Review: Grampians walking tour previews the new Grampians Peaks Trail in Regional Victoria
Aussies are heading out in record numbers to explore the country's most spectacular natural landscapes on foot. The popular Grampians in regional Victoria will soon become even more accessible to walkers, thanks to the soon-to-be-completed Grampians Peaks Trail. You'll hike much of the new trail on this fully accommodated four-day walking tour. Review: Adam Ford
Grampians walking tour with Park Trek Walking Holidays
Be challenged and rewarded over four days on this incredible Grampians walking tour of Victoria’s spectacular Grampians mountain range. You’ll enjoy comfortable accommodation and delicious meals prepared by your guides. A moderate level of fitness is required for this trip, which takes in rugged peaks, expansive views and a landscape rich in Indigenous heritage. Transport, commentary, twin-share accommodation, most meals, guided walks and national park fees are included. Duration: 4 days
Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.
The sheer ancientness of the Australian landscape is truly awe-inspiring.
Anyone who has travelled to the Bungle Bungles in the remote Kimberley in Western Australia, or spectacular Uluru or Katherine Gorge in the Northern Territory will know exactly what I’m talking about. These are landscapes that feel as if they’ve existed ever since time began. They are lined and timeworn, and they seem to wait patiently for who knows what. The Grampians in regional Victoria inspire that same kind of feeling.
Hiking the first phase of the newly established Grampians Peaks Trail with Park Trek Walking Holidays is a humbling experience. When you think about the fact that the Grampians have been here longer than anyone or anything else in Victoria, it certainly puts your own short life into perspective. As the continental drift continued around 400 million years ago (millions of years before the dinosaurs), this was the eastern shoreline of what was to become the continent of Australia. Massive forces pushed, lifted and folded the accumulated sediment, creating three spectacular west-sloping ridges that are still clearly visible and seem to rise from nowhere. Weathering gradually eroded the monoliths, creating the dramatic sandstone peaks and towering escarpments of the Grampians today.
Welcome to The Big Bus tour and travel guide. In this segment we join Park Trek Walking Holidays and Visit Grampians on a four-day short break hiking through the spectacular Grampians in regional Victoria. By 2019 the 144km Grampians Peaks Trail will be completed, allowing hikers to walk the entire length of the range.
Of course, the First People have a long history in this part of Australia. Some of the rock art found in the Grampians National Park dates back more than 20,000 years. Because of its unique ecology, Gariwerd — as it’s known to the first inhabitants — was revered as a rich source of food all year round. To learn more, our first stop on arrival in Halls Gap (the town located at the foot of the Grampians range) is the excellent Brambuk Cultural Centre. This is the longest running Aboriginal cultural centre in the country, and it provides a really interesting introduction to the region.
This four-day fully guided and accommodated Grampians walking tour with Park Trek starts with pick-up from Melbourne’s NGV and a pleasant three hour drive west to Halls Gap. Park Trek itineraries include transport, comfortable accommodation, most meals (prepared by your guides) and guided walks through Australia’s most spectacular natural settings.
On this trip we stay at the rustic D’Altons Resort in Halls Gap, in clean two bedroom chalets (single studios are also available). If the resident kangaroo population is anything to go by, this is clearly a great spot to call home. Our guides Rachelle and Ann do a superb job of the catering and the menu is fitting fodder for a hard day’s hiking.
At present you can hike about a quarter of what will ultimately become the full Grampians Peaks Trail — 144 kilometres of walking tracks traversing the entire length of the range. The full trail is scheduled for completion in 2019.
There are many highlights on this Grampians walking tour, but for me, day three’s 13-kilometre climb to the top of Mount Rosea is probably the most breathtaking — and certainly the most challenging. My quads and calves moan in agony as I navigate my way up stone steps that could well have been constructed by giants out for a really good laugh at our expense.
A good general level of fitness is required for all Park Trek itineraries, but Rachelle and Ann set a comfortable pace and the views and sense of achievement you get at the top are really something. The walk down the other side through magnificent lush forest is a different experience yet again.
Once you let go of the outside world and tune in to the local environment, you start to realise that it’s all about the tiny details here in the Grampians. There are stunning wildflowers and tiny ground orchids throughout the park. It’s absolutely enthralling.
On day four of this Grampians walking tour you’ll hike to the top of Mount William, which brings home what a geological oddity these mountains really are. Dead flat agricultural land stretches out in almost every direction, with emerald green pastures and vivid yellow fields of flowering canola, rudely interrupted by this great bunch of mountains plonked right in the middle of it all.
It all seems highly implausible and quite improbable, and yet here we are. The reasons for it are lost in time and the wait for who knows what continues.
Cover image courtesy of Visit Victoria. Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.