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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
For more information on Grampians National Park call the Parks
Victoria Information Line on 13 1963 or
Here to View Map
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