Barmah National Park (29 500 ha) is situated upon the floodplains of the Murray River. The combination of the Barmah National Park and the Moira State Park (in NSW) forms the largest redgum forest in the world. It has a World Heritage listing. It is on a major flightpath for migratory birds and is an important breeding ground for waterbirds. Some of the trees in the forest are estimated to be over 300 years old and are over 40m high. There are a number of canoe trees and ancient middens in the forest. There is evidence that Aborigines inhabited this area long before Europeans arrived.
In winter the area usually floods creating a wetland biosphere which becomes a breeding ground for birds (there are 206 species in the forest). Consequently it is a popular spot for birdwatching, as well as fishing, walking, boating, camping, picnicking and car touring. However, in the wet season, the tracks are flooded and canoeing becomes a preferred means of exploration. Gondwana Canoe Hire are located on Moira Lakes Rd between Barmah and the forest. They have a drop-off service, Emus, kangaroos, wild horses, reptiles and amphibia are also found in the forest. They can be reached by T: (03) 5869 3347.
The forest occupies an area which borders the southern bank of the Murray from a point due north of Barmah and stretching eastwards to Morgans Beach, not far from Cobram. Two sections at the easternmost and westernmost fringes of the forest are technically known as ‘Barmah State Park’. The western section is 9km north of Barmah and is accessed by Moira Lakes Rd which is unsealed but manageable in a 2WD. Just after it crosses Broken Creek on Rices Bridge there is a side road on the left that leads to a day visitor area where the Murray River, Moira Creek and Barmah Lake meet. There is a boat ramp, a fireplace, a picnic area and toilets.
Beyond this branch track Moira Lakes Rd becomes Sand Ridge Track. It soon passes another side road on the left which leads to the Barmah Lake Camping Area before arriving at the Dharnya Aboriginal Centre, where there are displays relating to the history and culture of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal community, the forest and their association with it. Information can be obtained here concerning a forest drive. World Forestry Day is celebrated at the centre in mid-March. It is open from 10.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. daily. The Dharnya Aboriginal Centre is not open to the general public (it is only open for groups) & that can be booked by contacting Parks Victoria – Nathalia Office T: 13 19 63
There are many point of access to the sections of forest (and park) which lie to the east. Departure roads head northwards off the Barmah-Picola Rd and the Murray Valley Highway. However rain, flooding and seasonal closure affect access. For Reports On Roads, You Can Contact
The Barmah Heritage Centre On T: 5866 2289 for a report on the state of the roads.
For more information please visit the:The Barmah Forest Heritage Education Centre
Barmah Island is the section of land to the north-west of Barmah which is sandwiched between the Murray River on the western side and Barmah Creek on the eastern side. The Forest Drive starts from the Barmah Town Gates at the end of Schier St and then heads off along River Rd which is 2WD-friendly but dusty when dry. After about 1.5 km the road veers north-east to follow the southern bank of Barmah Creek for about 1 km before turning left over the crossing. If the creek is flooded it is necessary to take a sharp right onto a 1-km track which will take you east to Moira Lakes Rd where you can turn right to Barmah.
If the creek is fordable veer left once across the creek and River Rd follows the northern bank of Barmah Creek to the Murray River junction. It then follows the river north for about 2.5 km. If Pontoon Creek is flooded turn right at this point onto the Centre Track which loops back around to the Barmah Creek bridge. If it isn’t, continue along River Rd which follows the Murray around to the northern end of Moira Lakes Rd by Rices Bridge. Bushcamping is permitted anywhere along this route.
Two-hour interpretive cruises of the lakes and forest are available on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from Kingfisher Wetland Cruises which are located just off Moira Lakes Rd (take the left off the bitumen just past the bridge). They operate daily in holiday periods if numbers are sufficient. The cruises focus on the ecology and history of the forest, the birdlife and its habitats and the Aboriginal significance of the area, T:(03) 5869 3399.