Snowy River National Park

Snowy River National Park, Tourism Victoria
Barbecue Campfire Fishing Horse riding Swimming Toilets Watersports Wildflowers Wildlife Camping area Four-wheel drive touring Information Picnic area Walking

Introduction

Snowy River National Park is a national treasure with its vast tracts of precious wilderness, spectacular diversity of plant and animal life and, at its heart, the iconic Snowy River. It is an ideal park for adventurers, who need to be well equipped and well prepared.

Fact file

Access

From Melbourne via Princes Hwy then turn off to Buchan; from Orbost via Yalmy Road or C612 to Bonang on north-eastern edge of park

Best season

Summer for camping; autumn for scenic driving

Location

390 km north-east of Melbourne; 10 km east of Buchan; 30–40 km north of Orbost

Park information

  • PV 13 1963
  • PV Buchan Caves Reserve (03) 5155 9264
  • PV Orbost (03) 5161 1222

Size

98 700 ha

Visitor information

Buchan/Orbost (03) 5154 2424

Featured Activities in the National Park

  • Fly-fish for trout in the Snowy tributaries

    Canoe down the Snowy and explore its wonderful rock-rimmed gorges

    Watch the impressive Little River Falls plummeting 600 metres into the river

    Camp in the wilderness and enjoy the pristine mountain air

A look at the past

It is thought that the Kurnai people traditionally hunted and fished in this area, camping by the river and spending time on their way to the Snowy Mountains for the summer. They were displaced from the 1830s on, as pastoralists arrived with cattle from New South Wales in search of new pastures, and later miners settled to try their luck (silver was mined downstream from McKillops Bridge in the early 1900s). The national park was not declared until 1979, but isolation has largely preserved this north-eastern corner of Victoria.

Natural features

The landscape is rugged, vegetation is thick and the almost mythical Snowy River courses through the park. Although around half its natural flow is diverted westwards to the Snowy Mountains Scheme as a source for hydro-electric power, the river can still be a rushing torrent or slow to a wide, deep, sandy-banked pool as it wends its way south. Over 20 million years the river has carved deep gorges, with the state’s deepest – the dramatic Little River Gorge – just upstream from the confluence of the Little and Snowy rivers. More than 300 caves with spectacular limestone formations are also located in this region, with two fine examples open to the public (daily tours) in the Buchan Caves Reserve, adjacent to the far south-western border of the park, near the town of Buchan. The Fairy Cave, with impressive stalactites, is over 400 metres long.

Native plants

In the south of the park, hidden in the folds of the ranges, are pockets of cool temperate rainforest, while in the higher, more isolated areas alpine ash dominates. To the east stand tall, wet sclerophyll forests and in the northern region, which falls in a rain shadow, are dry forests of white cypress pine and white box. Along the river’s rocky slopes and sandy banks you will see the lovely Snowy River wattle, recognisable by its soft bluish-green foliage.

Wildlife

Around 30 mammal species and 150 bird species inhabit the park as well as numerous reptiles. Watch in open eucalypt forest for the rare brush-tailed rock-wallaby, distinguished by its plump, well-furred tail. Another special sight is the male superb lyrebird with its showy, curved tail feathers (the track to Raymond Falls is a good spot to look). The elusive olive whistler forages in the riverside thickets.

Introduction

Bushwalking, canoeing and rafting, 4WD touring, trout fishing, horse riding and views of the mighty Snowy River are the main attractions. Check with Parks Victoria for private operators who run guided activities within the park.

Bushwalking

Walking allows you to fully experience the park’s tranquillity. For those seeking a relaxing stroll, there is the Snowy River Nature Walk (1.5-km circuit, 30 minutes, easy), while the strenuous but rewarding Silver Mine Walking Track (18 km return, 9–10 hours) is a loop walk that is best done as an overnight trip; both leave from McKillops Bridge. Two short walks (each 800 metres return) lead to lookouts over Little River Gorge and Little River Falls (see Scenic Views). The gorge, with cliff walls towering 500 metres high, is a good spot to watch for brush-tailed rock-wallabies.

Canoeing and rafting

Skimming along past gorges, sandy banks and idyllic scenery is an unforgettable experience. During winter and spring the level can rise or fall up to 9 metres overnight, resulting in dangerous conditions, while in summer the level may be too low. For experienced rafters there are some challenging rapids. The most popular trip, from McKillops Bridge to the Buchan River at Balley Hooley, takes three to four days. McKillops Bridge is the best launching place if you want to explore the gorges downstream. Canoeists should register at Buchan or McKillops Bridge before trips.

Four-wheel driving and touring

Roads, many of them narrow, unsealed, steep and rocky, wind through spectacular bush country with breathtaking views of mountain valleys and peaks, and sheer vertical drops at the side. The descent from Little River Gorge into McKillops Bridge is a challenging single-lane gravel road. The 4WD-only Deddick Trail and Bowen Track lead to more remote pockets of the park.

The Deddick Trail provides some challenging four-wheel driving for those who wish to tackle its steep decents and seemingly endless climbs out of secluded valleys. The use of low-range four-wheel drive is required in parts along this trail. Those with limited 4WD experience are better advised to travel along McKillops Road from Bonang through Tubbut to the Snowy River. Take special care at dusk and night-time when kangaroos and other wildlife are out feeding.

Scenic views

From the Little River Falls carpark, a 400-metre walk leads to a viewing platform to see the falls plummeting 600 metres into the river. Three kilometres downstream from Little River Falls, the yawning chasm of the 4-kilometre-long Little River Gorge can be viewed from a cliff-top lookout. Access is via a 400-metre walk from the gorge carpark. At Raymond Creek Falls, a 20 to 30-minute walk leads to views of the falls spilling into a deep clear pool.

Campsites

Balley Hooley camping area

Balley Hooley sits on the south-western fringe of the national park, due east of Buchan – access is signposted off the Buchan–Orbost Rd. Canoeing is a real treat along the Snowy River here, with its rapids,... Find out more


Hicks camping area

Hicks camping area is in the south of Snowy River National Park, beside the Yalmy River. It’s accessed off Varneys Track, which runs off Yalmy Rd. A 4WD is required to reach this spot, and note that access is... Find out more


Jacksons Crossing camping area (bush camping)

This is a delightful camping area. Access to the bush-camping site, on the banks of the Snowy River, is via Varneys Track, off Yalmy Rd. A 4WD is needed to reach this isolated spot in the south of the park, although... Find out more


Little River Junction camping area

Located where the Snowy and Little rivers meet, this camping area is not far from Victoria’s deepest cleft. At the spectacular Little River Gorge, stroll out to the cliff-top viewpoint for scenic splendour on your... Find out more


McKillops Bridge camping areas

McKillops Bridge provides an entry point to the Snowy River by conventional vehicle and is a popular place for launching canoes. The self-guided 18 km Silver Mine Walking Track starts from the bridge, which is also a... Find out more


Raymond Creek Falls camping area

This tiny campground, comprising just 4 sites, is situated near  a waterfall (it’s about 1.5 km from the camping area to the falls) that pitches 20 m into a deep foaming pool, accessed off Yalmy Rd –... Find out more


Waratah Flat camping area

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, make a beeline for the Waratah Flat camping area beside Rodger River. To get there, cruise through big-tree country admiring forests of grey gum, alpine ash and native pine... Find out more


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