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Regional Victoria is full of stunning sights and the natural beauty of the Hattah-Kulkyne national park is one of the many examples of that.

In the heart of the Australian bush, this outback park is home to a superb freshwater system of creeks and lakes that connects to the Murray River, and within it lives a whole host of beautiful bird, marine and wildlife.

Although don’t make the mistake of assuming Hattah-Kulkyne is only of interest to binocular toting nature lovers, there is plenty to keep everyone occupied!

Have You Heard of Hattah-Kulkyne?

 Hattah Kulkyne National Park Australia

Photo credit: KEW Images Photography

Where Is It?

Located in the Mallee area of Victoria, the massive 48,000-hectre park is about 415 kilometers away from Melbourne (between Ouyen and Mildura, off the Calder Highway) and was granted its national park status on the 7th of June 1960. Consider the park if you’re looking for Mildura camping. 

This Victorian National Park is famous for its red dirt landscapes, semi-arid climate and vegetation – one of the most ubiquities being the eucalypts.

It’s a beautiful natural destination, which sees very few visitors compared to Australia’s more famous national parks, and camping offers a rare sense of peace and isolation in a region once occupied by Indigenous Australians.

While Aboriginal communities no longer inhibit the park, the landscapes remain dotted with scar trees, shell middens, and ancient campsites.

And, those spending overnight do so with the knowledge that they’re looking up at the same stars as Aboriginal Australians once used as far back as 80,000 years ago. Visiting the park is one of the best things to do in Mildura.

 Hattah Kulkyne National Park Australia

 Hattah Kulkyne National Park Australia

 Hattah Kulkyne National Park Australia

Photo credit: KEW Images Photography

Popular Things to Do

Wildlife & Scenery

While a minibus tour of the National Park will ensure you see birds, kangaroos and emus, a canoe trip through the lake system will help you understand so much more about the area. As will Mildura tourist information.

And of course, pitching up at one of the picturesque campsites around the area and casting off into the Murray will let you bask in the glory of the surrounding landscape from the comfort of a chair.

Fishing

There is plenty of fishing to be done and a wide variety of species to be caught. English Perch, Golden Perch and Murray Cod can provide good entertainment for anglers, although there are a large number of European Carp.

During season, the creek system of the Murray provides Yabbies as well as Murray Crayfish and a Victorian recreational fishing licence is required to fish for those. If you travel to Mildura, fishing is a great Mildura holiday.

A New South Wales fishing license is needed if you want to fish the Murray though. These can be bought at the General Stores in Wemen, Colignan and Hattah. The Murray is one of the most important Mildura points of interest.

 Hattah Kulkyne National Park Australia

Photo credit: KEW Images Photography

How to Get There

Hattah is just a short 30-minute drive away from Mildura, and if you don’t have your own transport, you can easily book a tour with Murray Offroad Adventures. They make travel to Mildura easy. 

These mini van tours are guided by local Peter Kelly, who delivers an interesting presentation about how the Hattah lakes system was formed around six million years ago. It’s one of the great things to see in Mildura Victoria. 

The impressive landscape around the area, especially the dunes that occupy some of the more inland areas of Hattah, are created by sand deposits that have been shaped by winds. Don’t miss this Mildura sightseeing. 

Those who manage the parks have to meet the constant battle between maintaining water for irrigation and horticulture as well as supplying the several creeks, wetlands, billabongs as well the Murray River.

Our Day Out With Peter

A day out with Peter is always informative, and he knows nearly everything about the landscape around the Murray River.

He grew up in the area and lived out in the rural bushland, so we were guided by a real child of the outback. But the day out isn’t just about Peter.

Murray Offroad Adventures is a joint affair and his wife Jeanie is on hand to provide a ridiculously good spread that included delicious handmade chocolate biscuits and Anzac biscuits, as well as tea and coffee.

 Hattah Kulkyne National Park Australia

Photo credit: KEW Images Photography

The Beautiful Scenery of the Murray River

For our first stop, we drove up to a beautiful, age-old tree and then beyond to a spectacular fishing stop. The coffee and biscuits definitely went down well amid the beautiful scenery of the Murray River and a small but fast flowing Chalka Creek that fed into that. Doesn’t get more aussie Mildura than this. 

Further up into the trip and it’s not uncommon to drive alongside a mob of kangaroos as they powerfully and majestically run alongside the rough track.

There are some impressive red kangaroos mixed in with the brown population, and these reds look like the typical Aussie outback dweller: strong, tough and independent. Emus can also be found scattered around the landscape as well as a whole host of wildlife. Mildura attractions do feature wildlife.

We took lunch at a visitor rest stop that includes toilets as well as a BBQ area – but once again Jeanie had come prepared and laid on a magnificent spread that included enough wrap ingredients to feed the 5000 as well as some more cookies. If wondering what to do in Mildura, this tour was epic.

From there you could relax under covers as the waters lapped up on the shore and observe the birds chatting to each other in the trees.

Red and Grey Kangaroos

 Hattah Kulkyne National Park Australia

Female Fairy Wren

Stay in Mildura as Your Outback Base

Getting back from the Park at 4pm meant there was plenty of time left in the day to see some of the other sites that the Mildura region has to offer.

This area of Australia has so much to offer for people looking for a perfect outdoors experience and Hattah- Kulkyne is a beautiful example of that. It’s only 30 minutes away too so you’ve got no excuse to miss out!

For information on Mildura accommodation, attractions, food & wine, events, etc, head to visitmildura.com.au.

Many photographs throughout this post were provided by Kerry Whitelegg of KEW Images Photography. Her incredible prints are for sale via her website or Facebook page.

A Mildura based photographer, contact her if you would like to organize a portrait photography session during your Outback vacation. 

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.

    36 Comments

  1. I had never heard of Hattah-Kulkyne, but have really enjoyed learning about it from your post. Nearly 50k hectares is huge! Your photos are spectacular, especially those night sky extravaganzas, and love your thoughts about looking up at the same stars at the ancient aboriginal Australians! Would love to see roos and kangas in their natural habitat and love bird watching.

    • Most Australian’s actually haven’t either – glad we could introduce you! Yes, it’s a massive park – aren’t Kerry’s photos incredible!!

      Hope you have the chance to visit Mildura, and Hattah Kulkyne soon – camping under the stars is one of the best experiences!

  2. Australia is so big that I think it is impossible to see it all in a life time. Hattah-Kulkyne is a place where I’d like to go and see those amazing animals. One of my dream is to see a kangaroo. And the photos with all those stars are just amazing. That’s the moment when you realize how big this Universe is.

    • I agree with you there – I’m Australian myself and haven’t even scratched the surface of this huge country yet!

      But Hattah-Kulkyne is definitely one to prioritize for an authentic experience of regional Australia. Especially if your dream is to see a Kangaroo – they’re wild here, which totally beats seeing them in a zoo!

      Hope you have the chance to travel soon 🙂

  3. I’d love to camp here under that spectacular sky, perhaps next to River Murray so that my husband can enjoy fishing. 🙂 Looking up to the same stars as Aboriginal Australians did, it will be an experience of a lifetime.

    • Sounds like you would both really enjoy time in Hattah Kulkyne Sonal – combines the best of the Australian outdoors, while offering cultural significance at the same time.

      Hope you have the chance to travel to Mildura soon 🙂

  4. I’ve never heard of this National Park, but then again the more I read about Australia, the more I realize that I need a serious geography lesson. I love the wildlife that you can see in the park. I’d love to see a red kangaroo in the wild! My grandpa actually raise emus – random for a Missourian – but they always make me think of him. I’d love to take an excursion with Murray Offroad Adventures. It sounds like it would be very informative.

    • Glad we could introduce you!! Don’t beat yourself up too much – most Australians could probably benefit from the same lesson in geography lol, the country is so huge you could spend a lifetime exploring it!

      But Hattah-Kulkyne is definitely one to prioritize for an authentic experience of regional Australia. Especially if you love wildlife … one of the rare places to see a wild red kangaroo!

      Oh wow, cool that your grandpa raises emu’s. Definitely give Peter a call to organize an excursion with Murray Offroad Adventures when you come into town 🙂

      Happy travels!

  5. I actually haven’t heard of Hattah-Kulkyne even though I lived in Australia for three years. I really wish I travelled more in Victoria, especially in the bush part. Love these photos, truly magical. I really hope I can get back to Australia soon, such an amazing country 😀

    • Glad we could introduce you! It’s a hidden gem, even among Australians. Regional Victoria has some incredible secrets – Hattah Kulkyne being one of them.

      Definitely plan for some time in Mildura, and maybe even camping in the park, if you swing back by 🙂

  6. We really need to get to Australia! I would love camping under the stars here, although I may be terrified of the Aussie wildlife at night! Scott would lose his mind photographing the stars here! I would also love to have a guide like Peter who knows the area well. Him and his wife sound so lovely and it really adds a personal touch to the experience! Thanks for putting this on our radar!

    • Yes, come visit! I’m bias, but best country in the world 😀

      Haha I’ve gone camping many times, and not been eaten by Aus wildlife – they’re pretty tame. Bugs might get in, but that’s what bug spray is for!

      Such great opportunities for photographing star trails every night – especially as the park is so huge, and there’s hardly any light pollution.

      Peter and Jeanie are wonderful (and very knowledgeable) people – definitely give them a call when you plan your trip. Hope you have the chance to visit soon!

  7. All the pictures are brilliant Meg but wow are those night pictures magical. Amazing to see what the clear night sky looks like in a pristine area with zero pollution. I marvel at what nature is, when human beings do not interfere or muck things up. That’s what makes this national park so special. Seeing unspoiled areas in their glory. Fab post!

    Ryan

    • Thanks Ryan – Kerry is an incredibly talented photographer! Yes, spending overnight in Hattah Kulkyne is a once in a lifetime – it’s not very often you have the chance to witness the Milky Way so clearly. Because the park is so huge there’s no light pollution, so it’s totally clear. Incredible right!!

      Definitely one of the best unspoiled places to visit in Aus. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  8. I’ve never heard of Hattah-Kulkyne (I wish I could hear someone actually pronounce this:)). I would love to take a tour with Peter and having homemade spreads make it even better! Tours are so much better when they are run by the locals themselves. I feel like you get information that is different compared to tours that are run by businesses who hire outside of the region.

    • Glad we could introduce you! I pronounce it like “Hat-a cull-kine” – I hope that’s right haha!!

      Definitely agree with you that it’s a far more memorable and immersive experience when you’re guided by locals like Peter and Jeanine. They’re such wonderful people, and really knowledgeable about the land. Definitely get a much more authentic experience than on group tours run by businesses outside the region.

      Hope you have the chance to visit Mildura soon!

  9. Knowing that this Victorian National Park is famous for its red dirt landscapes, semi-arid climate and vegetation really want me to get my pack my stuff now and traipse my feet here and get lost. I really love seeing wildlife animals. I will surely bookmark this for my future reference. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    • Definitely a great place to seek out a classic Aussie experience. And especially if you love wildlife, there’s a lot of fauna here.

      Hope you have the chance to travel soon!

  10. I had never heard of it, but it looks like a really beautiful vacation spot where a photographer like me could go crazy.

    • Glad we could introduce you Barbara! If you’re a keen photographer, Hattah Kulkyne is definitely the place to be, especially for photography at night. Zero light pollution means you get some incredible shots of the sky 🙂

  11. Wow, what a beautiful part of the country. I’ve never heard of Hattah-Kulkyne, but after reading your post, I would love to visit myself and definitely spend a few nights. I’ve never seen emu in the wild, so that would be awesome too! Incredible photos, Kerry!

    • Absolutely Tara – glad we could introduce you to the park. Hope you do have the chance to visit and spend a couple of nights – you should definitely be able to see a couple of Emu’s running wild in that time!!

  12. Never heard of Hattah Kulkyne and will never be speaking it aloud until someone tells us how to pronounce it 😛 The place looks divine and quite incredible how you describe your tour with peter. Will be including it in our itinerary when we’re there in the region.

    P.S. Your pics are incredible!

    • Haha I pronounce it like “Hat-a cull-kine” – I hope that’s right!!

      Awesome to hear that you’re visiting the region soon – can highly recommend a tour with Peter , and if you have the time, spending a couple of nights.

      Glad you enjoyed the photographs, Kerry is amazing isn’t she!

  13. Excellent article, I grew up with Peter from Murray Offroad Adventures. On a visit back to Mildura I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with Peter at the Hattah Kulkyne National park. Even being a local, Peter taught me a lot about this wonderful part of the world.

    • Thanks Bernie! Awesome to hear from another Mildura local – we really loved our time 🙂

      Peter has so much knowledge doesn’t he! Definitely the expert when it comes to the Murray.

      Happy holidays! Glad you enjoyed your time in the park!

  14. Even when I stay in Midura, I would book a tour. Gives me more time to learn from the expert. Great stuff.

    • Absolutely Charles – there’s nothing like benefiting from the knowledge of those who have known the land their whole life!

  15. This place looks so awesome! And your astrophotography is phenomenal. I’d never heard of Hattah-Kulkyne before, but now it’s on my list!

    • Glad we could introduce you Nathan, and that you’re also a fan of Kerry’s photography – her star trails are incredible aren’t they!

      Hope you have the chance to visit soon!

  16. No WAY! I was like “no I have not heard of this beautiful looking place in Australia” and then I read the bit about staying in Mildura. I fricking LIVED in Mildura for 3 months, how have I not heard of it?! Haha!

    • Glad we could introduce you! Haha it’s always like that though isn’t it – when we live in a city we’re so distracted by our daily routines that visitors end up knowing the surrounds better than we do lol!

      Sounds like you now have the perfect excuse to plan a return visit at some stage!

  17. Thanks for the intro to Hattah-Kulkyne, i’ve lived in Australia for 17 years and i’ve never even heard about it before!

    • You’re welcome, glad we could introduce you! Don’t worry, I was the same! Australian all my life, but the country continues to surprise me with the amount of crazy hidden gems which I have’t heard about before!

      Hope you have the chance to visit if you’re in the region sometime!

  18. This Place is realy so Awosome

    • It is indeed! Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

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