Tourism, lifestyle, sport and recreation, arts, heritage and culture

Visiting the Wimmera Southern Mallee

The Wimmera Southern Mallee landscape is a mix of sweeping plains and rich desert landscapes, with the popular mountain parks of the Grampians and Mt Arapiles rising in the south. 

The region has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers, and cool winters. Compared to Melbourne, the region has hotter summer days, cooler winter nights and a lower rainfall. Summer daytime temperatures average around 30 degrees, but can exceed 40 degrees. Winter nights can fall below zero. Rain occurs mainly during the cooler months, but summer storms are not uncommon.

Nature

The Grampians National Park (Gariwerd) is a one of the most well-known parks in Victoria. The park is rich in animal and plant life, Aboriginal heritage, lakes and waterfalls. There are a wide range of accommodation options and spectacular views are accessible by car, easy short walks and challenging multi-day hikes. 

The iconic Mt Arapiles (Dyurrite) within the Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park attracts mountain climbers from across the world. This spectacular feature rising sharply from the Wimmera plains is a valuable nature conservation area and has numerous important cultural heritage sites.

The Little Desert National Park and Wyperfeld National Park offer an insight into a different landscape featuring rich desert and Mallee landscapes. 

Art

The Silo Art Trail is Australia’s largest outdoor gallery stretching more than 200 kilometres across the Wimmera Southern Mallee. Renowned artists from Australia and across the world have painted each epic work of art that also tells a unique story about the host town.

The Horsham Town Hall and Art Gallery is a high-quality performance, visual arts and conference venue that offers our community the opportunity to enjoy the world-class international, national and locally-produced events.

Tourist information 

🔗 Visit Grampians website

🔗 Wimmera Mallee Tourism website

🔗 Visit Horsham website

Lifestyle

The Wimmera Southern Mallee is renowned for friendly people and a relaxed lifestyle. Residents typically report a higher than average level of satisfaction with life - particularly in the areas of community connection and participation. Many residents have made the conscious decision to swap a busy city commute for more time with family and friends.

Detailed information on local lifestyles, as well as housing, jobs and schools is available from Live the Grampians Way

The Wimmera Southern Mallee has a diverse and vibrant community offering a range of activities, clubs, sporting opportunities and events. 

For specific local information about the sport, clubs, playgroups, art and events refer to the local council websites:

Shopping and eating out

Horsham and Stawell are the major regional centres with a wide range of national chain stores and local boutiques. The major towns in each region offer a range of services including supermarkets, clothing, hardware, local produce and collectables. Shops are generally open from Monday to Friday and from 9am or 10am until 5pm or 5.30pm, as well as Saturday mornings. Some stores are open across the weekend. 

Bakeries, cafes, restaurants and hotels offer everything from coffee and cake to breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dining options range from traditional pub food and international cuisines through to local and chain takeaway stores. Some highway roadhouses offer 24-hour service. 

Outdoor activities and sport

The Wimmera Southern Mallee has an abundance of space for outdoor activities such as bushwalking, fishing, camping, water skiing and rock climbing. Destinations include the Grampians, Little Desert and Wyperfeld National Parks, the Wimmera River and numerous lakes and the international rock climbing mecca Mount Arapiles. 

Sport is an integral part of the region and while the football, netball, tennis and golf are popular, there is also strong interest in other sports ranging from cycling and water skiing to lawn bowls and table tennis. Several commercial and community gyms across the region offer personal and group training classes, with Park Runs now taking off in many locations.

Churches

There are many churches and religious organisations in the Wimmera Southern Mallee who will welcome you and your family. Christian denominations are represented in most towns and there is also an Islamic Welfare Association in Horsham, which includes a place to worship.

Arts, culture and events

The Wimmera Southern Mallee has a wide range of arts and cultural performances and events including several fishing competitions. Horsham Town Hall and Regional Art Gallery has a modern auditorium that attracts major visiting shows. Check local council websites above for the current list of events. 

Showcase events include:

Volunteering

Volunteering is at the heart of the community and is a good way to meet people and make friends. The Centre for Participation supports volunteering by helping to recruit, train and support volunteers and organisations. Courses include certificate level training, language, literacy and numeracy and lifestyle.  

Water

Lakes and reservoirs are popular recreation areas for fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming, canoeing and other activities such as camping or picnics.

Local weirs, lakes and rivers make an important economic and social contribution to the regional economy. Wimmera Development Association, GWMWater, the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and local councils have assessed this value each year from 2016 to 2020. The project estimated that the 27 lakes, weir pools and rivers around the region contributed $28.5 million to the local economy in 2019-20.

See the Wimmera Southern Mallee Socio-Economic Value of Recreational and Environmental Water reports. 

Advocating for active lifestyles

WDA actively explores opportunities to strengthen community participation and improve facilities.

Sport

The effects of COVD-19 has been widespread, and the sporting sector has not been immune. Very early in the COVID-19 period, concerns were raised in regards to the impact on Wimmera Southern Mallee sporting clubs and the responsibilities that fell on their committees of management - particularly with regards to the financial management and the potential impact on the long-term viability of clubs.

WDA, recognising the economic and social importance of thriving sporting clubs to the region, collaborated with the Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly (WRSA), and participated in a number of activities and investigations, as detailed in this report, to gain insight the impact of COVID-19 on the region's sporting clubs.

Wimmera Southern Mallee Community Sport– securing the future of community sport through COVID-19 and beyond, 2020 report (3Mb PDF)

Grampians Regional Cycling Masterplan 

The Grampians Region Cycling Masterplan, developed in 2018, aims to establish the Grampians region as a premier tourism destination for road, mountain and recreational cycling. The plan identified opportunities to develop new infrastructure and attract events and the quantifies the potential benefits to the region. 

Read more about the Grampians RDV Region Cycling Master Plan and Business Plan. 

Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly

The Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly Inc is a volunteer-based organisation that supports the growth, development and promotion of sport and recreation at a grassroots level.

The Assembly provides a vital link between local clubs and state and national bodies. It has formed a solid partnership with Sport and Recreation Victoria and other strategic partners including VicHealth, Local Government, and health agencies to provide a quality service for Wimmera sports clubs and associations which encompasses the needs and priorities of the region.