Review: Preview the new Peaks Trail on a four-day Grampians walking tour in regional Victoria inner banner

Review: Preview the new Peaks Trail on a four-day Grampians walking tour in regional Victoria

Aussies are heading out in record numbers to explore the country's most spectacular natural landscapes on foot. The popular Grampians in regional Victoria will soon become even more accessible to walkers, thanks to the nearly-completed Grampians Peaks Trail. You'll hike much of the new trail on this four-day walking holiday.
Grampians walking tour. Image
Grampians walking tour. Image: Adam Ford
Review: Four-Day Grampians Walking Tour

The sheer ancientness of the Australian landscape is truly awe-inspiring.

Anyone who has travelled to the Bungle Bungles in the remote Kimberley in Western Australia, or spectacular Uluru or Nitmiluk/Katherine Gorge in the Northern Territory will know exactly what I’m talking about. These are landscapes that feel as if they’ve existed since time began. They are lined and timeworn, and they seem to wait patiently for who knows what.

A visit to The Grampians in regional Victoria inspires that same kind of awe. As the continental drift continued around 400 million years ago (millions of years before the dinosaurs), this was the eastern shoreline of what was to become the continent of Australia. Massive forces pushed, lifted and folded the accumulated sediment, creating three spectacular west-sloping ridges that are still clearly visible and seem to rise from nowhere. Weathering gradually eroded the monoliths, creating the dramatic sandstone peaks and towering escarpments of the Grampians today.

Watch our video of this experience:

Explore the Grampians in regional Victoria – The Big Bus tour and travel guide

Welcome to The Big Bus tour and travel guide. In this segment we join Park Trek Walking Holidays and Visit Grampians on a four-day short break hiking through the spectacular Grampians in regional Victoria. By 2019 the 144km Grampians Peaks Trail will be completed, allowing hikers to walk the entire length of the range.

The First People have a long history in this part of Australia. Some of the rock art found in the Grampians National Park dates back more than 20,000 years. Because of its unique ecology, Gariwerd — as it’s known to Indigenous Australians — was revered as a rich source of food all year round. One of the highlights of our stay in the Grampians is a visit to the excellent Brambuk Cultural Centre. This Aboriginal facility was established back in 1989, and it provides a really interesting introduction to the region.

Grampians walking tour
Grampians walking tour: Brambuk Cultural Centre. Image: Adam Ford

This four-day fully guided and accommodated Grampians walking tour with Park Trek starts with pick-up from the Melbourne CBD and a pleasant three-hour drive west to Halls Gap. Transport, comfortable accommodation, most meals, and guided walks are all included in the cost of the tour.

Grampians walking tour
Grampians walking tour. Image: Adam Ford

We’re staying at the rustic D’Altons Resort in clean two-bedroom chalets (single studios are also available). If the resident kangaroo population is anything to go by, this is clearly a great spot to call home. Our guides Rachelle and Ann do a superb job of the catering and the menu is fitting fodder for a hard day’s hiking.

At present, you can hike several sections of what will ultimately become the full Grampians Peaks Trail — 144 kilometres of walking tracks traversing the entire length of the three main ranges. The full trail is scheduled for completion in late 2021.

Grampians walking tour
Grampians walking tour. Image: Adam Ford

There are many memorable experiences on this Grampians walking tour, but for me, day three’s 13-kilometre climb to the top of Mount Rosea is probably the most breathtaking — and certainly the most challenging. My quads and calves moan in agony as I navigate my way up stone steps that could well have been constructed by giants out for a really good laugh at our expense.

A good general level of fitness is required for all Park Trek itineraries, but Rachelle and Ann set a comfortable pace and the views and sense of achievement you get at the top are really something. The walk down the other side through magnificent lush forest is a different experience yet again.

Grampians walking tour
Grampians walking tour. Image: Julian Kingma

Once you let go of the outside world and tune in to the local environment, you start to realise that it’s all about the tiny details here in the Grampians. There are stunning wildflowers and tiny ground orchids throughout the park. It’s enthralling.

On day four of the tour we hike to the top of Mount William, which brings home what a geological oddity these mountains really are. Dead flat agricultural land stretches out in almost every direction, with emerald green pastures and vivid yellow fields of flowering canola, rudely interrupted by this great bunch of mountains plonked right in the middle of it all.

Grampians walking tour
Grampians walking tour: Mount William

It all seems highly implausible and quite improbable, and yet here we are. The reasons for it are lost in time and the wait for who knows what continues.

The writer travelled as a guest of Park Trek Walking Holidays.

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Cover image: Visit Victoria. Additional images: Bigstock

Adam Ford

About the writer

Adam Ford is editor of Top Oz Tours, and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.

 

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