The dramatic and beautiful landscape of Victoria’s Grampians region has been luring grey nomads to visit ever since the caravan was first invented.
The rugged sandstone mountain ranges that rise magnificently from the Western Plains are a veritable playground for adventure-seeking, nature-loving travellers. The area is rich in wildlife, wildflowers and Aboringal rock art sites, and there are great bushwalking, driving and camping opportunities.
Sadly, the Grampians National Park (Gariwerd) has been beset by its fair share of natural disasters in recent years. Around half of the park was burned out by a bushfire back in early 2006 and, five years later, flooding caused widespread devastation. It’s been a major task for the authorities to repair, rebuild and reopen tracks, camping grounds, and visitor facilities.
The Grampians are effectively a series of five spectacular sandstone ridges running north to south with steep and craggy slopes on the eastern side and gentler slopes to the west.
The park itself, 250 kilometres or so north-west of Melbourne, boasts a network of walking tracks which allows visitors to take in the stunning lookouts, wonderful waterfalls and amazing wildflower displays.
Highlights include Reeds Lookout and its breathtaking views over valleys, lakes and mountains. Another favoured spot is Boroka Lookout, which provides a great outlook over the Halls Gap Valley and the eastern plains.
This is ‘Waterfall Central’, with the spectacular MacKenzie Falls probably the pick of the bunch with torrents of water cascading year-round over cliffs into a deep pool. Nearby are also Beehive Falls, Silverband Falls, Wannon Falls and Nigretta Falls.
There are also a number of important Aboriginal rock art sites in the park, great examples being found at Billimina Shelter, Gulgurn Manja Shelter, Manja Shelter and Ngamadjidj Shelter.
Between August and October, it is the spectacular wildflower displays which take centre stage, and simply demand visitor attention. Wildlife enthusiast and bird spotters will also be in their element.
With so many amazing natural attractions, the Grampians is notoriously popular, particularly during the school holidays. Happily, there are plenty of camping options available … but it still pays to book in advance for peak periods. There are caravan parks in and around the towns of Halls Gap and – in the park itself – large campsites are located at Mount Stapylton, Smiths Mill, Jimmy’s Creek and Buandik.
This is most definitely grey nomad country.