Exploring Australia’s raw beauty in the Grampians

With its natural beauty and continuing aboriginal importance it is no wonder that the 'Gariwerd' is on the list of National Heritage

marc_casolani
Marc Casolani
2 June 2017, 8:46am
Grampians will make you understand why this is an area of splendour and a rich geological landscape
Grampians will make you understand why this is an area of splendour and a rich geological landscape
“Gariwerd”, that’s what the folk in the area call it. One of the four locations in all of Australia that you can find yourself walking above the clouds. It is also a major dreaming site to the Jardwadjali and Djab people. With its natural beauty and continuing aboriginal importance it is no wonder that it is on the list of National Heritage. Being anywhere within a 40km radius of the three main gateways to the Grampians will make you understand why this is an area of splendour and a rich geological landscape. 

Located North West of Melbourne, the Grampians ranges cover about 1,600 km² and its highest peak at Mt. William reaches 1167m above sea level. Most of the ranges are sandstone that has formed over around 40 million years. In my opinion this region has an insane layout thanks to its crazy evolution and has thus given us the opportunity to explore a variety of unique formations and paths that have all been naturally carved out. Places like Halls Gap, Hollow Mountain, Wonderland, the Pinnacles and many other areas within the Grampians are a hiker’s, photographer’s, biologist’s, geologist’s playground. 

These treks would take you through canyons and narrow crevasses, steep climbs, rock climbs and a combination of tricky and exciting passages
These treks would take you through canyons and narrow crevasses, steep climbs, rock climbs and a combination of tricky and exciting passages
It’s easy to say that you have a lot to see here and explore, but it’s not easy to plan out your route and time is needed to see most of it, if not all. Take time to create a good plan before you go into the Grampians as you can easily get caught up in one area or end up being cut off to another area because there is no direct access unless you come from another side. 

Hall’s Gap is the most popular area to enter as there are many of the easier accessible places to explore and a couple of the main attractions. It also has a very small town from where you can get your supplies, find accommodation, have a dip in the thermal pools and have a walk around the only lake in the area. It would be a great place to base yourself if you know that you have at least five to eight days to explore the Grampians. Anything less and it could leave you cut off from the Southern and Northern areas. 

Anything less and it could leave you cut off from the Southern and Northern areas
Anything less and it could leave you cut off from the Southern and Northern areas
The best treks by far would be those of the Pinnacles, Mt. William and Hollow Mountain. These treks would take you through canyons and narrow crevasses, steep climbs, rock climbs and a combination of tricky and exciting passages. Both experienced hikers and amateur hikers would be able to make a full day of enjoyable exploring. Most of the ascent hikes lead to some stunning scenery, as do some viewpoints along the 2wd and 4wd tracks.  Even though there is some amazing hiking to do here, if you are able, do not forget the 4wd tracks here. I can guarantee that these tracks will take you to some more beautiful scenic spots and best of all these places will most likely capture your imagination you with the area being completely to yourself or with very few other 4wd enthusiasts. Picture this, your vehicle, a campfire, a hot toddy and stunning view of the landscape or an equally stunning view of the Milky Way and stars. 

Take time to create a good plan before you go into the Grampians as you can easily get caught up in one area or end up being cut off to another area
Take time to create a good plan before you go into the Grampians as you can easily get caught up in one area or end up being cut off to another area
Another note worth taking in is that when you do set out on treks here, take plenty of water and ideally take a compass or better so a GPS. This way if you decide to camp for the night you can do night hikes across the ranges with a tool that can help you avoid falling over into the many crevasses that you tend to find the closer you get to the summit. The Pinnacles is a very good example for this situation, even during the day you are in danger of getting lost or falling over, let alone at night. The good thing is that all the major treks have illuminated arrows set five meters apart along the whole track.

Only a few times a year you may get to see the clouds below you from any view point above 800m
Only a few times a year you may get to see the clouds below you from any view point above 800m
The great thing about the Grampians is that you can camp anywhere as long as you can reach it. Once you explore the centre crater like areas you will find that setting up camp is not that hard to sort out. You’ll also come across Moora Moora reservoir, a swampy area rich in bird life as well as small mammals. Most of the top 4wd tracks can be found close to this area, in the central valley of the Grampians. Just obtain a map from any of the small communities around the main entrances and you will be able to see what is what and where to go. 

Places like Halls Gap, Hollow Mountain, Wonderland, the Pinnacles and many other areas within the Grampians are a hiker’s, photographer’s, biologist’s, geologist’s playground
Places like Halls Gap, Hollow Mountain, Wonderland, the Pinnacles and many other areas within the Grampians are a hiker’s, photographer’s, biologist’s, geologist’s playground
If you are lucky, only a few times a year you may get to see the clouds below you from any view point above 800m. It will truly make you feel as if you are in the heavens. 

Don’t forget to take good hiking shoes and plan what season you would like to visit. The summer months tend to be a bit too hot to take on some of the hikes unless you are experienced. The best seasons to visit would be autumn or spring. One thing is for sure, don’t forget to take your camera! The Grampians is a place definitely worth capturing.