Staff Favourite: Budj Bim National Park

Now although we have mentioned it before, many of you would never have heard of Budj Bim National Park, as it somehow flew under the worldwide (let alone Australian) radar. But thanks to a recent UNESCO world heritage listing it's about to get a lot more attention. 

Budj Bim encompasses a dormant volcanic area and is home to the Gunditjmara people who have called the place home continuously for thousands of years. It provides evidence of a system of channels and weirs constructed from the abundant local volcanic rock to manage water flows from nearby Lake Condah to farm eels as a food source.


Budj Bim aerial shot of lake

This remarkable system has been dated to over 6600 years old, and provided crucial evidence against the common misconception that first nations peoples were solely hunter gatherers. The Gunditjmara people managed the area by engineering channels to bring water and young eels to low lying areas. They created ponds and wetlands linked by channels containing weirs. Woven baskets were placed in the weir to harvest mature eels. These engineered wetlands provided the economic basis to sustain large groups of people living in the vicinity of Lake Condah.

This historical evidence is why it was awarded World Heritage status, but its natural wonders are also stunning. There are hikes you can go on that are in the veins of lava channels, where warmer lava rivers have run through colder magma that has hardened, when the warmer lava subsided it left intact these lava channels roughly big enough to drive a car through. And at some points the lava channels turn into lava tunnels and the path leads underground to lava caves! They are an amazing experience and one I will never forget. 

Budj Bim Lava tunnel Entrance

Back on the surface, there is abundant wildlife around the large crater lake to take in with some spectacular lookouts popular with photographers. The volcanic history of Budj Bim has set this area part from the rest of Australia, and scientists now believe the stories of the Gunditjmara people which referenced the active period of these volcanoes roughly 37,000 years ago are the oldest in the world! (read more about this here:

Budj Bim Crater lake

Budj Bim is located in South Western Victoria, about an hour from Warrnambool. Campgrounds there are great and have warm showers and toilets. 

We recommend getting here before word gets out!