AN EASY GUIDE TO THE BALCONIES GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK
The Balconies in Grampians National Park is one of my favourite parts of Australia. It’s just incredible. If you love the outdoors and find yourself in and around Melbourne, you have to venture out this way! It’s natural beauty at its finest, and there are all sorts of unforgettable things to see and do.
- What are the Balconies?
- How to Get to the Balconies Lookout
- The Best Time to Go to the Grampians Balconies Lookout
- What to Take to the Balconies Lookout
- What to Do at the Balconies
- Best Time to Visit the Balconies in the Grampians
- Where to Stay While Visiting the Grampians
One of the most famous stop-offs, in particular, is well worth a visit. It’s called the Balconies. Trust me; you can’t come to the Grampians and not stopover at this incredible place. It’s a well-known local attraction that draws tonnes of visitors every day. Locals and tourists alike head up to enjoy it. And you can’t blame them.
It was a definite highlight of my Aussie trip, so I wanted to put together a Balconies lookout guide to help anyone who wants to see it for themselves! Planning a trip to the Grampians? Thinking about checking out the Balconies? Here’s pretty much everything you need to know about visiting the Balconies Grampians National Park.
What are the Balconies?
The Balconies are an iconic landmark in the Grampians National Park in Victoria. Like the Pinnacle Hike, any trip to the Grampians is incomplete without a quick stop off here. It’s simply one of the Grampians’ must-do activities. Right, but what actually is it/are they?
The Balconies are a lookout built upon mighty natural rock foundations. Two rocky outcrops extend out into open air. They look an awful lot like a balcony (funnily enough) and provide a top-quality photo opportunity.
It’s an epic place to catch the sunset or sunrise- views over the National Park and surrounding area don’t get much better. Park up your car or motorhome, and get ready for panoramic, expansive vistas of the Victoria Valley below. You can see for miles! If you fancy an adrenaline rush, you can even climb out onto the rocks themselves for an impressive selfie.
Fun fact: this place was once happily referred to as the “Jaws of Death”. Bodes well for that selfie. Anyone who’d rather play it safe can stay in the Balconies lookout section itself. This has a convenient metal railing that stops you from falling off the edge. The rocks to the side don’t benefit from this luxury. Either way, you’ll enjoy an epic view!
How to Get to the Balconies Lookout
The Balconies lookout is nice and easy to get to. It’s also accessible to everyone! Assuming you’re driving, aim for Halls Gap (from Melbourne), and take a right turn just before the town itself, onto Mt. Victory Road.
This is an excellent drive, winding round and round up the mountain. The views of the Grampians along the way aren’t bad either. Stay on this road for 11km until you get to a left turn to Reeds Lookout. It’ll take around 20 to 25 minutes to drive it. Park up, and you’re essentially there.
However, Reeds Lookout is definitely worth stopping at first. The views are essentially the same and just as impressive. When you’ve had your fill of Reeds, take the path to the Balconies leading from the carpark. It’s an easy, well-maintained walk that’s wheelchair accessible too.
The Best Time to Go to the Grampians Balconies Lookout
The Balconies will provide epic views all year round. However, try to wait for a clear day to head on up there. It’d be a shame to have your view obscured or limited by inclement weather. After all, you’re fairly high up there, so the clouds could come in and detract from the experience. For that reason alone, spring or summer is arguably the best time of year to go.
I think your primary consideration in terms of timing should be the number of people who’ll be there. The Balconies get crowded, which can also take away from the experience.
You know what it’s like: you want this time to explore by yourself and enjoy the moment. Instead, you get dozens of people battling for position to take the best selfie. If you’re anything like me, the constant chitter-chatter and shutter sounds will get annoying.
That’s why I recommend getting there before the main rush in the evenings. Almost everyone heads up for sunset. And, to be honest, I don’t blame them. It’s a pretty good spot to watch it (so good that you might need these sunset captions for Instagram).
Tip: Get to the Balconies in the late afternoon, before the madness of sunset. Enjoy the views and then leave before the sun goes down. That sounds counterintuitive, but your view to the west is actually cut off when you’re there. A better place to catch it is back out at Reeds Lookout.
More precisely, take the path from the car park heading away from the Balconies. There’s a perfect viewing platform upon the rocks here, facing directly towards the setting sun. You won’t be alone, but it’s more open, and you have a better chance of finding some peace and quiet to watch the sun go down.
Want the best of the best in terms of Balconies timings?
Go there for sunrise at the Balconies on a clear day in summer. There’ll be fewer people (if any), cooler temperatures, and incredible views.
What to Take to the Balconies Lookout
You really don’t need to take much to the Balconies. After all, you’re looking at a short walk to a viewpoint. It isn’t strenuous and won’t take long (expect a 1-hour return, or less- depending on how long you spend at the lookout). However, to maximize the experience, here’s a list of things I’d recommend taking:
- Camera – Because the views are too good not to photograph!
- Water – I don’t remember there being any water taps, so take your own (especially in hot weather).
- Beer – Go on, take a beer for the top! There’s nothing better than watching the sun go down with a cold one in hand.
- Rug/picnic blanket– The rocks get cold when you’re sitting on them for sunrise/sunset. Take a rug to sit on or wrap around yourself for warmth.
- Sunscreen– Remember to protect yourself from the sun. It’s somewhat exposed at the Balconies, and the Aussie sun is vicious. Unless you’re there for sunset, of course, in which case the sun’s slightly less of an issue…
If you don’t have a car you can book this tour from Melbourne that includes a visit to the Balconies.
What to Do at the Balconies
Realistically, people go to the Balconies for one reason: to catch the view. That said, here are a few more specific ways to spend your time there:
Stop Off at Reeds Lookout
Reeds Lookout is also beautiful! I don’t know many car parks in such a prime location. I’d go as far as saying it’s probably the prettiest place I’ve ever parked a car. Before you take the track to the Balconies, stop for a while to drink in the views.
You’re not meant to climb over the railings here. Please respect the rules. But know that the view from the rocks on the left of the lookout (over the railings) is extraordinary and will have fewer people cramping your style…
Do the Walk (AKA Actually Go to the Balconies!)
Don’t stop at Reeds Lookout! You might be tempted. After all, the views are mind-blowingly good, and you might be put off by the volume of people heading to the Balconies. The walk itself is lovely, though.
For one, it is flat as a pancake. It also takes you on a well-maintained path through some top Aussie forest, with flashes of incredible scenery along the way. It’s a 2km return trip (starting from Reeds Lookout Carpark) and accessible to anyone. You’re rewarded at the end with spectacular Balconies views and something else to tick off the Aussie bucket list.
Take a Selfie at the Balconies Lookout
The Balconies are arguably one of the most instagrammable places in the Grampians! Getting a selfie from the lookout itself would be an epic reminder of an awesome outing.
If you’re okay with heights and don’t mind queueing up behind everyone else doing the same thing, then get on down to the rocks and take a selfie to remember.
Watch the Sunset
This is something of a must in the Grampians National Park. As I’ve said, everyone goes up to the Balconies for sunset! It’s definitely something you could (and possibly should) do yourself. Take a six-pack and go on up with some friends.
Don’t expect to have it to yourself, though. It gets crowded. I reckon a better view comes at the other side of Reeds Lookout Car Park. See above for more details.
Watch the Sunrise
Early bird? Head up to the Balconies for sunrise. Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t think here is the best place to watch the sunset, anyway. Directionally speaking, I reckon (though I haven’t actually done it) that sunrise would be far more impressive. Give it a shot! Take some blankets, a thermos full of tea/coffee, and prepare for an unforgettable morning in the Grampians.
Best Time to Visit the Balconies in the Grampians
That brings to an end my guide to the Balconies Grampians National Park! This is a special place and one that you owe it to yourselves to see. Heading there for sunrise and/or sunset will be particularly special. The views from here and the areas nearby are stunning to catch a glimpse of.
Sure, the crowds can be a little frustrating. But that’s always the case in beautiful, well-known attractions. You’re all there for the same reason, after all. The Balconies make a great addition to any trip to the Grampians. Hopefully, this post will help you plan your visit.
Where to Stay While Visiting the Grampians
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- Grampians Villas – Three beautifully furnished villas with gorgeous views and lots of wildlife – I wish I could move in tomorrow!
- A Heavenly Escape Holiday home – Set in bushland and perfect for a romantic escape with a spa bath and log fire
- The Peaks – 3 bedroom self contained and perfect for a family or group getaway.
- Grampians YHA Ecolodge – Budget stays 1km from Halls Gap
About the author
Danny Newman is currently writing and travelling his way around the world in a bid to figure out precisely what he’s doing with his life. You can follow along with his journey at What’s Danny Doing or on Facebook.