Winter holiday escape to the Grampians in Victoria
by Carla Caruso
For many, the winter holidays are a good excuse to jet off somewhere warmer like the Gold Coast or Bali. But for something a little different last-minute (and, okay, chillier), have you considered the Grampians, just across the border?
A mum friend suggested the Victorian region when I was dithering about where to go during the kindy hols last year and she had me at ‘rugged mountains’ and ‘nice plonk’. So, I bit the bullet and booked in for three nights there with my crew. If you want to embrace all that is moody and cosy about winter, without the need for skis, this is the place.
The car trip took about five-and-a-half hours, which was pushing things a bit for my antsy twins, aged five (though we stopped for lunch in SA’s Keith). Still, the resort we stayed at—Halls Haven, just out of the Halls Gap township—made up for the long drive. While our self-contained family unit was the usual simple, modest affair, the 20ha grounds really made the stay.
Think panoramic mountain views, a picturesque water setting, tranquil native gardens, and—the kicker—farm animals. There was a menagerie for the kids to get up close and personal with, including ducks, alpacas, chooks, horses and cows. One of my lads, Seb, was particularly enamoured with the goats, no kidding (bad pun). He loved getting in their enclosure and feeding them, his iPad forgotten!
I also remember one magical moment when I had some me-time to read a novel, while the boys were kicking a footy, and I glimpsed a wild deer nearby, with something tangled in its antlers, before it disappeared into the sunset again. The wi-fi was even down while we there so we had no excuse but to switch off (though, don’t worry, this isn’t the norm at the resort!).
Other tips for enjoying your stay at The Grampians:
• You can’t go to the Grampians without checking out a few nature-tastic sights, like MacKenzie Falls and the Boroka Lookout. We also stumbled across the picture-perfect Lake Bellfield when driving, where visitors can fish, kayak and swim (when it’s warm enough). More info here.
• Halls Gap, the region’s main tourist hub, has a public playground and picnic area, which is located conveniently across the road from the town’s shops (ice-cream, anyone?) and offers prerequisite mountain views. The nearby Halls Gap Caravan Park is also a popular place for families to stay.
• Despite our best intentions to sample fare elsewhere, we ended up dining every night at the family bistro, Halls Gap Hotel, at the foothills of Mount William. It’s uber-kid-friendly with a play area inside and an outdoor playground, plus cosy log fires and a large deck for watching night fall.
• While in the area, it’s also worth doing a trip to the Seppelt Great Western winery and touring its heritage-listed underground cellars. Even my boys loved it!
Map: Grampions Road, Halls Gap, Victoria
For more information and all enquiries please visit the Grampians’ tourist website.
What: The Grampians Holiday Review
Where: The Grampians, Victoria
Who: Nature-loving types after a mix of adventure and tranquility
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
Image Source: All photos by Carla Caruso for Play & Go.
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