Hattah-Kulkyne National Park
Hattah-Kulkyne National Park comprises 48,000 hectares and is 580 kms north-west of Melbourne. It lies in typical mallee country with extensive low scrub and open native pine woodland. Superbly adapted birds, animals and vegetation thrive in poor, sandy soils and searing summers. This particular area is special because of the large flow of permanent water in the nearby Murray River and a number of freshwater lakes seasonally filled by creeks connected to the Murray which provide food and shelter for waterbirds and fish. These lakes can remain full for up to ten years without flooding, but flooding generally occurs, on average, once every two years.
Things to Do
Activities include camping, canoeing, bicycle riding, nature study, photography, fishing and driving (Hattah and Kulkyne nature drives - many other tracks are sandy or impassable after rain).
Information about walking tracks is available at the Park Visitor Centre.
Picnic and camping areas at Lake Hattah and Mournpall have pit toilets, tables and fireplaces.
Limited water is available from the Information Centre car park. Wood is scarce.
Caravan parks, motels and hotels are at Mildura, Red Cliffs, Ouyen and Robinvale.
There are stands of an ancient form of Tea Tree, a survivor from the time when an inland sea once lapped the sandy shore. In places, evidence of Aboriginal life can be seen, with scars on trees where shields and canoes were made, and middens heaped with shells left from meals eaten over generations.
Last century, and for much of this century, the country was extensively grazed. In 1915 a Sanctuary was formed to protect the beauty of the Hattah lakes. In 1960 the Sanctuary became a national park and in 1980 the adjacent Kulkyne State Forest was added to form the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and Murray Kulkyne Park.
Hattah is a bird watcher's mecca. The lake and dry-country habitats are a haven for over 200 bird species. Apostle-birds and White-winged Choughs frequent camp sites and at dusk Major Mitchell Cockatoos, Regent, Bluebonnet, Mulga, Mallee Ringneck and Rosellas also remind visitors that Australia has some of the most colorful and raucous birds in the world. Mallee Fowl, with its great nesting mounds of leaf litter and twigs, breed in the park. Elsewhere much of their habitat has been destroyed. At dusk and dawn, emus and the two species of kangaroo, the Red and the Western Grey, can be seen feeding.
The sandy beaches along the Murray, the creeks and the lakes are shaded by fringes of River Red Gums. Walks lead from the main camping ground at Hattah Lake to nearby lakes past beaches and through Black Box woodlands and stands of Eumong wattles.
Looking After the Park
>> All plants and animals are protected.
>> Fires may be lit only in fireplaces provided - gas or fuel stoves preferred.
>> No pets allowed in the park.
>> No power boats.
>> Driving off the tracks is not permitted as it damages the environment.
Always carry water when walking - summer heat is harsh. The park is best visited in autumn, winter or spring.
Check with park staff before swimming or drinking water from the lakes.
Rangers should be consulted about the condition of tracks after heavy rain.
How to Get There
Take the Calder Highway and turn off at Hattah township (4 kilometres to Lake Hattah camping area; 2WD gravel track to Mournpoul camping area)
A flat gravel path links the toilet, car park and Visitor Centre at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. The building itself is easily accessed and is a valuable source of educational material to enhance your enjoyment and understanding of this area. There is an accessible toilet facility at one end of the car park.
Lake Hattah Picnic Area and Campground
Lake Hattah picnic area offers shelter, and is reached by a pedestrian path. A pit toilet with good access features is nearby. The camping area lacks defined paths and an accessible toilet. Sandy soils restrict the accessibility of most park tracks. There is a 6km nature drive (or walk) around Lake Hattah, with a numbered information sheet available at the start. Summers can be very hot - it is best to visit in autumn, winter or spring. sites.
Lake Mournpall Campground
A good stopping point on the Mournpall Track scenic drive. Facilities are reasonable, and water is available. The sandy ground and vegetation debris decrease the overall accessibility of the site.
>> Big Desert Wilderness
>> Murray Rivers Reserve
>> Murray Sunset National Park
>> Wyperfeld National Park
4. Canoeing / Kayaking
6. Coach/Bus Tours
7. Four Wheel Drive Tours
8. Horse Riding
9. Mountain Bike Riding
11. Rock Climbing
12. Ski Touring
13. Spotlight Tours / Nightwalks
14. Trail Bike Tours