Murray Sunset National Park
Murray Sunset National Park is Victoria's second largest national park and contains four designated wilderness zones. Discover the park's vast open spaces, isolation, abundant wildlife and colourful spring wildflowers. Plan a longer stay to experience the breathtaking sunsets and starry nights.
The park is one of the few remaining semi-arid regions in the world where the environment is relatively untouched and is home to Victoria's largest flower, the Murray Lily, and Australia's rarest bird, the Black-Eared Miner. Explore diverse habitats, including billabongs and floodplains near the Murray River, grasslands, native pine woodlands, Mallee covered dunes and saltbush flats.
Several Aboriginal communities have lived in the region for thousands of years, leaving shell middens, scar trees, oven mounds and burial grounds that testify to a rich and varied lifestyle. Salt was commercially harvested between 1916 and 1975 from the Pink Lakes. The area was declared a National Park in 1991.
The Pink Lakes
In spring, four of the park's lakes - Becking, Crosbie, Kenyon and Hardy - turn a vivid pink. This occurs when a red pigment called carotene is secreted from algae in the water. The colour is at its most vibrant early or late in the day or when the sky is cloudy. In summer water evaporates leaving concentrated salt crusts over black mud. The lakes can be accessed by 2WD vehicles via a gravel road from Linga on the Mallee Highway.
Located on the riverine plain of the Murray River in the far north-west corner of the state, Lindsay Island is intersected by numerous small creeks carrying floodwaters from the Murray River into swamps, billabongs and floodplains. It is bounded by the Lindsay River anabranch and is home to a significant array of plants and animals and has a long history of human occupation. Access to the river is good although in parts the terrain is almost untouched. Fishing for golden perch, Murray cod and yabbies is good. Boating and swimming are other activities.
There are more than 70 significant plant species including Victoria's largest flower, the Murray Lily, the restricted Silvery Emu-Bush and the Blue-Leafed Mallee. Grasslands, Saltbush, Buloke, Porcupine Grass and Mallee Eucalypts dominate the flat, expansive landscape with pockets of native Cypress-Pine and Belah woodlands scattered throughout. On Lindsay Island, River Red Gums line the creeks and Black Box woodlands surround the floodplain.
Murray Sunset National Park is one of the few regions in Victoria where red kangaroos can be seen in large numbers. The park is home to a number of threatened species, including the Paucident Planigale, a small carnivorous marsupial, the slender yellow and green Regent Parrot and the Millewa Skink. Birdlife includes Mallee Fowl, Pink Cockatoos and White-Browed Tree Creepers. On a warm afternoon Bearded and Mallee Dragons may also be seen.
Walk - explore on foot
There are many excellent walking tracks in the Pink Lakes area, but walkers should seek advice from rangers before starting longer walks. Avoid high temperatures and hot conditions and plan your visit for late autumn-spring (April-November).
The Pink Lakes Walk is a 2.5-kilometre track (1.5 hours return) that is suitable for all fitness levels. It starts and finishes in the Pink Lakes Picnic Area.
Explore by car
All of the tracks within the park are four-wheel drive. Two-wheel drive vehicles can use the Pink Lakes track from Linga. Access into any other areas in a 2WD vehicle should first be checked with local rangers.
All tracks are subject to seasonal conditions. It is important to check current road conditions with park staff before visiting - tracks become impassable in wet weather, whilst others are suitable for four wheel drive vehicles only. All tracks on Lindsay Island are dry weather only. Vehicles are prohibited in 'wilderness' zones and 'remote' and 'natural' areas.
Camping and facilities
Camping is permitted at Pink Lakes on the southern shore of Lake Crosbie, the largest of the four lakes. The site has toilets, picnic tables, fireplaces and water. Other basic camping grounds are at Mopoke Hut, Mount Crozier and Rocket Lake. There are also a number of remote campsites with facilities.
The Shearer's Quarters offers hostel-style accommodation with cooking facilities, bunks and a hot shower. Book at the Werrimull Office or ph: 13 19 63. Supplies are available from Mildura, Werrimull, Lake Cullulleraine and Murrayville.
Summer temperatures are very high and it is necessary to carry adequate water. A compass and topographic map are essential for travelling in isolated areas. For users of remote campgrounds it is recommended that visitors carry a gas or fuel stove or BYO firewood, and adequate drinking water.
How to Get There
The park can be approached from Murrayville and Ouyen in the south and Red Cliffs, Mildura and Renmark in the north.