This was the last building in the Brambuk centre that we looked at.
Brambuk is 100% owned and operated by Aboriginal people and is the longest running Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Australia.
Brambuk, means "white cockatoo." The double storey building is located in the valley between Baronia Peak and the Wonderland Range, south of Halls Gap, the richest site for Aboriginal art and artifacts in Victoria. It was built so people could see and understand Aboriginal art and activities, and to encourage protection of sites and culture.
We walked into the building, into a huge space where a log fire was burning. From here, we walked up a spiral rampway to the second floor, here art was on display.
This building is a clever design. The undulating roof is the sweeping wings of the Cockatoo or the Emperor Moth, the curved ramp to the second floor is the serpent, and the massive stone fireplace a cosmic axis.
There are quite a few experiences here, like evenings spent listening to cultural stories told to the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo and other musical instruments. You can join in the Koorie dancing.
What I did like at the centre, was the chance to paint your own Boomerang. How nice would that be to take home as your souvenir of Australia. There was a fee, and it wasn't that expensive.
It was FREE ENTRY, but NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED.
After visiting the gift shop, we then ventured out the rear of the building to where the six seasons of Gariwerd are displayed on outdoor panels. A look at this, then it was time to follow the pathways, finding out about bush tucker along the way. Winding around ponds, and finding many sculptures in the lawned area between the National park centre and the Cultural centre, this would be a lovely place for a picnic. Plenty of picnic tables and chairs are scattered around, and this area is FREE for everybody to use. I eventually managed a photo of a Red Robin in these grounds.
The Brambuk National Park centre is a good place to buy maps and learn about the park.
Here, you will find out all the up to date information, very handy as we were there when lots of areas were closed because of terrible flood damage.
Helpful staff will assist with ideas of what to see and do, and will manage all information and bookings for overnight hiking in the Grampians National Park.
Walking and road maps cover a selection of walks and day trips in the Grampians National Park.
These retail for $3.30 each and the road touring map retails for $5.95 and are available from Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre.
At the centre you can try bush foods, enjoy a cappuccino or something from the menu.
The Gift Shop provides an excellent selection of books, gifts, Aboriginal arts and crafts, a impressive selection of Australian souvenirs.
Plenty of car parking and Toilets are on site.
INFORMATION & BOOKINGS 61 3 5361 4000
From the Reed Lookout, I had far reaching views of Lakes and landscape in the Grampians.
We were here in the afternoon, which wasn't the best because the sun was in the wrong position.
Views at the lookout are best in the morning and in the evening for sunset views.
Ngamadjidj Shelter is a short walk from the Mt. Stapylton campground.
The walk is easy and flat, only taking about 5mins to reach the rock art. The artwork is white-painted dancing, squatting and standing figures, a completely different colour and style from most other northern Gariwerd art sites.
Aboriginal people, like many Asian cultures, associate the colour white with death and the spirit world. Ngamadjidj is pronounced Nama-dij and means 'white person' in Jardwadjali.
In spring it's a short walk from the picnic ground through a blaze of wildflowers to the sandstone outcrop sheltering the spirit dancers of Ngamadjidj."
FROM....Mt. Staplytong campground
We arrived at the Mt. Stapylton Campground to find the trails and do some walks.
As it turned out, the walk to Mt. Stapylton is only suitable for fit and energetic walkers as there are water crossings, slippery track surfaces, rock hopping and rock scrambling. There are track markers guiding you over exposed rocky outcrops and through forested gullies.
If you can do it, I read the summit views are spectacular.
THE WALK ...12.2km return
ALLOW....5 hours 30 minutes
BEGINS AND ENDS AT.... Stapylton Campground
We had a look at the campground which had quite a few camping there. This campground had grass which wallabies were enjoying.
Driving around some back roads in the Grampians, we were surprised to come across quite a large Olive Grove. Evidently, it has been here since 1943 and ORGANIC OLIVE OIL is produced
On doing research, I found there is more than one Olive Grove in the Grampians. The Mediterranean style climate suits the growth and fruiting cycles of the olive tree. The soil is nutrient-deficient, so a range of organic fertilizers is needed to improve soil condition. You might wonder about the very high fences around the plantation, this is to keep out kangaroos, emus and deer. As well as being destructive, their droppings are a food contamination risk.
The Banksia is an unusual type of flower you will find on a shrub to small tree in the Grampians.
I like them, as they can be picked and kept as a fresh flower, and then saved and turned into a dry floral arrangement. Sometimes they are coloured with spray paint.
Of course, in a National Park, you ARE NOT ALLOWED TO PICK THEM.
In the Grampians, one of the Banksia's is actually named the Grampians Banksia. It is only found here and at Wilson's Promotory in Victoria.
Hollow Mountain is where I saw the Banksia's in flower.
The Gulgurn Manja Shelter is also accessed from the Hollow Mountain Car park.
The name actually means the "hands of young people."
This shelter was used by small groups of Aboriginal's as a lookout post to see fires of other Aboriginal's in the area. In the shelter are 26 prints of right hands, which is usually the case of hand prints found in Aboriginal shelters across southeast Australia. All the handprints are small and are thought to be children's hands."
Altogether, there are over 190 prints, consisting of emu and kangaroo tracks, hand prints and bar stokes.
The Gulgurn manja shelter is the richest art site in the northern Gariwerd-Grampians ranges.
WALK....100 metres return
TIME.... 5 mins
Hollow Mountain was a short drive away from Beehive Falls.
We followed the signs into the quite large carpark, went to the Toilets and then began our walk along the sign posted track [yellow triangles] through a densely vegetated gully. The track led us to the base of an iron-stained cliff.
Quite a bit of the walk was easy, then I needed to scramble over boulders until finally reaching the cliff face. This is where my walk ended!
From here, it was a climb up a smooth huge boulder without any railings to hang onto. Not wanting another broken leg or injuries when I holiday, I gave it a miss. I was really disappointed as I had seen the beaut photo's taken from the exposed ledges and wind worn sculptured caverns on the cliff face. I had also seen people up there when I was making my way to the cliff face, and thinking it looked dangerous.
BEWARE. It's a steep and strenuous climb through fallen boulders and along exposed ledges to see the views overlooking Mount Stapylton and the Wimmera plains. Once up there, you have to return the same way.
Many rock climbers were here, and it was young people that had made the final accent. If you are fit and older, I am sure you could too!
Some were on there on and others were in groups.
I read local adventure companies offer a variety of climbing and abseiling courses including introductory lessons for the novice and programs covering advanced skills for the experienced.
Apart from rock climbing and hiking, or enjoying the flowers in Spring, you can enjoy a picnic at one of the many tables.
THE WALK IS .... 2.2km return
ALLOW... 2 hours
TRACK...Moderate to difficult
START AND FINISH .... Hollow Mountain car park
FREE TO VISIT
The month was May, Autumn in Australia, and in the Victorian Grampians, the wrong time to be looking at Waterfalls. Victoria has it main rain in Winter [June-Aug] and in Spring.
WE still decided to take the walk, just incase there was some water going over the Falls, THERE WASN'T.....I should say, just a tiny, tiny trickle!
The walk was along an undulating pathway which followed Mud Hut Creek upstream to a series of rock steps and on to Beehive Falls (best after rain).
The surprise here were the Ferns, the moss and greenery in the area, even a small rock pool, I could see there would be many more after rain, I imagine quite pretty.
Even though the water wasn't falling over the sheer rock walls, and tumbling over the huge boulders, it still was worth the walk. There were wonderful shapes and colours in the surrounding cliff faces.
After a short rest enjoying the surroundings, it was time to return along the same route.
BEEHIVE FALL IS A ...... 2.8km return walk
ALLOW.....1 hour 30 minutes
TRACK RATED AS....Moderate
START AND FINISH IS .....Beehive Falls car park
FREE TO VISIT
The Beehive Falls walk was along a bright orange bush track. The roads around here are orange dirt too! I love the colour of the Bush!
This was the track where I saw some native bushes in flower. Spring is the best time, but still there were some flowering.
In the distance, I could see the towering cliffs where I was walking towards. Parts had fallen away showing the pretty ochres.
Once again, I could hear the twittering of small Birds and tried to see them. I saw a Robin and actually managed a photo, although not a good one.
From Wartook Valley, we took the turn-off that was the sealed Roses Gap Road. We followed this along, and came to an area where we could make a stop and use the Toilets, this was the Trooper's Creek Campground area.
This campsite is located in a forested area in a valley, has 8 basic campsites, toilets and disabled toilets. It was well set out and had great Mountain views, I really thought this area was nice. Only one person was camping here.
A camping fee applies to all campgrounds and each permit allows up to six people and one vehicle at a site. Permits are available at Brambuk the National Park & Cultural Centre in Halls Gap or by credit card by phoning the Centre on (03) 5361 4000.
From here, you can tackle the 4.4km trek to Mt. Difficult, or the 9.6km trail to Brigg's Bluff.
It was time to head a bit further into the Grampians, so we followed the Mount Victory road from Hall's Gap into the Wartook Valley.
The Wartook Valley is a natural amphitheatre with mountain views and mobs of kangaroos and emus.
The scenery is wonderful, once again farmland and then the surrounding Mountains.
From here, we were making our way to Mount Zero, Hollow Mountain and Mount Staplyton, all fairly close by. This part of the Grampians has many Aboriginal rock art sites, most of which are open and accessible to the public.
Walking down to see MacKenzie falls, isn't for people with mobility issues.
For others like me, that have Asthma, make sure to take you spray with you, I took mine, and I needed it! There are approx 400 steps to the bottom to see the falls, quite steep in places, and as you know, if you go down, then you have to come back up!
This is Victorias largest waterfall, although when I was there, you would not have thought it. I was there at the end of Summer.One of the most popular spots in the Grampians and Victoria's largest Waterfall.
There is actually a series of four falls in the MacKenzie River Gorge, including Fish Falls. Tilwinda Falls, near Trooper's Creek and below Mt. Difficult, is another nearby falls that is best after rain.
I didn't continue on because of losing my breath.