Gerard Murphy's drive to make things from timber might actually be in his genes. He first learned woodworking from his grandfather. Since then, Gerard has brought out the beauty in timber through his own handmade furniture and cabinetry, and now runs a business in Dunkeld.
At Gerard Murphy Furniture, sustainably-harvested Australian timber is crafted into furniture whose design mimics the curvature of the mountainous Grampians skyline.
'The origins of several of my signature pieces can be traced back to specific places,' Gerard says.
Gerard's other passion is bushwalking, and he shares some of his favourite spots with us here.
1. Mount Sturgeon
Two of Victoria's most spectacular mountain walks are right in Gerard's backyard. The first, Mount Sturgeon, offers panoramic views of the surrounding ranges and volcanic plains and over Dunkeld, home to Gerard's workshop.
2. Mount Abrupt
Right next to Mount Sturgeon is Mount Abrupt, where walkers can enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park. The track is moderately steep, but the scenery is worth the climb.
3. Cape Bridgewater
Further south, down on the coast, Cape Bridgewater is Gerard's port of call when he wants a change of scenery from the Grampians workshop.
'The sea cliffs, rocky coastline and beaches around Cape Bridgewater are magnificent counterpoints to the more gentle, bucolic, pastoral world around here,' Gerard says.
4. Local walks and wildflowers
Gerard reckons walking among the wildflowers and the occasional wallaby is hard to beat.
Once described as the 'garden of Victoria', the Grampians region is home to more than one third of Victoria's flora. In Gerard's part of the Grampians, you'll find picture perfect displays along the Halls Gap–Dunkeld Road, from the summit of Mount William, and from the Bainggug near Dunkeld.
5. Volcanic country
Gerard draws inspiration from the volcanic history of the area. 'The volcanic country to the south west is significant, especially where it echoes ancient aboriginal habitation.'
Mount Napier is the most recently active volcano in Victoria. Walk the track to the summit through manna gum and Blackwood forest and past impressive volcanic features. Explore Byaduk Caves, one of the most extensive and accessible sets of lava caves in Australia.