On Site Activities
The indoor heated salt water pool and spa, available from 8am to 8pm (longer in summer), is very popular with the fitness enthusiast as well as the families. Regardless of whether it is 40 degrees or 6 degrees, you won’t have to worry about sunburn or ice cold water!
For those who like their exercise in the outdoors, there is a full size tennis court, a canoe to paddle around the lake and an 800m walking / jogging lakeside track. These facilities are free, see reception for details. Ask for a supply of bread crusts to feed the ducks. You’ll feel special when the ducks follow you around the gardens or escort you when you paddle around in the canoe.
A level area near the tennis court is available for a game of football or cricket. Bring a fishing rod and catch some of our golden carp (catch & release only!). Ranging in colour from silver and black to bright red and orange, these fish are relatively easy to catch, especially for children.
With magnificent views of the Grampians, and a unique gold heritage, Stawell is the perfect stop for lunch or for a short break. The Stawell Gift – known as the richest foot race in the world – runs for three days over Easter. The town comes alive with the excitement and atmosphere from the influx of tourists and famous athletes.
A visit to the Gift Hall of Fame is a must. Stawell’s strong commercial centre makes it an ideal base for exploring the Grampians ranges and nearby wineries. New cafés and a vibrant main street make Stawell an attractive alternative for a day trip.
Popular Stawell and district attractions include the following:
- Central Park – The venue for the Stawell Gift
- Stawell Gift Hall of Fame – An impressive collection of memorabilia from over 120 years history of the Gift
- The Stawell Railway Art Gallery – Sculpture, paintings and art craft by local artists
- Stawell Gold Mines – Observation area overlooking the Magdala Decline used by heavy vehicles to bring ore to the surface
- Stawell RSL Museum – Originally a two storey residence of a mine owner, built in 1898 – limited hours of opening
- The Giant Koala – Dadswell’s Bridge
- Wineries – Best’s, Grampians Estate, Seppelt, Dog Rock and many, many more
- Brambuk the National Park and Cultural Centre – Koori art and craft
- Halls Gap Wildlife Park and Zoo – Halls Gap
- Zumsteins – Wild Kangaroos and wallabies
- Grampians scenic attractions – Boroka Lookout, The Balconies, MacKenzies Falls, Lake Bellfield, Lake Fyans
- Mount Cassell Wildflower Nursery – Pomonal
Grampians National Park
The Magdala is a great base from which to visit the beautiful Grampians National Park. Only fifteen to twenty minutes’ drive away, the Grampians mountain range stretches from Dunkeld in the south almost all the way to Horsham in the north. A bushwalker’s paradise, there are about fifty walks, ranging from half an hour to two days, taking you to waterfalls, awesome vistas and spectacular rock formations.
For those who prefer their sight seeing from the comfort of the car, the Grampians also offer good sealed roads taking in most of the major points of interest. The Grampians are famous for wildflowers with a festival being held in early October. Wildflowers abound from August through to January.
Heatherlie Quarry which produced the stone for many of the grand public buildings in Melbourne, including State Parliament House, is worth a visit. Other items of interest are the wildflower farms and the olive plantations on the northern edge of the park and the aboriginal art caves in the northern and western sections.
Grampians and Pyrenees Wine Regions
The Grampians and Pyrenees regions produce some of the best wines in Australia. Fifteen minutes from the Magdala is the wine village of Great Western. Who hasn’t celebrated a special occasion without a bottle of Seppelt sparkling wine? Seppelt host tours of their underground cellars or ‘drives’, dug by the gold miners last century, finishing in the Shaft House which is also host to exhibitions of art and unusual crafts. Best’s Wines also dates back to the last century and is operated by the fourth and fifth generation of the Thomson family. Some of the original vines planted by Henry Best in 1866 still survive, though the names of some varieties have long been forgotten.
There are a number of other excellent wineries around Great Western, Ararat and Halls Gap. Anyone visiting the Grampians in early May should not miss Grampians Grape Escape – the wine and food festival in Halls Gap. The Pyrenees wineries are about forty-five minutes from the Magdala in the Avoca/St Arnaud region, and include about ten wineries with a quiet diverse range of wines.