EXPERIENCE THE AUTUMN WONDERLAND OF THE GRAMPIANS
Want to experience autumn colours rivalling those of Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens, Carlton Gardens, Kings Domain and Werribee Park? Then visit the Grampians region and be sure to take in Hamilton Botanic Gardens and Horsham Botanical Gardens designed by the same landscaper, William Guilfoyle (1840 – 1912).
As autumn transforms many places in the Grampians region into a flamboyant collage of colour, feel the gentle caress of the cool breeze, hear the crunch of leaves beneath exploring feet, and taste the warmth of fine wines and freshly baked pastries. The perfect destination for the crisper season, enjoy beautiful landscapes, delicious food and wine, and exciting entertainment offerings in the Grampians.
EXPERIENCE: Enjoy the turning of the leaves in the rural cities, towns, and villages of the Grampians region against the backdrop of Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park's stunningly beautiful mountain ranges. The turn of the season, cooler temperatures and the autumn light make this the perfect time of year to base yourself in vibrant Horsham and experience The Silo Art Trail, considered the largest outdoor gallery in Australia. Take in incredible panoramic views of Halls Gap and the east of the Grampians from Boroka Lookout. Only a short 5-minute stroll from the car park, the lookout is perfect for all including those travelling with small children or with limited mobility. Another easily accessible destination is Nigretta Falls, around 16 kilometres from Hamilton. Best viewed in the cooler months, the outstanding scenery of the volcanic-based waterfall makes it a popular spot to get the perfect Instagram shot as the sun sets behind the waterfall cliffs. While in Hamilton, be sure not to miss the colours and reflections in Hamilton Botanic Gardens, largely designed in the 1880s by William Guilfoyle, curator of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, classified by the National Trust in 1990. See spectacular autumn colours at Penshurst Wetland Gardens, only a short side-trip from either Hamilton or Dunkeld. If basing your stay in Ararat, the Alexandra Gardens Park, with its BBQ and picnic facilities is the perfect place to enjoy the serenity of the ornamental lake and take in the visual splendour of the colourful array of trees just before they lose their leaves.
For keen bike riders, the 37-kilometre Lake Fyans Loop will awe riders with its spectacular scenery of bushland and the glistening waters of Lake Fyans. With the gentle loop beginning and ending in Halls Gap, riders can treat themselves with well-earned coffee and cake after finishing. With the picturesque Pomonal township a short detour from the loop, riders can take in its famous flowers and orchids and enjoy lunch at the gorgeous Pomonal Estate.
FOOD & WINE: Perfecting its craft over the last 150 years, the Grampians wine region is home to some of the world's oldest vines and some of Australia's best wines. A Victorian Tourism Awards Bronze winner, visitors can taste their way through the region with Grampians Wine Tours. With a variety of packages to choose from, be escorted in comfort and style to tour and taste some of the Grampians' finest wines while learning about the region's incredible history. For shiraz lovers, Grampians Estate leads the way with its elegant cool climate and sparkling shiraz with some of its vines dating back to as long ago as 1878. With a '5 red star' rating from James Halliday (top 8% in Australia) and 54 trophies for their wines since 2002, enjoy a delicious lunch and wine tasting at its cellar door. Fallen Giants Shiraz 2019 was the winner of both the Jimmy Watson and Trevor Mast trophies at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards 2021, while Best's Wines in Great Western took out the 2023 Halliday Wine of the Year for their Foudre Ferment Riesling 2021. Fine dining at its best, Wickens at the Royal Mail Hotel boasts a critically acclaimed tasting menu, with many of its ingredients sourced and produced from the restaurant's organic garden. With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking lush native gardens, the restaurant offers a highly immersive experience with nature.
THE GRAPE ESCAPE: The iconic wine, food and music festival Grampians Grape Escape is returning to Western Victoria this May and will be celebrating its 30th year as one of the region's most highly anticipated festivals. Running from Friday 5th May to Sunday 7th May, festivalgoers will be spoilt for choice with over 100 exhibitors, masterclasses, cooking demonstrations, kids' activities, and live music. With guest chef line-ups including author and TV presenter Miguel Maestre, MasterChef alumni Khanh Ong, and comedian and wine expert Merrick Watts, all are sure to provide entertaining insights about the wonderful world of food and wine. For the second ever Feel-Good Friday, the festival will kick off with live music from a range of groovy cover bands and crowd-favourite 19-Twenty; sure to get all on the dance floor.
CULTURE: Gariwerd (the Aboriginal name for the Grampians) is pivotal to many ancient stories of Indigenous communities in south-west Victoria. Home to over 80% of Victoria's rock art sites, visitors can experience six of these sites and are encouraged to learn more about the region's rich Aboriginal culture and history at Brambuk, The National Park and Culture Centre, in Halls Gap.
STAY: From luxury getaways to affordable family stays, the Grampians is the perfect place in which to base yourself and enjoy the bronzing of the Victorian autumn landscape. Centrally located in Halls Gap, Heath House offers stunning views of Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park from the comfort of its spacious modern interiors and its relaxing Jacuzzi on the deck. Great for romantic weekends away or families and large groups, Heath House is the ultimate holiday treat. For more secluded accommodation while still close to Halls Gap, Grampians View Cottages and Units offer cozy stays surrounded by beautiful native gardens. Ideal for keeping those of all ages entertained enjoy free access to bikes, a tennis and basketball court as well as gear, and a heated pool to relax in all year. Keep warm by the communal fire pit while gazing up at the beautiful constellations of the night sky. For inexpensive camping and cabin options, Lake Fyans Holiday Park offers guests unparalleled views and direct access to the sandy beaches and crystal-clear water of Lake Fyans. Visitors can spend their time fishing, canoeing, cycling, playing tennis, or exploring Halls Gap and Stawell, only a 12-minute scenic drive away. If basing yourself in the Eastern Grampians, you can't go past booking your stay at Acacia Caravan Park and Holiday Units. Or if staying in the Southern Grampians, put your feet up and unwind in your accommodation at AAt 28 Goldsmith Motel in Hamilton, or Royal Mail Hotel, or Southern Grampians Cottages in Dunkeld. If you decide to base yourself in the Western Grampians, accommodation options such as Horsham Holiday Park, Comfort Inn Capital Horsham, and Meringa Springs offer great stays at any price point.
REGIONAL EVENTS: Autumn is the perfect time to explore the Grampians with a range of unique events to showcase the best of the region's delicious food, rich creativity, and extraordinary sights.
For more information on the Grampians region: https://www.visitgrampians.com.au/