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Kings Billabong Wildlife Reserve
By Linda Newitt and Kym Schramm, Parks Victoria
A new management plan has been produced to protect Kings Billabong Wildlife Reserve - considered to be one of the Sunraysia regions most highvalue conservation reserves.
Located right on Mildura's doorstep and bordering a wide stretch of the Murray, the 2154ha Kings Billabong Wildlife Reserve is home to wetlands of international significance. Many species of waterbirds live on the billabong including Whistling Kites and Swamp Harriers.
The new plan is the result of extensive consultation between Parks Victoria and the local community and was prepared through a collaborative partnership between Parks Victoria and the Mallee Catchment Management Authority. The management plan seeks to protect and enhance this important area and its values while encouraging tourism and recreational activities such as bushwalking, nature appreciation, cycling, picnicking, camping, fishing, bird watching, canoeing, dog walking, horse riding and car and motorbike touring at sustainable levels.
A rich history
Local Indigenous people have enjoyed the Billabong's rich life-supporting wetland food supply for thousands of years. Shell middens (kitchen hearths), burials and scar trees indicate a lifestyle celebrated on these banks for centuries. The Billabong was an important meeting place between Murray nations and travellers from the south.
Kings Billabong took its name from the indigenous word for still water - billabong, and its European name from Captain James King, who navigated the Murray River and its tributaries in the late 19th century.
The Chaffey Brothers from Canada selected Kings Billabong as the central water supply to establish the Mildura Irrigation Settlement. By 1891 a 1000 horse powered pumping engine was installed at Psyche Bend to maintain the water level. The restored steam-powered pump at Psyche Bend can often be seen operating on key holiday weekends.
Today, the reserve is supported by the Friends of Kings Billabong who can regularly be seen helping to maintain the health and integrity of this special place.
Best ways to enjoy Kings Billabong
Visit the viewing area - A new viewing area, located off Cureton Avenue, overlooks the Billabong and includes on-site information detailing the many attractions of the reserve:
Take a walk
- Kings Billabong Lookout - Enjoy spectacular panoramic views over the Billabong and take a short 200m loop walk down to the waters edge
- Bird Hide Loop Walk - Beginning at the Billabong Walks Car park, this is an easy 3.5km loop walk for the family. From the Bird Hide view the abundance of waterbirds living on the largest part of the Billabong
- Ducks Foot Lagoon Walk - This moderate 9.5km loop walk, also beginning at the Billabong Walks Car park, offers fantastic photo opportunities and a longer walk for those with more time to explore
The Billabong is excellent for canoeing and kayaking. The Mildura Visitor Information Centre can provide information on local licensed tour operators to help you explore the Billabong. Remember to always wear a lifejacket; beware of snags and wear appropriate clothing to avoid glare and sunburn
Go bird watching
The Billabong is a birdwatchers' paradise with Australian pelicans, black swans, herons and many species of ducks to be viewed. A bird list for the Mallee area can be obtained from the Mildura Visitor Information Centre
Take a picnic - Enjoy the many picnic facilities in the reserve offering delightful views of both the Murray River and the Billabong
Camping is permitted within the reserve for a maximum of 7 days, between Bruce's Bend Marina and the turnaround south of Psyche Bend and between Red Cliffs boat ramp and Woorlong Avenue. Both of these camping areas are between the Murray River and Murray River Track
- Boat ramps are located at Bruce's Bend, Psyche Bend north of Psyche Pumps, and at Red Cliffs in the southern block of the reserve
- A New South Wales Freshwater Fishing Licence is required to fish in the Murray River. A Victorian Recreational Fishery Licence is required in Victorian waters. Certain exemptions are available.
Contact fisheries officers from either state for details - Victoria 13 6186 or NSW 1300 550 474
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