The Grampians has long been a destination for the adventure seeker and outdoor enthusiast. Hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing are all activities on offer. Gum tree forests and hazy mountainscapes make the perfect outdoor setting for these activities. Our trip was focused on hiking, and although the Grampians offer some excellent overnight hikes, we instead challenged ourselves to 7 different peaks over 7 days. There were quite a few to choose from so continue reading to discover which peaks we decided to hike and why!
Our shortest peak hike, Mt Zero still offered some great views of the north western side of the park. We mainly chose this as a starting point, as the walk was only an hour or so round trip, so we could ease ourselves into our peak climbs. Rising up 400m, there are some steep sections but overall it was an easy climb with rewarding views at the end.
Elevation: 400m Distance: 2.8kms
Keeping to the North western side of the park, our next started with an awe-inspiring view of the orange vertical rock-climbing wall named The Taipan.
After watching several people attempt the death defying crawl up a vertical cliff face, we continued hiking a steep incline as our view over the surrounding farmland and ridgeline became more evident. The hike took us around the back of the mountain and wound its way through rocky crevasses towards the summit. The last part of the walk to the summit involved a rock scramble to reach the 360-degree panorama. With a keen eye you may also be lucky like us to spot some interesting birdlife, such as the flame robin. For a small bird, they certainly catch your eye with their vivid orange chest.
Elevation: 469m Distance: 4kms
The Chimney Pots
One of the more unique and lesser known peak hikes, a winding walk lead us through ferns and tall trees to bring us to the bottom of the granite formation known as the Chimney pots. The imposing rock columns towered above us and the hike became a much steeper ascent. As we walked, we snuck glimpses of the view that awaits from the top. Feeling a little breathless, we eventually reached the top and sat for a minute to admire the views over the Grampians peaks and valleys. We were able to enjoy these views and the entire hike without seeing another soul.
The sky began changing colour as the sun set on our trek down, giving a surreal quality to the lost-city-like rock structures. The trail is a loop with one side being slightly steeper than the other, but it is worthwhile doing both ways. Not only was this mountain formation very impressive, but the drive to get there was equally scenic.
Elevation: 730m Distance: 4kms
3. Mt Sturgeon
The southerly most peak in the Grampians, Mt Sturgeon is a scenic hike that looks over the impressive Mt Abrubt and the smaller Picaninny. It is an excellent vantage point for sunset, watching the golden glow light up the side of Mt Abrubt and create a hazy pink, purple and orange backdrop.
Whilst we sat quietly and watched the sunset a brush tailed wallaby hopped just nearby. Make sure if you embark on any sunset hikes that you take a decent torch for the way down as it gets dark very quickly afterwards. A 10-minute drive from the carpark below takes you to the cute country town of Dunkeld. This was the friendliest visitor information centre we have ever been to on our travels. Not only did they provide us with a FREE hot shower (much needed after all the hiking) but they also gave us some home-grown apples and tomatoes. A big thanks Dunkeld!
Elevation: 730m Distance: 4kms
4. Mt Abrubt
Despite this peak being one of the harder and longer trek’s that we did, we were pleasantly surprised to see a few families embarking on the hike together. Zig-zagging our way up we reached what we hoped was the summit only to look over and see the ‘real’ summit, still a considerable hike away. Once we finally did arrive, we rested whilst watching 2 wedgetail eagles lazily soaring above us on a hot current. Once again there were 360 degree views of the surrounding ridgelines and the farmland on the outskirts of the park. Just for an extra challenge we tried jogging on the way down and reached the carpark in just 25 minutes.
Elevation: 810m Distance: 6.2kms
5. Mt William
Mt William is the highest peak in The Grampians so we thought we had better include it in our 7-day peak challenge. It was a quick but steep hike along a paved road from the car park, offering a few nice viewpoints just off the track along the way. The night before we did this hike, we stayed at the very peaceful Kalymina falls campsite which is one of a few free national park camps. As well as a 1km walk to the falls (which were unfortunately dry when we visited in April) you can start the Mitchell Plateau overnight hike, which also takes you to Mt William and would allow you to explore the area in a lot more depth.
Elevation: 1140m Distance: 4.2kms
6. Mt Rosea
This was our longest hike and highest elevation gain so it makes sense that we left it until last. The first few kilmoteters are not overly steep and the next few walk along the ridgeline, offering glimpses of the stunning view out to lake Bellfield. The second half of the walk is the most interesting, spiraling up through rock boulders and even over a small bridge that spans a deep chasm. The summit is a great place to stop for a snack and drink whilst taking in the gorgeous views out to the lake and surrounding mountains.
This walk may be a little busier as it is part of the 3 day/2 night recently opened peaks trail. As a day hike it can be done as a return or a loop trek. After completing our 7thpeak on the 7thday we certainly felt like we deserved a rest by the fire at our nearby bush camp.
Elevation: 977m Distance: 8.1kms
The bush camp at the base of Mt Rosea also made a good home base to explore some other nearby Grampians attractions over the next day and make the most of the sunny weather that we were having. McKenzie falls is a must visit whilst in the park. A steep hike down some stairs brings you to the impressive cascading falls and makes a great spot for a picnic.
You can also explore downstream of McKenzie along a marked trail. escaping the crowds and take it all the way to fish falls. From the same carpark you can also take a look at Broken falls, like Mckenzie they were in full flow even at the end of summer. We also called in to some of the more touristy spots like The Balconies, Boroka lookout and Reed lookout at sunset. They were all quite busy, as we were there over school holidays but still worthwhile as every vantage point in the Grampians offers beautiful views of the unique surroundings.
So now you know more about the Grampians, will you be the next to challenge yourself with 7 peaks in 7 days?
Credited to article inside Navigate Australia magazine.