This winter why not head to the Grampians and enjoy all the colder months have to offer. As international travel is off the agenda for this year it is time to explore the great outdoors and embrace holidaying at home. Sip on a shiraz in front of a roaring fire, feast on local produce or get back to nature and discover cascading waterfalls that are plentiful during the winter months.
Explore: During the winter months waterfalls in the area are fast flowing and many are a short walk enabling hikers of all abilities to enjoy the views. Head to Mackenzie Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria, to see an impressive cascade of water sending fine sprays of rainbow mist across the gorge. Splitters Falls is a short walk from Halls Gap and takes walkers past the Venus Baths, a series of rock pools. Although this waterfall is season dependent, during winter it flows with abundance. Other must-see waterfalls include Beehive Falls and Nigretta Falls.
Eat: The Grampians is home to some of the best produce in Victoria and no visit to the region is complete without a pitstop at some of the small providers in the area. Five Ducks Farm in Pomonal produces organically grown, hand crafted small batch preserves and ice cream from home grown fruit. The farm gate shop is open Wednesday – Sunday for tastings. Red Rock Olives is a small business specialising in producing organic olives with a focus on promoting the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil. The olive grove is pruned by the owner's sheep in a process they call 'munch and mulch'. Visitors to the onsite farm shop can stock up on olive oils and infused oils as well as olive leaf tea and olive salt. For carb lovers, Dunkeld Old Bakery uses locally sourced ingredients to handcraft sourdough loaves and other bakery items fresh each day.
Drink: The Grampians region has been producing some of the best shiraz for over 150 years and what better wine to enjoy throughout the winter months. Head to Mount Langi Ghiran winery and enjoy the Langi shiraz made from hand harvested fruit from the Old Block – the original vines planted in 1969. Mountainside Wines are a small family-owned winery making shiraz from hand tended and handpicked grapes. Whilst in the region, a visit to Seppelt is a must with a wide selection of shiraz produced at the winery and available to taste and purchase at the cellar door. Visitors can also take a tour of the historic underground tunnels known as 'The Drives', the largest underground cellar system in Australia.
Enjoy: During the winter months the log fires at pubs across the region are blazing. Diners at the Bunyip Hotel can tuck into chef James Campbell's seasonal, locally sourced produce. In St Arnaud, the Royal Hotel is the perfect place to sip on an espresso martini in front of a log fire. The hotel also displays work from local artists including a mural depicting the 1800's goldrush era. The Wander Inn is situated in the Wartook Valley at the start of the 10.5 km Mackenzie River/Bun-nah Trail and boasts a huge open fire for weary walkers to warm up and refuel in front of the flames before or after the hike.
Stay: Winter is a great time to secure a deal on accommodation throughout the Grampians region. Like a Sunday night for free when booking Friday and Saturday night accommodation in a cabin at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park. Visitors can take a dip in the wood-fired, outdoor heated pool, which has a toasty temperature of 33 degrees after a busy day exploring the local area. For something a bit different why not stay at Miners Ridge winery in a refurbished railway carriage. The Weekend Wine Package costs just $370 and includes two nights' accommodation, continental breakfast, personal wine tasting, two bottles of Miners Ridge wine and a cheese platter.