grampians
Vegan Guides

The Grampians Vegan Guide 2020

Heading out of Melbourne and into regional Victoria, I had no idea what kind of vegan food I was going to be able to find during our trip to the Grampians. It turns out I had absolutely nothing to worry about because there are so many vegan-friendly restaurants around the area with impressive plant-based dishes on offer. Where can I find the best vegan food in the Grampians? Keep reading for the ultimate Grampians Vegan Guide.

The Grampians - Halls Gap - Horsham - Stawell - Ararat - Hamilton - Dunkeld

Halls Gap

Halls Gap is a small town at the base of the Grampians and the official gateway to this wonderful national park. Sandstone cliffs and lush mountains tower down over this quaint little town from every angle and the views are simply spectacular.

Halls Gap Grampians Victoria

Live Fast Café

You wouldn’t expect to find a vegan haven in such a remote town but that’s exactly what Live Fast Cafe is. Half the menu is vegan but my favourite was the watermelon ‘tuna’ with black sesame and nori on a bed of Vietnamese noodles. We also tried the vegan toasted sandwich with roast pumpkin, chilli, sun-dried tomato spread and cheese. In short, you’ll find the best vegan food in the Grampians at Live Fast Café.

Halls Gap Hotel

Widely known as the best pub in the Grampians, you have to go to the Halls Gap Hotel just to sit in their beautiful beer garden overlooking the mountains. When I visited I chose the maple roasted butternut with black beluga lentils, organic greens, coconut labneh & red wine caramel, which was delicious. Likewise, my boyfriend loved his vegan pizza with mushroom, red capsicum, olives, spanish onion, pine nut & tahini sauce. We finished up with their signature pistachio and caramelised quince crumble with plant-based cream and rose syrup.

Spirit of Punjab

If you’re looking for a curry with a view then look no further than Spirit of Punjab. Here you can enjoy all the classic vegan Indian favourites including tons of veg curries, samosas and aloo tikki, all whilst overlooking the mountains. Don’t miss the tangy cauliflower bites with tamarind sauce – they were pretty special.

Pomonal Estate

Pomonal Estate is well worthy of a mention in the Grampians Vegan Guide. After an epic day hiking, we headed to the cellar door for the most wonderful wine tasting experience. We tasted all of the vegan-friendly wines along with signature beers & cider from their Grampians brewery. Our drinks were accompanied by a seasonal vegan tasting platter featuring homemade falafel, freshly baked sourdough and a huge selection of dips, chutneys, olives & fruits.

The Kookaburra Hotel

This highly popular hotel has a few great vegan options. However, the best thing on the menu is definitely the mango, lime and coconut sorbet. Main course options at The Kookaburra include a veggie stack with pesto and napoli sauce and a banging mixed bean & pecan salad with olives, avocado and tangy dressing.

On the way home from Halls Gap, it’s also worth dropping by Red Rock Olives to purchase organic marinated olives, cold-pressed olive oil and vinegars from their very own Grampian olive groves.

Dunkeld

Found at the southern foot of the Grampians National Park, Dunkeld is a tiny town with gorgeous mountain views. Despite having a population of below 700 people, Dunkeld has become a culinary destination in recent years thanks to the revamp of the Royal Mail Hotel.

Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel

An afternoon spent at Wickens is really like no other. You’ll find the restaurant hidden down a boardwalk path surrounded by lush trees. Moreover, upon entering the building you’ll be greeted with floor-to-ceiling views of Mount Sturgeon and Mount Abrupt. Once seated, tuck into a five course vegan tasting menu with wine matchings and savour every mouthful knowing that the majority of the ingredients are grown right there in the grounds of the hotel. If you don’t fancy drinking, a non-alcohol Garden matching is also available where you will served a selection of alcohol-free mocktails. Wickens offers a fine-dining experience and has won multiple awards for their food concepts & extensive wine cellar. Naturally, your visit won’t be cheap, but you’re unlikely to ever forget it.

*Please mention that you would like a vegan tasting menu at the time of booking.

Horsham

Located 30 minutes north of The Grampians you’ll find Horsham, a large town on the banks of the Wimmera river with a couple of great vegan-friendly restaurants.

Nourish’d Eatery

I was very pleasantly surprised to find this 100% gluten-free organic eatery in Horsham as it’s definitely more Melbourne than mountains. Ingredients are locally sourced where possible and vegan options include buckwheat chia toast with crunchy PB, banana and organic maple syrup. Moreover, they also do a selection of fully loaded vegan salads with toppings like turmeric vegan cheese, as well as charred cauliflower and beetroot wraps. I wouldn’t say no to the raw vegan treats on offer either.

Thai Basil

This traditional Thai restaurant offers 13 vegan-friendly curries with tofu/veggies and an excellent pumpkin red curry too. Most importantly, they also offer BYO so you can bring your favourite bottle of vegan wine along with you.

Bull & Mouth

The Bull & Mouth is a highly rated dining establishment in the centre of Horsham boasting a great menu with several plant-focused dishes. When I visited I had the stir-fry with peanut, chilli & sesame sauce served with wild rice. In addition to this, they do a great veggie curry, pumpkin-avocado salad and garlic-tomato pappardelle pasta dish (just ask for these three without the yoghurt/feta). Top tip: be sure to eat in their lovely beer garden when the weather’s warm enough.

Horsham Sports & Community Club

Highly popular with locals, the community club has a thriving bistro serving vegan options like sun-dried tomato, butternut & spinach risotto cooked in a flavourful bay leaf & thyme broth. For dessert, the caramel banana parfait with coco whipped cream, vegan caramel & walnuts won’t disappoint.

Domino’s Pizza

Sometimes after a big day of hiking you just can’t be bothered to go out to a restaurant. Order one of Domino’s epic vegan pizzas to be delivered to your Airbnb and enjoy it on the sofa with a glass of wine. Don’t forget the vegan cheesy garlic bread with scallions!

Horsham Masala Indian Restaurant

Classic Indian dishes can be found at this popular spot including eggplant curries and Aloo Gobi.

Stawell

Aside from tiny Halls Gap, Stawell is the closest significant town to the national park so it’s a great option if you want to minimise driving time. Whilst still relatively small, there are a couple of lovely spots serving vegan food.

Mokepilly Cafe

This beloved local café is becoming popular for its homemade vegan pie with mediterranean vegetables, garlic & thyme. They also do soups, salads, smoothies and juices.

Salingers of Great Western

Located a 10 minute drive from the centre of Stawell, this charming little café in Great Western is well worth the journey. Built in 1861, Salingers boasts exposed brickwork, tall wooden doors and Victorian decor. It’s a wonderful piece of history with great food and wine. Above all, vegan diners can enjoy excellent food like Salingers’ signature sandwich made with ciabatta sourdough, basil pesto, sundried tomatoes, avocado and vegan chicken. Another great plant-based option is the soft shell tacos with vegan chicken, sriracha slaw, cucumber ribbons and jalapeños.

Ararat

From traditional Lebanese dishes to Tibetan dumplings, thriving country town Ararat has a decent vegan food scene that’s definitely worth checking out.

Sicilians

This Italian-Lebanese fusion restaurant champions fresh Mediterranean flavours. Vegan options include the speciality Fattoosh salad with Lebanese bread croutons and the pumpkin risotto with toasted pine nuts & homemade pesto. They also do a selection of vegan-friendly house dips like hummus & baba ganoush, as well as excellent homemade bruschetta.

Foragers Cafe

As the name would suggest, hearty salads steal the show at Foragers. Choose between turmeric cauliflower couscous, falafel & lentil tabouleh or pumpkin & chickpea. If you’re still hungry, grab a raw salted caramel & peanut slice accompanied by an oat milk flat white with fresh coffee beans from Seven Seeds Roasters in Melbourne. If you’re going to be having a picnic during your Grampians adventure, Foragers stocks freshly baked local bread from Great Western Granary and it’s pretty damn good.

Sede Café

Coffee and dumplings? Why not! S.e.d.e brews up the best coffee in town and their momos (Tibetan dumplings) are a real hit. Vegan diners can scoff down the veggie version of the momos or go for the house vegan breakfast with seasoned tofu, roast root veg & napoli sauce on sourdough. They also do a great ginger-chilli zucchini noodle stirfry and a super healthy kale and quinoa salad.

Chally’s Bar & Bistro

Located in the middle of Ararat’s impressive Chalambar golf course, Chally’s serves up some cracking vegan food. Highlights are the yellow thai curry with jasmine rice & shallots and the nacho bowl with charred corn, avocado, black rice & chipotle. They also do delicious vanilla coconut icecream for dessert.

Desi Swag

There are loads of vegan options on offer at this popular Indian spot. Go for the beetroot tikki or chilli garlic tofu to start and follow with sambar, saffron rice & wholemeal roti.

Takeaway

If you don’t fancy cooking, order from Khoon Thai or Domino’s depending on your preference. They both have great vegan options.

Hamilton

Hamilton is a reasonably big town found in the Southern Grampians region (about an hour from the national park by car). It’s a great base if you’re visiting from South Australia or the Great Ocean Road area.

Tosca Browns

The quality of food at Tosca’s is out of this world and they have a ton of vegan dishes available for breakfast & lunch. If you’re visiting first thing, go for the coconut & chia pudding on a bed of granola with summer berries and passionfruit. For lunch, don’t miss the nasi goreng or the masala lentils with charred pumpkin, papadums & coconut yoghurt. I can confirm the coffee is also excellent.

Café Gray

Cafe Grey make all of their dishes fresh every day and plant-based options include thai pumpkin soup with local sourdough as well as mango & freekeh salad. In addition to this, they do cold pressed juice and blended smoothies without dairy.

Jack + Jude

Along with Tosca’s, Jack + Jude’s is also bringing a breath of fresh air to the Hamilton food scene with creative dishes & barista coffee that would impress even Melbourne’s top baristas. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, vegan diners love the roast veg & indian chutney toastie at any time of the day. Furthermore, the mushroom-lentil bolognese and the falafel burger with pickles & smoked pumpkin puree are both winners.

Thai Town

Satay noodles, jungle stir fry and tom yum soup are just a couple of the great vegan options available at Thai Town.

Racha Thai

Another highly rated Thai joint offering Pad See Ew, Pad Kee Mao, curry puffs & more.