Yan Yean Reservoir Park


Yan Yean Reservoir Park

Yan Yean Reservoir is Victoria’s oldest water supply. In 1857, when it was completed, the artificial reservoir was the largest of its kind in the world. The name Yan Yean comes from the Wurundjeri leader who signed the 1835 Batman’s Treaty, whose name was recorded as ‘Yan Yan’ (meaning ‘bachelor’ or ‘young male’).

The reservoir was designed by James Blackburn, an English civil engineer and ex-convict transported to Australia on charges of embezzlement. The massive structure took four years to construct and cost over 750,000 pounds. It has a capacity of 30,000 megalitres of water, and is located in the middle of 10,000 hectares of land that have been dedicated a permanent reservation for water catchment for more than 150 years.

Today, Yan Yean Reservoir Park remains as popular a spot for recreation as it was when it first opened in 1857. Walking trails, shaded picnic areas, electric barbecues, rotundas, picnic tables and abundant parking make the park an ideal destination for a family outing.

Toilet facilities are located at both ends of the park and both have parenting amenities. The northern facilities are also wheelchair accessible.

Take the kids to the playground near the Valve House for a few hours’ play amid the historic surrounds. Or pack your binoculars and head into the extensive wetlands to see the abundant birdlife that lives and feeds in the area.

Stroll the easy walking trails along the water for views over the reservoir and towards the surrounding mountains, and unwind in the peaceful atmosphere of this tranquil, historic setting.

Things To Do

A structure on the water in Yan Yean Reservoir

Historical sightseeing

Take in the historic features of Melbourne’s oldest dam including the remnant stone water channel, bluestone Valve House and Caretaker’s Cottage built in 1853. Access to the caretaker's cottage to discover the history of Melbourne's early water supply can be arranged by appointment. For more details, call the Parks Victoria Information Centre on 131963.
The riverbank at Yan Yean Reservoir.


Pack a lunch or some barbecue fixings and take the family for a day visit to one of the picturesque picnic areas. Electric barbecues are free to use, and there are picnic tables and shelters at both ends of the park. Choose a spot near the Valve House to sit and relax as the children play on the playground.
A man sitting at a picnic table looks out across the water through a small telescope at Yan Yean Reservoir.


Visit the extensive wetlands and watch the abundant birdlife that live and feed in the area. Watch for species including the Swamp Hen, Glossy Ibis, Musk Duck, White-faced Heron, Eastern Rosella, Superb Fairy-wren, Red Wattlebird and Grey Fantail.

Yan Yean Reservoir Park

This area is well known for its wildlife. Keep an eye out for:


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

Yan Yean Reservoir Park

Yan Yean Reservoir Park is 32km north of Melbourne along Recreation Road (off Arthurs Creek Rd), Yan Yean.

Need to know

Yan Yean Reservoir Park

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.

  • Yan Yean Reservoir Picnic Areas (Yan Yean Reservoir Park)

    Yan Yean Reservoir gates closing time

    The auto gates at Yan Yean Reservoir Park will continue to close at 18:00 while Melbourne Water works are taking place.

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