Nature, Food and Wine just a hop from Melbourne. Where else can you stay in a treehouse cabin, explore the Grampians, take a helicopter to lunch and land between 150-year-old vines for wine tasting?
By Justine Hide
What to expect
- Stunning views in the Grampians National Park
- Private cellar door visit via helicopter
- Vineyards galore
- Time: 3 days
- Distance: 254 kilometres (158 miles)
- Transport: car and helicopter
- Nearest major city: Melbourne
- Price: $$$$ - excellent value for what is included
Surprise someone with a three-day adventure that will allow you to see, learn, experience and taste the Grampians in a unique way. See the Grampians National Park from below and above, dine on fresh seasonal produce, taste the award-winning wines, learn about the area from your locally born pilot and stay in a lux treehouse cabin surrounded by nature.
Day 1: Roadtrip to the Grampians
Set off, if driving from Melbourne – it’s just 2.5-hour drive. However the enjoyment begins when you reach Great Western. Drop into Best’s Wines, where you can take a free self-guided underground tour with 155 years of wine making history. Continue your journey to reach Halls Gap by mid afternoon. Check into DULC Halls Gap and discover the peaceful location of your accommodation. with still enough time to drive up to Brorka Lookout (just ten minutes from DULC) and watch the sunset. Look out for the kangaroos as you drive back down and enjoy a lovely dinner with lots of local wines in town at the Halls Gap Hotel, Kookaburra Hotel or Barney’s Bar & Bistro before finally enjoying your lux treehouse at DULC.
Day 2: Fly – dine – wine
Enjoy your breakfast hamper supplied by DULC and soak in the atmosphere surrounding your private cabin. Or maybe an early morning hike to one of the many walking tracks the Grampians National Park have on offer for every level of fitness and time frame. Late morning you will be picked up by Grampians Helicopters to be taken to Stawell airport (20 mins drive) where you will board your R44 and make tracks for the Grampians. As you fly over you'll learn about the area from your locally born pilot before landing at the base of the vines at Montara Wines. This winery is only open to the public on the first Friday of each month, or when you land with Grampians Helicopters. Here you will be treated to a full wine tasting and a platter of free seasonal produce – with no need to rush, just enjoy. After departure, covering local farmland and townships from above, landing back at Stawell airport you will be transferred back to DULC to enjoy any recent purchases or maybe grab a take away dinner from Spirit of Punjab or dine in at The Views Restaurant.
If you’re not keen to fly, other options include Grampians Wine Tours, who provide half and full day tours, silo art tours and walks in the Grampians. For a family-friendly option, head to Halls Gap Mini Golf or hire electric bikes and cover the exploretown without much effort.
Day 3: See, taste, experience, learn
Start the day with a hike – maybe to the Pinnacle or Mackenzie Falls – or just explore the township of Halls Gap. A must is a visit to learn about our traditional owners of Gariwerd (Grampians) the Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung Aboriginal communities. Visiting Brambuk cultural centre you can understand more of the history of the area – plus grab a brunch/coffee at the Bushfoods Café or head over to Livefast Café for breakfast or lunch.
To continue your appreciation of the region for food, wine and culture, on your drive back to Melbourne you will find Pomonal Estate – a new vineyard to the area offering locally made wine, beer, cider and food. Continue on the same road on your way back to the Western Highway for one of the many Aboriginal artwork shelters open to the public – this particular shelter located in the Black Range is an easy 5-minute walk to view the Bunjil Shelter – artwork regarded as the most important in the area as it shows an image of the creator.
From Black Range head to Great Western to stop for lunch at Steel Cutters Cottage, a hidden gem, new to the area that provides artisan food of the highest quality with local wines to match. You won't be disappointed making this your last stop before returning to the city.
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