If you think you know what to expect from the Southern Grampians, think again.
Forget that grim family holiday when your time on the Gameboy/iPad was strictly limited because, um, nature (thanks Mum), the Southern Grampians is redefining luxury in Victoria’s south-west, boasting HEAPS of hidden gems, including the award-winning Grampians hotel, the Royal Mail Hotel, the most incredible views and the ultimate chill-out activities. Read on for seven epic reasons why you should be getting your chill on in Dunkeld.
#1: You’ll Definitely See Kangaroos. And Baby Rabbits. And Cute Lambs.
When our friends at the Dunkeld Visitor Information Centre said we should expect to see a ton of wildlife, we were sceptical, but it turns out they kind of know what they’re talking about. We saw kangaroos, rabbits, kookaburras, newborn lambs, miniature ponies and the Royal Mail Hotel’s quolls… If you love getting up-close and personal with nature, Dunkeld needs to be on your list.
#2: Your Private Cottage Is Literally At The Foot Of The Mountains
If you’re looking for a Southern Grampians hotel, there could only be one choice. The Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld is one of the most beautiful properties we’ve stayed at within Australia. Their deluxe rooms come complete with en-suite, minibar, all the usual frills (a bed so comfy that we’d it like delivered back to our Carlton flat, thanks very much), floor-to-ceiling windows on the mountain-side of the property, Market Lane coffee and T2 Tea and a beautiful private decking area that looks out over the stunning Mount Sturgeon view. It’s the ultimate retreat if you’re in need of a relaxing getaway, and the perfect location for a romantic weekend for two. (Hint: Book your Valentine’s Day 2016 trip now.)
#3: You’ll Get To Feast On Incredible Local Produce
Is it just me, or does food taste better in the country? Whether you’re looking for freshly baked bread, local cheeses and yoghurt, drool-worthy cuts of meat, delicious condiments and olive oils, or a glass (…or three) of Victorian vino, you’ll find some of the best producers in the business within the Grampians area, making for the ultimate food fan’s getaway. The top names you should look out for are Mt Zero Olive Oil, Toscana organic olives, Fat Fox Fine Foods, and Grampians Pure sheep yoghurt and cheeses, all of which are stocked in Dunkeld Produce Store. Pure foodie heaven.
#4: Dinner Is So Good, It’s Been Chef’s Hatted…Twice!
Yes, the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld is a fantastic choice for accommodation, but it’s even better if you’re looking for a delicious dining experience. Run by chef Robin Wickens, the hotel restaurant is listed as one of the top 10 in Australia and serves some of the most beautiful fine-dining dishes we’ve laid eyes on this side of Noma. Better yet, the wine list has been named the best in the world by several awards groups. Not bad for an eatery in a Grampians hotel!
While it does serve an a la carte menu, the five and eight-course degustations are ideal for visitors, and the high tea offering on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons is a serious treat.
Not only is the restaurant world-renowned, almost everything you’ll dine on is sourced from local producers, giving you a true farm-to-table experience. The chefs even have their own kitchen garden, where they grow and harvest seasonal fruits, veggies and herbs that are then served up in that week’s menu.
#5: Your Fitness Fix = The Ultimate Yoga Retreat
Tucked into the foot of Mount Sturgeon, Griffins Hill Yoga Retreat is sheer bliss. The peaceful setting makes for the perfect environment to master your yoga technique with the help of Frank Jesse, who originally founded Clifton Hill Yoga School and has since relocated to a more remote part of Victoria. Frank’s teaching is focussed and informative, while being totally enjoyable, making his sessions one of the best things to do in the Grampians if you’re looking to escape the city and refocus on health, wellness and being kind to your body.
You can book in for everything from a one-off Sunday session, to a weekend retreat, to a full seven days of non-stop yoga. For more details, visit Griffins Hill Yoga Retreat.
#6: The Scenery Is Game Of Thrones-Worthy
Seriously, the Grampians is one of the most jaw-droppingly stunning areas of Victoria, and the mountain range views from Dunkeld really are breathtaking. One of the best things to do in the Grampians is just to sit back, relax, and look around you at the astounding views from both the foot of the mountains, and the top of the range (for you adventurous types).
If you’re in need of some advice on where to find the best views, drop in to see the good folks at the tourist centre and expect free maps, route recommendations, and tips on where’s best for watching the sunset.
#7: It’s Too Close Not To Go For A Weekend
Dunkeld in the Southern Grampians is only a three-hour drive away, making it a great spot for an overnight trip or weekend staycation within Victoria. Just make sure you book your dining options, yoga classes and hotel in the Grampians before you set off… Nobody likes getting caught out!
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