The Barmah-Millewa Forest (north east of Echuca and south of Deniliquin), is the largest River Red Gum forest in Australia, covering 66,000 hectares of floodplain. Many native plants, birds, fish and reptiles make this huge wetland forest their home. Spring floods keep the River Red Gums healthy and provide habitat and breeding sites for vast numbers of colonial waterbirds, including threatened Egret species.
Why is the Barmah-Millewa Forest special and worth visiting?
The Barmah-Millewa Forest is the largest River Red Gum forest in Australia (and the world). The forests and the Murray River are both very accessible and can be enjoyed on day trips.
The area comprises the Barmah National Park in Victoria, and the Murray Valley National Park (Moira, Millewa and Gulpa Creek sections) in NSW.
These forests are important for natural, environmental, Aboriginal and social features. However, they are under increasing pressure from climate change, drought, reduced natural flooding and declining flows in rivers.
Spring floods keep the River Red gums healthy and provide habitat and breeding sites for vast numbers of colonial waterbirds, including threatened Egret species.
This huge wetland forest is the home of rare and threatened native plants, over 200 species of birds, native fish and reptiles. Grey kangaroos, emus and koalas are common
The bird observatory at the Reed Beds (east of Mathoura in NSW) is a great place to view some of the area’s spectacular wildlife and contains information on commonly seen birds. You can reach the hide via a short walk from the car park off the Picnic Point Road.
The area is a unique wetland system of international significance and is protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Evidence of Aboriginal occupation (scarred trees, middens and burial sites) can be found in the area. The Traditional Owners are involved in caring for the forests. In Victoria, the Yorta Yorta people have an active role in managing the Barmah National Park.
How to get there
The Barmah National Park is a half hour drive from Echuca or a 20-minute drive from Nathalia. The park is entered through the small township of Barmah.
The Murray Valley National Park (Moira, Millewa and Gulpa Creek sections) are situated south of Deniliquin – the best access point is through Mathoura.
Both national parks have basic camping and day visitor facilities, toilets, fireplaces, good access roads and a number of small towns close by.
For information on the Barmah National Park contact:
- Parks Victoria at Echuca or Nathalia – phone 131 963
- Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority – phone 03 5820 1100
For information about the Murray Valley National Park (Moira, Millewa and Gulpa Creek sections) contact:
- Murray Valley National Park (Moama) – phone 03 5483 9100
The Living Murray
As an icon site in The Living Murray program, the Barmah-Millewa Forest has received environmental water. This water has helped to:
- restore healthy wetland and floodplain communities
- provide suitable feeding and breeding habitat for waterbirds
- support successful breeding and recruitment of native fish
- provide high quality feeding and breeding habitat for native frogs, turtles and crayfish.
What to do when you are there?
Both areas have basic camping and day visitor facilities, toilets, fireplaces, good access roads and a number of small towns close by.
There are walking tracks, interpretive signs and brochures.
The Murray River, Edward River and Gulpa Creek offer great canoeing.
Excursion organisers must take full OH&S responsibility for all acticities. MDBA will not be held responsible for any visits to icon sites as they are National Parks.
To improve your awareness of the environment and protect the Murray River, please respect the region’s natural resources, heritage and other users. Remember:
- Do not disturb, remove or damage plants or animals (including livestock).
- Do not interfere with Aboriginal cultural heritage sites.
- Take your rubbish home
- Observe local fire regulations – no fires on total fire ban days.
- Fires must be properly extinguished.
- Watch out for snakes, especially in summer
- Some tracks & roads may become impassable (or closed) during bad weather and floods – always check first.
- Drinking water may be limited in some areas.
- Take sunscreen, insect repellent and a hat.
- Plan your visit and tell someone where you are going.
- Trees can drop branches without warning.
- Always be safety conscious when swimming, boating and camping.
- For more information, see The Living Murray material on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s website – www.mdba.gov.au/programs/tlm/icon_sites/barmah_millewa
- The Living Murray program can also be contacted at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority on 02 6279 0100