Article from On The Road Magazine
Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, VIC
If you are keen on staying in the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park there are 2 spots to choose from. One is the Hattah Lake Campsite and the other is Lake Mournpall with basic facilities (long drop toilets, fireplaces and picnic tables) at each of these, with around 20 sites at each location. Camping fees apply at these 2 sites, and being up around $30 per night it is not cheap. The pick of them would be Lake Mournpall reached by a 9 km dirt road from the park HQ and where you can camp right next to the water’s edge when the water is high. There are also 3 riverside locations within the confines of the National Park accessed at the southern end of River Track off the Hattah-Robinvale Road. These are Fireman’s Bend, Jinkers Bend and Ki Bend and the restrictions are no generators and no pets but there is also no charge to camp there.
But there are plenty of excellent camping spots adjacent to the National Park accessed via River Track, but because they are within the Murray-Kulkyne Park they are free and your trusty pooch may accompany you. Most of these are accessible by 2WD and caravan in the dry as well which makes this a very attractive stopover option if you are cruising the Calder Highway. It is about a 15 minute diversion off the Highway.
Starting from the northern end up near Colignan you enter the park and soon come to a sign pointing to Emmerts Bend. Then around 4 kms from the park entrance you will see a turn-off for Tarpaulin Bend with a further 3 or 4 kms to the river. A little further along River Track is Britt Bend, then Station Bend, Deep Bend and Retail Bend. Some go to beach spots along the river and others on bluff bends with picturesque outlooks. You then pass into a section of National Park with river frontage and you will see Fireman’s, Jinkers and Ki Bends with the “no rifles, cats, dogs or generators” signage. You will then come to the Chalka Creek inlet where the irrigation pumps are doing their thing and if you are passing in winter you would probably prefer to camp elsewhere as the whine of the pumps could get annoying. Beyond that you are back in the Murray-Kulkyne Park and there are well signed turn-offs to “The Boiler” and “The Paddlewheel” with suitable caravan spots next to the river. Some ordinary, and some absolutely fantastic. River Track emerges onto the Hattah-Robinvale Road about 20 kms east of the Calder.
The signs are pretty clear so you cannot get it wrong and plonk yourself down at a spot where your dog is not permitted. River Track is pretty well maintained and is fine for 2WD but a few sections can get lumpy after wet conditions. The tracks into the campsites were all pretty good on my 2017 visit, accessed with a low clearance Subaru so pretty easy stuff. I’d estimate that along River Track there would be over 100 campsites so plenty of spots to find your perfect Murray overlook.
The Hattah-Kulkyne is 74kms south of Mildura and about 450 kms north-west of Melbourne.
Basic facilities are available at the 2 main National Park sites (Hattah Lake and Lake Mournpall) with long drop toilets, fireplaces and picnic tables. No facilities are available at the riverside sites.
Not permitted in the National Park but check out Murray-Kulkyne Park sites where pets are permitted.
The standard rate for Parks Vic sites is around $30 per site per night (some variation between peak and off-peak) but you can check Parks Victoria Fees & Charges for a detailed review. The riverside camps accessed via River Track are free, and some of them are absolute cracker Murray spots.
Information: Phone Parks Vic on 13 19 63 or www.parkweb.vic.gov.au