So You Think You're in Shape? Grampians Edition

Friday, 29 April 2016
Overall, I feel like I'm generally a healthy person. I try to eat healthily, walk the dog regularly, and I occasionally try to work out. When I've gone on hikes around Melbourne, they're typically not too challenging for me... So when I was told about a "5km" hike that takes 4-5 hours (but our friend Tim could complete in 2.5 hours), I was more than up for the challenge. Now when Tim said it was a 5km hike, he slightly gave us incorrect information. The whole circuit turned out to be 11kms so right off the bat my judgement of this hike was skewed. Being the brave souls my mate and I are, we decided to walk from the Botanical Gardens, through the Venus Baths, down to the Grand Canyon, back up to the Pinnacles, and back down the face of the mountain. No problem right? 
WRONG! We were not (mentally) prepared for the hike ahead of us. That is not to say that it was any less enjoyable, just that it was a little more physically demanding than previously expected. This is why you should always do your homework before embarking on a hike. 

Beautiful Start to the day
The Grampians are a mountain range, so naturally, this wasn't going to be an easy hike. The first 1.2 km was pretty tolerable. From the Botanical Gardens to the Venus Baths, the path was relatively flat with slight inclines. We had left early enough in the morning that it wasn't too hot either so the beginning was quite pleasant. 

On the walk from the Gardens to the Venus Baths
Venus Baths (not that much bath water in summer)
After passing through the Venus Baths, the path became quite steep. Luckily, it was so breathtakingly gorgeous that after the occasional stop for water (and a light snack) we were still able to stay pretty optimistic! Not going to lie, though, the morale was severely starting to lack at this point. There aren't many signs on the trail, and most navigation is done by little yellow triangles spray painting at various points. 

Guardrails are optional in the Grampians
It is an additional 2ish km from the Venus Baths to the Grand Canyon. By this point, it was starting to get significantly hotter, and we were becoming increasingly more tired. I believe this was the point where I realised that Tim had misinformed us. It was not 5kms round trip but 11kms. The scenery continued to become more exquisite. I honestly did not think it was possible for a place to be so beautiful. 

The Grampians Grand Canyon
Bit of a tight squeeze
Once making it through the Grand Canyon, we were only a short 2.2 km from the Pinnacles! This is probably the steepest and most exhausting part of the trail. There is a carpark extremely close to the Grand Canyon so this appears to be where most people start and end their hike. We were pretty beat at this point, so we got some pretty judgemental looks from people (Haha they thought we were out of breath and just starting haha). As long as you continuously tell yourself "right foot, left foot, you're almost there! No time for quitters! Plus you'll be stuck here if you stop", next thing you know you'll be at the Pinnacles.
That view though!
The view was totally worth the hike (and the ever-looming hike back down the mountain)! My suggestion: pack a lunch. This way you're able to sit and soak in the marvellous view. Plus you'll have some time to rest. One could seriously spend all day at the top of the mountain. I know words and pictures will not adequately describe it but it was well worth the effort to get there!
Perfect place to have a picnic

After the 5.5 km hike up to the top, the walk back down the face of the mountain seems like a breeze. It's mostly downhill, which was a welcome change from the up and down landscape on the hike up. Here are my suggestions if you're going to make the entire 11km loop (and aren't the bloody Hulk):

  • Bring at least 2 Litres of water (if you can carry it). You're definitely going to need it, especially on a hot day. 
  • Pack a lunch or a few snacks. This way if you get peckish, you have a little something to keep your energy high. There is nothing worse than getting a good 4kms into a hike and then realising you're starving with no food. 
  • Make sure you wear sunscreen (and reapply the sunscreen)! There are areas of the hike that provide excellent shade and coverage, but a good chunk, you're out in the open. Nothing is worse than ending up with a massive sunburn. A hat would also be a good idea!
  • Take your time. There's no need to rush through the hike. If you need breaks, take them! Enjoy the scenery, really appreciate the beauty around you. Also, take plenty of pictures! I would suggest getting to the top around sunrise or sunset. I'm sure it would be absolutely beautiful. 
  • Have good conversations! It'll help when you get too tired and want to call it quits. Most of ours consisted of Game of Thrones theories and Harry Potter. Definitely made the time go by quickly!
  • Lastly, have fun! 
What has been the most strenuous hike you've ever done? If you've hiked in the Grampians, what did you think?

And until next time...
Stay Curious!


  1. Wow!! Another great post!! I love the scenic pictures you take!! I wish I could visit these places although I don't think I could go on a hike but I would love to try!! Thank you for posting your adventures!! And thank you for the beautiful scenic photos!!

    1. Thank you! One of these days I'm hoping to start filming some of these hikes and then you can visit virtually :)

  2. Robin (@wambalus)7 May 2016 at 17:59

    Beautiful! Hard to believe it's just outside a major urban area like Melbourne. One of my most intense hikes that comes to mind was up on The Lost Coast - a section of California coastline north of Mendicino which is so rocky, mountainous and thickly forested the Hwy 1 is forced to veer inland. This remote area has hiking trails that hug the rocky coastline so there are steep ascents and descents where if you take one wrong step you could fall and crash a hundred feet into the ocean below. I also had to take a detour because a group of elk was blocking the trail and I was not about to tell them to move.

    1. I've been amazed by how many amazing sites there are just outside of Melbourne. That hike does sound intense! The next time I visit the states I'm hoping to do some hikes in California. I'll add that one to the list!

  3. I gotta say, as beautiful as all your pictures are, I don't know if I could do it ! Definitely would have to refer back to your post if I ever do lol.

  4. Simply stunned by the beauty of the route you did. Nature is still the best artist. Besides that, it is really useful read such experiences. I am an hiker too and unfortunately I ve seen things turn bad because we underestimate the task we undertake.

  5. I don't think I would be fit enough to do the hike but would love to give it a try though. Those views are stunning and definitely worth it. Beautiful scenery!

  6. looks beautiful! I love hiking and would love to do this when I visit Australia one day. usually the toughest hikes are the most worthwhile!

  7. Wow! Such a lovely post! Thanks for sharing this great adventure! Your post has inspired me to go for hiking. The photos are simply breathtaking! :)

  8. Wow!! A 11-kilometre hike all the way down to the Grand Canyon sounds quite challenging. Kudos to you for taking it up! Hikes likes these are always worth-while especially when they open up to rewarding views like these. Cheers!!

  9. Looks amazing!! It kind of made me think of 127 hours, only that had a slightly more dramatic outcome haha! I'm sure the hike was worth it in the end for those gorgeous views:) Lovely photos! Thanks for sharing:)

  10. I know I'm not in shape...Lol Your post reminds me when I hiking a vulcano in Costa Rica. The guy said to me: Don't worry, is easy. And OMG, when I come back to my hotel I can't use my legs for 3 days...LOL
    Great history. The photos show that all the works was rewarded.. <3

  11. Omg I so relate. I consider myself in decent shape. Yeah, til I got to Greece and had to hike about 10,000 steps. Literally thought I would cough up a lung. Lol.

  12. I love hiking but sure know how it can let you know how out of shape you are. Every time we go up to the Rockies here in the U.S., I am reminded when we get out on the trail. But - oh the view!! Hiking the Grampians looks like great fun!