National & state parks
Around one-third of Victoria consists of public land. Discover a range of environments within these extensive areas of public land including urban manicured gardens, recreational parks, lush forests, remote wilderness parks, scenic coastal parks and large semi-arid regions.
National Parks are areas of nationwide significance which are usually quite extensive in size. They encompass outstanding natural environments, scenic landscapes or diverse land types which are predominantly unspoilt. Their aim is to preserve these landscapes from many forms of human activity, protect precious species of animals and plants, preserve areas of archaeological and historical significance, and to provide public enjoyment and education of these areas of nature.
State Parks are similar to national parks, but are generally smaller. They complement national parks and preserve the major land types and species of flora and fauna found in Victoria.
Regional Parks are easily accessible areas of land which include a variety of historic, cultural and conservation reserves. Their aim is provide recreation and enjoyment for large numbers of people while protecting the natural surroundings and limiting exploitation of resources.
Wilderness Parks are large areas with native plant and animal communities that are relatively unaffected by humans. They are managed for conservation, with no facilities provided for visitors and no vehicles are permitted.
State Forests conserve flora and fauna, protect water catchments and supplies, preserve landscapes and provide recreational areas. They also provide sustainable resources to supply the community, such as timber and other forest products. Hunting for pest animals may be permitted in some State Forests.
Victoria has been divided up into 4 distinct geographical zones to classify the location of these parks and forests within the state.
For each National Park, State Park, Regional Park and Wilderness Park listed in the table below, a link is provided to its official page on the Parks Victoria website which has information on the park, animals, vegetation, facilities, things to do and maps. Each State Forest has a link to the downloadable forest notes (PDF document) on the DSE website.
The corresponding list of surrounding cities, suburbs and towns for each park and forest provides information on nearby locations where services such as food, fuel and accommodation may be found.
Interesting facts about our parks
Victoria's largest park is the Alpine National Park which spans 6,460 square kilometres. It is located in the east of the state, extending into both Gippsland and the High Country regions. It has the largest diversity of flora and fauna out of all parks with almost 1,000 native plant species and over 300 native animal species. Coming a close second in size is the semi-arid Murray-Sunset National Park at 6,330 square kilometres, located south of Mildura.
Victoria's busiest park is the Mornington Peninsula National Park which extends along the southern coastline of the Mornington Peninsula and also inland. There are over 4 million visits per year made to this park, mainly by people accessing the surrounding ocean beaches.
Victoria's quietest park is the Big Desert Wilderness Park, located in a very remote area of the state, adjacent to the border with South Australia, south of Murrayville. It is estimated to receive less than 300 visitors a year due to its remoteness and lack of tracks or any type of facilities for visitors.
The Grampians National Park, which surrounds the village of Halls Gap, contains the most Aboriginal rock art sites in Victoria.
Affectionately known by locals as "The Prom", Wilsons Promontory is one of Victoria's most loved national parks. It is located within Gippsland and is the southern most tip of the Australian mainland.
Referred to as a coastal wilderness haven, Wilsons Promontory is home to many different species of wildlife and native animals. The most well-known that you are likely to see around here include kangaroos, emus, wombats, echidnas and many different species of birds.
Taking a hike through the 50,000 hectares of tracks will allow you to take in beaches, forests, gullies, valleys, lakes and rivers - a truly eclectic introduction to Mother Nature's beauty within Victoria.
The lighthouse at the southern tip of the peninsula is a popular tourist destination.
Wilsons Promontory boasts a Marine National Park also where snorkelers and adventurists can take in amazing underwater scenery in the waters underneath the steep granite cliffs that shelter the area.
The granite mountains that line The Prom are exposed to nature's wrath along the coastline. The rock formations are truly breathtaking sites, but differ in composition and contour to the limestone cliffs you would be likely to see at the Twelve Apostles and Port Campbell National Park on the Great Ocean Road.
Fish are aplenty in this area, and on-land onlookers can easily see proof of this from the water's edge - such is their vast dense populace in the area. Varieties of sponge marine animals live among the reefs of the shallows and you will likely be lucky enough to see a penguin or fur seal toddling along if the weather is right.
A trek from the car park at Darby Saddle will take you to Sparkes lookout - one of the most outstanding coastal viewing spots in Australia. An area where the medicinal tea tree grows happily.
From Lilly Pilly Gully is an outstanding nature trail. A haven for koalas to raise their families, visitors come to Lilly Pilly Gully to view koalas in their natural habitat and take in some of the tallest eucalypts and blackwood trees you have seen.
Wilson's Promontory is also a significant site to the Aboriginal clans of Gunai-Kurnai and Boonerwrung, and is known to the clan members as "Yiruk" or "Warnoon".
Wilsons Promontory was a key site of early European exploration of Victoria when Governor George Bass first reached the area and spent a short period there before returning to Sydney in early 1798. After George Bass returned to the Prom with Matthew Flinders late the same year, the pair chose to name the area after Flinders' friend Thomas Wilson - who was from London. Wilson was a merchant trader with Australia during time of early European settlement. The area then became a commando training ground for troops in World War II.