When it comes to a family road trip, getting there is definitely half the fun!
You’ll feel relaxed from the moment you see the 450-million-year-old mountain range, the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park. Maybe even as soon as you find those long, open country roads, with a good coffee in hand!
We planned a three-night road trip to Halls Gap to see everything we could around the Grampians in Victoria. If you’re thinking that’s just three relaxing nights of drinking local wines and toasting smores by the fire, you’d be wrong. Sure, we did all of that… and heaps more!
The Grampians might sound a world away, but an amazing coffee from Henry & Rose in Keith, a few rounds of ‘Eye Spy’ and a solid Spotify playlist made the five-hour trip fly by! There are also loads of places to pull over and have a stretch and a sandwich.
There’s a lot to see on the way to, or from, Halls Gap. The Horsham Regional Art Gallery was showing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander exhibition called ‘Body Language’. For three Star Wars nerds, the highlight was a three-piece indigenous digital display inspired by the greatest trilogy of all time. Back to the Future, Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings tragics can send my hate mail to Adelady, PO Box 1717, Burnside SA 5066. The kids loved the art nearly as much as they loved hitting Adventure Island and Apex Pump Track in Horsham — the first of many local skate parks and pump tracks on our trip. We found more right near the old Ararat Gaol and another in Hamilton on the way home.
When you’re on holiday, cooking should be optional. We opted not to cook because there are so many family-friendly places to eat around Halls Gap. We could think of nothing better than brekky at Salingers Café, then a parmy with chips at Barney’s Bar & Bistro for dinner — or ‘parma’ to the locals. If you’re not into schnitzels, Barney’s has a raft of other options, including some of the finest steaks in the state!
One good steak deserves another. Dinner at the Halls Gap Hotel is a no-brainer and if you’re in town for more than a couple of days, you’ll be sure to eat there again.
You can’t drive into Victoria without passing the iconic Giant Koala, which looms 14 metres over the Western Highway in Dadswells Bridge. And the only thing better than GIANT artificial animals is GIANT living, breathing animals! In Pomonal, just outside Halls Gap, Five Ducks Farm has huge geese roaming around outside their recently renovated factory outlet. Beyond these ‘golden geese’ is a shop filled with homemade jams, custard ice cream, honey and savoury pastes made from local produce.
A few doors down, Halls Gap Zoo has cheetahs, giraffes, alligators, Texas longhorns, two enormous bison and my absolute favourite, a two-and-a-half tonne Southern White Rhino named Pumbi. We booked an intimate encounter, where we could feed this ‘little’ fellow and hear about a day in the life of one of the most majestic animals on the planet!
And if you have any energy left, there’s always Grampians Adventure Golf about five minutes in the other direction. Fore!
THINGS TO DO
If you’re into celebrity spotting, there’s no bigger star around the Grampians than ‘The Rock’. You’ll need a professional guide because these are some seriously steep faces and none come more professional than Adrian from Absolute Outdoors. Even if you can barely retrieve a Frisbee from the roof without getting wobbly, don’t rule out this bucket-list activity. Absolute Outdoors caters for all ages and abilities, so you can climb, paddle, ride or even abseil to a level that you’re completely comfortable with.
For your next family holiday, take the wheel and head over the border for a road trip like no other, to the Grampians. You can plan it online, so you have enough time to do it all!