Cultural Heritage


Cultural Heritage

Tarra-Bulga National Park

Tarra-Bulga National Park is one of the jointly managed parks within Gippsland. The Joint Management agreement recognises the fact that the Gunaikurnai people hold Aboriginal Title and maintain a strong connection to Country. As custodians of the land, they are the rightful people who speak for their Country. These parks and reserves are cultural landscapes that continue to be part of Gunaikurnai living culture. For more information on Joint Management, please visit the Gunaikurnai Traditional Owner Land Management Board and the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation.

Tarra-Bulga National Park on Brataualung Country, is highly significant to Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners due to its remarkable Aboriginal cultural heritage.

The park lies on a central part of the Gunaikurnai creation storyline where Borun, carrying his canoe, travelled from the mountains in the north to the place called Tarra Warackel on the coast south of the park, now called Port Albert (GLaWAC 2015). The forest provided resources, and the stream waters that flow from Tarra–Bulga would have been important, particularly in times of drought, as they are to the present-­‐day communities of South Gippsland.


Although there is much work to be done to fully understand the cultural values within the park, we know it sits in a significant part of the Gunaikurnai cultural landscape – on their creation storyline, where Borun travelled carrying his canoe from the mountains to the sea.

The park linked Gunaikurnai Country from the mountains to the sea at Wilsons Promontory and was also part of a natural corridor that allowed wildlife to flourish.

Gunaikurnai Creation Story

The story of our creation starts with Borun, the pelican, who traversed our Country from the mountains in the north to the place called Tarra Warackel in the south.

As Borun travelled down the mountains, he could hear a constant tapping sound, but he couldn’t identify the sound or where it was coming from. Tap tap tap. He traversed the cliffs and mountains and forged his way through the forests. Tap tap tap. He followed the river systems across our Country and created songlines and storylines as he went. Tap tap tap.

He walked on alone and when he got down into the deeper inlets near Tarra Warackel (now known as Port Albert) he put down his canoe and, much to his surprise, there was a woman in it. She was Tuk, the musk duck. Borun was very happy to see Tuk, and they married and became the mother and father of the five clans, the creators of Gunaikurnai.

The creation story is about the origin of our people. It helps to explain the bonds we have to our Country and reminds us that our ancestors are still watching over the landscape today.

It is important for us to be able to walk in their footsteps and follow their journeys from thousands of years ago – it is a powerful, spiritual aspect to our cultural heritage, and fundamental to our recognition and respect. We are guided by the spirits of our ancestors when we walk through this Country.

Sources/from: Gunaikurnai Whole‐of­‐Country Plan (GLaWAC 2015); The Gunaikurnai and Victorian Government Joint Management Plan - Tarra Bulga National Park - Brataualung Country.

Preserving the past is important to better manage our cultural landscapes. Patrick Mullett is a proud Gunaikurnai man working on Country to manage Aboriginal cultural heritage. He assesses sites and provides advice under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 on how to best protect cultural heritage.

Experience more Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in parks

Victoria's parks provide a range of guided and non-guided experiences that provide unique insights into Aboriginal cultural values and stories.

Raymond Island Gippsland Lakes Reserve

Gippsland Lakes Reserve, situated on Raymond Island on Tatungalung Country, is highly significant to Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners due to its remarkable Aboriginal cultural heritage. Just a short ferry ride from Paynesville, you can leave the car behind and explore the island by foot or bike, or bring your car with you for a small fee. Raymond Island is a haven for wildlife, especially well known for its large koala population.
Two kayakers come across a group of pelicans on the Gippsland Lakes.

Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park

The tranquil Gippsland Lakes are a system of coastal lagoons separated from the Tasman Sea by the coastal dunes of the Ninety Mile Beach. Seven rivers terminate at the lakes – the Latrobe, Avon, Nicholson, Tambo, Mitchell, Macalister and Thomson rivers.
A pelican on the water at the Lakes National Park in Gippsland.

The Lakes National Park

The Lakes National Park is a peaceful bushland retreat in the Gippsland Lakes, fringed by the waters of Lake Victoria and Lake Reeve.
A young couple walk through a cave in Budj Bim National Park

Budj Bim National Park

Budj Bim is a long dormant volcano. Budj Bim is the source of the Tyrendarra lava flow which extends over 50km to the southwest. It is central to the history of the Gunditjmara people.
Mother and young daughter look at the rock formations in the Fairy Cave at Buchan Caves Reserve.

Buchan Caves Reserve

Near the township of Buchan, lies a honeycomb of caves full of spectacular limestone formations. The caves were formed by underground rivers cutting through limestone rock

Brambuk The National Park and Culture Centre

Brambuk The National Park and Cultural Centre in Halls Gap began with the building of the Brambuk Cultural Centre in 1989 to acknowledge, protect and share the cultures of the Jadawadjali and Djab Wurrung Peoples.
An Indigenous guide discusses traditional artifacts with a couple on a walking tour in front of the lake at Tower Hill.

Tower Hill Visitor Centre

Visit the Tower Hill Visitor Centre, designed by celebrated Australian architect Robin Boyd.

How to get there

Cultural Heritage

Need to know

Cultural Heritage

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.

  • Lyrebird Ridge Track (Tarra-Bulga National Park)

    Lyrebird Ridge Track Lookout CLOSED until further notice due to storm damage

    Lyrebird Ridge Track Lookout CLOSED until further notice due to storm damage. 

  • Balook Picnic Area (Tarra-Bulga National Park)

    Cherry Tree Track CLOSED due to trees down

    Cherry Tree Track in Tarra-Bulga National Park is CLOSED for public safety until further notice, due to storm damaged trees over the track

  • Bulga Picnic Area (Tarra-Bulga National Park)

    Bulga Park Picnic Area Toilets CLOSED until further notice

    The toilets at the Bulga Park Picnic Area are CLOSED until further notice. Please utilise the public toilets at the Visitor Centre or Tarra Valley car parks. 

    Bulga Park Picnic Area Road CLOSED to vehicles

    Bulga Park Picnic Area Road in Tarra-Bulga National Park is CLOSED to vehicles until further notice. The road was assessed by an engineer and deemed unsafe for vehicle traffic.

    Wills Track Landslip - Track Closed

    The November rain event has caused a large landslip on Wills Track between the Bulga carpark and suspension bridge. The suspension bridge is accessible via the Balook Visitors Centre carpark.
    Visitors should be aware the park has not been assessed yet for other asset and environmental damage. Tracks may be impassable, and directional signage may be damaged.

Things to Do in the area

A woman walks through a path at Tarra-Bulga National Park.

Walks in Tarra-Bulga National Park

Take a leisurely stroll along one of the many short to medium walking tracks in the park, enjoying the magnificent scenery of shady fern-lined creeks, luxuriant tree ferns, mountain ash and ancient myrtle beeches. Or for something a bit more challenging and further afield, hike the Grand Strzelecki Track.
Picnic area and carpark at Tarra Valley in Tarra Bulga National Park

Picnicking at Tarra-Bulga

Tarra-Bulga National Park is a delightful setting for a picnic. Three picnic areas are situated within the park: at the Visitor Information Centre, Tarra Valley and Bulga. The Visitor Centre picnic area provides picnic tables, electric barbecues, a picnic shelter and toilets with disabled access. Tarra Valley and Bulga picnic areas are set amongst the Giant Mountain Ash and shady fronds of tree ferns. Tables, toilets and picnic shelters are provided. Rubbish bins are not provided. Please take all your rubbish with you.
A woman enjoys a cup of tea while sat at a picnic table infront of her tent at Bunga Arm Campsite in the Gippsland Lakes.

Camping in Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park

The campground is separated from the beach by a stretch of fenced vegetation. There is access to the beach from the Paradise Beach camping area. Use this access points to reduce damage to the sensitive coastal vegetation.
The Homestead at Nyerimilang Heritage Park in the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park.

Nyerimilang Heritage Park

Magnificent views and a rich variety of plant and birdlife are some of this Gippsland park’s attractions. A highlight is Nyerimilang Homestead, in a delightful garden setting on a cliff top above the beautiful Gippsland Lakes.
A family of four including two children under three come across a Koala low in a tree on Raymond Island

Rotamah Island

Rotamah Island is a bushland delight accessible by boat via Paynesville or Loch Sport. Pack a picnic and go for a walk to enjoy scenic views and birdwatching.
A father and mother sit on Squeaky Beach with their daughter in an all terrain accessibility wheelchair.

Squeaky Beach

One of the Prom’s iconic locations, the rounded grains of quartz sand make a ’squeak’ when walked on.
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