare displays of traditional Koorie art, clothing, weapons and tools. On the ceremonial ground you can experience traditional music, dance and cooking. Sample bush tucker Koorie style. Or let the people whose ancestors created this culture take you on an informed tour of the Koorie rock art sites.

A 70 kilometre drive south west of The Grampians National Park, at Lake Condah, is another significant Koorie site. Here you can see fish traps made from local basalt rock. The Koorie tribes relied on the rise and fall of the level of the lake to trap the fish. Around the traps you'll find the remains of more than 200 semicircular shaped stone houses which date back between 200 and 6000 years. Unlike most Koories, the tribe in this area had relatively permanent homes.

Nearby is the Lake Condah Aboriginal Mission, built by Europeans in 1867. Take a walk around the mission, through the ruins of the Mission House, bluestone cottages and the site of St. Mary's Church.

Sixty kilometres north of The Grampians National Park is Antwerp. Here you'll find The Ebenezer Mission station which today stands in ruins. Its pale pink stone buildings are surrounded by wheatfields and bush. A tiny cemetery contains graves of Mission Koories and Lutheran priests. An Antwerp Koorie, Bobby Kinnear, who won the rich Stawell Gift footrace in 1883, is buried here. His grave is marked by a Koorie monument erected in 1985 by the Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Co-operative to remember local Koories.

Another well known Koorie from Western Victoria was Johnny Mullagh. He was a famous cricketer from Harrow, who played with the first Koorie cricket team to visit England, in 1868. His memorial stands in the tiny village of Harrow, 70 kilometres west of the Grampians National Park.

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 via Stawell, Horsham, or Dunkeld.
Melways Ref: 526 C2

Visitor Information

For more information on Grampians National Park call the Parks Victoria Information Line on 13 1963 or

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