Grampians National Park, Dunkeld
Guest Blogger: Kate Comer from ‘Rolling Along with Kids’
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Our family is lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful parts of Victoria, Australia. We call Dunkeld Victoria our home, not to be confused with the Dunkeld in Scotland, and is a 3-hour drive from Melbourne. It’s not unusual for us to have kangaroos in our backyard and our views of the Grampians National Park are stunning. If you are keen to head from Melbourne to the Grampians, first start with a night in Dunkeld.
Dunkeld has so much to offer and you may have heard of the 2 hat Dunkeld restaurant at the Royal Mail Hotel. But Dunkeld isn’t just about the Dunkeld Pub, even though it’s as delicious as they say! Your first stop must be the Dunkeld General Store for one of the best coffees in the district. Their freshly made wraps and range of groceries will see you set for the weekend and our kids give the banana bread a big thumbs up!
If you are wanting a bite to eat any time of day Cafe 109 is amazing with kids and even has a toy area in the corner. At times it can be really hard to go out with kids as you are afraid of them making noise or interrupting other diners, but Café 109 is so family friendly and very welcoming. They have a terrific kids menu that comes as a colouring in page.
Also in Dunkeld you can find Izzy’s fish and chips shop, Dunkeld Bakery, Dunkeld Pharmacy, Only Ewe (a great little shop for any wool products and gifts), Bendigo Bank with an ATM, Kelly’s & Henson a hardware store that has a selection of camping products and Dunkeld Delights for a delicious cake.
After we’ve had our coffee and food we have to head to the playground for the kids. Plenty of space for the kids to run around and enjoy the beautiful sunshine, well most of the time, we do live in Victoria!! The walk around the Dunkeld Arboretum is an easy, casual walk with the kids. Easy to push a pram or for the kids to ride their bikes, this walk is for all ages.
Accommodation in Dunkeld
Accommodation is easy to find with the Dunkeld Caravan Park a great option for any campers and Southern Grampians Cottages a perfect spot with the kids. They even have a cubby, sandpit, swing and grassed area for the kids to let off some steam.
Two of our favourite times of year to live in Dunkeld is to head to the Dunkeld Races held in Mid November and the 3 Peaks Festival in Mid October. If you are considering coming to the Grampians these are perfect times to visit Dunkeld for a great day out.
Next stop is Halls Gap. But don’t rush, there are plenty of great things to do in the Grampians along the way. I would definitely recommend not doing this trip at night or dusk if you can avoid it. There are lots of kangaroos so it is a slow trip and much better to take in the views of the Grampians National Park during the day. Not far from Dunkeld is the small mountain Mt Picaninny. This is a great little mountain for the kids to climb and I have been known to carry our kids up when they were younger in a baby carrier. With kids, this can take around an hour to climb but you may want to take a picnic to the top for a look around.
Halls Gap is one of our favourite spots for a day trip. We love to head to the Halls Gap Zoo for a fun few hours for the kids to run around. The Halls Gap Zoo prices are very reasonable and well worth the money. Other things to do in Halls Gap with kids are to try out the Mini Golf, Brambuk Cultural Centre, the playground and of course a stop at the ice cream shop! If you would like to find a great spot for lunch or dinner the Halls Gap Pub is a favourite of ours. Plenty of space for the kids to run around outside while you sit back and take in the views. They also have an inside play area for when the weather is terrible and wet outside.
There are so many Grampians walks and even ones to do with the kids. A couple of walks are even suitable for a solid pram like the Silverband Falls, a short drive from Halls Gap. I have even walked up Mt William, the tallest point of the Grampians, with my friend and 5 kids aged 8 months to 6 years to check out the snow!! You can drive to the car park of Mt William and then walk up the sealed road to the summit with a pram. Not a casual walk though, us Mum’s needed a stiff drink when we made it back 😉
Halls Gap Accommodation
Halls Gap accommodation is full of great spots to stay. Big 4 Halls Gap or the Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park come highly recommended by good friends of ours. Great facilities including pools, playgrounds, and options for either camping or cabins. With regards to location, the Halls Gap Big 4 is in a great spot even though it’s not in the middle of town. It’s easy to walk across to the Halls Gap Pub and is closer to the zoo. The Lakeside Caravan Park Halls Gap is also out of town but is on the other side closer to the lake and Mini Golf.
Stawell & Ararat
Once it is time to head home you can drive from Halls Gap to Melbourne back via Stawell and Ararat. Both these towns have lots of places to eat and refuel. We have only brushed the surface of things to do in the Grampians, there is so much more! So I hope you venture up to visit our beautiful part of the world with your kids, they will be talking about it for years to come.
Guest Blogger – Kate Comer is the Mum behind ‘Rolling Along With Kids’ – Inspiring Families with Kids to Travel to Bali.
Our family of four from Victoria, Australia love traveling to Bali. I have been on 7 trips and hubby Jed has been 5 times. Our kids love traveling to Bali too and Charlotte who is 6 years old has been lucky enough to go on 4 trips.