11 reasons to visit the Grampians in winter

McKenzie Falls

The thing I absolutely LOVE about living in Victoria, is the atmosphere of the distinct 4 seasons! Every season has its own beauty, its own flavours and even its own moods, being born and raised in Holland, it makes me feel at home.

Winter to me means:

Cosy, family, grounding, hardy meals, candles, thread mill, campfires, local footy, shiraz, dark chocolate, marshmallows, board games, coffee, massage, jeans & boots, glow sticks, movies, warm bath, magazines, sleep ins ….

What does winter mean to you?

Here's my list of 11 reasons to visit my favourite place in the world at my favourite time of the year!

1. Shiraz tastes so much better in winter!

A personal favourite, and how lucky am I!.... The Grampians is world-renowned for its Shiraz and it happens to be my favourite drop! After a day of exploring  the Grampians, breathing in some serious clearing crispy air you can enjoy a campfire at night with that delicious glass of Shiraz!

Coming from Melbourne driving to Halls Gap you pass a gorgeous little town Great Western where you will find Bests Winery and Grampians Estate. In Halls Gap itself you can visit Fallen Giants winery, located next to the local zoo, so why not combine the two! Cheers!

2. Campfires

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Not sure if you've noticed, but it seems it's getting harder and harder to find destinations where they allow campfires. And yet, in my opinion, being able to sit around a campfire is such a vital part of camping. The city life is busy, structured and surrounded by concrete. So what better way to unwind than staring at the dancing flames, holding a conversation whilst feeling toasted from back to front and front to back. In the morning, you wake up with your clothes smelling of smoke, keeping last night’s memories close to your heart! On that note: YES we do offer campfires at Halls Gap Lakeside!

3. Perfect hiking weather!!

The Grampians is well known for its stunning National Park and its amazing hiking tracks. With some personal experience I can guarantee that hiking in winter is a far more pleasant experience than in the soaring heat of summer!And on another note… no snakes!

After having lived in Lorne for 13 years, pretty much in a permanent cloud (after all the Otways National Park is classified as rainforest), it has been a real delight to experience blue skies for at least 80% of the time. Yes, we do get rain in winter, no doubt. But even that has its pros!!! Like flowing waterfalls!

4. Waterfalls

Have you ever been to a destination where you got all excited about visiting a local waterfall, only to realise, after an hour's walk, it has turned into a rock face? It happened to me at a recent family holiday to the Northern Territory. The Twin Falls in Kakadu National Park were dry! (Don’t worry we still had a magnificent time, swimming in the waterhole underneath) But still….

We are lucky that one of our local waterfalls in the Grampians runs all year around. These are the MacKenzie Falls, located in the Northern part of the Grampians, which were severely attacked by a bushfire in January 2014. (I suppose another reason to visit in winter… no bushfires!). An upside to these fires is that Parks Victoria has been working day and night for a period of 12 months to reopen the falls and make it safe for walkers to return. They have created an amazing infrastructure so all types of walkers with different abilities can experience the falls. They've even put in a state of the art toilet block! The fit and mobile can walk to the bottom of the stairs and experience the stunning falls. I highly recommend to close your eyes and absorb the sounds. If you are keen on exploring a little more, we recommend to walk to Zummsteins and check out the Fish Falls on your way!

For the less able, Parks has made an easy accessible path (approx 900 meters) which takes you to the lookout. Due to the fact that most trees were burned, the waterfalls are much easier to see from the lookout above. Bushfires have their pros!

Generally, the rock faces of the Silverband Falls, Clematis Falls, Beehive Falls & Kalimna Falls start turning into waterfalls as from early May, but feel free to drop us a line to enquire about the current status. We try to keep informed by our hiking customers! It is always great when guests report their finding, so make sure to tell us what your favourite falls are in the Grampians this winter!

5. No Crowds

Halls Gap, located in the heart of the Grampians, is a popular tourist destination and attracts up to 800,000 visitors every year! The busy season runs from the September School Holidays until after Easter, so if you want to avoid crowds and enjoy nature at its best, visit the Grampians this winter!

6. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Having spent my childhood in Holland I never realised how many Australians have never experienced snow! This might be your chance, without spending an absolute fortune visiting the snow fields! Although snowfall in the valley itself is rare, Mt William (the highest point in the Grampians at 1167 meters) gets covered in snow nearly every winter, it's great for making a snowman. The Grampians turns into a winter wonderland, beyond beauty!

7. Great Deals!

Although we are trying to keep our prices fair all year round, in winter we offer something special! Have you heard about our Winter Deals?

8. Running Events

Recently I discovered running. I have never been a sporty girl. As a child I had knee issues and back in those days you were told not to do any sport at all. Seriously!!!!!????

I discovered running because my husband is a running fanatic (like the 100 km kind of runner!) and our son Paddy loves his long distance running too. I've hit the age, that your hormones start showing your age on the hips and I spend most of my day on the chair at reception! To keep fit and well, I had to do something!

So I decided to start with personal training, to activate those muscles I didn’t even know existed. I was invited by Alan Witt to do the 11.5 km at our yearly local event Run the Gap. Alan is in his late sixties, he's a running coach and masseur and has a condition where his eyesight is deteriorating at a fast pace. So team “the blind leading the blind" was built. We had a terrific day and without Alan I woudl have been really struggling. Now we had fun at the same time as achieving goals. It feels good top be proud of yourself and I feel so grateful for Alans help!

Run the Gap - May

Held in May, this event hosts a 6 km walk, a 6 km run, 11.5 km run and a 21 km trail run. The event was originally initiated by one of the local business owners Monique Cummings, who was raising funds to extend the magnificent bike path which takes you from one end to the other end of town. She was able to achieve this goal together with all the participating runners and funds where then raised to install an outdoor fitness station near Bellfield. The event is held for the less serious mum and dad runners and it has become a popular weekend to take the family away for an event based family holiday. For more information please visit Run The Gap

Wonderland Run - August

Here's a vibrant, exciting and little crazy event for those of you who are long distance trail runners, who love a challenge and have somewhat interesting personalities, as the organisers do! Rohan Day and his team are very experienced running event organisers, you might know them from other events like Two Bays Trail Run

The Wonderland Run hosts an 8 km, a 20 km and a 36 km trail run. Not for the fainthearted!

What I really like about this event is that it brings a severe amount of energy to the Grampians, with a real go get attitude! They cater a 2km run for the kids around Venus Baths and have lots of kids entertainment! The coffee van from Livefast, a local café, makes it even more exciting!

9. Woodfire outdoor heated pool ?!

You've probably never heard of a wood fire outdoor heated pool! It is one of those unique features we introduced a few years ago when we purchased Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park. Rohan found the original "donkey engine" in the bottom amenities block, which used to heat the water for the showers. Clever and creative as he is, he saw the opportunity to connect this to the pool. Ever since, we've had one of the only wood fire outdoor heated pools in Australia. Seriously! And it runs all year around! So, if your muscles need a little treat after big day hiking in the Grampians, have a dip! The water temperature sits around the 35 degrees rain, hail or sunshine!

10. Grampians Grape Escape

I know, officially winter doesn’t start till June, but I am so excited about this event I just have to share it. This year, for the 25th year running, the oval at Halls Gap turned into a magnificent feast of food and wine. It was a weekend of celebrations, friendships, toasts, taste sensations and some headaches too! A very well organised, sophisticated, food and wine festival, with cooking classes, demonstrations and all local wineries and producers in attendance. As the Grampians is over 165,000 hectares, it is the perfect one stop shop!

I'll see you at the Grampians Grape Escape next year, I promise!

11. Sunset

The Grampians offers a truly unique, spectacular, unimaginable, memorable sunset at Reeds lookout. It only took me 4 years from the day we moved into this area, to discover this for myself! (Shame on me!) With the early sunset in winter you still have plenty of time left to enjoy a cosy evening around the campfire!What originally started with 5 reasons to stay in winter in the Grampians turned into 11 reasons. And to be honest I could find another 5 reasons at least. But I'll keep them for my spring post!!! Note:

People sometimes say we are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. Rohan and I made the choice to run a business in one of the most spectacular, grounding beautiful places on Earth. Little…. very little did we know about the real beauty of the Grampians back then. I feel blessed, at times overcome and overwhelmed, that we were able to establish ourselves and our gorgeous two kids, in this magnificent and inspiring place. Let us be your host whilst experiencing the magnificent Grampians this winter! We would love for you to discover the beauty of our home!

Our blog posts are written for you by all of us who work at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park. We love where we live and do what we love! We enjoy sharing anything you want to know about the stunning Grampians. You want us to cover a specific topic or you have any specific questions? We will try our very hardest to get to the right source and get back to you! Drop us a line at bookings@hallsgaplakeside.com