Episode 33: Grampians
This week on Postcards, the team travel to the beautiful mountainous terrain of the Grampians where they try a range of outdoor activities, eat some of the region's finest produce, and rest their heads at the best accommodation the area has to offer. Glen Moriarty decides to make a road trip out of his journey to the Grampians and stops at Mount Langi Ghiran Vineyard along the way, where he tastes the delicious wines on offer. His next pit stop is at Toscana Olives where he stocks up on organic olive oil, before concluding his journey in Dunkeld, where he stays at the environmentally friendly Aquila Eco Lodges. Brodie Harper rejuvenates at Griffins Hill Iyengar Yoga Retreat in the Southern Grampians before checking out some of the iconic walking tracks and picnic spots within the Grampians National Park. She also visits the Steve Morvell Gallery in Halls Gap where she admires Steve's beautiful paintings of the natural world. Lauren Phillips also ventures to Halls Gap where she is given a tour of the spacious Grampians Chalets, before stopping by the local shops including Livefast Café and the Halls Gap Bakery. Horse riding is also on the itinerary, so Lauren mounts a saddle and takes a trail ride through open plains as well as dense Grampians forest. Finally, Shane Crawford explores the town of Dunkeld, where he checks in at the famous Royal Mail Hotel and enjoys a bite to eat at the award-winning restaurant, before going on an eco tour through the Grampians National Park and admiring the wildflowers at their peak.
Mount Langi Ghiran Vineyard, Toscana Olives and Aquila Eco Lodges
The drive from Melbourne to the Grampians National Park takes around three hours. Along the way there are plenty of great spots to stop, including Mount Langi Ghiran Vineyard, which is well known for its award winning Shiraz. In addition to Shiraz, 'Langi' is also well known for Riesling, Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The winery and cellar door are located in a spectacular setting, nestled between two beautiful mountain ranges.
After tasting some quality wines, why not stock up on some more of the region's finest produce along your journey at Toscana Olives. Toscana Olive Plantation has one of Australia's oldest olive groves, in the foothills of the Grampians National Park. It comprises 450 hectares, approximately 28,000 original trees and is the largest family owned single estate certified organic olive grove in Australia. Toscana Olives also has a new farm gate shop, so be sure to drop in and say hello, meet the family, admire the magnificent mountain views and discover how the organic olive oil is made.
When it comes to accommodation in the Grampians, go no further than the Aquila Eco Lodges in Dunkeld. Surrounded by dense bushland, wildlife and beautiful native orchids, Aquila Eco Lodges is made up of four award winning lodges that set the benchmark for ecotourism in Australia. Their design employs the latest technologies available to sustainable building, such as use of rain water, solar power and self-composting waste treatment. There are two types of lodges to choose from on the property. First is the 'Lofthouse' that can sleep between four and six guests spread out over two levels and secondly you have the 'Treehouse', which was designed for couples but can accommodate up to four guest over three levels. Both styles have fully equipped kitchens, queen size beds and daybeds with oversized cushions that are set in huge picture widows.
Mount Langi Ghiran Vineyard
80 Vine Road, Bayindeen
Ph 03 5354 3207
376 Olive Plantation Road, Laharum
Ph 03 5383 8299
Aquila Eco Lodges
Manns Road and Victoria Valley Road, Dunkeld
Ph 03 5577 2582
Griffins Hill Iyengar Yoga Retreat, Grampians Walking Tracks and Steve Morvell Gallery
At the base of Mount Sturgeon in the Southern Grampians, there is a place where you can go to retreat, relax and rejuvenate called Griffins Hill. Set on six acres of gardens, and located just two kilometres from the town of Dunkeld, Griffins Hill Iyengar Yoga Retreat is a peaceful, contemporary and architecturally designed sanctuary. Weekly classes are available, as well as scheduled two, three and five day retreats throughout the year. Guests who stay overnight will be accommodated in a superior king, queen or twin share suite which all come with ensuite facilities. There is also a communal guest lounge and dining room where you'll be treated with delicious home cooked meals.
An hour down the road in Halls Gap you'll find some iconic walking tracks and picnic spots that have just re-opened within the Grampians National Park. The Zumstein area beside the Mackenzie River has plenty of picnic shelters, BBQs and visiting wildlife, making it a popular spot for families and groups. Mackenzie Falls is another must-see spot in the area.
With so much raw beauty on offer it's not hard to see why the region attracts many artists, like wildlife specialist, Steve Morvell. Highly acclaimed for his beautiful depictions of the natural world, Steve's working studio and gallery in Halls Gap is open for visitors to browse his magnificent original paintings.
Griffins Hill Iyengar Yoga Retreat
170 Victoria Valley Road, Dunkeld
Ph 03 5577 2499
Ph 131 963
Steve Morvell Gallery
159 Grampians Road, Halls Gap
Ph 03 5356 4820
Halls Gap – Grampians Chalets and Grampians Horse Riding Adventures
Halls Gap is a great base for any Grampians holiday and one of the many accommodation options in the area is Grampians Chalets. Set on two and a half acres on the edge of the valley floor, the cabins have panoramic views of the Mount William and the Wonderland Ranges. Fitting in perfectly with the natural surrounds, they have deluxe chalets for couples, or family chalets which will fit the whole gang. Natural timber walls complement the polished timber floors and the spacious living area leads out to a wide verandah, where you can relax and watch the local wildlife roam around the private wetland.
From the chalets, it's just an 800-metre walk to town and along the way you'll cross the new footbridge over Stony Creek. The town's main set of shops offer some great local produce from the likes of Halls Gap Ice Cream, homemade fudge from Smugglers Hearth and great coffee at Livefast café. Also, don't forget to stop by the Halls Gap Bakery which lays claim to being the inaugural winner of the Victorian Vanilla Slice competition!
The Grampians are the perfect destination for all sorts of activities including trail rides with Grampians Horse Riding Adventures. Tours have been running in the region for some 25 years and with 1200 acres to explore, the 2.5 hour tours are the ultimate equestrian adventure. Open plains and dense forest provide plenty of opportunity for experienced riders to stretch their legs, while novices are given a comprehensive lesson and remain under the watchful eye of the guides. Upon returning to the stables, guests can enjoy a hot drink and meet more of the beautiful horses on the family farm.
221 – 223 Grampians Road, Halls Gap
Ph 03 5356 4866
Grampians Horse Riding Adventures
430 Schmidt Road, Brimpaen
Ph 03 5383 9255
Dunkeld – Royal Mail Hotel and Grampians Eco Tours
In amongst all of the natural beauty of the Grampians is The Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, which is well known throughout Victoria and beyond for its award-winning restaurant and beautiful accommodation. The hotel's Mountain View rooms have just had a 1.3 million dollar face lift and provide views of the majestic Grampians mountain range and surrounding Australian gardens. The rooms' architecture and the warm, earthy tones throughout reflect what the Royal Mail Hotel is all about – being inspired by the stunning natural surrounds. The Royal Mail's Public Bar has also been spruced up but it's still got all of the rustic charm and warmth you'd expect in a good country pub. In the afternoon and evenings, the Public Bar is a relaxed place where you can take in the view, or sit by the open fire with a drink. All of the furnishings have been updated and you can enjoy either a light snack or a meal from the tempting bar menu.
When you're ready to start exploring the area, get in touch with Grampians Eco Tours who will take you on a walking tour through the Grampians National Park whilst respecting the environment as well as local indigenous cultures, traditions and values. Grampians Eco Tours offers walks tailored to you, so whether you want to walk, saunter or hike, the guides will adjust the route to suit your needs. They will also happily point out beautiful species of flora along the way, many of which are not found naturally anywhere else in the world. The wildflowers are at their peak right now, but the diversity of the species, and the conditions in the region, mean it's possible to enjoy them at almost any time of the year.
Royal Mail Hotel
98 Parker Street, Dunkeld
Ph 03 5577 2241
Grampians Eco Tours
70 Macarthur Street, Dunkeld
Ph 03 5577 2450
Immerse yourself in the arts this October at this year's 'Melbourne Festival', a multi-arts event that will showcase some of the finest local and international artists and companies Melbourne has ever seen.
Where: Various Melbourne locations
When: 11–27 October, 2013
TWMA Healesville Sanctuary Combined Tour
Next Sunday is your last chance to take the TarraWarra Museum of Art/Healesville Sanctuary combined tour, so don't miss out on this opportunity to enjoy a beautiful exhibition as well as meet some of Australia's most endangered species!
Where: TarraWarra Museum of Art and Healesville Sanctuary
When: Sunday 6 October, 2013