After the pretty crazy year that’s been, what better time than now to take off on your own set of wheels and get away from it all! For my final road trip of 2021, I’ve got my Maxxis RAZR MT772s pumped and ready to go on a bit of exploring in the majestic 168,000 hectare (yes, it’s huge!) Grampians National Park (or “Gariwerd” as it’s known by the local Aboriginal people), in Western Victoria. Whatever your vehicle, it’s the perfect location for a bit of adventuring – and if a 4×4 getaway in mountainous terrain is just what you’ve been waiting for, there’s heaps of opportunity to put your rig and tyres through their paces.
A few directions… The Grampians is a three-hour (260km) drive from Melbourne, taking the M1 and National Highway (M8). With lockdowns a thing of the past (pheew!) and the year-end holidays just around the corner, traffic volumes may be up, so check in with Google maps or Apple Carplay for up-to-the-minute information and accurate travel times and any expected delays.
For starters…No visit to the Grampians is complete without a first stop at the Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre at Halls Gap. As well as giving you the low-down of everything the Grampians has to offer, the Aboriginal culture inspired centre is located in a picture-perfect setting with a spectacular mountain backdrop. The Halls Gap and Grampians Visitors Centre also has the local knowledge, maps and other friendly resources to help you finetune your plans.
Take your adventure off the beaten track…It goes without saying that the Grampians is an exciting place to put your Maxxis muddies (or all-terrains) through their paces! Grampians Drive (classified “Medium” in dry conditions) takes you through magnificent towering mountain ranges and escarpments with views of picturesque waterfalls and pools below, while also seeing sites of renowned Aboriginal rock art (such as at Billimina and Manja Shelters) — an integral part of the Grampians landscape and indigenous history. While the entire drive spans 286km – there are three different sections (Halls Gap to Buandik; Buandik to Dunkeld and Dunkeld to Halls Gap) so you can do as much or little as you like — and all at your own pace. Here’s some more information to help you map out your ride.
Camping, fishing and boating…Getting back to nature in the Grampians is an easy fix — and pretty much always with a fabulous view! With many powered and unpowered options for camping and caravans (or something more luxurious) within the expansive park, there’s plenty of choice. Boreang Campground, accessed via an unsealed road is one favourite spot as a rustic home base to really get away from it all. Surrounded by kangaroos, wallabies and other native Aussie animal and birdlife, you’ll leave any feeling of city life a million miles away. If you’re looking to try your hand at some trout fishing or want to add some boating into the mix there’s Lake Fyans Holiday Park or the Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park, offering a range of accommodation options and other great facilities in a peaceful and picture-perfect bush with mountain view setting.
Hike or bike… In the Grampians you’re never far from a hiking or walking trail heading to a hidden treasure or sensational lookout that makes every step a pleasure! Along with the must-do Pinnacle walk, there’s the Venus Baths Loop or the walk to The Balconies/Reed Lookout and the steeply spectacular Mount Abrupt (Mud-Dadjug) and a range of others for varying levels of fitness. There are also a number or cycling tracks that allow you soak up the views from your saddle — try the Grampians Rail Trail (11km) or for the more advanced rider, the challenging 50km Boroka Lookout Loop Road Ride.
Grampians wine country…Good news about the Grampians is that it doesn’t stop at its amazing mountain landscapes! Along with its reputation for the Great Outdoors, the renowned Grampians Wine Region is also one of Victoria’s finest with some top class wineries just waiting to be explored. Stop by one of the Grampians’ friendly cellar doors (you may need to book before you go, and opening times vary so check ahead). Be sure to test a trademark Grampians’ Shiraz – and while you’re there, don’t forget to enjoy the view!
Before you go… If you’re anything like me, it’s a hugely wonderful feeling to be back behind the wheel! Make sure you check those tyre pressures (especially if your wheels haven’t gone far in recent weeks or months) – and visit one of our highly professional Maxxis dealers for new tyres, alignments and balancing before taking your trip – you can find your closest one here. Then, all that’s left it to pack that esky, fishing rod, swimming gear, load up your favourite music playlist and head for the hills! Happy holidays and safe travels.