CAMPING & ACCOMMODATION
Parks Victoria campsites can be booked online at Park Stay. At the time of writing, a site for up to six people cost between $24 to $28 per night, depending upon the season. There is a small additional cost for extra cars. Book early during public or school holidays. Bring your own water, particularly in summer. Carry out your rubbish – there are no bins.
THE NORTH – MT STAPYLTON
If you are bouldering around Mt Stapylton the most convenient camping is Stapylton Campground. It’s on Plantation Rd, 6km south of the Mt Zero/Flat Rock Picnic Area). Run by Parks Victoria, it has six vehicle accessible sites, seven tent-only sites and six group camping sites with tables, fireplaces, pit toilets and shower stalls (BYO hot water). It is the best place to meet other climbers and makes for a relaxing location to spend rest days. Just up the hill is the popular Campground Boulders. For those without wheels, there is a walking track leading the 5km to Mt Stapylton past several smaller bouldering areas.
For those who are too good for tents, Mt Zero Log Cabins is very close to Mt Stapylton at 221 Flat Rock Rd. If you are in a group it can be a very comfortable alternative to camping whilst still being affordable to those on a tight budget.
Another excellent and central accommodation place is Wartook Rise, which is 20 minutes from Mt Stapylton, 35 minutes from Halls Gap and 45 minutes from Buandik. It features a large mudbrick cabin perfect for larger groups in a beautiful location.
HALLS GAPS & ENVIRONS
If you are climbing at the Bleachers, Valley of the Giants or Venus Baths, Halls Gap is rammed with accommodation options, from commercial campgrounds to deluxe digs. The closest Parks Victoria–run campground is Borough Huts, 10.5km south of Halls Gap on the main road. It has 30 sites in a pleasant location on Fyans Creek.
If you are climbing at Buandik, the Tower or the Cave of Man Hands, your best bet is Buandik Campground. Located next to Cultivation Creek just off the Harrop Track, Buandik Campground has 13 sites and toilets. You can roll out of your tent, shoulder your mat and walk from the campground to the boulders at Buandik, easy as.
FOOD, WATER & PETROL
Always bring your own water when you go to the Grampians. Many campgrounds have rainwater tanks with ‘Not for drinking’ warning signs. However, it’s rainwater and you can drink it (at your own risk) – just don’t rely on tanks having water in them.
It’s best to purchase food before you arrive in the Grampians. Thriving Horsham has the closest big supermarket, whilst there is a small (and expensive) mini-mart in Halls Gap. The Melbourne weekend warrior’s ritual includes a stop and shop at the famed Ararat Woolworths, but be aware it closes at 10pm.
Petrol can be purchased in any of the nearby large centres. In the Grampians itself, you can fill up in Halls Gap or at the (expensive) Happy Wanderer at 2493 Northern Grampians Rd in Wartook.
cafes & restaurants
You can get acceptable coffee at both Livefast (on the creek) and Harvest (on Heath St). If you are after food, Livefast does better food, although Harvest has a nicer ambience. The ice-cream store is justifiably popular, and is well worth a post-boulder visit. If you are after a pub meal, try the Halls Gap Hotel on the way out of town (on the left as you head towards Ararat), it’s nothing special but at least it has a nice view and if you’re an international you’ll delight in the mobs of kangaroos who descend on the place at dusk.
The Royal Mail in Dunkeld is a famous foodie venue, so if you feel like blowing out your budget on a fancy meal to celebrate your life's best send, this is the place to do it.
If you like country coffee – scaldingly hot and served in a bucket – you’ve come to the right place. Unfortunately, Horsham is not a great place for cafes or restaurants, but the best place we’ve found is Nourish’d (on Roberst Ave near Coles), although the food is expensive and often disappointing. Some people like the Chickpea on Pynsent St, although it’s not to our taste. Horsham’s best coffee is probably 20 minutes away at the Nati Café (in Natimuk), although it’s worth noting that it is only open three days a week. The Indian restaurant Horsham Marsala on Firebrace Street is recommended.
mobile phone reception
Phone reception is reasonably good in the Grampians, particularly if you are with Telstra (although other providers have vastly improved their service in recent years). The notable exceptions out of areas covered in the guide are the Valley of the Giants, the Bleachers and at Buandik Campground where you will mostly likely be blissfully cut off from the outside world.
Banner image this page, Nalle Hukkataival on the World is not Flat. Yannick Godfrin