The Grampians National Park in the Australian state of Victoria is one of the state’s most beautiful natural regions to visit and is a great destination for a long weekend. The main centre for the region is a small town called Halls Gap with many people using this as a base while exploring the greater national park, including myself staying at The Grampians Motel.
At the quieter end of the Grampians National Park close to another small town called Dunkeld is a hiking track that is certainly a must do for any keen hiker. The Mount Abrupt walking track is a 6.5 kilometre or 3 hour return trek flanked by steep climbs and scenery that will make you feel like you have woken up on the film set of Jurassic Park or the TV series Lost, looking out at endless wilderness reminiscent of the Hawaiian Islands.
Mount Abrupt is located 7 kilometres from Dunkeld and 58 kilometres south of Halls Gap, approaching the mountain along the Grampians Road from either direction it looks like an intimidating mountain to conquer, rising steeply from the ground. Access to the walking track starts from the opposite side of the road to where the car park located on the side of Grampians Road. Approach this area with caution as there is a 100 kilometre speed limit you might fly past it if you’re not paying attention.
Beginning the steep assent to the summit of Mount Abrupt it’s easy to see how fragile this area can be with what looks to be two massive landslides that have hit the area. Parks Victoria have spent a lot of time restoring the hiking track that criss-crosses this area several times. It does’t look like this section will be restored to its former tree laden glory for many years to come, but on the positive side it gives you the opportunity to catch your breath and check out the unhindered view.
As you start to get higher and reach the ridge you are rewarded with impressive views looking out in all directions. This is one of those walks where you can see a summit in the distance and think we are almost there, however it’s not the summit and there is still a long way to go. As you get higher you can start to appreciate how large the Grampians National Park is. Being on the southern edge the Grampians continue to stretch north as far as the eye can see, while to the east on the horizon you can make out the many wind turbines that power the region.
Once you reach the ridge and have a clear view you can start to see the scar in the bush that is the Grampians Road that stretches all the way to Halls Gap and beyond. You are also able to just make out what seems to be miniature matchbox size cars travelling along the road. At this point the view also opens up on the western side of the mountain range where it starts off as national park followed by farm land as far as the eye can see.
On approach to the Mount Abrupt summit you need to push yourself one last time up a steep rocky portion of the track. The survey marker at the top that started off as a miniature sized structure gets closer and closer and larger and larger. Pushing on and finally reaching the summit is a great achievement and worth all the hard work that just took place to reach it, the 360 degree views from Mount Abrupt do not disappoint.
Being so close to a town centre and right on the main road you would be forgiven for thinking that this would be a busy and popular walk. Depending on what time of the day you go, it can get busy as I found more people were making the assent as I was making my way down. Arriving early in the morning I passed a number of people coming down on my way up, however on reaching the summit it was just me and the surrounding tranquility of silence. It was also a great way to spend time having lunch, having carried some snacks for the hike and enjoying the view.
On the way back down the mountain I was flanked by a Wedge Tailed Eagle souring high in the sky looking for some prey. On this particular day some of the rocks were quite slippery and this is something to keep in mind when selecting appropriate footwear for the hike.
Mount Abrupt is truly a beautiful part of our world and is very much worth the hike to the summit. The track is quite hard to take on so it isn’t for the faint hearted, however personally I found it an easier track to walk than the main one all the tourists flock to for views over Halls Gap, The Pinnacle.