Murrumbidgee Valley National Park
Known to locals as Koala reserve (Narrandera Nature Reserve), is part of Murrumbidgee Valley National Park and home to over 200 koalas. It’s a great place for walking and cycling.
- Picnic areas
- Murrumbidgee Valley National Park
- What to
- Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
- Please note
- Although the majestic river red gums that line Murrumbidgee River create shady picnic spots, try to avoid sitting or standing directly underneath as they are notorious for dropping large branches without warning.
- The weather in this area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit.
- Remember to take your binoculars if you want to spot koalas or birdwatch
At Koala reserve, the whole family will love to see hundreds of these iconic Australian animals in the wild. This is an ideal environment for them - river red gums are a great source of food and Murrumbidgee River offers a cooler location on hotter days. Look out for them in branches overhanging the river.
In 1972, at a time when no koalas had been seen around these parts since 1900, koalas were re-introduced into Narrandera district from Victoria and Queensland. Through heatwaves, flooding and fire, a healthy population has survived and there are believed to be well over 200 koalas living in the area.
Koala reserve, as its known locally, is in Murrumbidgee Valley Nature Reserve (sign-posted as Narrandera Nature Reserve). Roll out a picnic blanket and enjoy lunch on the grass or head to the river where you'll find some picnic tables. Then either take an independent walk or cycle through the reserve to see how many koalas you can spot, or contact Narrandera Visitor Centre for information on tours.
For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/picnic-areas/koala-reserve/local-alerts
- National Parks Contact Centre
- 7am to 7pm daily
- 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS) for the cost of a local call within Australia excluding mobiles
- in Murrumbidgee Valley National Park in the Murray-Riverina region
Murrumbidgee Valley National Park is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
All the practical information you need to know about Koala reserve.
Getting there and parking
Koala reserve (Narrandera Nature Reserve) is in Murrumbidgee Valley National Park. To get there:
- From the visitor centre, head south on the Newell Highway and turn left at the third intersection in Larmer Street .
- Take the second right into Midgeon Street and continue straight onto Lake Drive
- At the corner of Lake Drive and Elizabeth Street turn right over the main canal.
- Turn left into Oakbank Drive , into the entrance of Narrandera Flora and Fauna reserve.
- Follow the track for 3km to Koala reserve (Narrandera Nature Reserve)
Check the weather before you set out as the road to Koala reserve can become boggy when it rains.
- Unsealed roads
- 2WD vehicles
- Dry weather only
Parking is available at Koala reserve
Best times to visit
There are lots of great things waiting for you in Murrumbidgee Valley National Park. Here are some of the highlights.
Evenings can be balmy at this time of year, so it's still a great time to camp.
Picturesque morning mists are common at this time of year and birds and animals are most active.
Enjoy early morning and late afternoon swimming during these hotter months.
This is Murray crayfish season, and a great time to head to the river.
Weather, temperature and rainfall
16°C and 32°C
4°C and 16.5°C
The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day
Drinking water is not available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.
There are picnic tables at the end of the track that leads to the river.
Maps and downloads
A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.
Koala reserve is in Murrumbidgee Valley National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
Murrumbidgee Valley National Park is synonymous with Riverina river redgum forests – an iconic Australian eucalypt which grows to awe-inspiring heights. With a deep red colour curving along rivers and channels, Riverina river red gum is of international significance. These special eucalypts provide a home to koalas, which you may spot in their branches. Bird watchers might catch a glimpse of white-bellied sea eagles, sacred kingfishers, and threatened superb parrots, amid the majestic trees. There are plenty of fishing opportunities available in the park too, with yellow belly, redfin and brim fish to catch in the area. Murrumbidgee Valley is also a sanctuary for reptiles and kangaroos.
- Forest drive If you’re looking for a scenic day trip near Murrumbidgee River, near Narrandera, go 4WDing or mountain biking along Forest drive, in Murrumbidgee Valley National Park.
- Koala reserve Known to locals as Koala reserve (Narrandera Nature Reserve), is part of Murrumbidgee Valley National Park and home to over 200 koalas. It’s a great place for walking and cycling.
- Turkey Flat picnic area and bird hide Set on Murrumbidgee River, Turkey Flat picnic area and bird hide is a great picnic spot. Visiting these NSW wetlands is a top choice for things to do in Leeton.
Take me to the river
Murrumbidgee River flows in a westerly direction and is over 1,600km long. Murrumbidgee Valley national and regional parks access over 500km of river frontage at irrigation hubs of Narrandera, Yanco, Leeton, the plains of Maude and Hay, and the edge of the mallee at Balranald. River red gums benefit from times of flooding as it recharges the subsoil with water. The river supports river red gums forests, which in turn support the banks of the river with their root systems. Logged since the 1820s and managed as forests by the government since the early 1900s, in 2010 NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service protected 107,000ha of river red gums by creating new parks and reserves, which will now be enjoyed for generations to come.
- McCaugheys Lagoon McCaugheys Lagoon in Murrumbidgee Valley National Park is a great spot for birdwatching or a romantic picnic.
- Middle Beach This sandy Murrumbidgee River haven, Middle Beach, is an ideal place to go canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming or picnicking. Secluded camping spots can be found nearby.
Water, water everywhere
Europeans settled the area in the 1840s. By the early 1900s, private irrigation works were replaced by government projects to develop Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA). Eventually, MIA supplied water to an area of 182,000ha and enabled subdivision of grazing land into smaller units of mixed farming, horticulture, dairy and sheep. During the 1950s, Italian migrants to Australia were drawn to the area because of its similar climate and soil to Italy and became integral in the success of Riverina agriculture.
River red gums have been important to Wiradjuri people, the traditional land owners of Murrumbidgee Valley, for thousands of years. As well as being used for making canoes and shields, they also provide warmth, shelter and food. Some river red gums were large enough for individuals to sleep in, and light a small fire during the cold nights. Even today, Wiradjuri artists in Narrandera use river red gum to make boomerangs, coolamons and carved didgeridoos.
Plants and animals you may see
Southern boobook (Ninox novaeseelandiae)
The southern boobook, also known as the mopoke, is the smallest and most common native owl in Australia. With a musical 'boo-book' call that echoes through forests and woodlands, the southern boobook is a great one to look out for while bird watching.
Common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus)
Commonly found in forests, woodlands and leafy gardens across eastern NSW, the Australian ringtail possum is a tree-dwelling marsupial. With a powerful tail perfectly adapted to grasp objects, it forages in trees for eucalypt leaves, flowers and fruit.
Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)
Of the 2 species of kookaburra found in Australia, the laughing kookaburra is the best-known and the largest of the native kingfishers. With its distinctive riotous call, the laughing kookaburra is commonly heard in open woodlands and forests throughout NSW national parks, making these ideal spots for bird watching.
River red gum (Eucalpytus camaldulensis)
Australian native plants, majestic river red gum trees are widespread across Australian inland river systems. The river red gum is a dominant tree species of the Murray-Darling basin which spans NSW, Queensland and Victoria. This iconic native eucalypt grows to a height of 30m and is thought to have a lifespan up to 500-1000 years.
Saltbush (Atriplex nummularia)
A hardy Australian native plant, the saltbush is a small spreading shrub that can withstand dry salty soils such as those found in the desert plains of western NSW. It is grey-white in colour and has small spear-shaped succulent leaves. It flowers from December to April.