Murray-Sunset National Park is in The Murray region of Victoria. The park is made up of semi-arid plains and four seasonal lakes.
The park was created in 1979, and expanded to encompass Pink Lakes State Park in 1999. The lakes are dubbed "pink" after the beta-carotene pigment that colours it in late summer, caused by the algae Dunaliella salina. This area was the site of a major salt industry from 1916 to 1975. At its peak, ten thousand tons of salt was harvested and railed from Lake Crosbie, Lake Becking and Lake Kenyon to the nearby town of Linga. For management purposes, the Murray-Sunset National Park is managed with the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, Wyperfeld National Park, Lake Albacutya Park and Murray-Kulkyne Park as part of the Victorian Mallee Parks.
Another defunct railway, the Nowingi line, terminates at the remains of a gypsum mine hopper on the Raak Plain. Other historical relics include Shearer's Quarters and Mopoke Hut, built as grazier accommodation in the 1960s.
Flora and fauna
Over 600 species of plants, and 300 species of birds have been recorded. Notable plants include Murray lily, silvery emu-bush, saltbush, buloke, porcupine grass, blue-leaved mallee and other mallee eucalypts. In spring, wildflowers include spider orchids, azure sun orchids, desert heath-myrtles and poached-egg daisies.
Emus, wedge-tailed eagles, and both western grey and red kangaroos are also present in the park.
Most of the park also lies within the Murray-Sunset, Hattah and Annuello Important Bird Area (IBA), so identified by BirdLife International because it contains mallee habitat supporting a suite of threatened mallee bird species, including the malleefowl, black-eared miner and mallee emu-wren.
Murray-Sunset is accessible by car from Melbourne (550 km), Adelaide (400 km) or Mildura (50 km). Two-wheel drive autos must use the gravel road from Linga on the Mallee Highway. Apart from that, there are no other forms of transport getting into Murray Sunset National Park.
Fees and permits
- Pine Lakes - the former site of commercial salt harvesting, so called due to the colour of the algae in the lakes. The lakes are dry in summer.
- Lindsay Island
- Murray River
- Bird watching. Local species include the regent parrot.
- Four-wheel driving
- Hiking. The Pink Lakes area has several trails.
There are no places to eat in the park. Bring your own food.
Murray Sunset has several options for camping, primitive and with facilities (toilets, showers, BBQ, etc.), and a hostel, Shearer's Hut.