UNESCO World Heritage listed.
Budj Bim National Park, previously known as Mount Eccles, is home to a tranquil crater lake, lava canals and caves in a lush bushland setting. Enjoy a picnic, camp and walk among Manna Gums teeming with native wildlife. Discover the rich cultural heritage of Budj Bim and the natural wonders of this ancient, volcanic landscape.
Budj Bim is the Gunditjmara name, meaning “High Head”, the roughly conical peak rising 178 metres. The peak is a scoria hill that was thrown up beside a group of three overlapping volcanic craters that now contain Lake Surprise. A line of smaller craters and scoria cones runs to the southeast. Lava flows extend to form a shield volcano and are fed by several lava channels, or “lava canals” as they are known locally. This lava flow, known as the Tyrendarra lava flow, changed the drainage pattern of the region, and created large wetlands.
The wider Budj Bim Heritage Landscape dates back thousands of years and shows evidence of large, settled communities systematically farming and smoking eels for food and trade. The Heritage Landscape area is considered one of Victoria’s earliest and largest Indigenous aquaculture ventures, and has recently been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List recognised solely for its Aboriginal cultural values.The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape features the earliest living example of aquaculture in the world, with a history of eel farming dating back over 6,000 years.
Where is Budj Bim?
From Port Fairy, take the Hamilton – Port Fairy Road (C184) for 30 minutes until you reach Macarthur. At Macarthur turn left onto Mt Eccles Rd, follow for 8 minutes, then turn right to stay on Mt Eccles rd as you enter Budj Bim National Park.
Lake Surprise, the walking tracks and campground are a very short walk or drive from the picnic area.
Download the Budj Bim National Park visitor guide for more information about the park:Budj Bim National Park Visitor Guide
Production credit: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)
In Victoria there are at least 38 Aboriginal languages, all of which are different stages of revitalisation. This film explores the importance of the Dhauwurd Wurrung language and gives an insight to its recent UNESCO World Heritage listing naming it one of the oldest aquaculture systems in the world, Budj Bim.
Thank you to Gunditjmara Elder and Traditional Owner Uncle Johnny Lovett and Gunditjmara Traditional Owner Tyson Lovett-Murray for taking part.
Turn on your torch and prepare for an underground adventure at Budj Bim’s Lava Cave. Just a 10-minute walk from the lookout and BBQ areas, the Lava Cave is arguably the park’s most popular attraction. Traipse down stone steps into the mouth of the cave and look up at the glistening moisture and moss clinging to the stone above. The cave, formed by cooling lava flows during the volcano’s most recent eruption, extends deep into the earth. Discover just how far, by following the mostly flat volcanic floor of the lava tube all the way to its end.
Take a short walk from Budj Bim’s top carpark to the lookout. Enjoy panoramic views of Lake Surprise, situated in the centre of the park’s extinct volcano. Take a romantic stroll along the crater rim walk, Lake Surprise walk and Lava Cave trail.
The lake is home to a wide variety of fish and is rumoured to contain quicksand, so be sure to stick to the path. Keep an eye out for koalas, echidnas, kangaroos, wallabies, kookaburras, parrots and other wildlife on your walk.
The crater rim walk loops its way around the edge of the top of the volcano. A number of brilliant vantage points for the avid photographer can be found along the way.
The cathedral-like Natural Bridge cave can be easily accessed by vehicle, or via a moderate two-hour walk from the park’s main entrance. This rare cave’s otherworldly gateway will lead you into a tunnel littered with emerald-green moss-covered stones. Formed by one of the fastest-flowing lava movements at Budj Bim, the turbulent force of the lava flow resulted the cave’s unique triangular shape. It’s a geologist’s dream, and more than a little inspiring for the rest of us.
Budj Bim National Park camping grounds are woven together through a tangle of dirt bush tracks. You’ll feel like you’ve got this quiet, tranquil place to yourself, but there’s never someone too far away. Campsites come with a large grassy area to pitch a tent, as well as a camp fire and BBQ plate ready to use. Showers and toilets are just a short walk from your site. Look to the trees – you might just spot a koala during the day or a possum at night!
Budj Bim National Park Camping can be booked online in advance to avoid disappointment. You will receive a booking confirmation that can be displayed as your permit to camp. Bookings for camping and accommodation can be made up to 12-18 months in advance. Further availability will be opened from 12 pm (noon) on the first Monday in August and the first Monday in December excluding peak season periods.
Download the Budj Bim National Park campground map for more information: Budj Bim Campground Map
Listen to park’s resident kookaburras sing in the afternoon, but as you do so be sure to guard your sausages – they like them as much as you do. Enjoy undercover cover BBQ facilities with picnic tables and plenty of room to spread a picnic rug. At dusk, keep an eye out for kangaroos and wallabies hopping by.
Woven throughout Budj Bim’s sprawling bushland are a number of tracks suitable for mountain biking and four-wheel drive adventures. Travel along and discover remnants of the past, from old stone fenced cattle yards to lone chimneys surrounded by crumbling ruins. The tracks open up onto grassy plains, and it’s not uncommon to spot an emu among the hundreds of kangaroos roaming the quiet bushland.
Before you go, conditions can change for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the relevant park page on the Parks Victoria website.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawuurung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Ancestors, past present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.