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Where are the Grampians and Central West region?
Grampians and Central West Region This area is a square-shaped region at the western edge of the state of Victoria. It contains Little Desert National Park, the ancient blue-grey Grampians National Park, historic Warracknabeal, the rock-climbing mecca of Mt Arapiles, the Wimmera agricultural plains, the rich wool area of the Hamilton, Horsham and the Western District and the vineyards of Great Western.

The Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung peoples inhabited this territory for 30,000 years before European settlement. Today, the Brambuk Cultural Centre in Halls Gap is run by Koorie communities, who provide insight into the region's early heritage.

Climate
The weather in the Grampians is warm and dry in summer, followed by a cooler autumn and wet winter. Spring is announced by a carpet of wildflowers and fine, mild days.

How do I get there?
The Grampians is approximately three hours from Melbourne along the Western Freeway through Ballarat to Ararat and west towards Hall's Gap. For road directions from your town or suburb try using Travelmate's Mapmaker.

Train services run to Ballarat from Spencer Street station where there are coach connections to most major towns in the Grampians.

What are the main towns?
The main towns in the region include:

Halls Gap, Ararat, Dunkeld, Hamilton, Horsham, Nhill, Stawell, Dimboola, Great Western, Harrow and Natimuk.

Where can I stay?
Travelmate has accommodation in the Grampians region.

What's there to do in the region?
Visit the Historical Centre and Machinery Museum at Warracknabeal to discover how life was lived in earlier pioneering times. Explore the historic gold rush town at Ararat with its Gum San Museum that explains the history of Chinese gold miners, followed by a drive to the top of One Tree Hill at Ararat for panoramic views of the area

Spend a few hours on a short walk through the Little Desert National Park near Nhill or dip into Wyperfield National Park to see reptiles, kangaroos, bandicoots and emus.

Drive along the Wimmera plains to see fields of canola, wheat and barley.

Rock-climbers will enjoy the 369 metre high Mount Arapiles in the Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park. There are 2000 rock-climbing routes marked out across its stretch of sandstone cliffs. This is a favourite destination for both international and Australian mountaineers. Mountain bike-riders can join a biking down hill tour and canoeists may enjoy a paddle around the waters of Lake Fyans and Lake Wartook.

Anglers can cast a line for brown trout, rainbow trout, Murray cod, silver perch and redfin in the lakes system of the Grampians. The Wimmera River is well stocked with Murray cod, carp, catfish and redfin. The annual Horsham Fishing Contest is the largest inland fishing competition in Australia and is held on the Labour Day weekend.

Take a balloon flight from Stawell over the Grampians or have a swim at Lake Bellfield.

The Grampians National Park offers 160 km of walking trails, waterfalls, seasonal wildflowers, wildlife and scenic lookouts. The Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Hall's Gap, is an excellent first stop in the Grampians National Park. There is a ceremonial ground for cultural dances, ceremonies and music with bush tucker served in the café. Take a guided tour to the some of the more than 100 rock-art sites in the region, can be organised through the Cultural Centre. Most notable of the shelter sites include: Gulgurn Manja - which features handprints, emu and kangaroo drawings and Ngamadidj - decorated with 16 figures painted in white clay.

Bush-walkers can choose from an comprehensive range of walking tracks at a variety of levels of difficulty. The most challenging is the Mt Rosea Trail that takes walkers through a sandstone outcrop and forest, while the most gentle of walks is the one hour return to MacKenzie Falls.

Halls Gap, at the foot of the Wonderland Ranges, is the gateway to the central Grampians. Each May, the famous Grampians Gourmet festival offers two days of the best in wine, food, entertainment and spectacular scenery. Wildflowers are in bloom between August and October.

Bunjil's Rock Shelter is found east of the national park, on the Western Highway, near Stawell. Bunjil is the Great Ancestor spirit of the area who created its people, law and customs. It is the only art site in the Grampians region, where more than one colour is used.

Enjoy the delights of Hamilton, the commercial centres of the central West, with its gracious houses, botanic gardens, museums and galleries. Much of the area's wealth is based on the wool industry On the southern borders of this region, the Byaduk Caves can be found on the southern border of this region. It is part of a giant 24 km lava flow showing that volcanic activity has shaped the landscape of Mount Napier State Park and the region. The caves contain ropey lava, stalactites, stalagmites and columns. Only one of the caves is open and access is limited to certain areas. Information is available at the Hamilton Information Centre.



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