A trip to Victoria’s Grampians region makes for a fabulous family affair. By car, the journey from Melbourne’s CBD to Great Western is only 250km and takes about 3 hours (read our top tips about where to stop along the way!). Pack the car with the kids and make your adventure memorable in Best’s local neighborhood. If you’re traveling with kids from interstate, put our region on your list. Need inspiration? Here are Best’s top family-friendly activities when visiting The Grampians.
Halls Gap Zoo
Experiencing 160 species of native and exotic mammals, reptiles and birds at the foothills of the majestic Grampians mountain ranges make Halls Gap Zoo an unforgettable day out. Observe meerkats, a gigantic giraffe, cheetah, regal red panda, lemurs, macaws and wallaby and kangaroo species with the whole family in Victoria’s largest regional zoo, which is also home to endangered species breeding programs. The 2.5km pathway around the zoo is wheelchair and pram friendly, and there are picnic and barbecue areas to enjoy while the kids have fun on the playground.
Horsham Botanic Gardens
Get in touch with nature in these beautifully peaceful gardens in Horsham, less than an hour’s drive from Best’s. With an amazing children’s playground, well-established mature trees, manicured gardens and barbecue facilities right on the Wimmera River, a top day out for the whole family is guaranteed. The gardens’ heritage goes back to the late 19th century when celebrated landscape gardener and botanist William Guilfoyle began the planning for this public space that originally spanned 14 hectares and now covers just over 3 hectares.
Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre
Teach the kids about Gold Rush history at the Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre, which tells the story of the Chinese miners’ journey from Southern China to Australia, where they dreamed big about finding their own pot of gold. Designed in the traditional style of Southern Chinese Architecture, and incorporating the principals of Feng Shui, the two-storey building houses a fascinating selection of interactive displays and period pieces. Imagine life during Ararat’s early beginnings and the excitement of the immigrants who discovered one of the world’s richest shallow alluvial goldfields. Kids can try their hand at gold panning, play traditional Chinese games or write their own name in the calligraphy room in Chinese characters.
Brambuk Cultural Centre
Allow the kids to discover the culture of the Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung indigenous communities at the Brambuk (meaning renewal) Cultural Centre in Halls Gap. This place is situated inside the Grampians National Park and provides everything you need to know about the park and its original people, so you’re fully equipped to discover the park’s environment and Aboriginal culture. The area’s geological history, a culture thousands of years old and the natural environment encourage hands-on involvement from the kids. Enjoy bush foods at the café and peruse the Aboriginal arts and crafts at the gift store.
Aboriginal Rock Art
After your visit to Brambuk, explore one of the most significant Aboriginal cultural sites in south eastern Australia, a rock art shelter depicting Bunjil, the traditional creator of the land, which can be viewed about 30 minutes away heading towards Stawell and is one of more than 50 Aboriginal rock art shelters in the region.
The Grampians offers so many great hiking trails – visit our blog featuring the Best Walking Trails in the Grampians to discover the Best’s team favourites. Pick your family-friendly trail, pack a picnic lunch and plenty of water, and hike through the Grand Canyon up to the Pinnacle or Mount William, or for an easier challenge, take a stroll and check out the remarkable MacKenzie Falls. Boroka Lookout boasts one of the best viewpoints in Halls Gap, with the local town, the reservoir, the hills and what seems like the edge of the world right in front of you. The viewing platform is pram friendly and only a short stroll from the car park.
Canoeing and kayaking
Gliding across the waters of our region is a regular pastime enjoyed by the Best’s team, particularly kayaking on Lake Bellfield. Pick up a paddle, row or cruise through the spectacular landscapes of the Grampians. Explore the many streams, lakes, and creeks throughout the region and discover why it's the ideal setting for a canoeing or kayaking adventure.
Cycling in the Grampians
Jump on a bike and get cycling throughout our scenic region and enjoy nature’s breathtaking wonderland. There are plenty of sealed bike paths as well as adventurous mountain bike paths through the national park. The Best’s team enjoys riding year-round but the best time for riding in The Grampians is April/May and October/November, when the wild flowers and vegetation are in full bloom, and the weather is warm and mostly dry.
Climbing and Abseiling through Grampians National Park
If you’re more of an adventure junkie have a look at some of the fabulous experiences that Absolute Outdoors can offer abseiling or climbing in the Grampians National Park. Our team has recently experienced the guided tours of Grand Canyon which was an unforgettable morning. There’s a range of outdoor activities for you to explore.
Where to stay in the Grampians?
If you prefer bricks and mortar accommodation for your stay in The Grampians, read Best’s Grampians Accommodation Guide. But if pitching a tent is more your style, our region is just made for camping. Try these options on for size: