The park is 65km northeast of Melbourne (visible from the city). Travel via the Whittlesea-Yea road from Whittlesea, the Heidelberg-St Andrews Road from St Andrews, or the Melba Highway from Yarra Glen. Another option is to take a suburban train to the South Morang Station, and then a bus from there to Pheasant Creek.
The park has one camping area, at ‘The Gums’ in the northern (Wombelano) Block. Bookings are required. There are guest houses, B&Bs, hotels and other accommodation in the Kinglake area.
About the park
Kinglake National Park is within the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people to the south and the Taungurung people to the north. They used seasonally available plants and animals for shelter, food, medicine, clothing, hunting implements and many important cultural items. The Wurundjeri and Taungurung people retain a very strong connection with this area.
Many Aboriginal sites, including scatters and hand tools, were revealed by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. These are being surveyed and recorded to help protect them into the future.
The name of the park and district comes from Alexander William Kinglake, a popular 19th century English travel writer and historian.
Gold was discovered in the late 1850s and miners scoured the forest. Timber cutting increased from the 1880s as demand grew for building timber and firewood. Other land was taken up and cleared for farming. The Kinglake area also became a popular tourist destination from the 1920s, with guest houses and tea rooms established to cater for visitors.
Some local people lobbied to protect parts of the remaining forest, and the original park was established in 1928. This was largely thanks to national parks campaigner Sir James Barrett, local MP William Everard, and William Laver, Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne. Laver donated some of his own land at Jehosaphat Gully to add to the park and campaigned to add the Wombelano Falls area. Run by a Committee of Management until 1975, the park was almost doubled in size in 1980.
Kinglake National Park protects almost 600 native plant species, more than 40 species of native mammals and 90 native bird species, including the iconic superb lyrebird.
On the drier northern slopes there is peppermint, stringybark and box eucalypt forest. This forms an open canopy over an understorey of banksias, grass trees and wildflowers. In the south-facing wet gullies, there are mountain ash and grey gum with many tree ferns and other ferns.
The park is a fantastic example of the power of nature to recover from apparent disaster. Black Saturday, 7 February 2009, tragically cost 173 people their lives. It also burnt out 96% of the park. But much of the park’s vegetation and wildlife has recovered. It is thought that some superb lyrebirds survived by sheltering in wombat burrows.
Friends of Kinglake National Park
Contact: Lawrie Rigg
Phone: (03) 9435 6685