If you only have one day to visit the Grampians, you can still get a lot out of it, as we did, with the following driving tour. Because of the time available, and our car full of little ones, we weren’t able to go out and do the long walks that are obviously a must when visiting the Grampians, but we sill had a fantastic drive. We started at Mokanger Farm Cottages where we stayed the night. Highly recommended (and of course make sure that you book dinner at the delicious Royal Mail Hotel in nearby Dunkeld). Head East along Mokanger Road and then left onto Victoria Point Road and left again on Victoria Valley Road on the way to the Grampians. The scenery on this road was stunning, my favorite part of our whole Grampians adventure. It took us back in time and, between the scenery and lighting, it felt like we were driving through a painting hanging in a famous art gallery. From here turn left onto Grampians Road and you are in the park. Depending on the weather, your interests and time available, there are many detours you can make. We drove up to Mount William but when we reached the top it was so foggy we couldn’t see a thing, although as the highest point in the Grampians National Park, I’ve heard the views are amazing! We then continued North down the road before stopping at the Brambuk Cultural Centre just outside of Halls Gap.
Right at the center of Halls Gap is Livefast cafe. We visited Livefast café twice, once for lunch and once for breakfast69 and loved it both times. It has a fantastic location with a great terrace that provides beautiful views in all directions. The menu is full of good things but our pick was their tasting platter which features a range of locally produced items including Greenvale Meats, Mount Zero Olives, Laharum Grove, Meredith Dairy, Shaw River Buffalo Farm and Zeally Bay Sourdough.
In terms of hot chocolate they serve the wonderful Grounded Pleasures. This time I tried their white hot chocolate. White hot chocolates, when done properly as this one was, are like warm bear hugs. This one contained 20% Ghanian cocoa butter with a hint of ethically sourced Papua New Guinean vanilla. So good!
From here we continued on, and just on the edge of Halls Gap turned left onto Mount Victory Road. We took Mt Difficult Road for a stop at Boroka Lookout. Pinnacle Lookout has another stunning view. The next great stop is at Reed Lookout and if you are up for a short walk (doable with small kids) you can make your way over to the Balconies (although we found the view to be much the same as at Reed Lookout). We then continued on to Zumsteins, which is the place to stop if you want to see Emus. This whole drive is scenic and full of other stops that you can make based on what you are interested and what time you have. Continuing on North through Wartook, we then took Brimpaen Laharum Rd West to connect to the Henty Highway (A200). Taking this to the South brings you around the back side of the Grampians where, in the late afternoon, you get to see the sun setting over the Grampians and some stunning scenery and fairly quiet roads. This particular loop brought us back to our Farm Cottage, but would work well regardless of where you were staying.
On the last night of our trip, on our way back from Adelaide, we chose to stay in Halls Gap. The highlight, especially for non Aussies, are the mobs of kangaroos. At sunset and at sunrise they come out, in the hundreds, and take over the town. We stayed in a small house just off the main street and there were literally hundreds of them in the yard, and we had to maneuver our way around a few mums with joeys on our walk across the street to Livefast for breakfast and our morning hot chocolate!
Verdict: Incredible location and views, really good food, and a beautiful hot chocolate. What else can you ask for really? Just hope for perfect weather too… Livefast, Halls Gap, Australia