War memorial, Paul Dunlop / Photo courtesy Cardinia Shire Council

Population 1423

Koo-Wee-Rup and the surrounding agricultural area exist on reclaimed and drained swampland. It has given rise to Australia's largest asparagus-growing district. The town's name derives from the Aboriginal name meaning 'blackfish swimming', a reference to the fish that were once plentiful in the swamp.

Visitor Information

Newsagency, 277 Rossiter Rd; (03) 5997 1456.

Nearby national parks

  • Yarra Ranges National Park

    Lofty mountain ash bathed in mist, rare and endangered plants and animals, snow in winter and pristine pockets of bushland make Yarra Ranges...more

  • Kinglake National Park

    Surrounding the township of Kinglake, this bush retreat close to Melbourne offers views of the Yarra Valley, the city skyline and Port...more

  • Brisbane Ranges National Park

    In Brisbane Ranges National Park low mountains are dissected by rugged gorges and hidden gullies with basalt grasslands and woodlands. An...more

Nearby towns

  • Emerald

    Emerald is a delightful little town set in the Dandenong Ranges, which lie behind Melbourne's eastern suburbs. Over the weekend people come...more

  • Cowes

    Situated on the north side of Phillip Island, Cowes is its major town. It is linked to the Mornington Peninsula by a passenger ferry service...more

  • Warragul

    Warragul is a thriving rural town with a growing commuter population, being the dairying centre that supplies much of Melbourne's milk....more

In Town

Historical Society Museum: local history; open Sun; Rossiter Rd.


Swamp Observation Tower: views of remaining swampland and across to Western Port. A market with local produce operates regularly at the base; South Gippsland Hwy; 2 km SE.

Bayles Fauna Reserve: native animals; 8 km NE.

Harewood House: restored 1850s house with original furnishings; South Gippsland Hwy towards Tooradin.

Tooradin: offers good boating and fishing on Sawtells Inlet; 10 km W.

Caldermeade Farm: originally a premier beef cattle property but now a fully operational modern dairy farm focused on educating and entertaining visitors; 10 km SE.

Pakenham: now considered a suburb of Melbourne, Pakenham is home to the Military Vehicle Museum, Army Rd, the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society Museum, John St and Strahan Woodworks, Bayard St; 13 km N.

Tynong: attractions include Victoria's Farm Shed, featuring farm animals and shearing, and Gumbaya Park, a family fun park; 20 km NE.

Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne: renowned, wonderfully maintained native gardens; 22 km NW.

Grantville: hosts a market 4th Sun each month; 30 km S.

Fishing spots near town

Middle Spit 27 km

One of the most popular destinations for boating anglers is the Middle Spit, located along the western shore of French Island. Regarded as a whiting hotspot, it’s just a matter of knowing where to go and the tide... Find out more

Mosquito Channel 29 km

Corinella is about 115 km south- east of Melbourne on the eastern side of Western Port. There is a jetty, slipway and a 24-hour all-tide boat ramp. Anglers who launch their boats here regard these waters as something... Find out more

Elephant Triangle 30 km

Fishing for elephant fish in Western Port has become an institution. Anglers hang out for the first signs that the fish are starting to migrate into the bay. In general terms, the Elephant Triangle (GPS: S38.26.826,... Find out more

Snapper Spots 31 km

Many snapper anglers prefer to concentrate along the edges of the main shipping channels. The deep water running along the western shore of Phillip Island from the Nobbies to Cowes (Buoys 1–13) is a proven snapper... Find out more

Patterson River 34 km

The Patterson River is well known for bream, and walking and bike tracks on both sides of the river offer ease of access for bank fishing. The most productive waters are in the marinas between the Mornington Peninsula... Find out more

Carrum 36 km

The Launching Way boat ramp facility at Carrum is the best in the bay but during snapper season anglers who haven’t launched their boats and parked their cars by about 6am have to go elsewhere. Managed by Parks... Find out more

Cowes to Cat Bay 42 km

Cowes to Cat Bay, along Phillip Island, is a popular area for anglers chasing whiting, squid, snapper and gummy shark. Cowes jetty, a favourite with holidaymakers, is a productive platform that often produces elephant... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Kayaking on Phillip Island 36 km

For a great way to start the day, join a kayaking breakfast tour at Phillip Island Holiday Hire, which starts with a 45-minute paddle from Cowes and includes a civilised breakfast at a cafe. There is also a Devonshire... Find out more

Wildlife-watching - Phillip Island 41 km

Phillip Island is best known for the little penguins that come ashore every night (bookings essential). But spend time exploring the area and you will find Seal Rocks, with Australia’s largest colony of fur-seals,... Find out more

Dandenong Ranges National Park 41 km

About an hour’s drive out of Melbourne, some 35 kilometres east of the city, this park has forests of towering mountain ash and lush, damp fern gullies. Around 300 kilometres of walking tracks crisscross the park,... Find out more

Golf courses around town

Settlers Run Golf & Country Club 22 km

Throughout his playing days Greg Norman drew huge crowds eager to witness his incredible ball-striking. Confidently striding the fairways, his mere presence made him one of the game’s biggest ever drawcards. He... Find out more

Amstel Golf Club (Ranfurlie course) 23 km

Like a good single-malt Scotch whisky, some golf courses are appreciated more once they have aged. When Amstel Golf Club was looking to expand beyond its 18-hole Park course, it commissioned Mike Clayton to design a ... Find out more

The Sandhurst Club (Champions Course) 28 km

The Champions course at Sandhurst is the latest addition to the Melbourne sandbelt portfolio. Officially opened for play in 2008, it was designed by Peter Thomson and Ross Perrett, the same duo who created the... Find out more

The Sandhurst Club (North Course) 28 km

Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson has strong ties to Scotland, the home of golf. Not only was it the scene of some of his greatest triumphs but he spends several months a year living there. So it should... Find out more

Peninsula Country Golf Club (North Course) 30 km

Although the Peninsula Country Golf Club boasts a history dating back to the 1920s, the two courses that now lie across its sandy landscape did not come into being until decades later. Both the North (opened in 1967)... Find out more

Peninsula Country Golf Club (South Course) 30 km

A round at either of Peninsula’s two courses is always an enjoyable mental and physical challenge. Upon finishing his remodelling of the North course, Mike Clayton turned his attention to the South,... Find out more

Long Island Country Club 32 km

Long Island, arguably the most underrated course on the Melbourne sandbelt, deserves higher and wider acclaim. The sandy, undulating land where the course now lies began last century as Frankston Racecourse. And what ... Find out more

Southern Golf Club 38 km

Southern is one of the Melbourne sandbelt’s least-known courses, but in recent years its star has been on the rise. The original layout was created by Sam Berriman, a British expat who began his working life in... Find out more

Woodlands Golf Club 41 km

Woodlands is one of the Melbourne sandbelt’s oldest courses, and since expanding to an 18-hole layout in 1917 it has also had a reputation for being one of the finest. That reputation is starting to spread as... Find out more

Spring Valley Golf Club 42 km

The story of Spring Valley Golf Club’s early days is not dissimilar to that of many clubs which now call Melbourne’s sandbelt home. Spring Valley began its existence outside the sandbelt, as Forest Hills... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Matilda Bay Garage Brewery 32 km

Previously operating as the Stockade Brewery, this South Dandenong-based microbrewery was acquired by the Foster’s-owned Matilda Bay Brewing in 2004 and re-badged as their ‘garage’ brewery. Then head... Find out more

Red Hill Brewery 47 km

Becoming hop farmers wasn’t part of their business plan when David and Karen Golding first applied to develop a microbrewery and cafe from their Mornington Peninsula property. Ultimately, though, they were advised... Find out more

2 Brothers Brewery 47 km

A microbrewery is not exactly what you might expect to find tucked away among panel-beaters and sheet-metal fabricators in the industrial estates of Moorabbin, 20 minutes south-east of Melbourne. While the location may... Find out more

Campsites around town

Airs Farm camping area (walk-in camping) 22 km

Toast your toes around the open fire (wood supplied) at this private campground, nestled in bushland some 10 km east of Tankerton. The owners will pick you up or you can walk or cycle along Bayview Rd to reach the farm.... Find out more

Fairhaven camping area (walk-in camping) 24 km

The Fairhaven campsites are in a beautiful natural setting on the western shore of French Island, 5 km north of Tankerton off Coast Rd. It’s a great spot to kick back for a few days. While you have your feet up,... Find out more

Nash Creek camping area 33 km

In the heart of the park, Nash Creek has an isolated feel. It’s reached via Black Snake Creek Rd, west of the junction with Bunyip River Rd. From the nearby Dyers Picnic Ground you can undertake the 17 km Dyer... Find out more

Kurth Kiln camping area 34 km

This camping area is accessed via Soldiers Rd, which branches off the Gembrook–Launching Place Rd. As you stroll through the mountain ash, keep your eyes peeled for swamp wallabies and echidnas.... Find out more

Blue Range camping area (bush camping) 36 km

You can go bush camping in a cleared area in the north of the park along Bunyip Ridge Track, off Bunyip River Rd. You’ll need a 4WD and must be fully equipped, as there are no facilities here. The pay-off is that... Find out more

Balnarring East Beach C Reserve 38 km

This is the easternmost of the 3 beach reserves at Balnarring – you can get to it from Feathers Rd. It’s just over some dunes from yet another idyllic beach in this area, where swimmers and members of the... Find out more

Balnarring Koala B Reserve 39 km

Located opposite the Balnarring General Store, the Koala B Reserve is one of 3 beachside parks here. It comprises a nicely laid-out campground that’s only a hop, skip and a jump from the beach – for the... Find out more

Balnarring South Beach A Reserve 39 km

South Beach A is accessed via Mason Smith Rd. It’s opposite a protected beach that’s ideal for young children, and there’s also a toddlers’ playground to keep the under-five brigade amused. Keep... Find out more

Kilcunda Oceanview Holiday Retreat 39 km

Dramatic coastal views are the norm at this quiet beachside caravan park, located between Wonthaggi and San Remo. The beaches here are safe for kids, plus there are good spots for a snorkel and plenty of walking options,... Find out more

Gentle Annie camping area (bush camping) 40 km

Like Blue Range, this is another cleared bush camping area in the north of the park. It’s close to the Lawson Falls Picnic Ground, where walking tracks provide a gentle half-hour or a more-challenging 2-hour... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

BIG4 Dandenong Tourist Park 30 km

Just 6 km south of Dandenong, this is a good quality park, ideal for those wanting to stay on the eastern side of Melbourne. It is very close to the Jayco factory. Bookings are required in peak times and a minimum-stay... Find out more

BIG4 Frankston Holiday Park 31 km

This is a good quality park in the far outer south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. It is a great base for those exploring the Mornington Peninsula or those connecting with the Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry. Bookings are... Find out more

Glen Cromie Caravan Park 38 km

In a large, park-like setting on the banks of a stream, this is a popular caravan park during weekends and holiday periods. It is a great place for a family break and just a short drive from the greater Melbourne area.... Find out more

Warragul Gardens Holiday Park 38 km

This owner-operated park has spacious grassy sites, good facilities and great amenities. However, the focal point is the magnificent gardens; these alone make the park worth a visit. Bookings are required in peak... Find out more

Wantirna Park 45 km

This is a large park with a limited number of tourist sites. Located in the eastern suburbs, its facilities include tennis courts and a recreation room. It is good value. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Gumbuya rest area 21 km

77km E of Melbourne (L) or 40km W of Yarragon (R)

Secluded among trees well off the highway.

Bunyip rest area 30 km

29km W of Yarragon (L)

Adjacent to the highway. For westbound only.

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