Baw Baw National Park
Baw Baw National Park offers classic high-country experiences such as skiing, bushwalking, whitewater rafting and ﬂy-ﬁshing in the crisp mountain air. Along with being a park for the adventurous, it protects rare subalpine vegetation and intriguing native ﬂora and fauna, with beautiful wildﬂowers in summer and dazzling snow in winter. The landscape embraces an expansive plateau of grassy snow plains with granite tors and steep-sided river valleys.
From Melbourne via Princes Hwy to Moe then Erica and Walhalla, or Thomson Valley Rd for access to carparks; from Melbourne via Princes Hwy to Drouin or Moe then north to join Mt Baw Baw Tourist Rd for access to Baw Baw Alpine Resort
Spring and summer for walking; winter for snow sports
170 km east of Melbourne; 40–90 km north of Moe
- PV 13 1963
- PV Erica (03) 5165 3204
13 300 ha
Erica (03) 5174 3199
Latrobe (03) 5176 3030
Featured Activities in the National Park
Toboggan down the slopes of Mount St Gwinear
Watch for the superb lyrebird scratching among the leaf litter
Visit heritage-listed Walhalla, tucked into a steep-sided valley
Follow the Beech Gully Nature Walk
Shoot the rapids in the rippling white waters of the Thomson River
- Baw Baw National Park, Eco-friendly activity
A look at the past
The park’s link with the region’s traditional owners is recalled in the name Baw Baw, from an Aboriginal word for ‘echo’, or possibly ‘big’. Botanist Baron Ferdinand von Mueller explored the region in 1860, recording the plant life. The discovery of gold in 1866 put the region on the map with a rush to Stringers Creek and Cohens Reef, which led to the township of Walhalla. A walking track from Warburton to Walhalla through magniﬁcent myrtle beech forest and ferny glades, which opened in 1906, became a favourite with walkers but the countryside was devastated in the 1939 bushﬁres. The region has remained something of a backwater, a refuge for wildlife and natural vegetation, its heritage preserved in historic hamlets. Mountain peaks include Mount Baw Baw (1566 metres), Mount St Gwinear (1514 metres) and Mount Erica (1509 metres).
Tall mountain ash, messmate and silver wattle dominate the lower slopes, leading to alpine ash and shining gum on higher slopes then subalpine snow gum woodlands on the plateau. Pockets of spongy sphagnum moss carpet the ground and in spring and summer wildﬂowers appear, such as bush peas and snow daisies, spreading across the meadows.
The endangered Leadbeater’s possum lives in the park, as does the warty, brown-and-yellow Baw Baw frog, found only on the higher slopes of Mount Baw Baw. Swamp wallabies, wombats, several species of gliders, brushtail possums and the elusive platypus also ﬁnd refuge here, along with the superb lyrebird, renowned for its mimicry. Cockatoos and owls are other birds to watch for.
Hunting deer is permitted during the open season (check details with Parks Victoria). There is parking at Aberfeldy River camping area, Thomson Dam, Silvertop picnic area, St Gwinear carpark (fees apply in winter) and at the Baw Baw Resort.
There are some wonderful walks and splendid views. Many people base themselves at Mount St Gwinear, Mount Erica or Baw Baw Alpine Village. Typical walks include Beech Gully Nature Walk (400 metres, 30 minutes return) past mossy myrtle beech on the southern slopes of the range; Mount St Gwinear Track (6 km, 3 hours return), which meanders through heathland and snow gum to the Mount St Gwinear summit; and Mushroom Rocks trail (3 km, 2 hours return), which leads to a tumble of giant granite tors. The Australian Alps Walking Track from Walhalla to Tharwa near Canberra (650 km) also traverses the park, although at the time of writing the section from Thomson Valley Road to Walhalla was closed due to landslips.
Canoeing and rafting
For adrenalin-seekers there is excellent whitewater rafting and canoeing downstream of Thomson Dam. Newcomers to the sport can join a rafting tour (contact Parks Victoria for details).
The pristine waters of the Aberfeldy, Thomson and Tyers rivers are ideal for ﬂy-ﬁshing, with brown trout the target, but there is also river blackﬁsh, eels and rainbow trout.
Horses can be ridden on the Low Saddle Track (seasonally) and the Old Tramway adjacent to the Thomson Valley Road. Horse riding is not permitted anywhere else in the park.
As you follow the narrow park roads, magniﬁcent views unfurl across the plateau, from snow-laden snow gums in winter to ﬂowering heaths in the warmer months. The Mount St Gwinear Road is hazardous in winter and drivers should beware of logging trucks on forest roads. Some tracks are 4WD only, some are subject to seasonal closures. Drivers must carry snow chains.
Families enjoy tobogganing on the slopes or simply building a snowman near the St Gwinear carpark. A kiosk operates during the winter season and toboggans can be hired. The more experienced cross-country skiers can follow the marked trails from this carpark onto the plateau or further aﬁeld to Baw Baw Alpine Village. Visit www.vicsnowreport.com.au for the latest on snow conditions.
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