Hattah-Kulkyne National Park

Barbecue Bike riding Campfire Disabled Fishing Swimming Toilets Watersports Wildlife Camping area Four-wheel drive touring Information Picnic area Ranger Walking
The Pink Lakes, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, Ken Stepnell / Tourism Victoria

Introduction

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.

Fact file

Access

From Melbourne or Mildura via Calder Hwy to Hattah

Best season

Autumn to spring

Location

580 km north-west of Melbourne, 74 km south-east of Mildura

Park information

PV 13 1963

Size

48 000 ha

Visitor information

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

See Also

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.

Aboriginal culture

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.

Wildlife

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.

Introduction

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.

Bushwalking

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.

Canoeing

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.

Fishing

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.

Four-wheel driving

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.

Campsites

Firemans Bend camping area (bush camping)

Firemans Bend is the northernmost of the trio of bush-camping spots allocated next to the Murray River, at the eastern border of the national park. Keen mountain-bikers can cycle along River Track, which links the 3... Find out more


Jinkers Bend camping area (bush camping)

Jinkers Bend is another of the bush campsites alongside the Murray River in Hattah–Kulkyne. It’s situated off the River Track between the 2 other bush-camping options – Ki Bend to the south and Firemans... Find out more


Ki Bend camping area (bush camping)

If you’re into fishing and you have a NSW fishing licence, you’ll want to try one of the bush campsites down by the Murray River at Ki Bend. It’s one of 3 places offering riverside campsites between... Find out more


Lake Hattah camping area

Hattah–Kulkyne’s main campground is located close to the visitor centre at Lake Hattah, near the national park’s main entrance. Take the short, self-guided Hattah Nature Walk to check out the local... Find out more


Lake Mournpall camping area

Not the cheeriest name that’s ever been bestowed on a place, but nonetheless a good place to camp. A leg-stretching 8 km track connects the campground to the national park visitor information centre. From Lake... Find out more


See Also

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