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Grampians winter waterfalls splash into spring's wildflowers 

July 27, 2006
Grampians winter waterfalls splash into spring's wildflowers

Visitors to the Grampiansas winterturns tospring can experience wonderful waterfalls and the fascinating world of wildflowers.

Victorias Grampians are renowned for the breathtaking rocky views and since the bushfires many previously hidden rock formations arenow revealed.The landscape has changed but the seasonal changes are still occurring and are still awe inspiring.

Waterfalls crash in cascades, in a region that is home to 200 species of birds, legions of wallabies, kangaroos, koalas and emus. Several hundred kilometres of sealed, gravel and earth roads, carefully planned to minimise environmental impact, help open up the Grampians to visitors.

Cascading waterfalls are surrounded by flourishing ferns; there are many of these delightful settings in the Grampians. The most famous is MacKenzie Falls which is the second largest waterfall in Victoria. These waterfalls flow all year around and like most waterfalls are best after rain.

MacKenzie Falls is one of four waterfalls in the MacKenzie River Gorge. The falls flow all year but are usually best between June and October.

A short walk from the Mt Victory Rd parking area reveals an excellent view of the falls. From MacKenzie Falls Kiosk a 2km return track leads to the base of the falls. The track is strenuous in places and sturdy footwear is needed.

Other waterfalls worth visiting are Tilwinda Falls, Beehive Falls, Clematis Falls and Jardwadjali (Buandik) Falls. These are all seasonal waterfalls and best after rain.

Hi from the Grampians
Hi from the Grampians

Visitors also discover the remarkable survival skills of Mother Nature as she recovers from the January 2006 bushfires. The regeneration in fire affected areas is nothing short of amazing with regrowth flourishing after autumn rains.

A walk may also lead to the the discovery of a dainty yet striking orchid. Winter orchids can be seen at many locations across the park with high expectations for a good flush of wildflowers during spring, particularly orchids which have adapted well to fire.

Visitors do not need to venture into the thick bush, look on the edges of tracks and roads and some sheltered spaces between trees and rocks.

So pack a lunch and camera and discover some of the many orchid species or the waterfalls of the Grampians National Park and surrounds.

Brambuk, learn about the Koori culture of Victoria
Brambuk, learn about the Koori culture of Victoria

About 260km west of Melbourne and 460km east of Adelaide the rugged, rocky peaks of the Grampians form the dramatic backdrop to one of Australias most historical wine regions, the birthplace of Australias sparkling wine industry in the 1860s.

Today the Grampians wine region includes vineyards and wineries around the city of Ararat and the townships of Buangor, Great Western and Halls Gap.

The Western Highway (A8) runs inland from Melbourne to link Adelaide through country which is typically Australian.

Beaufort, Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, Dimboola and Kaniva are markers on an experience that includes wineries, fine public buildings, goldfields, athletics, quintessential Australiana, deserts, and rural enterprise

Halls Gap is the traditional heart of the matter. It was found through the pioneering curiosity that built Australia when in 1841 Charles Hall discovered a gap in the Grampians and found the valley that carries his name.

The Wonderland Range is the most popular section of the Grampians with it amazing rock formations, canyons, waterfalls and lookouts with views to the Fyans Valley.

Its a land of waterfalls
It's a land of waterfalls

Walking is still the best way to see the region. The tracks vary in distance and physical demand. The best advice is be prepared and seek information before setting foot in the park. This is a place where the weather changes quickly.

Wear sturdy shoes, carry a warm waterproof jacket, sunscreen, wear a hat and carry drinking water and some food. Let someone reliable know your plans before you go.

In addition to unstructured touring and activities in the Grampians information on adventurer and eco-style tours is available from the Halls Gap Visitor Information centre 1800 065 599.

In 1991 the traditional names of many places and features in the Grampians were restored in recognition of the traditions and mythology of Victorias traditional people. Gariwerd is the home of the largest collection of art sites in south eastern Australia.

This traditional art is to be found in shelters like Billimina, Bunjils, Manja, Gulgurn Manja and Ngamadjidj.The Brambuk and National Park Cultural Centre, at Halls Gap imparts knowledge of culture, history and art. The centre can be contacted on 03 5356 4452.

Tight  fit, climbing in the Grampians
Tight fit, climbing in the Grampians

Explorer Major Thomas Mitchell discovered this remarkable region in 1836 and gave Gariwerd its European title from his own nostalgia as the jagged peaks recalled the ramparts of the Grampians of his native Scotland.

From August to November, wildflowers provide a dramatic splash of colour across the region. The Halls Gap Wildflower Show in September is a good reason to spend time in the Grampians.

The region is home to 200 species of birds, legions of wallabies, kangaroos, koalas and emus.

Several hundred kilometres of sealed, gravel and earth roads, carefully planned to minimise environmental impact, help open up the Grampians to visitors.

The scenery is unique in Australia, and offers one of the most interesting regions in the country for scenic drives. There are more than 1,000 species of ferns and flowering plants native to the Grampians.

Halls Gap Visitor Information Centre can be contacted on 1800 065 599.

Editors note: Parks Victoria says Fire affected areas are fragile. Your impact now may have long term effects on regeneration. To aid recovery and rehabilitation please stay on designated open walking tracks.

Editor's Note also see:

Grampians National Park Track Report

The rocks look like ancient castles, Grampians
The rocks look like ancient castles, Grampians
GoSeeAustralia Out There near Halls Gap  after the fires
GoSeeAustralia Out There near Halls Gap after the fires

The Grampians makes a comback after the fires. Mt William Road June 16 2006, courtesy Parks Vic
The Grampians makes a comback after the fires. Mt William Road June 16 2006, courtesy Parks Vic
Winter and spring is waterfalls and wildflower time in the Grampians. MacKenzie Falls, courtesy Parks Vic
Winter and spring is waterfalls and wildflower time in the Grampians. MacKenzie Falls, courtesy Parks Vic
MacKenzie Falls, one of four in the river gorge, Grampians
MacKenzie Falls, one of four in the river gorge, Grampians
Grampians good times, Grape Escape experience
Grampians good times, Grape Escape experience
Grey Kangaroo feeding
Grey Kangaroo feeding
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