Type “Horsham” into a Google search, and you’ll discover mouth-watering cheese platters, massive outdoor art galleries and towering rock formations for adventurous rock climbers.
A short road trip west of Melbourne (around three and a half hours), Horsham is nestled in the Western Grampians and boasts a vibrant combination of culture, art, food, shopping and nature. So if you’re itching to get out of the concrete jungle, here are all the reasons Horsham should be next on your regional hit list.
#1 Indulge In Food For The Soul
Horsham and the surrounds have an impeccable selection of boutique cafes and restaurants, all of which highlight the region’s fresh produce. Think: fresh cheese, handmade pasta and gelaterias.
#2 Keep Pouring The Olive Oil
Every self-respecting foodie knows that nothing beats bread, salt and a ridiculously good olive oil. The good news is that you can dunk to your heart's content at one of Australia’s oldest olive groves, Grampians Olive Co., where there are lunch platters, tastings and tours throughout the day. Make sure to try their 2018 extra virgin olive oil—quite punchy with a gripping aftertaste—and made from olives grown on trees planted 75 years ago. Don't leave the farm gate without snacking on their table olives, which are fermented in small 20-litre batches and are well-textured and delicious.
#3 Wine And Dine
Along with a host of on-trend cafes, modernist bars and excellent restaurants, Horsham is home to a handful of award-winning food and drink vendors. One of these includes Barangaroo Boutique Wines, known for their Vermentino, which is perfectly paired with a seasonal tasting board championing some of the regions best produce.
Norton Estate is another highlight, featuring a sprawling vineyard with views as far as Mount Arapiles. Taste your way through the range at their generous cellar door and leave room in the backseat for a stash of their flagship, Arapiles Run Shiraz.
#4 Explore 200km Of Outdoor Art
Horsham is the perfect base for exploring the Silo Art Trail. Across 200km of rich land and six regional towns, towering wheat silos have been transformed by internationally recognised street artists including Julia Volchkova, Guido van Helten, Fintan Magee, Matt Adnate, Kaff-eine and Rone. If covering 200km on ground isn't your style, you'll be pleased to know you can also take on the trail via helicopter.
#5 Immerse Yourself In Indigenous History
The Grampians is home to over 80% of all of Victoria’s Indigenous rock sites. Start at the Gulgurn Manja Shelter (meaning the ‘hands of young people’), where you’ll find depictions of emu tracks and handprints, wholly unique to the area. Fun fact: the traditional owners of the Grampians, even named six distinct weather periods recognised in the Gariwerd (Grampians) seasonal cycle that relate to climatic features, environmental events and animal behavioural patterns.
#6 Hike Mountains For Stellar Views
Hiking to Mount Zero’s pinnacle will take you across 2.8km (return)—so be thankful for the handrails installed at the steepest peaks. Reward yourself at the Mount Zero picnic area with a BYO picnic filled with local goodies.
The Mackenzie River Bun-nah Trail is another gem for avid adventurers, stretching over 10.5 kilometres or you can opt for walking the Mackenzie River Trail for 3.7km to the stunning Mackenzie Falls—one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria. Or, if you're not quite done chasing waterfalls, Fish Falls cascades is located 4.6 kilometres (return) from Zumsteins Picnic Area.
For pro rock climbers, Mount Arapiles is known for its world-class climbing opportunities, while The Hollow Mountain walk is another must for adventurers, with rock hopping, rock scrambling and a wide cavern to explore.
#7 Stay In Breathtaking Accommodation
If you’ve vetoed bush camping, don’t worry—there’s a huge range of accommodation options. From low key motels complete with plunge pools and cabins with kangaroos at your doorstep to luxurious lodges with stunning views.
Our pick? The exclusive Meringa Springs is located 27km north west of Halls Gap and overlooks Wartook Valley. Frolick among the kangaroos and emus, take in the breathtaking private surrounds, swim in the infinity pool, indulge in delicious modern Australian cuisine and most importantly, relax.
Editor's note: This article is proudly sponsored by Grampians Tourism and endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credit: supplied