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Grampians National Park
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Grampians National Park is located on the Western Plains in the state of Victoria, Australia. More commonly known as just “The Grampians”, the national park consists of a series of wild sandstone mountain ranges that rise abruptly out of the surrounding plains. It is located between the towns of Horsham and Stawell, and about 460 kilometers east of Adelaide and 260 kilometers west of Melbourne. The town of Halls Gap lies in the heart of the Grampians National Park and is a great base to explore the mountains and forests. The park is also listed as an Australian National Heritage Site, because of its amazing natural beauty and the presence of several important Aboriginal rock art sites.
Five spectacular sandstone mountain ranges make up the landscape. They run from south to north, with the highest and steepest peaks on the eastern side, and more gentle slopes in the west. Several valleys cut across the mountains, and lookouts offer amazing panoramic views. The Grampians are home to a large number of native animals and plants. Visitors will most likely see Kangaroos, Emus, Wedge-Tail Eagles, and Wallabies.
The Wonderland Range is the most popular area – this is also where Halls Gap is located – and there is a wonderful visitor center. The Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre has displays and information on the history of The Grampians and trail maps.
HistoryThe area has been inhabited by Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people for a stunning 20,000 years, and has the largest number of surviving rock art site in Southeastern Australia. The Grampians are known to the indigenous population as “Gariwerd”, and is a central place in their creation story.
The mountain ranges were given their English name by the Scottish surveyor, Sir Thomas Mitchell, in 1836. They were named after a mountain range in Scotland. Several other places were given a new English name as well. Now, most sites and features in the national park have dual names, in both languages.
The Grampians became a source of water for domestic use and farming, and its vast forests made it a center of timber production. Other commercial activities were gold mining and quarrying. As railways stretched further into the bushlands and outback, and with the increasing popularity of nature recreation, The Grampians became a tourist destination in the 19th century.
Things To DoThe best time to visit the Grampians National Park is spring. This time of year, a lot of festivals, activities, and musical and sporting events take place in and around the park. But what makes it most interesting in spring is the abundance of colorful wildflowers. Any other moment during the year is nice to visit though, but make sure to check the weather in advance. It is not the best place to be during rain- or thunderstorm.
The natural beauty of the area invites visitors to spend their time outside. There are several campgrounds to be found throughout the park. While most of them have basic facilities such as fireplaces, pit toilets, and tables, they do not have drinking water. Inside the national park, accommodation is concentrated in Halls Gap.
One of most popular outdoor activities is hiking. There are countless hiking trails – ranging from short strolls to strenuous multi-day hikes. Active and fit hikers can explore the deepest corners of the forests and tallest mountain ranges on these overnight hikes. They often include water crossings and rock hopping, so it is only recommended to experienced hikers. Shorter day hikes lead to great lookout points such as Boroka Lookout and Reed Lookout. The hikes up to the summits of Boronia Peak and Chatauqua Peak are worth the effort as well. In addition, the great outdoors can also be experienced by kayaking, canoeing, fishing, cycling or rock climbing.
One of the major highlights in The Grampians is the huge number of Aboriginal rock art sites. There are about sixty known art sites, five of which are open to the public. These easily accessed rock art shelters are Manja and Billimina (west), Ngamadjidj and Gulgurn Manja (north), and Bunjil’s shelter near Stawell (one of the most significant sites in Victoria).
Getting ThereMelbourne is only a three-hour drive along the Western Highway. A strongly recommended route is the Great Southern Touring Route, a self-drive tour that runs past some of Victoria’s most spectacular scenery – including the Great Ocean Road, the Shipwreck Coast, and the Grampians National Park. The Grampians are a popular stopover point for people traveling between Melbourne and Adelaide.
A train runs daily between Southern Cross Station and Ararat , which is connected to the rest of the region by bus services.
Similar LandmarksAustralia is often pictured as a flat and dry island, but in truth it is actually quite mountainous. Other beautiful and interesting mountainous regions are the Blue Mountains, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Alpine National Park, the Snowy Mountains, and the Flinders Ranges.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Sep 26, 2014