Grampians National Park

This article is about a national park in Australia. For other uses, see Grampian (disambiguation).
Grampians National Park / Gariwerd
IUCN category II (national park)

Grampians National Park / Gariwerd viewed from north of Boroka Peak
Grampians National Park / Gariwerd
Nearest town or city Halls Gap
Coordinates 37°12′28″S 142°23′59″E / 37.20778°S 142.39972°E / -37.20778; 142.39972Coordinates: 37°12′28″S 142°23′59″E / 37.20778°S 142.39972°E / -37.20778; 142.39972
Established 1 July 1984 (1984-07-01)[1]
Area 1,672.19 km2 (645.6 sq mi)[1]
Managing authorities Parks Victoria
Website Grampians National Park / Gariwerd
See also Protected areas of Victoria

The Grampians National Park (also Gariwerd), commonly referred to as The Grampians, is a national park located in the Grampians region of Victoria, Australia. The 167,219-hectare (413,210-acre) national park is situated between Stawell and Horsham on the Western Highway and Dunkeld on the Glenelg Highway, 260 kilometres (160 mi) west of Melbourne and 460 kilometres (290 mi) east of Adelaide. Proclaimed as a national park on 1 July 1984, the park was listed on the Australian National Heritage List on 15 December 2006 for its outstanding natural beauty and being one of the richest indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia.[2] The Grampians feature a striking series of sandstone mountain ranges.


Grampians / Gariwerd at dusk

Named Gariwerd by one of the local Australian Aboriginal languages, either the Jardwadjali or Djab Wurrung language,[3][4] the ranges were given their European name in 1836 by Surveyor General of New South Wales Sir Thomas Mitchell after the Grampian Mountains in his native Scotland. After a two-year consultation process, the park was renamed Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park in 1991, however this controversial formality was reversed after a change of state government in 1992.[5] The Geographic Place Names Act, 1998 (Vic) reinstated dual naming for geographical features,[6] and this has been subsequently adopted in the park based on Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung names for rock art sites and landscape features with the National Heritage List referring to "Grampians National Park (Gariwerd)".[2]


This area is a distinct physiographic section of the larger Western Victorian Highlands province, which in turn is part of the larger East Australian Cordillera physiographic division.


View of the Balconies rock formations including one formerly known as the Jaws of Death since it appears to be an open mouth of two rock slabs with a hiker standing inside
and the opposing view into Victoria Valley from the Balconies with several thin rock slabs lying atop one another on a ledge
Views from the Balconies overlook into Victoria Valley - formation on the left formerly known as the Jaws of Death

The general form that the ranges take is; from the west, a series of low-angled sandstone ridges running roughly north-south. The eastern sides of the ridges, where the sedimentary layers have faulted, are steep and spectacular, beyond the vertical in places - notably at Hollow Mountain near Dadswells Bridge at the northern end of the ranges. The most popular walking area for day trippers is the Wonderland area near Halls Gap. In summer the ranges can get very hot and dry. Winter and spring are the best times for walking. The Wonderland area is also host to "The Grand Canyon" on the "Wonderland Loop" on one of the tracks to the "Pinnacle".

In spring the Grampians wildflowers are a major attraction. The area is a noted rock climbing destination, and it is popular with campers and bushwalkers for its many spectacular views and unspoilt nature.

Mount William is known within the gliding community as the epicentre of the 'Grampians Wave', a weather phenomenon enabling glider pilots to reach extreme altitudes above 28,000 ft (8,500 m). This predominantly occurs during the months of May, June, September and October when strong westerly winds flow at right angles to the ridge, and produce a large-scale standing wave (Mountain Lee Wave).


The rock material that composes the high peaks is sandstone which was laid down from rivers during the Devonian period 380 million years ago. This sediment slowly accumulated to a depth of 7 km; this was later raised and tilted for its present form. Forty million years ago the Southern Ocean reached the base of the northern and western base of the mountain range, the deposition from the range forming the sea floor which is now Little Desert National Park.

The highest peak is Mount William at 1167 metres. Numerous waterfalls are found in the park and are easily accessible via a well-developed road network.

The western part of the park, with the rock formation known as The Fortress to the right

Cultural heritage

To the Jardwadjali and Djab wurrung peoples, Gariwerd was central to the dreaming of the creator, Bunjil, and buledji Brambimbula, the two brothers Bram, who were responsible for the creation and naming of many landscape features in western Victoria.

Grampians National Park (Gariwerd) is one of the richest Indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia and was listed on the National Heritage for its natural beauty and its past and continuing Aboriginal cultural associations.[7] Motifs painted in numerous caves include depictions of humans, human hands, animal tracks and birds. Notable rock art sites include:[8][9]

The rock art was created by Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung peoples, and while Aboriginal communities continue to pass on knowledge and cultural traditions, much indigenous knowledge has also been lost since European settlement of the area from 1840. The significance of the right hand prints at Gulgurn Manja is now unknown.[10]

Dual naming of features has been adopted in the Park based on Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung names for rock art sites and landscape features, including:[11]


Halls Gap / Budja Budja is the largest service town in the area and is located at a point roughly equidistant between the towns of Ararat and Stawell. The town is located towards the eastern side of the park and offers accommodation to the many tourists who visit the area.

The Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre in Halls Gap is owned and managed by Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung people from five Aboriginal communities with historic links to the Gariwerd-Grampians ranges and the surrounding plains.[12]

A 180° panoramic view looking roughly east from The Pinnacle, providing views of Halls Gap on the left and Lake Bellfield on the right

Food and Wine Festival

Grampians National Park is home to one of Australia's longest running food and wine festivals, Grampians Grape Escape, held over the first weekend of May in Halls Gap every year. Launched in 1992, the Grampians Grape Escape is a hallmark event for Victoria and provides food and wine offerings by more than 100 local artisan producers, live music and family entertainment.[13]


Typical regrowth after the bushfire

A major bushfire burned out about 50% of the Grampians National Park in January 2006. Soon afterwards the first signs of regeneration were already visible with, for example, regrowth of the eucalyptus trees. Many trees exhibit epicormic growth, where a mass of young shoots re-sprout along the whole length of the trunk to the base of the tree. Major flooding followed 5 years later in January 2011, forcing the closure of some parts of the Grampians National Park for several months. An earthquake with a magnitude of 3.8 followed six months later, although this did not cause any damage.

See also


  1. 1 2 "Grampians National Park Management Plan" (PDF). Parks Victoria (PDF). March 2003. p. 10. ISBN 0-7311-3131-2. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Grampians National Park (Gariwerd), Victoria". Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Victorian Government. Retrieved 25 November 2008.
  3. "Aboriginal Wall Map". AIATSIS website. Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2007.
  4. "The Grampians: Historical information". Vicnames. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  5. Kostanski, Laura. "That Name is OUR history: Divergent Histories of Place" (PDF). School of Business Working Paper 2006/10 (PDF). University of Ballarat. pp. 6–8. ISSN 1832-6846. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
  6. "Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park". Vicnames. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  7. Brochure, Grampians National Park (Gariwerd), Victoria, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Accessed 25 November 2008
  8. Grampians National Park (Gariwerd) more information, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Accessed 25 November 2008
  9. C.F.M. Bird and D. Frankel, 2005. An Archaeology of Gariwerd. From Pleistocene to Holocene in Western Victoria. Tempus 8. (Archaeology and Material Culture Studies in Anthropology) University of Queensland, St Lucia.
  10. "A compelling case for beauty". The Age. 28 December 2005. Retrieved 25 November 2008.
  11. Ian D. Clark and Lionel L. Harradine, The restoration of Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung names for rock art sites and landscape features in and around the Grampians National Park, Melbourne, Vic. : Koorie Tourism Unit, 1990.
  12. About Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre, Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre website. Accessed 25 November 2008
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Grampians National Park.
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