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australia:vic:grampians_camping

camping in or near the Grampians

Introduction

  • the Grampians National Park is one of the best places to go hiking and sight seeing in Victoria - see The Grampians
  • there are several commercial camp grounds mainly in or near Halls Gap
  • most of the other camp grounds in the Grampians itself are run by Parks Vic and require online advance bookings
  • the free camp grounds are mainly outside of the National Park area
  • this is a popular destination all year but try to AVOID in peak periods such as school holidays (unless you have kids)
    • Halls Gap gets very over-crowded on weekends in particular in the warmer months and getting access to good meals or a car park can be a trying experience while the key sights such as MacKenzie Falls, Wonderland and the lookouts all get over-crowded and even hard to get parking while the winding Mt Victory Road can get dangerous with distracted or inpatient traffic
    • leave it to the poor families who have to suffer the crowds and don't make their situation worse
  • if you have kids, probably best to go to the commercial holiday parks
  • if you have a caravan, Borough Huts may be OK, or you might find a spot at Plantation, otherwise go to the commercial holiday parks, Lake Lonsdale, or Green Hill Lakes Camping Reserve, Ararat (which is enormous and will have sites even in summer peak periods
  • if you are a young adult wanting a lovely tent/swag/campervan site as a base then highly recommend Plantation or perhaps Borough Huts but not much to do at either site!
  • if you want to leave your car at the campground and go on hikes, choose Stapylton, Troopers Creek, Smiths Mill, or the main commercial park in Halls Gap

Main attractions

  • various areas allow rock climbing

central Grampians - Mt Victory Rd

  • Wonderland walks
    • Venus Pools, cascades, Grand Canyon (currently closed), The Pinnacle with its fantastic views over the valley, Sundial Peak and its fantastic views, the many awesome rock formations along the way
    • tip if you have 2 cars leave one at Sundial Peak car park and the other at Wonderland carpark for a one way hike (but note this road is one way only - to the south - so best to leave the 1st car at Wonderland and walk from Sundial to Wonderland - don't forget the lovely separate walk from Sundial carpark to Sundial Peak!)
  • Boroka Lookout - overlooks Halls Gap - great for sunrise
  • The Balcony and Reed's Lookouts - fantastic for sunsets
  • MacKenzie Falls - the best of the waterfalls but very popular on weekends, strenuous walk back up the steps, falls themselves are too dangerous to swim in
  • Zumsteins - can walk along the river and there are a few swimming holes along the way to Fish Falls
  • Silverband Falls - these could be skipped

Mt Zero Rd region

  • Heatherlie quarry - historic remnants of where they quarried the sandstone for many of Melbourne's major buildings
  • Beehive waterfall - 1.2km fair gentle walk to a nice waterfall but in summer it may not have much water flowing
    • option for a more extended strenuous hike to Mt Difficult
  • near Plantation campground and Troopers Creek campground

far north end of the Grampians

  • Hollow Mountain
    • strenuous 2-3hr return walk up to this lovely lookout
    • nearby short walk to Gulgurn Manja Shelter ancient indigenous rock paintings by 12-14 year olds
    • ~7km from Stapyleton campground

east of the Grampians

  • Halls Gap zoo
  • Lake Fyans
  • Stawell
    • Big Hill lookout
  • Ararat
    • ghost tours of the old mental asylum
    • the old J ward gaol

Commercial camp grounds / Holiday Parks

  • these are generally the best options for families as they cater for a lot of on site activities for the kids
  • Big 4 Halls Gap Breezes - near the shops and the start of the walk to Splitters Falls via Venus pools
  • Halls Gap Lakeside - just south of Hals Gap at Lake Bellfield
  • Happy Wanderer - Wartook - north-west side
  • Lake Fyans

Parks Vic camp grounds requiring booking

  • these are generally NOT FOR CARAVAN CAMPING (campervans or tents/swags only and usually one vehicle per site and most are bollarded) - stick to Green Hill Lakes Camping Reserve, Ararat, Rocklands Reservoir, or the commercial parks
  • no dogs allowed

drive in camp grounds

  • Boreang 335m elevation within Victoria Valley
    • grave road access not for caravans
    • 21min to Reed's lookout
    • 27min, 17km from Hall's Gap via Mt Victory Rd and Glenelg River Rd
    • 25min, 18km from Smith's Mill camp ground via Rose Creek Rd (gravel)
    • 10min, 19km from Smith's Mill camp ground via Glenelg River Rd
  • Borough Huts 310m elevation
    • just off the main bitumen road south of Halls Gap
    • most camp sites (except 1-4) you need to park your car away from your tent
    • campsite 1 and 2 share a picnic table and are near the main road but it is quiet overnight - campsite 2 has tall trees shading it from midday sun, campsite 1 is shaded from east
    • campsite 3 has the fireplace and has some northwest shade
    • campsite 4 is closest to the picnic table and has shade from the west and rubber matted site
    • unfortunately, Silverband Falls Rd is ONE WAY so you need to drive through Halls Gap to get to Mt Victory Rd then access Silverband Rd to get to the Sundial carpark but at least you can drive a short way back to Borough Huts without going through Halls Gap again
  • remote Buandik Campground 255m elevation
    • nice isolated campground in woodland with few campers on the western side and thus potentially exposed to S-W winds but protected from SE-E-NE winds; fee; toilets; no showers;
    • optional very challenging 4WD mountain tracks:
      • 1.8km up the Goat Track if you can get past the deep rocky ruts and massive road humps, is a nice bush camp overlooking the NW
      • 3.5km to Victoria Range Rd via Goat Track then mostly in 1st gear negotiating the rugged track along Victoria Range Rd
        • a single site bush camp on the cliff edge facing SE with a small viewing gap at -37.276944800137684, 142.34467460677232
        • 10km to Mount Thackeray bush camp (960m elevation)
        • further 11km south to Glenelg River Rd
      • I did make it in my Subaru Outback in dry weather but one mistake and I would have been stranded in no-man's land - made it through a 20m long 12“ deep mud hole without getting bogged but the many steep humps and very deep rocky ruts made it very challenging and risky without backup support
      • NOT for 2WDs and even AWDs may need great care and possibly recovery gear in places, and if severely rutted or after adverse weather it may become challenging for 4WDs
      • when the track is in good condition without water, relatively easy in a 4WD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlNBs2Aeo3A
    • 38min (29km) to Boreang campground then access along Glenelg River Rd to Mt Victory Rd (gravel, not for caravans)
    • 45min to Glendinning camp ground Rocklands Res. (37min to Ferguson's camp)
    • just over 1hr drive from Halls Gap (51km) via Rose Creek Rd (gravel)
    • about 1hr drive from Smiths Mill camp ground via Brinpaen (70km, mainly bitumen) or 53min via Rose Creek Rd (38km, gravel)
    • ~1hr from Dunkeld via various routes
    • just over 1hr (84km) to Plantation campground via Brimpaen and Roses Gap Rd
  • Coppermine 4WD only 355m elevation
    • 18km, 26min north of Plantation camp ground and 8km north of Beehive Falls and Rose's Gap
    • 5km 11min ?4WD to Stapylton campground
  • Smith's Mill
    • 33 sites; does have a bush shower; near The Balconies, Reed's Lookout and MacKenzie Falls; 450m elevation; 3hr drive form NW suburbs Melb;
    • 1km to MacKenzie Falls car park but this may be full on peak weekends! (ie. 15min walk along a gravel road)
    • 10min, 7.5km to Reed's Lookout;
    • 19km 24min to Halls Gap;
    • NB. some sites do not allow campfires and are “fuel stove only” areas eg. the west end;
    • most tent sites are only 4.8×2.9m bollarded gravel pits which will only fit a 4P tent and there is only room for one car, and the sites are often very close to each other
    • AVOID in peak periods - nearby Mackenzie Falls and the lookouts will be overcrowded too and not much fun at all - go off-peak mid-week and maybe book the adjacent camp site to give you a bit of breathing space
    • 400m elevation on eastern border of the Grampians near Mt Mitchell - access from Mafeking Rd / Moyston W Rd
  • Stapylton campground
    • open woodlands in northern part, often used for school groups and tour groups doing the Mount Stapylton Loop Walk which starts at this camp
    • Ngamadjidj Shelter is near by to explore
    • 13 main sites plus 6 group camping areas
    • drop toliet, cold showers, fire pits, shelter with rain tank
    • 17km, 15min to Wartook; 36km, 30min to Horsham;
    • 265km, 3hrs from NW suburbs via Wonwondah-Dadswells Bridge rd turn off from Western Hway;
  • Troopers Creek campground
    • in northern part, just south of Rose's Gap
    • amongst medium height Eucalypts and heathy shrub land; drop toilets; no showers;
    • 11 camp sites plus 2 group booking sites for hiking groups
    • 17km / 16min to Plantation campground on Mt Zero Rd
    • 30km/30min to Smith's Mill campground via Wartook;
    • 340m elevation;
    • just down the road from the Beehive Falls trailhead where trails to Briggs Bluff, Gar / Mount Difficult and Beehive Falls are all accessible
    • next to the trailhead for section two of the Grampians Peaks Trail.
  • Strachan's campground
    • small campground in SW end of Victoria Valley on the site of a former timber mill
    • 8 tent-based camping sites with adjacent vehicle parking set amongst medium height eucalypts. There are no caravan, campervan or camper trailer campsites available.
    • nearby rock climbing and hikes plus 4WD tracks to explore
  • Jimmy Creek
    • nice small camp ground in open woodland at south end of Grampians half way between Halls Gap and Dunkeld
    • 21 camp sites - most have little shade though (for afternoon shade in summer, consider sites 11, 15) ; cold bush shower;
    • nice fast flowing stream in which you could sit in to cool off near the hikers bridge takes you on a 7.4km loop hike “Teddy Bear Gap Loop”
    • part of the Major Mitchel Plateau hiking trail
    • 8km N of Wannon Crossing campground
    • 28km S of Halls Gap

hike in camp grounds

  • there are also the multi-day Grampian Peaks hikes which can be booked - see bookings

free camp grounds no booking required

  • Plantation camp ground
    • 8km north from Halls Gap along the gravel Mt Zero Rd
    • under 3hrs from NW suburbs; 10km (11min) north of Halls Gap on gravel road; 5km (5min) south of the abandoned historic Heatherlie quarry.
    • 17min (16km) to Lake Lonsdale camp ground; 13min (14km) to Beehive Falls ;
    • 17km / 16min to Trooper's Creek campground just SW of Rose's Gap;
    • near the historic Heatherlie Quarry walk (source of the sandstone for much of Melbourne's major buildings) and Beehive Falls (both walks are ~1.2km walk each way)
    • this camp is mainly for young adults or tourists passing through for an over-nighter or two, camping in rooftop tents, tents or swags who use it as a base to explore
      • there are no activities for children apart from playing on the open grass areas or risking their lives riding a bike around the many curves of the camp ground access roads, and the 8km of gravel road is not great for families
      • it is also not a great site for caravans or grey nomads
    • tends to be pretty much empty during the middle of the day as the overnighters have left, and most of the others are off exploring
    • ~30 sites in a very nice camp ground with mix of tall eucalypts and pines for shade and very good wind protection (as long as they don't drop branches) as well as quite a few wide open fenced off grassed areas for tents and there is some areas suitable for a few caravans but those with caravans are probably better off at Green Hill Lakes Camping Reserve, Ararat where there is a much larger area and an RV dump point
    • large site but can get very busy in peak periods and can have some dust from Mt Zero Rd in peak periods- so try to camp as far away from it as possible
    • seems relatively free of mosquitoes (no stagnant or running water near by and the soil is sandy so drains well) and flies
    • there seem to be quite a few very noisy kookaburras which will wake you 2hrs before sunrise so bring ear plugs, plus there are rosellas, gang-gang black cockatoos, blue wrens and other birds
    • dogs are allowed on leash but very few bring them as either they are not traveling with dogs or they can't take dogs into the rest of the Grampians so no point bringing them here
    • drop toilets, nice outdoor cold shower enclosures (bring a bucket to fill up the shower bucket from the rainwater tank - if it has water)
    • fire pits are raised metal sided versions and shared for all in that zoned area - hence many create their own fire pits which unfortunately does mean there is a bit of charcoal around when setting up tents on non-grassed areas
    • there is also a nearby bush camp which is much less busy and could fit 20 caravans 2km away down Pines Rd and to the right although this is often used to keep bees
    • 240m elevation
  • Wannon Crossing
    • very small free tent camp ground at south end of Grampians half way between Halls Gap and Dunkeld
    • 5 numbered bollarded sites (but could fit at least 8 good sized tent sites) plus some space for campervans or even a caravan within the carp park
    • number 1 is at left rear and has a short walk way to the river but it is not very inviting, there is a shady patch at front right (un-numbered)
    • drop toilet no cold shower
    • 21min (29km) Nth of Dunkeld
    • 8km south of the Jimmy Creek camp ground
    • is close to the Yarram Gap Rd to bypass Hall Gap and access Ararat via either Moyston or via Willaura - either way it is ~45min (52-63km)
  • Freshwater Lake free overnight camp at south end
    • overnight free camp (donation box) on Skinners Flat Reservoir, Victoria Valley Rd 8km NW of Dunkeld; toilets are 150m north beside Victoria Valley Rd; small picnic area; fire pits; emus;
    • visually pleasant, reedy, spear thistle infested, shallow, often dry lake with mowed walking track around the lake; Nice maintained campsites, heaps of room and the sites are spread out;
    • bush camping possible on sand hills on the northern edge of the lake shaded by pine and scrub, accessed via a faint track directly on from the picnic area entrance; nice walks;
    • almost 3hrs drive from NW suburbs Melb;
  • various bush camps without amenities such as:
    • along the 4WD Victoria Range Rd (NOT for 2WDs and even AWDs may need great care and possibly recovery gear in places, and if severely rutted or after adverse weather it may become challenging for 4WDs):
      • Mt Thackeray bush camp
      • see under Buandik campground above

Nearby free campgrounds

  • Lake Lonsdale
    • free camp 15mins from Halls Gap on the north shore of Lake Lonsdale near Stawell
    • has a boat ramp, toilets and is under security camera surveillance
    • quite a sandy road around the camp ground so likely to get very dusty in strong southerly winds
    • probably only for caravans or those who are boating, fishing or for an overnighter when there are no south winds
    • donation camp with hot showers on the south/south-east shores of the lake
    • 3.5hrs from NW suburbs Melb via Dunkeld
    • great fishing apparently for redfin and trout
    • Glendinning camp
      • very popular camp ground on the western shore
    • Ferguson's camp
    • Henry's campsite
    • Beear fossicking area (not on the reservoir) - Sth of Henry's campsite
    • Baba camp
    • Cherry Pool
      • on the upper reaches of the Glenelg River east of the Henty Hway and just Sth of Brimpaen
    • Brodies corner
      • NW reaches of the reservoir

Nearby volcanic attractions to the south - the Kanawinka Geotrail

  • NB. Dunkeld is 46min (64km) Sth of Halls Gap and is 32km W of Hamilton which the the major regional city
  • Wannon and Nigretta Falls
    • impressive falls especially after heavy rain
    • created by lava flows that surged upstream
    • 20km W of Hamilton and 50km W of Dunkeld
  • Byaduk Caves
    • in Mount Napier State Park, 18km Sth of Hamilton
    • the most extensive set of lava caves in Australia - the largest tunnels are 18m wide x 10m high and extend 20m below the surface
    • 13km west of these are the lava tumuli - a number of unusual rock formations which are unique in Australia and rare on a world scale
  • Collerer / Mount Rouse
    • dormant volcano rising 100m above surrounding plain at Penshurst 20min east of Hamilton
  • Budj Bim National Park / Mt Eccles
    • dormant volcano rim and lake circuit walks and Parks Vic camp ground
    • 74km SW of Dunkeld via Penshurst
    • nearby Mt Napier last had volcanic activity 8000 yrs ago
  • Penshurst Volcano discovery centre
    • 29km Sth of Dunkeld
  • further south is Tower Hill - another volcanic lake remnant near Port Fairy and Warrnambool

Nearby attractions to the north

australia/vic/grampians_camping.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/15 10:52 by gary1

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