Snowy River National Park

Some of Victoria’s most spectacular river scenery, magnificent deep gorges and diverse forests make Snowy River, 390 kilometres north-east of Melbourne, an outstanding national park.

The park covers an area of 98,700 hectares protecting Victoria’s largest forest wilderness. In the north, the Bowen Range and Gelantipy Plateau dominate. Flowing south into the Snowy are the rugged waterways of Mountain Creek and the Rodger River.

Two wilderness areas were declared in the park from June 1992. These are the Bowen (17,500 hectares) and the Snowy River (27,500 hectares). Wilderness protects areas of high conservation value. They provide opportunities for solitude and appropriate self-reliant recreational activities. Tracks in wilderness areas are closed to public vehicles.

Activities

McKillops Bridge is one of the few places in the park with access to the Snowy River by conventional vehicle. The Deddick River meets the Snowy just upstream of the bridge and wide sandy beaches with shallow rock pools between the rapids make this a great swimming spot.

This is also the best canoe-launching place for experienced adventurers wanting to explore the gorges downstream. The Snowy offers thrilling canoeing or rafting with rugged gorges, rapids, flat sections with sand bars and beautiful scenery. The gently sloping sand bars make ideal camp sites.

The 18 km Silver Mine Walking Track and the short Snowy River Trail both leave from McKillops Bridge.

Little River Gorge, Victoria’s deepest gorge, is to the west of McKillops Bridge and downstream from the junction of the Little River and Snowy River. After a well-signed 800 metre drive off the Bonang-Gelantip Road, a 400 metre walking track leads to a cliff-top lookout over the gorge. The descent beyond Little River Gorge into McKillops Bridge is one of Victoria’s most precarious roads, unsuitable for caravans and semi-trailers. In suitable conditions, visitors can drive along the Yalmy Road through magnificent tall forests to Waratah Flat, then walk through the surrounding forest.

Raymond Falls in the south of the park can be reached all year round from Orbost along Moresford Track. A short walking track leads to a view of Raymond Falls plunging 20 metres into a deep, clear pool. McKillops Bridge is the finishing point for the Deddick Trail, a 43 km four-wheel drive track which starts on the Yalmy Road and travels through the heart of the park. Camping grounds are provided on the banks of the Snowy and Deddick.

Camping grounds at McKillops Bridge, Waratah Flat and Balley Hooley have pit toilets, picnic facilities and fireplaces. Hick’s Campsite and Raymond Falls have basic picnic facilities.

Guided Activities

History

Aboriginal relics have been found at Jackson Crossing on the Snowy River and it is likely that people of the Kruatungulung group of the Kurnai Aborigines hunted in this area.

In the 1840s cattlemen and miners came south from New South Wales seeking new pastures and new wealth. The higher land was little used except for some summer grazing. Silver was mined in the area now designated as the Silver Mine walking track downstream from Mackillops Bridge.

The first proposals for the area to become a park began in 1935 but protection did not come until 1979.

Nature

The vegetation of the park is very diverse. Twenty vegetation communities have been identified, supporting over 900 native species. Over 100 of these species are considered rare or threatened in Victoria.

The diversity of the Park’s vegetation is illustrated by:

  • snow gum woodlands on the Bowen Range and in the lower section of Mountain Creek
  • ancient stands of multi-aged ash forests in the Rodger River catchment
  • extensive areas of old growth alpine ash on Gelantipy Plateau
  • manna gum forests in the Mountain Creek and New Country Creek catchments
  • rainshadow woodlands near Mackillop Bridge
  • heathlands in the south of the park, and
  • native grasslands at Waratah Flat.

The Rodger River catchment area is considered to be of national botanical significance, as it contains one of the few remaining extensive stands of old-growth wet sclerophyll forest in the State.

A variety of animals are supported by the diversity of habitats in the Park. Over 250 native species have been recorded, 29 of which are considered rare or threatened in Victoria. The park is particularly important for the protection of:

  • brush-tailed rock-wallaby
  • long-footed potoroo
  • spot-tailed quoll, and
  • giant burrowing frog.

Superb lyrebirds can often be seen along the track to Raymond Falls and, at the plunge pool at the base, the small but brilliantly coloured azure kingfishers are almost always found. Platypus have even been seen in the pool.

Visiting

For more information about Snowy River National Park:

National Parks and regional visitor information offices

See this page for a full listing of visitor centres.