Hattah-Kulkyne National Park
On the southern banks of the mighty Murray, Hattah–Kulkyne combines classic Mallee country – where stretches of stunted eucalypts bask beneath a searing summer sun – with majestic river red gums and a string of freshwater lakes that ﬁll seasonally from the overﬂow of the Murray River. The wetlands are renowned as a mecca for birdwatchers.
From Melbourne or Mildura via Calder Hwy to Hattah
Autumn to spring
580 km north-west of Melbourne, 74 km south-east of Mildura
PV 13 1963
48 000 ha
Mildura/Ouyen/Robinvale (03) 5021 4424, 1800 039 043
Mildura (03) 5018 8380
Featured Activities in the National Park
Call in at the interpretive centre to learn about the national park
Toss a line and ﬁsh for yellow-belly or the prized Murray cod
Take a ﬁeld guide and identify some of the bird species (over 200)
Head for Warepil Lookout to experience a magniﬁcent Mallee sunset
- Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, Recreational Wildlife-watching, Recreational Wildlife-watching
A look at the past
Large tracts of land were heavily grazed and timber was felled for building and fuel, affecting the area’s delicate ecology, but a sanctuary was declared around Hattah Lakes in 1960, and the expanded Hattah–Kulkyne National Park declared in 1980.
Evidence of Aboriginal occupation over generations is scattered throughout Hattah–Kulkyne. Look for scars on trees where timber was cut for shields and bark canoes, and for shell middens.
Kangaroos are a fairly common sight, grazing in the cool early morning or at dusk, or stretched out beneath shade trees in the heat of the day. The park’s birdlife is proliﬁc, with more than 200 recorded species. Around campsites you may see apostlebirds (so called because of their gregarious habit of moving in parties of ten to twelve), and noisy white-winged choughs. The delicate-pink Major Mitchell cockatoos, vivid mulga parrots and rosellas can often be seen and heard. The mound-building malleefowl nests in the mulga scrub, and emus move in small groups. After ﬂooding and heavy rains, the lakes are nationally signiﬁcant wetlands that attract ﬂocks of migratory birds. Swans, pelicans and ducks live around the lakes.
Natural features and native plants
Sandy ridges support low-growing mallee eucalypts while river red gums grow closer to the waterways where ﬂooding is typical, their broad limbs often bent low over lakes, creeks and the waters of the Murray. Native cypress pine and bull-oak (Allocasuarina leuhmanii) spread across the sand plains. The soil has suffered from grazing and rabbit infestation, but regeneration schemes are helping to renew the landscape.
Call in at the visitor centre to ﬁnd out information on walking and driving tracks (some access tracks closed until December 2012). Advise rangers if you are planning an overnight walk. Also check before swimming or drinking any local water. No powerboats are allowed on the lakes or Chalka Creek.
Bugle Ridge Walk (10 km return, 3½ hours, easy) is a relaxing stroll along a sandy track around lakes Hattah, Bulla, Brockie and Arawak. Watch for waterbirds such as spoonbills and herons, and in the cool of the evening, mammals such as kangaroos. Warepil Lookout Walk (600 metres return, 30 minutes, easy), from the old Calder Hwy carpark, is a short climb to the lookout tower, rewarded by views of the spreading river red gums and peaceful lakes. Sunset is the perfect time to do this walk.
When the water levels are up, canoeing or kayaking are great ways of exploring the waterways of the park, skimming almost silently across the lakes and around the river gums.
Anglers will ﬁnd plenty to keep them occupied, with yellow-belly, redﬁn and, if you are lucky, the prized Murray cod. Yabbies and Murray crayﬁsh can be caught during the season. Note that a New South Wales ﬁshing licence is required for ﬁshing in the Murray.
Roads are mainly sandy and can be impassable after rain. Contact park rangers on arrival to check conditions. Hattah Nature Drive near Lake Hattah and the Kulkyne Loop Drive are both good introductions to the park.
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