The Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park, located in Victoria, Australia, is of deep cultural importance for Australia’s Indigenous peoples.
It is also the location of immense natural beauty and ecological significance. This makes it a great place to travel on a day tour from Melbourne. In this blog post, we will explore the rich Indigenous history of the Grampians National Park, including the traditions, stories, and customs of the local Indigenous communities.
Indigenous History of Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park
The Grampians National Park spans over 167,000 hectares. It is home to many Indigenous cultural sites, including rock art, ceremonial grounds, and tool-making areas. The park is located on the traditional lands of the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people,. They have been living in the region for thousands of years.
For the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people, the Grampians are an important cultural landscape. They have a deep spiritual connection to the land. They believe it was created by their ancestral beings during the Dreamtime. The Grampians are also a site of great cultural significance. As they have been used for ceremonial purposes for generations.
Indigenous Cultural Sites
One of the most significant cultural sites in the Grampians is the Bunjil Shelter. This small rock shelter features rock art depicting Bunjil, the eagle. This is a creator spirit in the mythology of many local Indigenous communities. The shelter is considered a sacred site and is used for contemporary ceremonies and activities.
Other important cultural sites in the Grampians include Gulgurn Manja (also known as the “Hands of Gariwerd”). This features handprints and other artwork. In addition there are numerous grinding stones and axe-grinding grooves. These were used by the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people to make tools and weapons.
Despite the cultural significance of the Grampians National Park, the Indigenous peoples of the area have faced many challenges over the years. This includes dispossession of their lands, forced removal from their homes, and the suppression of their cultural practices. Today, however, there is a growing recognition of the importance of Indigenous cultural heritage. In addition, efforts are being made to protect and preserve the cultural sites and traditions of the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people.
The Grampians National Park is also known for its unique climate and natural environment. The Indigenous peoples of the area have long recognized and adapted to this environment. They have traditionally divided the year into six distinct seasons.
The seasons recognized by the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people are based on the changing weather patterns and the behaviour of local plants and animals. Each season has its own characteristics and is associated with different cultural practices and traditions.
- Budja Budja (December to January). This is the hot and dry season, characterized by the blooming of the yellow gum and also the activity of the black ant.
- Warnambool (February to March). This season is marked by the flowering of the silver banksia and also the emergence of the long-necked turtle from hibernation.
- Pangarang (April to May). During this season, the days become shorter and cooler, and the red flowering gum begins to bloom.
- Tugarah Tugarah (June to July). This is the cold and wet season, when the yam daisy begins to flower and the southern brown bandicoot becomes more active.
- Guling (August to September). The winds pick up during this season, and the wattle begins to bloom, signalling the start of spring.
- Ganyan (October to November). This is the season of birth and renewal, when the eucalyptus trees begin to blossom and the echidna and kangaroo are more active.
Exploring the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park
If you’re interested in experiencing the rich Indigenous history and natural beauty of the Grampians National Park, a great way to do so is by taking a guided day tour. Our tour offers a unique opportunity to explore the park and learn about its cultural heritage, as well as its stunning landscapes and wildlife.
Grampians Tour Highlights:
- Take a stroll through shady forests to Silverband Falls
- Time to explore the wildlife and surroundings of Grampians township of Halls Gap
- Take a short hike from the Wonderland Turntable into the spectacular Grand Canyon
- Hike to one of the Grampians most famous sites, MacKenzie Falls
- Enjoy panoramic views from Reeds Lookout and views over the mountain range from Boroka Lookout
- Spot wild animals including kangaroos in their natural habitat
The sandstone peaks of the Grampians mountain range are best explored on foot. On our tour of the National Park you can walk with your guide along nature trails to learn about the history and geology of the area. You can also spot wildlife such as kangaroos and native birds. Take in the incredible views from scenic lookouts and also explore the area’s largest waterfalls – MacKenzie Falls. The Grampians are a nature-lovers paradise waiting to be explored.
Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au