Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve

Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve is part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape in the traditional Country of the Gunaikurnai Peoples. Parks Victoria respects the deep and continuing connection that Traditional Owners have to these lands and waters, and we recognise their ongoing role in caring for Country. 

Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve consists of freshwater marsh, red gum woodland and grasslands. The wetland is listed as a RAMSAR site, meaning it is recognised for its international importance in the protection of the loss of wetlands. It is one of the last two natural freshwater wetlands in the Gippsland Lakes RAMSAR site. Sale Common plays an important role in the purifying of water and as flood modifiers in the region. It is now possible to see the marshes and wetlands as they once might have been.

River Red Gum woodlands and introduced grasslands make up about 30% of the Sale Common. This habitat supports a variety of animals, including kookaburra, whistling kite, swamp wallaby, black swan, superb fairy wren, southern brown tree frog, eastern banjo frog. rare species include white-bellied sea eagle, green and golden bell frog and the growling grass frog.

The best way to explore this park is on foot. The unique history of the Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve can be seen as you stroll along the many kilometres of tracks and boardwalks. The interpretive signage trail highlights the importance of this area to the Gunaikurnai people, the uses of the land during early European settlement as well as present-day uses including commercial harvesting of eels for eating and European carp supplied to the fertiliser industry.

The tracks and boardwalks lead you on an adventure through varying habitats from islands, reed beds and swamps. These habitats also provide a wonderful environment for a large variety of birds. These may include migratory birds from as far away as Japan. The Billabong is an area of permanent deep water and is an ideal habitat for fish, providing birds with a great feeding area.

To enjoy all that Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve has to offer, take the River Heritage and Wetlands Trail. On this 15km return journey, you can immerse yourself in the internationally listed wetlands of the Sale Common.

As you exit the Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve to the south you will be nearing another important attraction, the historic Swing Bridge, which is still in operation today.

Things To Do

A Cormorant in its nest in Barmah National Park.


The combination of freshwater marsh and red gum woodlands support an enormous variety of birdlife. A bird hide is located near the eastern end of the boardwalk next to the day visitor area. Here you can view the pelicans, swans and ducks to name a few.
An expansive wetland with green reeds under a bright blue sky.


The boardwalks provide an opportunity to observe the wetland at a closer level, winding their way through a variety of habitats, from the edge of the swamp/waters edge, through deeper water, past islands and through reed beds.
An expansive wetland, a single large tree stands in the centre.

The Bataluk Cultural Trail

Sale Common is part of the Bataluk Cultural Trail, which follows significant traditional routes used by the Gunaikurnai for over 30,000 years. Learn about history, culture and present day life.
A large tree with a blue sky seen between the branches.

The Lookout

From the main carpark adjacent to the South Gippsland Highway, a short walking track leads to the lookout. From the lookout you may see whistling kites and swamp harriers soaring above the lagoon or cormorants basking in the sun on tree limbs over the waters edge.

Tours and adventure experiences in parks

One of the best ways you can get into nature is with a Licensed Tour Operator.

There are more than 400 Licensed Tour Operators across Victoria who are ready and waiting to help you experience and connect with Victoria’s spectacular parks and waterways.

Discover more than 60 different types of nature-based experiences including hiking, mountain biking, boating, four-wheel driving, indigenous culture tours, birdwatching, surfing, diving and so much more. 

Licensed Tour Operators know all the best places to go and will plan and prepare your visit to ensure you are safe and can enjoy your nature-based adventure to the fullest.

Find a Licensed Tour Operator

How to get there

Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve

The Sale Common is located on the South Gippsland Highway, just south of Sale.  The main carpark is located just off the South Gippsland Highway, before Cox’s Bridge. Carparking can also be found on the corner of Maxfields Road and Stephenson Streets and further along Stephenson Street at the Picnic Area. 

When to go

During spring and summer, the majority of frog species in the park can be heard calling. A great time to visit for amphibian enthusiasts. The river red gum flower in summer every 2 to 3 years. 

Need to know

Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve

Change of Conditions

Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.

  • Sale Common NCR Car Park (Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve)

    Carpark Closure, Sale Common NCR

    The Highway Carpark of the Sale Common NCR is closed for public safety due to flood damage.

  • Sale Common Boardwalk Picnic Area (Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve)

    Boardwalk Closure, Sale Common NCR

    The Eastern Boardwalk of the Sale Common NCR is closed for public safety due to flood damage.

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