|Hattah-Kulkyne National Park lies in typical mallee country with extensive low scrub and open native pine woodland. Superbly adapted birds, animals and vegetation thrive in the poor, sandy soils and searing summers.
The freshwater Hattah Lakes is seasonally filled by creeks connected to the Murray, providing food and shelter for waterbirds and fish. These lakes can remain full for up to ten years without flooding, but flooding generally occurs once every two years.
Camping, walking, bike riding and canoeing are popular here and in the adjoining Murray-Kulkyne Park.
Things to Do
Enjoy picnicking or camping at Lake Hattah. There are pit toilets, tables and fireplaces. Lake Hattah is a good spot for cycling. There are suitable tracks around Lake Hattah and along the river. Most of the other tracks are too sandy.
When the water levels are suitable the lake is excellent for canoeing. During flood times the water can extend many kilometres from the lakes.
Rich with a variety of birdlife ranging from wetland species such as pelicans, ducks and spoonbills to dry mallee specialists such as the Malleefowl and Emu Wrens.
When in flood, the lakes are part of Australia’s significant wetlands, recognised under an international agreement (the Ramsar Convention) for the protection of wetlands. A sign at Lake Mournpall explains this.
There are a range of walks available throughout the park, from easy family walks to longer hikes.
Hattah Nature Walk - 40 mins, 1.2km (return) - This self-guided walk highlights Mallee ecosystem and begins from the carpark near the park entrance off the Hattah-Robinvale Road.
Warepil Lookout Walk - 30 mins, 0.6kms (return) - Start from the Old Calder Highway carpark and take a short stroll up the steady incline to the lookout tower. You will be rewarded with great views of the surrounding Mallee Region. Look north-west and see the vast Murray Sunset National Park. This is a great place to witness the magnificent Mallee sunsets.
Woodlands Walk - 1hr, 2.5km (one way) - This walk starts at the Hattah- Kulkyne National Park Visitor Centre carpark and connects to the Camel Pad Track. It allows you to walk the 8km to Lake Mournpall Campground avoiding the car traffic on Mournpall Track.
Mournpall Lake Loop Track - 3-4hrs, 9.5km - This loop walk with interpretive signs follows the northern edge of Lake Mournpall before circling north around Lake Konardin passing through Red Gum flood plains and Mallee dunes.
Camel Pad Track - 3.5 hours, 10 km (one way) - Camels were used to transport salt from the Sunset Country to the Murray River along this track 100 years ago. Led by Afghan team masters, the camel teams carried cargoes of salt from Spectacle Lakes to the Murray River, where the salt was loaded onto paddle steamers that returned with precious fresh water and supplies.
Walk through a constantly changing landscape, with typical Mallee scrub of eucalypt and Porcupine Grass giving way to different vegetation as the track passes through open woodlands, over sand dunes, and beside a large salt pan.
Wildlife is abundant, with kangaroos and emus grazing in the open areas or resting in the shade. Hattah-Kulkyne National Park is paradise for birdwatchers, as the dry country and lakes offer habitat for over 200 species. Colourful galahs, parrots and Major Mitchell Cockatoos are often seen, while waterbirds such as pelicans, swans, ducks and grebes frequent Lake Mournpall at the end of the trail.
Start: Hattah General Store
Finish: Lake Mournpall camping ground
Best time: Winter, spring
Bugle Ridge Track - 3.5 hours return, 10 km - Beginning at the dam wall between Lake Hattah and Lake Little Hattah, the trail heads east along Bugle Ridge and over the northern shores of Lake Bulla and Lake Brockie. Follow the track between Lake Brockie and Lake Tullamook, then head for home below Lake Arawak along the nature drive that fringes magnificent Lake Hattah.
As you return to the camping ground and visitors centre, stop to inspect the old pump house that early this century was used to refill the boilers of steam trains at Hattah railway station. Later, it was used to supply water to Hattah township. Keep an eye out along the track for the region's famous wildlife, including pelicans, wedge-tailed eagles, spoonbills, herons, goannas and kangaroos (red, western grey and eastern grey).
Track condition: Good/sand
Start and Finish: Lake Hattah camping ground
Best time: Winter and spring.
When the water levels are suitable the lake system offers excellent opportunities for canoeing. During flood times, the water can extend many kilometres from the lakes.
There are suitable tracks for cycling around Lake Hattah and along the river. Most of the other tracks are too sandy. (Don’t forget your puncture kit!).
Most tracks in the park can be driven in 2WD vehicles, but some are sandy and may become slippery or impassable after rain. Check track conditions online, at the Visitor Centre or call 13 1963 before you leave.
The self-guided Hattah Nature Drive near Lake Hattah gives an introduction to the park, while the Kulkyne Loop Drive provides a great overview of the park. Refer to the map provided in the Hattah Lakes Nature Discovery Park Note.
Murray Cod, Golden Perch (Yellowbelly) and English Perch (Redfin) provide good sport for anglers. Unfortunately, European Carp are present in large numbers. In season, Yabbies and Murray Crayfish may aslo be found in the creeks, lakes and rivers of the Murray.
A Victorian recreational fishing licence is required for fishing and yabbying in the lakes and creeks of the park and a NSW licence for the Murray River. These can be purchased at the Hattah, Colignan and Wemen Stores.
Getting There - Turn off at Hattah township on the Calder Highway. Lake Hattah camping area is four kilometres from town and a 2WD gravel track takes you to the Mournpall camping area which has pit toilets, tables and fireplaces.