Your questions answered about Victoria's national parks
Why do we have parks? How are they protected? Can I go horse riding in Victoria's national parks? Can I go fishing?
These are just some of the questions people have about Victoria's national parks and other conservation areas and which we've tried to answer in our easy-to-use brochure Exploring Victoria's National Parks.
Below you'll find shorter answers for those in a hurry, but we urge you to download our full report for all the answers on what you can do in our parks.
Exploring our parks: Quick answers for those in a hurry
Q. Why do we have parks?
The only way to give long-term protection to our native plants and animals is to protect the places in which they live - their different habitat types.
Q. How are national parks protected?
Under State Government legislation national parks are, first and foremost, about preservation and protection of the natural environment.
Q. Is it easy to explore our parks?
Yes, our parks are open to everyone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Q. Do national parks get special management?
Yes. Each national park has a plan of management that outlines how threats to the park will be managed, and also specifies zones for visitor access in ways that give people great experiences, while minimising any impacts.
Q. Are parks costly to maintain?
No, parks more than pay their way. They contribute strongly to the Victorian economy.
Q. Are parks well-supported by the Victorian community?
Yes indeed! National parks are supported almost unanimously by the Victorian community.
Q. What about Aboriginal involvement?
There are many ways Aboriginal people and communities are involved with national parks.
Q. Why are there so many different types of park?
The park system is complex because nature is complex, and so are the many impacts people have on natural areas.
Q. What sort of areas are protected in Victoria?
There are different types of parks to match the different levels of protection needed for the conservation or natural attributes and uses of an area.
Q. How are new national parks created?
By government legislation, after extensive work. Since the 1970s Victoria has had one of the best systems in the world for deciding which areas should be national parks. It is a system based on extensive community consultation and independent expert inputs.
Q. How are national parks managed?
National parks and other conservation areas are managed by Parks Victoria, which is a dedicated Victorian government agency.
Q. Is horse riding allowed in national parks?
Yes, in many parks, but they are usually on designated routes to best protect the environment and avoid clashes with other users and to maximise experiences. Regulations about horse riding, including where you can ride a horse, vary from park to park.
Q. Is fishing allowed in natioanl parks?
Yes, it is allowed in waterways within land-based parks, but not in marine national parks and sanctuaries.
Q. Is hunting allowed in national parks?
Generally, hunting is not allowed in national parks, but there are exceptions, particularly for Sambar Deer in particular places, at particular times.
Q. Are motor or trail bikes allowed in national parks?
Yes. The rules around 4WD vehicles also apply to motorcycles.
Q. Are 4WD vehicles allowed in national parks?
Absolutely. The rules around 4WD vehicles in national parks are essentially the same as in state forest, or anywhere else in Victoria: it is legal to drive a registered vehicle on declared roads and tracks.
Q. What about camping in national parks?
Camping is allowed in most national parks, at all times of the year.
Q. Can I bring my dog?
No, dogs (and other pets) are generally not allowed in national parks and many other conservation reserves although they are sometimes allowed in regional or metropolitan parks close to townships.