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 National Park a wonderful asset so close to Melbourne. The park provides both a winter playground for family fun and a remarkably picturesque environment of forests and gullies for walking and picnicking at most times of the year.
From Melbourne via Maroondah Hwy, either to Healesville (and further on to Marysville), or turn onto Warburton Hwy to Warburton, McMahons Creek and Cambarville
Winter for snow
70 km north-east of Melbourne; 10 km east of Healesville; 5 km north of Warburton; 10 km south-east of Marysville
- PV 13 1963
- Marysville Information Centre (03) 5963 4567
76 000 ha
Healesville (03) 5962 2600
Lake Mountain Resort (03) 5957 7222
Marysville (03) 5963 4567
Warburton (03) 5966 9600
Featured Activities in the National Park
Walk in the treetops along Mount Donna Buang’s Skywalk
Toboggan down the snowy slopes
Drive the Acheron Way as it winds through mountain ash forest
Try cross-country skiing at Lake Mountain
Pack a picnic and enjoy the peace at Badger Weir Park
- Yarra Ranges National Park, Eco-friendly activity
- Yarra Ranges National Park, Recreational Wildlife-watching, Recreational Wildlife-watching
A look at the past
In the 1860s gold diggers arrived to try their luck around Woods Point and it was not long before the region’s tall forests were recognised as a source of timber. The area’s potential as an important water catchment was also soon established – the original Maroondah Weir was constructed in 1891 and the Upper Yarra Dam in 1957. Bushﬁres, particularly the devastating 1939 ﬁres, have destroyed precious old-growth forests in this area and visitors are asked to take special care to help prevent any future damage.
The damp forest environment of the ranges was not favoured by Aboriginal people. In the surrounding area, ﬁve tribes made up the Kulin nation: the Wathaurong, Woiworung and Boonwurrung south of the ranges and the Taungurong and Ngurraiillam to the north. Coranderrk Station was established at Healesville by government grant in 1863 and the Kulin became the major group to settle here. By 1867 they had set up their own sawmill, dairy, butcher’s shop, bakery and school. The Wurundjeri clan leader William Barak lived here until his death in 1903 (he had been present at the signing of the treaty with John Batman). Black Spur gained its name when displaced Aboriginal people were sent over this pass on their way to Coranderrk.
In the north, Lake Mountain rises to 1433 metres, with around 800 hectares of undulating plateau. Mount Donna Buang (1250 metres) in the south rises above Warburton and the Yarra Valley. The headwaters of the Yarra River are located in the east.
In the park, mountain ash, soaring to 60 metres – the tallest ﬂowering plant in the world – is offset by a glade-like understorey of emerald-green ferns. The environment around Lake Mountain and Mount Donna Buang, the highest elevations, suits subalpine vegetation, with stands of dappled snow gum, alpine heath and mossy alpine bogs.
Around 40 mammal species inhabit the park, but the endangered Leadbeater’s possum is the most famous. This small marsupial, only 30 centimetres long and half of that its tail, is endemic to Victoria. It is nocturnal, and spends three-quarters of its time in its nest, usually in hollow trees. Many of the bird species in the park are hollow-tree dwellers as well, such as the possum-eating powerful owl, the sooty owl and barking owl. Yellow-tailed black-cockatoos, Australian king-parrots and crimson rosellas are common.
Skiing and snow play in winter (fee payable for entry to the summit areas), and bushwalking, picnicking and scenic touring are the main activities. At the time of writing, some roads and tracks in the park were closed due to flooding and erosion; contact Parks Victoria for the latest information.
Lake Mountain has more than 40 kilometres of subalpine tracks and ski trails, providing outstanding cross-country skiing. The resort here hires skis, toboggans and snow shoes and offers skiing lessons; there is also a bistro and visitor information centre. In late spring to early autumn there are masses of colourful wildflowers.
Lake Mountain Summit Walk (4 km return, 2 hours, medium difficulty) starts from Gerraty’s carpark and meanders through snow gum country and alpine heath, past lichen-clad rock faces, and takes in four spectacular lookouts. The walk is accessible all year.
Badger Weir Park is the ideal venue for a picnic, with landscaped grounds rimmed by mountain ash and stately manna gums. Several easy walking tracks pass the clear waters of Badger Creek and fern-ﬁlled gullies.
Three of the possible options are Lady Talbot Drive, which runs beside the Taggerty River and past cascading waterfalls; the drive across the Black Spur, hemmed in by tall mountain ash; and the Acheron Way, which weaves through dense forest before leaving the national park.