Five great winter hikes in North-West Victoria

Thursday 17 June, 2021

The days might be getting shorter, but don’t rush to pack away your hiking boots. Getting out into nature in the crisp, clear days of winter is invigorating in a whole new way. Grab your coat, your beanie and a friend or three, and stride into the bracing chill on one of northern Victoria’s spectacular winter hikes.

Little Desert National Park

342km from Melbourne

Normally hot and arid, Little Desert National Park is best in late winter, when temperatures are comfortable and the park begins to fill with blossoms and wildflowers. With several tranquil camping areas, it’s a beautiful spot for a mid-winter getaway. Tackle the four-day Little Desert Discovery Walk for an immersive experience in this fascinating landscape.

Our pick: Pomponderoo Hill Nature Walk – 1km, 30min return

This walk loops around typical desert vegetation on the park’s northern boundary. A lookout gives an excellent view of the park, Wimmera River and the surrounding area. See the Pomponderoo Hill Nature Walk fact sheet (PDF).

More Hiking Highlights

  • Kiata Campground walks – from 1-hour return to 4 nights
  • Little Desert Discovery Walk – 74km, 4 days

Sunlight through the trees at Little Desert National Park

Wyperfeld National Park

436km from Melbourne

Flat and semi-arid, Wyperfeld National Park is a landscape of white sand dunes, bush vegetation, and a unique chain of lake beds connected by Outlet Creek. Winter brings the rains, and with them a transformation: the dry landscape becomes bejewelled with tiny desert plants that sprout from long-dormant seeds, carpeting the ground with clusters of flowers.

Our pick: Discovery Walk – 8km, 3.5 hours return

A half-day walk through a diverse desert landscape, the Discovery Walk starts at Wonga Campground. Walk to Devils Pools then cross sand dunes and pass through Mallee tea-trees into redgum woodlands surrounding Lake Brambuk before heading back to camp.

More hiking highlights:

  • Desert Walk, from Nine Mile Square carpark – 6km, 2.5 hours return
  • Eastern Lookout Nature Tour, from Wonga Campground – 15km, 4-6 hours return

Hattah-Kulkyne National Park

482km from Melbourne

Tucked in the north-west corner of the state, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park shines in winter, when the 18 lakes that make up the Hattah Lakes system are full to the brim with seasonal rains. Relax in the fresh air of the park’s rolling mallee dunes, or stay overnight to gaze into the crisp, starry winter skies and watch the mist rise off the lakes at dawn.

Our Pick: Hattah Nature Walk – 1.2km, 40 minutes return

A gentle walk that begins from the carpark near the park entrance, this short nature walk features interpretative signs that highlight the Mallee ecosystem.

More hiking highlights:

  • Warepil Lookout Walk, from the carpark – 600m, 30 minutes return
  • Mournpall Lake Loop, from Lake Mournpall camping area – 9.5km, 3 hour circuit

Trees by the water in Hattah-Kulkyne National Park

Murray-Sunset National Park

505km from Melbourne

The remote, unspoilt desert landscape of Murray-Sunset National Park transforms in the winter months. Average high temperatures drop into the teens, and if you go overnight, you might wake to scenery sparkling with frost. Visit at dawn or sunset to see the spectacular sky reflected in the famous Pink Lakes, which are at their pinkest after winter rains.

Our Pick: Kline Loop Nature Walk – 4.8km, 2 hours circuit

Take in the vast beauty of the Pink Lakes from this moderate hike along the Kline Nature Walk. This is an excellent opportunity to see some of the many types of birds that live here, including the Malleefowl, Malee Emu-wren, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo and the Black-eared Miner.

More hiking highlights:

  • Lake Becking, from the top of Lake Becking – 1.4km, 40 minute circuit
  • Lake Hardy, from the information board – 1.7km, 45 minute circuit
  • Sunset Remote Walking Track, from Lake Becking Campsite – 66km, 3-day circuit

Stay: Shearer’s Quarters

A historic self-contained cottage nestled in the remote heart of Murray-Sunset National Park, Shearer’s Quarters is a great place to get away from it all and enjoy the serenity of the bush. The four-bedroom cottage sleeps up to 10 people, with kitchen facilities including a gas fridge and basic cooking utensils. Book here.

View over the lake and scrub at sunset in Murray-Sunset National Park

Kings Billabong Park

541km from Melbourne

Home to nationally significant wetlands, Kings Billabong Park sits right at the NSW border along a broad stretch of the Murray River floodplain. Rich in unique and endangered wetland wildlife, the park is a tranquil escape in winter, and offers walkers stunning wetland vistas, abundant wildlife spotting, and excellent opportunities for photography.

Our Pick: Bird Hide Loop Walk – 3.5km, 1 hour circuit

Stroll this boardwalk through a stunning billabong and wetlands that are home to hundreds of water birds and many types of parrots. This is a must-visit for birdwatchers keen to spot some of the specialised species that live in the wetlands.

More hiking highlights:

  • Kings Billabong Lookout, from Kings Billabong Lookout car park – 200m, 10 minute circuit
  • Ducks Foot Lagoon Walk, from Billabong Walks car park – 8.5km, 3 hour circuit

A pelican on the water in Kings Billabong Park

Stay safe while hiking this winter! Remember:

  • Dress with plenty of layers: base layers / fleece / waterproof shell / gloves / beanie
  • Know your ability: choose the right difficulty level for your fitness and experience
  • Take the right safety gear for your hike: 3km vs 10km vs overnight. Essentials: map, first-aid kit, compass, water
  • Invest in good gear: jacket / trousers / hiking boots
  • Check the weather: 24hrs out and before leaving home
  • Charge your phone: turn on GPS location services on your phone
  • Bring a friend: it's more fun to hike with a friend and it's safer in a group
  • Pack a flask: tea / coffee / hot chocolate
  • Pack extra food: protein bars / muesli bars / nuts
  • Be prepared to turn around – for whatever reason: weather / daylight / health
  • Tracks may not always be accessible: check the Parks Victoria website before you start your trip

Find more great hikes in Victoria's parks on our hiking page.

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