Lower Glenelg National Park

LOWER GLENELG NATIONAL PARK- www.parkweb.vic.gov.au

Lower Glenelg National Park, 27,300 hectares in area, is situated in the south-western corner of Victoria. The Glenelg River is the central feature. Along the last part of its winding 400 kilometre path to the sea the river has carved a spectacular gorge up to 50 metres deep through limestone. River erosion and the action of rainwater have created a remarkable cave.
These and the rich variety of bush plants and animals, not to mention activities such as canoeing, fishing and bushwalking, are ample reasons to visit Lower Glenelg National Park.

Things to Do

  • Visit Princess Margaret Rose Cave. Commercial boat trips run from Nelson to the cave.
  • Take a canoe along the river, camping at the various sites provided.
  • The Glenelg estuary provides salt water habitat far upstream for a wide range of fish, including mulloway, bream, mullet, salmon trout and estuary perch, making it one of Australia's most popular fishing destinations.
  • Visit points of interest such as Jones Lookout, the Bulley Ranges, and the Inkpot.
  • The park is criss-crossed by fire trails, which offer short scenic bush walks. The Great South West Walk also passes through the park.


  • There are boat-launching ramps at several points along the river. Canoes can be hired from Nelson and Dartmoor/Winnap and taken either upstream or downstream.
  • Two sections of the lower reaches of the river are set aside for power boating and water skiing.
  • There are cabins and a camping ground at Princess Margaret Rose Cave (bookings required).
  • Camping is also permitted beside the Glenelg River (permits required).


The geological characteristics were formed millions of years ago when sea creatures, deposited on the ocean floor, compacted into limestone. Eons later the water receded, exposing the seabed. Water, percolating through and dissolving the limestone, formed the cave.
Aboriginal people lived in the area for many thousands of years and had an intimate knowledge of its geography, flora and fauna, all of which had great spiritual significance. They suffered greatly from the effects of European settlement, but their descendants are now involved in park management and in recovering their heritage. European settlement began in the 1830s but fortunately large areas remained uncleared. Today these are mostly protected in the national park.


Aboriginal Traditional Owners
Parks Victoria acknowledges the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Victoria - including its parks and reserves. Through their cultural traditions, Aboriginal people maintain their connection to their ancestral lands and waters.
Further information is available from Aboriginal Affairs Victoria AAV and Native Title Services Victoria Fauna
Platypus and water rats burrow into the river banks. Reed beds along quieter stretches shelter ducks and moorhens. Azure Kingfishers and herons fish in the shallows. Emus, Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Red-necked Wallabies are common, as are Brush-tailed Possums, Koalas and Echidnas. The park also has small colonies of wombats and Yellow-bellied Gliders.

In terms of plant life, the park is where east meets west. Gullies at Moleside Creek contain the most westerly tree ferns in Australia and at least 60 other plant species which are found no further west. At the same time many West Australian plants occur here - the edge of their eastern range - so that a total of 700 species, including 50 orchids, can be found in and around forest, heath, swamp and rive

Looking After the Park

  • Permits are required for camping.
  • Fires may be lit only in fireplaces provided.
  • Dogs, cats, firearms and the cutting of wood are prohibited.
  • Landing is not permitted at Keegans Bend.
  • Speed restrictions apply to boats.
  • Water skiing is allowed only in designated areas.
  • Please take all rubbish home with you.

This park has been assessed to have a high level of bushfire risk and will be closed for public safety on days of Code Red Fire Danger Rating.
For more information on the location of parks within Bureau of Meteorology forecast districts and closures on days of forecast Code Red Fire Danger Rating click here.

  • Take care when swimming in the river - the water is deep and there may be snags.

How to Get There
Access is from the Portland-Nelson Road or via Dartmoor (Melway ref: 525 H6).

Special Needs Access
Specific information about site conditions so you can judge a site's accessibility according to your own needs.

Battersbys, Pritchards and Wilson Hall riverside camping and picnic areas

Of these three picnic and camping sites along the Glenelg River, Battersbys is overall slightly more accessible than Pritchards and Wilson Hall, though it does not offer shelter near the picnic facilities.

Visitor Centre
The Visitor Centre in Nelson is generally accessible. The car parking bays are good, and there is a ramp to facilitate building entry. Inside, the building is spacious, but lacks handrails. A designated accessible toilet is provided at the rear of the building.

Princess Margaret Rose Cave
The picnic and camping areas and the Visitor Centre building are all reasonably accessible at Princes Margaret Rose Cave. The cave itself is accessed via steep and slippery stairs and is therefore poorly accessible for people with limited mobility. A limestone cave in Mount Gambier (not far across the South Australian border) offers better access for people with a disability.

Nearby Parks

  • Cape Nelson State Park
  • Discovery Bay Costal Park
  • Mount Eccles National Park
  • Mount Richmond National Park
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