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Family guide to the Grampians National Park

Posted 03/10/2018 in Things to do
Exploring along the beautiful walk to Venus Baths, Grampians National Park VIC

So you're thinking of bringing the family to explore Victoria's stunning Grampians National Park? Well let me tell you, you're in for an adventure! Waterfalls, walks, lookouts, rock pools, wildlife, the Grampians National Park has got it all, and children just adore the place.

Now I'm not gonna lie, before having kids this was easy. All day (or overnight) adventure in three easy steps - get in the car, drive to Grampians, commence epic waterfall/mountaintop adventure. Done. After having kids? Hahaha. Don't worry though, with a bit of preparation and planning you absolutely can make your family trip to The Grampians a fun, action packed, and stress-free experience! 

Take a look through these handy hints to help you plan your next family adventure in the Grampians National Park.

Rock hopping in the creek bed at Silverband Falls, Grampians National Park VIC


Where to explore

There are so many options of things to explore in The Grampians. Waterfalls, walks, caves, picnic grounds, lookouts, rock art sites, the list goes on. Let me tell you right off the bat, although you definitely could take a group of kids to pretty much every spot throughout the Grampians, if you don't want to have a heart attack as your two year old toddles over towards the edge of a cliff or your adventurous four year old runs off ahead up the track to be met with a sudden steep and slippery gorge, then there are certainly a few safer options for your family adventure. The following attractions are absolutely stunning, family friendly, and the hikes are limited to short, manageable walks. 
  • Halls Gap Playground and Picnic Area. This is a fantastic place to take the family for a day out. Located conveniently across the road from the town's shops, surrounded by spectacular mountain views, and backed by the Halls Gap Botanical Gardens and several unmissable Grampians walks, this park has everything you need for a family barbecue and day of adventure!
  • Halls Gap Botanic Gardens. These gardens are a must-see, particularly if you are visiting with children - they will love the adorable sculptures, the gigantic nest (complete with ladder to climb in), the boardwalk, and the many information signs throughout the garden. 
  • Venus Baths. Starting in the beautiful Halls Gap Botanic Gardens, this scenic, pram-friendly walk is absolutely stunning and takes you to a beautiful oasis of sandstone rock pools.
  • Silverband Falls. A short creek-side walk takes you the base of the waterfall, where the curious disappearing creek allows safe rock hopping right beneath the falls (watch out for slippery rocks though).
  • Clematis Falls. Starting from the recreation oval in Halls Gap, this walk is short and sweet. If you have small children they may need a hand clambering down to the base of the falls at the end of the track, and be aware that there is a cliff edge downstream from the falls, so keep little ones close the waterfall. 
  • Beehive Falls. As you approach the waterfall along the easy walking track, the scenery abruptly changes from bushland to lush greenery and ferns. Depending on recent rain levels, there are spectacular fern-lined rock pools to explore. The base of Beehive Falls is a scenic, peaceful spot to relax with the family.
  • Reeds Lookout and The Balconies. These two spectacular lookouts have short walks, guard rails, and begin from the same car park. You will also get beautiful views from a lookout at the carpark itself, so if you're after something quick and effortless, then this is the spot for you. 
  • Heatherlie Quarry. A fantastic, educational place to visit with the family. A short, easy walking track takes you through the site of the quarry. Detailed information signs are located alongside significant areas.
  • Zumsteins Picnic Area and Historical Site. Set on the banks of the gorgeous MacKenzie River, the Zumsteins Picnic Area is the site of an historic holiday retreat and settlement. Zumsteins features excellent picnic facilities including electric barbecues, picnic tables and multiple undercover areas. A short circuit walk takes you through the Zumsteins Historical Area, with educational signs at various points along the way. A short boardwalk also takes you on a stroll along the creek beside the picnic area. 
  • Gulgurn Manja Shelter. The Gulgurn Manja Shelter is a beautiful Aboriginal rock art site, accessed via an easy walk through gorgeous scenery with incredible views up to the surrounding rocky cliffs and ridges. 
  • Grand Canyon. Although this walk does involve steep stairs and precarious rock crossings, it is a short 900m circuit walk (with only half of it through the canyon itself). Older kids will manage this walk with ease, but it is a good idea to keep hold of younger children's hands for this one. 
These gorgeous rocky platforms alongside the walking track to The Balconies offer breathtaking views. Grampians National Park VIC


Activities and adventures
  • Brambuk - The National Park and Cultural Centre. Brambuk provides fantastic visitor information for people looking to explore the Grampians region and brings to life the history and culture of the Jardwadjali, Djab Wurrung and aboriginal communities of south-western Victoria.
  • Halls Gap Zoo. Complement your visit to The Grampians with a visit to Victoria's largest regional zoo, featuring over 160 species of native and exotic mammals, reptiles and birds.
  • Scenic Helicopter Flights. Experience The Grampians from above with a helicopter joy ride or scenic flight!
  • Grampians Horse Riding Adventures. Visit the foothills of the beautiful Grampians National Park for a unique riding experience surrounded by stunning scenery.
  • Grampians Mini Golf. This 18 hole course is set on two acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. Two mini mountains form the centre of the course from which six waterfalls and streams meander around, over and under the greens. Themed around the magnificent Grampians National Park, many of the holes are named after the iconic attractions throughout The Grampians. 
  • Rock climbing and abseiling. Check out professional rock climbing and abseiling companies Hangin Out and Grampians Mountain Aventure Co. for an action packed family day out in The Grampians.
Where to eat

There are many fantastic dining options in Halls Gap, ranging from quick and easy take-away to beautiful restaurant meals. If you plan on packing your own lunch, the Halls Gap Playground and Picnic Area is a great place for a family meal and has well-equipped covered barbecue areas. There are several other picnic and camping areas throughout The Grampians which offer barbecue facilities, you can check them all out here

Where to stay

The Grampians National park has so many fantastic accommodation options! You can choose to stay in caravan parks, cabins and cottages, bed and breakfasts, retreats and farmstays, or you can check out the many well-equipped campgrounds throughout the park. Check in with the Halls Gap Visitor Information Centre for a range of great accommodation options.

Having fun at the scenic Lake Bellfield, Grampians National Park VIC

Handy hints and tips
  • Pack snacks, and lots of em. Kids are eating machines, especially when they're burning lots of energy walking to waterfalls and clambering over rocks.
  • Bring plenty of water. If you think you've packed enough water, pack some more. Keep a big container in the car to refill drink bottles throughout the day. 
  • Don't forget to bring along hats and sunscreen if visiting during the hotter parts of the year.
  • Bring spare clothes, socks and shoes for the little ones. It's definitely a good idea to prepare for wet kids when you're spending the day exploring gorgeous stony creeks and waterfalls. 
  • Be prepared for limited phone/gps signal in some areas of The Grampians. If you are following maps/directions on your phone, it is a good idea to screen shot them in case you lose signal.
  • You will probably encounter wildlife while exploring The Grampians, particularly kangaroos in Halls Gap. Please let your children know that they must not approach or feed the animals - help the wildlife of The Grampians stay wild. You can get up close and personal with a range of native animals at the Halls Gap Zoo
When it all gets a bit much!

We all reach that point during big days out with kids where everyone is getting a little overwhelmed or overtired, and chaos starts to creep its way in. It is at this point during your travels through The Grampians that I highly recommend taking a break down in Halls Gap at Coolas Ice Creamery. Their home made waffle cones and over 30 flavours of gourmet ice cream are absolutely unmissable, and they allow everyone to take a tasty time-out and wind down before continuing your explorations. The ice creamery is located right alongside the beautiful Stoney Creek, which a fantastic spot to sit down and relax.

Stoney Creek, Halls Gap VIC

What's your favourite place to explore with the family? Be sure to let us know any of your tips and tricks in the comments below!




 

 

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