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Gorgeous Grampians

Thursday, May 27, 2010
As Catriona Rowntree continues her travels around her new home state, she headed three hours west of Melbourne for her first visit to the Grampians National Park. It's a fitting finale for the Great Dividing Range which starts its long crawl from the east coast of Queensland.

Most people head out from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road and loop their way to the national park. If you love the diversity of nature, you will surely be overwhelmed by what will greet you: lush farmlands, wetlands, soaring mountains and loads of wildlife.

Just some of the area's activities are canoeing, sailing, rowing or kayaking on and fishing in Lake Bellfield, abseiling and rock climbing, bushwalking, horse and bike riding, visiting wineries, the Halls Gap Wildlife Park & Zoo and the beautiful Grampians Lavender Patch.

Bashukway Travel

So her first visit to the Grampians would be a real adventure, Catriona rented a mountain bike from Bashukway Travel in Halls Gap. They have guided tours but if you want to go it alone, they will give you a map and send you on your way. There are fairly easy trail rides and more extreme mountain biking courses. Whichever you choose, there are plenty of stop-off points as well as gorgeous scenery and wildlife.

Bashukway Travel is a small, family-run Australia-based business operating out of Tokyo. They specialise in low-impact, small-group, adventurous and "out of the way" trips for clients in Japan, Australia, China, Laos, Canada, Korea, Mongolia, Wales and Scotland and their website is worth checking out.

The Gap Vineyard

It's a nice idea to take maybe cheese and biscuits on your bike ride and stop at Gap Vineyard for a good drop of wine to have with it.

Established in 1969, The Gap specialises in chardonnay, riesling, merlot, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, late-harvest riesling, rosé and a selection of the Mount Langi Ghiran range. Catriona tasted their Langi shiraz and agreed it deserves to be known as one of the best in the country.

The history of wine growing in the area began in the 1870s when Europeans joined the gold rush. They arrived with vines from the old country and worked the rich and fertile land of Victoria's western district.

Dulc Holiday Cabins

Run by Pru and Simon Farrer, the three one-bedroom cabins and one three-bedroom — including a tree house — give the ultimate bush experience with comforts. Architect designed, the surroundings were certainly kept in mind. The tree house is nestled away and has floor to ceiling views. It has a deck so you can absorb the scenery and it really is like living in a tree.

Named after Prue's grandmother Dulcie, the self-catering wooden cabins were built from untreated timber and have lots of glass to bring the outdoors in. You'll see kangaroos and emus wandering past as you are inside by the cosy fire brewing fresh coffee.

Each cabin has Molton Brown toiletries, spa, king bed, television, DVD player and CD player. There is abundant light, comfortable leather lounges, stainless steel kitchen appliances, gas log fire and comfortable warm chocolate tones set the scene.

You can arrange breakfast if you wish and there are a couple of nearby restaurants the proprietors recommend.


Halls Gap, 262km west of Melbourne.


Bashukway bicycle hire costs $49 for a half-day self-guided tour, $89 for a full day and $169 for two days. Full-day guided tours are $99 per person with a minimum of two people. Two days cost $179. Helmet, gloves, Jamis Trail XT Hardtail mountain bike, bottled water, snacks and detailed notes are included. Guided tours include picnic lunch. They operate year-round.

The Gap Winery is open to the public between 10am and 5pm from Wednesday to Sunday.

Dulc Cabins start at $250 a night for one bedroom, $350 for two bedrooms and $300 for the tree house between Monday and Thursday.

For further information

Ph: 03 9014 9653 BSK Adventures
Mt Zero Road
Halls Gap 3381
Ph: (03) 5385 2604

The Gap Vineyard
Ararat-Halls Gap Road
Halls Gap 3381
Ph: (03) 5356 4252
Fax: (03) 5356 4645

Dulc Halls Gap Holiday Cabins
9 Thryptomene Court
Halls Gap 3381
Ph: (03) 5356 4711
Fax: (03) 5356 4799

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