Episode 18: The Grampians
In a first for a Victorian or an Australian region, the Grampians Rewards Program is an exciting new initiative offering visitors the opportunity to reap real rewards from time spent enjoying the region, so Giaan and the Postcards crew head west to visit some of the area's best.
Aspect Villas and wildflowers
The village of Halls Gap is hidden in the heart of the Grampians and home to specialty shops, cafes and restaurants. You can take a walk along the boardwalk and wander down to Stony Creek with an ice cream. When it's time to really wind down, check into the serenity of the Aspect Villas, only 300 metres away from the cafes. Set well apart from each other on 10 hectares, Aspect's stunning 5-star villas offer king-size beds, two-person spas, log fires, leather lounges and fully equipped stainless steel kitchens. In the bathroom, double showers, heated towel rails and quality bath products add to the luxury. Waking up next to one of the states biggest national parks is also pretty impressive, as is a the tour of the native garden. The Grampians is described as the Garden of Victoria, being home to 1000 species of flora, many which are not found naturally anywhere else in the world.
Valley Drive, Halls Gap
Ph 03 5356 4457
Ph 1800 065 599
Cultural Centre and Bunjil tour
At the heart of the Grampians is the 22,000 years-old Aboriginal spirit. To learn more about this unique land and its Indigenous people, don't miss Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre, about two kilometres south of Halls Gap. Here you can share information about the life, history and the significance of the land to the five Koori communities who own it with multi-media shows, art and artefact displays. Outside are 60 ancient Aboriginal rock art sites, with the important being the Bunjil Shelter and Brambuk offers a tour that's not to be missed. You can also fuel up at Brambuk's bush tucker cafe. Tea, coffee and Aussie damper are included on the tour, and there are plenty of interesting choices including kangaroo, emu and crocodile if you want to stay for a meal.
Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre
277 Grampians Tourist Road, Halls Gap
Ph 03 5361 4000
Royal Mail Hotel
Dunkeld is at the southern tip of the Grampians National Park. It's a small country town where sheep outnumber people, a three and a half hour drive from Melbourne, and home to foodie hot spot the Royal Mail Hotel. With a swag of top national accolades for their celebrated food and wine, you can enjoy the casual public bar for a game of pool, a drink and a classic pub burger or parma while looking at the magnificent view of Mount Surgeon, or there's the bistro, which is overseen by renowned executive chef Dan Hunter. The Royal Mail has been crowned Regional Hotel of the Year by the Australia Hotels Association, so it's a terrific idea to stay the night after an extravagant evening in the restaurant.
Royal Mail Hotel
98 Parker Street, Dunkeld
Ph 03 5577 2241
Meringa Springs is 5-star accommodation that's big on privacy and luxury and has to-die-for views of Mt Difficult and the Black ranges, especially from its infinity pool. Once you've experienced the spectacular views from the Reed Lookout, check in and relax.
2974 Northern Grampians Road, Wartook
Ph 03 5383 6363
Boroka Downs and Halls Gap Zoo
If you are looking for a wildlife experience combined with luxury accommodation, then it's hard to go past Boroka Downs. It's a five-minute drive from Halls Gap for total relaxation and privacy in studios that include an inviting circular spa, a king size bed, a gourmet kitchen, a large light-filled living area and an open log fire. There's even a breakfast hamper provided so you can stay in for breakfast to enjoy the wildlife at your doorstep.
To continue your nature experience, it's a short drive to the Halls Gap Zoo, which was revamped when it was bought by Yvonne and Greg Culell three years ago. The zoo features native and introduced animals.
51 Birdswing Road, Halls Gap
Ph 03 5356 6243
Halls Gap Zoo
4061 Ararat-Halls Gap Road, Halls Gap
Ph 03 5356 4668
Grampians Rewards Program
In a first for a Victorian or Australian region, the Grampians Rewards Program is an exciting new initiative offering visitors the opportunity to reap real rewards from time spent enjoying the region.
By registering an accommodation booking at an accredited Visitor Information Centre in the Grampians, you'll earn points towards an instant voucher to redeem during your stay, so the longer you book, the more you're rewarded! You could win a voucher for complimentary drinks with meals, discounts at attractions and bonuses from cellar doors – and that's just a taste of what's on offer.
Napoleon: Revolution to Empire Illuminated
Discover the drama of the French Revolution through an incredible lighting installation exclusive the National Gallery of Victoria.
Where: National Gallery of Victoria
When: to 7 October
The Shortest Lunch
The Yarra Valley region offers an amazing dining experience with entrée-size meals, superb wine and loads of entertainment.
Where: Yarra Valley,
When: 23–24 June
Jazz on Puffing Billy Railway
Puffing Billy will be trumpeting along with live jazz music from the Mast Gully Quartet.
Where: Dandenong Ranges
When: 22 June