Six Summer Picnic Spots in the Southern Grampians

If you’re anything like us, you LOVE a summer picnic. Well, it’s time to fill your picnic basket with delicious goodies and head outside. Make sure that you don’t forget your Grampians Goods Co All-Weather Adventure Blanket! Here are six great summer picnic spots in the Southern Grampians for you to choose from.

summer picnic in the grampians

Picnic spot #1—Dunkeld Arboretum

The Dunkeld Arboretum is 18 hectares of pure picnic bliss. Here you’ll find towering red gums for shade, several ponds that make up a thriving wetland ecosystem and walking tracks that you can explore before you set up for your picnic.

If you turn your view skyward, you’ll notice the stunning Mt Sturgeon peak towering over you, one of the many mountains found within Grampians National Park (Gariwerd).

  • Distance from Melbourne: Just over 3 hours drive
  • Need to know: If you fancy fishing in the lakes, you’ll need a fishing licence. Learn more.

Picnic spot #2—Salt Creek Cottage, Dunkeld

Now a list of picnic spots would not be complete without including Salt Creek Cottage—holiday accommodation that has been curated by us, Grampians Goods Co.

A nostalgic outpost at the southern gateway to Victoria’s glorious Grampians mountain wilderness, Salt Creek Cottage is nestled in the heart of the historic township of Dunkeld, a gentle walk from the main street, shops, cafe’s and the iconic Royal Mail Hotel.

Set up for a picnic either on the deck with our umbrella set up for shade, or find yourself a dreamy garden location to set up in.

Photo credit: Marnie Hawson

Picnic spot #3—Hamilton Botanic Gardens

First planted out in 1870, Hamilton Botanic Gardens contains four hectares of stunning picnic options. There’s plenty to explore for both kids and adults alike, and you might even find some picturesque photo opportunities at the iconic bridge—just like something out of a Monet painting!

You’ll find picnic and BBQ facilities, as well as ample picnic spots to settle at for the day.

  • Distance from Melbourne: 3.5-hour drive
  • Need to know: Hamilton Botanic Gardens are one of the earliest provincial botanic gardens in Australia!

Picnic spot #4—Lake Hamilton

Lake Hamilton is set amongst 25 hectares of parkland, with beaches, bushland, grassy areas, and all the picnic facilities and amenities you could ever want.

If you’re picnicking with kids, why not bring your bikes along and have a pedal beforehand? It’ll make those packed sandwiches taste even better!

picnic blanket and pillows grampians goods co

Picnic spot #5—Freshwater Lake Reserve

Just north of Dunkeld, you’ll find Freshwater Lake Reserve and camping ground. In this quiet campground, set yourself up amongst the towering eucalypts and take in views of the surrounding mountains.

In the cooler months, you can even bring along some firewood and have yourself a rustic campfire BBQ with the family.

Stay for a short picnic and head back to Dunkeld for some cosy accommodation, or why not set up your tent and spend the evening watching the stars dance their way across the sky.

Picnic spot #6—Mount Picaninny (Bainggug)

If you’re up for a bit of a stroll to your picnic spot, The Picaninny is a 2.4km return hike, which takes most people around 1.5 hours to walk (return).

Set up your picnic blanket and all your goodies, and enjoy majestic views of Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt, as well as Dunkeld and surrounding farmland.

romantic summer picnic georgie mann lifestyle
Photo credit:

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your picnic basket, adventure blanket and your paddock pillows, and head outside to make the most of the sunny weather while it’s here.

Any other spots you love in the Southern Grampians? Let us know in the comments below!

Motherland Australia Podcast: Amanda Cochran – Founder of GGCo

Back at the beginning of 2020, our Founder, Amanda Cochran, was interviewed by Steph Trethewey for the Motherland Australia podcast. In this emotional conversation, Amanda and Steph chat about the grief that Amanda lives with every day; at just 8 weeks old, Amanda’s beautiful baby girl, Gemma, passed away from SIDS. Read on to learn what it’s like to raise three kids in rural Victoria, all while running a small business and dealing with the grief of losing a child to SIDS.

Amanda Motherland podcast
Photo Credit: Georgie Mann

Sometimes it’s important to do things that are scary, and sometimes showing vulnerability can be both a part of your own healing journey, as well as a part of someone else’s.

Amanda Cochran, Founder of The Grampians Goods Co. is someone who shows up with vulnerability if it means it’ll help another person get through something, process something, or feel less alone.

Raising three kids in rural Victoria, Amanda has experienced both the passing of her daughter, Gemma from SIDS, and the breakdown of her marriage—all the space of a few years.

And while Amanda says it felt right to keep the grieving process private in the beginning, earlier this year Amanda opened up; first to her Instagram family in the lead up to Mother’s Day, and then in a Motherland Australia podcast interview.

Connection Through Vulnerability: Amanda’s Instagram Post

“I’ve thought really long & hard about sharing this deeply personal part of my story on here,” she wrote on Instagram.

“But with the intense focus on Mother’s Day amidst the current ‘status isolation’ at the moment, I feel like now more than ever, it might be helpful for some to hear it.”

On Mother’s Day in 2011, Amanda’s second daughter, Gemma, died of SIDS at 8 weeks of age.

Filled with confusion and shock in the aftermath, in the podcast interview Amanda describes the loss of innocence and the impact that Gemma’s passing had on her, as well as the endless darkness of grief that those who have lost a child know well.

In this raw and vulnerable podcast interview, Amanda and Steph discuss this time in Amanda’s life, including the eventual breakdown of her marriage after the heaviness of what had happened.

Listen to the podcast here, and join Amanda over at her Grampians Goods Co Instagram community.

If you know someone who needs to feel less alone with the heaviness of motherhood, or someone who has lost a child, please share the episode with them.

Amanda balcony motherland podcast
Photo Credit: Georgie Mann

Announcement // The Grampians Goods Co Features in The Block

So by now, you’ve probably heard the news… The Grampians Goods Co. was featured in Luke and Jasmin’s winning bathroom on ‘The Block’. We couldn’t be more chuffed if we tried! Check out the winning combinations and hopefully get some inspiration for yourself while you’re at it.

The Block Luke Jasmin Bathroom Grampians products
Photo Credit: David Cook Photography

Our 3 products that were featured in the winning bathroom built by Luke and Jasmin included:

So, Why Did Luke and Jasmin Choose the Grampians Goods Co? What They Loved About Our Brand

If you’ve been watching The Block this season, you’ll have witnessed Luke and Jasmin’s indecision and self-doubt throughout the series, as they battled with a really difficult theme; 1910’s-themed house. I mean, talk about ambiguity!

So that’s why I was more than just a little bit chuffed about the reason they chose The Grampians Goods Co. for their bathroom products.

Building a home based in Brighton, which most of you will know is a coastal suburb of Melbourne, Luke and Jasmin needed to be able to create a style, look and feel that was both classic, simple and beachy.

They wanted to be able to pair the packaging with statement linens and, as you’ll see in the photos, dried wildflowers for a timeless yet fresh bathroom feel.

Our packaging, with its simple beige and black colour palette and classical character is, if we do say so, a stylist’s dream.

Whether it’s paired with bright, statement turmeric, like Luke and Jasmin did, or mirrored in neutrals, it works.

And to be honest, what gave me the most pride about them choosing our products?

They told me that what drew them to the packaging on our products was our iconic illustration of Grampians landmark, Mount Sturgeon, nestled in behind the date palms.

The Block Luke Jasmin Bathroom close-up of GGco products.
Our iconic Mt. Sturgeon illustrated packaging sitting comfortably beside these dried bunny tails and yellow wildflowers. Bathroom-users await a sensory experience in both our Grapefruit & Geranium Lather and Lotion. Handcrafted in small batches using traditional soap making methods and locally-sourced Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Grampians Olive Co. and western Victorian hemp seed oil, both our luxe liquid Castile soap and our hand and body lotion, contain a Grapefruit & Geranium essential oil blend supporting Mental Clarity & Focus. Photo Credit: David Cook Photography

A Brief History of The Grampians Goods Co Branding

Why does it make me so proud, that they loved our branding & packaging?

Well, in case you haven’t heard this story before, let me tell you about how The Grampians Goods Co. graphic came to be.

One day sitting having a coffee out the front of the Dunkeld General Store, on the main street of Dunkeld, I was just on my phone, getting some emails done (you know how it is!), when I looked up at Mount Sturgeon sitting in the distance.

Struck by the picture-perfect framing of the foliage, including the palm trees standing tall in the foreground echoing old world colonial romance, I snapped a quick shot on my iPhone. Using an app on my phone, I then converted that image into a ‘sketch-style’ canvas.

And that, my friends is how the original branding came to be!

Since then I’ve had the artwork refined of course, and it’s much more sophisticated now, but I actually love how, just like the business itself, the branding started from such simplistic beginnings. For me, the fact that this sketched image of a mountain that sits so majestically at the southern gateway to the wild Grampians, can so effortlessly elevate and add originality to the coastal tones of a house in beachfront Brighton, is the real accomplishment.

The Grampians Goods Co. has carved out a space that I don’t think I even knew existed when I started! It represents something different to everyone I talk to, and like the natural world from which it takes inspiration, it continues to grow and evolve, which brings me so much joy.

To some, it’s the elegance and luxury of the little moments that keep us sane; lighting a candle to accompany your bubble bath or slowly, carefully moisturising every cuticle.

And to others, it’s those grand gestures of exploration and elegance that fuel and inspire us, that push us to the rugged, mountainous heights of our personal challenges.

I’m so humbled that Luke and Jasmin saw something in my brand and products, it’s just so immensely fulfilling to know my inspiration and creativity continues to strike a chord and connection with so many others.

The Winning Combinations…

I absolutely adore the way in which Luke and Jasmin have styled their bathroom, complimenting the organic, curved shapes and low-key palette of our products with the sharper edges of the vanity, and the bold, bright turmeric linens.

The Block Luke Jasmin Bathroom Grampians products - closer
A beautifully balanced coastal bathroom, with splashes of bold turmeric towels, their tasseled edges and the bright wildflowers blending with the off-white theme of the tiles and basins. The curved edges of the frameless mirrors combined with the gold elements provide a stylish elegance that is both visually balanced and evokes a sense of tranquility. Photo Credit: David Cook Photography
The Block Luke Jasmin Bathroom Grampians soap
Our Sandstone Soap Scrub rests on a custom-made bathroom side table, finished with a dark charcoal lacquer, expertly paired with the activated charcoal & Australian kaolin clay comprising our soap. The vibrant colours of the succulents resting in a large seashell contrast with our moody soap bar, giving a little nod to Brighton’s suburban coastal vibes. Photo Credit: David Cook Photography

How to Get Your Hands on These Products!

In celebration, we’ve put together ‘The Block Box’, which includes all three featured products.

All our email subscribers have received a cheeky discount for The Block Box, so make sure to sign up for our email list for future discounts and special offers for our inner fold.

While you’re at it, why not enter the flash giveaway over at The Block Shop’s Insta? Enter before the competition ends on Tuesday and you could be in the running to win a whole year’s supply of our products (valued at over $1000!), including:

  • 12 x Lather // Hand & Body Wash 500ml
  • 6 x Lotion // Hand & Body Hydration 500ml
  • 8 x Grampians Sandstone Soap // Hand Scrub Bar 150g

But if you can’t wait till then…

5 Tips to Make your Home a Haven – by Genevieve Manley

Interior Designer - Genevieve Manley
Genevieve Manley on location at The Provincial Hotel

We all know that prioritising our wellbeing is the key to getting through this period of uncertainty and coming out as a better, calmer, more focused, more grounded and centred humanity. We’re spending a whole lot of time in our homes in preparation to emerge as sparkling butterflies post-iso.

Here are 5 tips on how to make your home more “haven”, and less claustro-cocoon. So settle in and chuck on your Uggs, friends. We’re home!

1) No one’s house is perfect. Currently, you’re in your house for, let’s say, 23 hours a day, seven days a week. You may or may not have housemates also known as kids and partners, and also animals, and also a job, and also things to do like paint the living room that subtly different shade of white, which you’ve been meaning to do since 2007, but absolutely must do now. Your house is a shambles? So what! Let it go. You have better things to do, like breathe. Take this time to get to know your home again, in all its grubby glory. Giving your brain the space to enjoy, rather than clutter it with stress and anxiety, will allow you to think of limitless possibilities within your home. Use this time to plan and plan well, rather than do, and possibly rush in to dicey decisions. Free your mind, and the rest will follow… or so they say… 

2) Go small. Fun fact – During the GFC in 2009, homewares and lipstick sales sky rocketed. Economic stability was temporarily on hiatus so we purchased small things that would make us feel happy, without the major investment. Whether you realise it or not, you take in far more inspiration from the world outside than any late night Instagram or Pinterest trawl can offer. Our ability to organically access inspiration from real people and places is limited right now, so avoid the urge to change your home from Hamptons style to a 1980s Memphis inspired house of fun. Go small with soft furnishings and build on your home’s already established style. Cosy cushions, a soft throw (hey! Grampians Goods Co.), art (some of my favourite suppliers are Forman Picture FramingModern Times and Greenhouse Interiors) and styling objects like vessels and sculptures will make a huge difference to your home without any post-iso regret. 

3) Follow the light. I don’t want to sound grim, but we’re all coming out as butterflies with Vitamin D deficiencies. Find a window in your home that lets in streams of light during the day and focus on making it a hub to sit and just, be. An armchair, a small table, cushions and a throw are all you need to ensure you soak up as many filtered rays as humanly possible. Your wellbeing will thank you for it.

4) Stay warm. Risk takers looking to go large and repaint rooms… or the whole house… should stick with soft colours to enhance your home’s tranquility. Soft beiges with ochre bases and warmer tones are increasingly becoming the colours of choice for leading interior designers. Haymes and Resene both have beautiful warm, neutral tones in their colour charts. We subconsciously crave comfort during times of stress, we want to envelope ourselves in warmth through colour and texture (and also eat kilos of slow cooked pork) to ease our discomfort. Hot tip: Warmth and comfort will remain on our interior radars long after we break free of lock down, so think of warm colours and soft, feminine, rounded edges as less of a short term trend and more of a social movement.

5) Don’t forget your other senses. The very best interiors aren’t about they way they look, it’s the way they make us feel. But, after a long day of everybody being in the one space with minimal fresh air flow because, winter. is. coming. Things can smell a bit stale. And this doesn’t help you to feel like you’re in a beautiful homely space, it makes you feel like you’re in iso with stinky kids and an oversized dog (or maybe that’s just me). Investing in The Grampians Goods Co. Aromatherapy Candles, diffusers, room sprays and individual essential oil blends (two of my favourites are Black Blaze and Anjali oils), anything to freshen the scent of your home, will simultaneously freshen your spirit, every time. 

Guest post by Interior Stylist Genevieve Manley. 

FAQs about the Heritage Collection Recycled Wool Tartan Blankets

Whenever I do a market or event I have the opportunity to greet customers face-to-face and chat all things recycled wool tartan blankets! Whenever I do, I get asked all about recycled wool, Scottish clans and the best way to wash the tartan travel rugs. So, here are some of the most common questions and discussion topics from those catch-ups… 😊

Read more + “FAQs about the Heritage Collection Recycled Wool Tartan Blankets”

With a mind to a sustainable future…

In the past I wouldn’t say I’ve ever personally identified as an eco-warrior, and even as I type this I’m conscious of being perceived as jumping on what I’m aware is currently a very trending bandwagon, but ultimately, not being prepared to make changes in favour of a sustainable future for fear of being labelled this or that or having your motives questioned, is missing the point entirely and is energy better spent on real impactful action.

Read more + “With a mind to a sustainable future…”

Behind the scenes at The Grampians Goods Co. X Provincial Hotel launch

I’ve been so excited to share with you some behind the scenes insights into my amazing launch with Gorgi Coghlan at The Provincial Hotel that was one week ago today (I can’t even believe how quickly that time has passed!)

As you may (or may not) know, the launch event was to celebrate The Grampians Goods Co. X The Provincial Hotel collaboration we’ve been working on behind the scenes, and is essentially a signature collection of natural, luxury guest amenities for the bathrooms of the stunning apartments and boutique rooms at the hotel.

Read more + “Behind the scenes at The Grampians Goods Co. X Provincial Hotel launch”

Why all scented candles are not created equal…

Scented candles are a popular, easy and effective way to perfume the home, and add a sense of cosiness. They’re often lit when we’re in the bath, to unwind or to simply add a little atmosphere to our space with the flickering light.

But did you know the scent in scented candles can be incredibly toxic? Some candles may emit numerous types of potentially hazardous chemicals, such as benzene and toluene, which can cause headaches, damage to the brain, lung and central nervous system, as well as cause developmental difficulties – suddenly those vanilla-smelling candles don’t smell so tasty, do they?

Read more + “Why all scented candles are not created equal…”

A Wild Tasmanian Adventure with author & chef Sarah Glover

As some of you may know, the annual Grampians Grape Escape festival in Halls Gap in the heart of the Grampians National Park is one of my favourite events of the year. It’s a home game for me, and I love meeting everyone fact-to-face (instead of interacting from behind a screen!) and catching up with all the local makers and producers over a few wines – it’s so energising!

Read more + “A Wild Tasmanian Adventure with author & chef Sarah Glover”

Grampians Goods Co. X Graziher

Having always been a huge fan and supporter of Graziher magazine, advertising in their Christmas gift guide in my first year of being in business and featuring my classic Recycled Wool Scottish Tartan Blankets in Issue #15, Winter 2019, I have loved watching this homegrown publication from rural Queensland go from strength to strength, and couldn’t have been more thrilled when Graziher editor Claire Dunne contacted me with her idea for Graziher and The Grampians Goods Co. to collaborate on a co-branded label for my recycled wool tartan travel rugs.

When Claire then recruited renowned bush photographer Clancy Job and her stunning neighbour Olivia Price to model the sustainable wool blankets, the result was nothing short of a captivating and beautiful depiction of the resilience and solidarity of rural Australian women in their capacity as creatives, mothers and business people – wrapped in the most cosy recycled wool tartan blanket of course!

A strong advocate for rural and regional Australian businesses, especially those with women at the helm, Claire and her team were quick to get behind the Buy From The Bush campaign which has quickly grown into an Australia-wide movement.

Created by Grace Brennan, the Buy From the Bush campaign encourages people to support makers and stockists of artisan products from drought-affected rural Australia.

The Buy From The Bush social media accounts showcase charming rural boutiques and wares available from bush traders and shopowners, business people who rely predominantly on farming communities to keep them afloat, which during times of extreme drought is a hard ask.

Buy From The Bush feature outback stores stocking everything from gifts, fashion & jewellery to homewares like my recycled wool tartan blankets, and other artisan and gourmet goods just to name a few. For The Grampians Goods Co. so many of my hardworking stockists in areas like Adelong, Holbrook, Carcoar and Taralga, fit into this category and have so much to gain from a campaign like this one.

The Grampians Goods Co., Graziher and Buy From The Bush are linked by our sharing of a common goal; to celebrate and provide a point of connection to rural and regional Australia and the resilient people who call it home.

By choosing to buy regionally made products and using the power of print, digital and social media, we call all support the makers, artisans, and shopkeepers of the outback. So next time you need to buy a birthday, Christmas or Mother’s Day gift, jump on the Instagram hashtag of Buy From the Bush, and check out all of the wonderful products you can spoil yourself, or that special someone in your life.