Oceania > Australia > Victoria (state) > South West Coast (Victoria) > Budj Bim National Park
Budj Bim is an extinct volcano, and was home to the Indigenous Australian Gunditjmara people before the arrival of the Europeans.
The earliest evidence of aquaculture in the world is found here. As early as 6000 BC, the Gunditjmara people created a system of channels, dams and weirs trapping eels and fish. The eels were smoked and preserved and were eaten all year around.
The volcano itself and the surrounding lava flows are of great historic and cultural significance. The creation story of the local Gunditjmara people is based on the eruption of the volcano more than 30,000 years ago. It was via this event that an ancestral creator-being known as Budj Bim was revealed.
The Tyrendarra lava flow changed the drainage pattern of the region, and created large wetlands. From some thousands of years before European settlement (one of five eel trap systems at Lake Condah has been carbon dated to 6,600 years old), the Gunditjmara people developed a system of aquaculture which channelled the water of the Darlot Creek into adjacent lowlying areas trapping short-finned eels and other fish in a series of weirs, dams and channels. The discovery of these large-scale farming techniques and manipulation of the landscape, highlighted in Bruce Pascoe's best-selling book Dark Emu in 2014, shows that the Indigenous inhabitants were not only hunter gatherers, but cultivators and farmers.
Many Gundjitmara people were moved into Lake Condah Mission, which later became a government-run Aboriginal reserve, which separated "half-caste" children from their parents, who became part of the Stolen Generations.
Flora and fauna
Getting into Budj Bim National Park can only be done via car from a drive from Port Fairy. From Port Fairy, head up C184 and then at MacArthur, turn onto Mt. Eccles Rd and continue from there until the park.
Fees and permits
There aren't any fees in the park, but note that dogs are not allowed in the park.
There's ample opportunities to go hiking in the park, such as doing the Budj Bim to Lake Gorrie Trail which goes from Budj Bim to Lake Gorrie as the name of the place says, Lake Surprise Walk, the Lava Canal Walk, and numerous other walks.
There are no kiosks, cafes, restaurants etc in the park. Bring your own food.