Mount Eccles National Park
Mount Eccles National Park is Victoria’s first co-managed national park, being managed by the traditional owners, the Gunditjmara, and Parks Victoria. The park is fascinating for its geological history. Around 30 000 years ago, near the end of volcanic activity in south-east Australia, volcanic lava spewed from the earth’s centre, leaving lava caves, canals and scoria cones, and creating Mount Eccles and other volcanoes such as South Australia’s Mount Gambier. Today the three main craters hold the 700-metre long Lake Surprise, fed by underground springs and surrounded by natural basalt walls.
West of the park lies Lake Condah, made when lava ﬂow dammed creeks and streams. The area’s traditional inhabitants constructed a system of stone weirs and canals to catch eels and ﬁsh, and they found sufﬁcient bush tucker in the area to live permanently at Lake Condah, until the arrival of white settlers. Manna gum, blackwood and hardy bracken dominate the vegetation. There are koalas as well as gliders, eastern grey kangaroos, antechinuses and the threatened spotted-tailed quoll. Ducks, Eurasian coots and other waterbirds ﬂock to the water.
At the information centre, built from local volcanic rock, you can learn about the region’s intriguing geological landscape. Walking tracks include Crater Rim Nature Walk (1–2 hours return), which leaves from near the park entrance (pick up a leaﬂet and follow the signage – there is wheelchair access for part of the walk); Lake Surprise Walk (45 minutes return), which descends into the crater of the lake; Lava Canal (2–3 hours) and Natural Bridge Walk (1 hour). The lake is perfect for swimming and offers an idyllic setting for picnics. Campsites have toilet and shower facilities; bookings are required during holiday periods.
Campsites have basic facilities; some with hot showers, toilets, tables and fireplaces
Location and access
330 km south-west of Melbourne via Hamilton Hwy; 45 km south-west of Penshurst or 45 km south of Hamilton via Macarthur then west on Mt Eccles Rd
PV 13 1963
Hamilton 1800 807 056
Nelson (08) 8738 4051
Port Fairy (03) 5568 2682
Warnambool (03) 5564 7837
- Mount Eccles National Park, Eco-friendly activity
- Volcanic craters – Mount Eccles National Park, Natural Wonders, Natural Wonders