Published on 22nd March 2016
by Kelly Pigram (words) and Brook James (photography)

The Grampians is famous for its impressive natural scenery, but it’s worth taking a weekend away for many more reasons than just that.


The Grampians National Park is more than 1600 square kilometres of breathtaking scenery. The region’s waterfalls, rolling hills, rugged mountains and wildlife are a three-hour drive from Melbourne, but if you’ve been, you don’t need us to tell you it’s worth it.

On the hospitality front, the Grampians is a quiet achiever. Its reputation for food and wine has grown steadily over the past few years, and is becoming increasingly hard to ignore. The Royal Mail Hotel dining room in Dunkeld is known around the world for its extensive wine list (there are more than 2000 options stored in a cellar across the road), and its menu is inspired by the on-site organic kitchen garden. You can get a Melbourne-standard coffee from many cafes and the region’s wineries are raising eyebrows for their quality.

If quaint country charm is what you’re after, Stawell’s Waack’s bakery once made a half-kilometre-long lamington just to lift the town’s spirit. Dunkeld Old Bakery bakes its sourdough in one of the state’s oldest bread ovens.

Here are our recommendations for where to explore in this stunning part of western Victoria.

Welcome to The Grampians

NEAREST CAPITAL CITY

Melbourne

DRIVE

Just under three hours drive from Melbourne.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

2 hours and 25 minutes from Melbourne to Ararat by train. Connecting coach services travel to other parts of the region.

Do

It’s not just food and wine. Take a hike and enjoy the view.

Itinerary

ITINERARY: FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF THE GRAMPIANS

Make the most of the region and spend a day hiking, eating, drinking and exploring.

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9am

Harvest Halls Gap

2 Heath Street
Halls Gap VIC
(03) 5356 4782
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Harvest Halls Gap Cafe

Wake up for a pre-hike coffee and breakfast at Harvest Halls Gap Cafe. Green eggs with local Greenvale ham is a menu highlight.

10am

Mackenzie Falls

Northern Grampians Road
Zumsteins VIC
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MacKenzie Falls

Drive to the MacKenzie Falls car park and walk the 40-minute track to the base of the waterfall. Have a rest, enjoy the serenity, then climb the stairs to the top.

12pm

Coolas Ice Creamery

97 Grampians Road
Halls Gap VIC
(03) 5356 4466
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Coolas Ice Creamery

You’ll need a sugar hit. Grab a milkshake or a scoop of Coola’s rock-salt caramel and eat it on the ice-cream furniture out the front.

3pm

Dunkeld Old Bakery

97 Martin Street
Dunkeld VIC
(03) 5577 2663
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Dunkeld Old Bakery

The drive from Halls Gap to Dunkeld will take about an hour, but it’s worth it for what’s to come. Grab a gourmet pie and salad for lunch (but don’t fill up).

7pm

The Royal Mail Hotel Dining Room

98 Parker Street
Dunkeld VIC
(03) 5577 2241
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The Royal Mail Hotel Dining Room

Two options. Strap yourself in for a five-hour, eight-course tasting menu with matched wines, or have two courses and leave at a reasonable hour.

12am

The Royal Mail Hotel

98 Parker Street
Dunkeld VIC
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The Royal Mail Hotel

Return to your hotel room and collapse into a food coma. Leave the shower, and coffee on your private balcony, for tomorrow morning.