Murrumbidgee Valley National Park
McCaugheys Lagoon in Murrumbidgee Valley National Park is a great spot for birdwatching or a romantic picnic.
- Picnic areas
- Murrumbidgee Valley National Park
- What to
- Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
- Please note
- There is limited mobile reception in this park
- Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go bird watching
Named after Sir Samuel McCaughey, an early pioneer of irrigation, McCaugheys Lagoon is a critical part of a long-term wetland rehabilitation project, offering habitat for a wide range of local plants and animals. From here, you can also catch a glimpse of the largest protected river red gum forest in the world.
For those interested in wetland ecology, it’s a great example of a working lagoon on an inland floodplain wetland. For others, it’s simply a lovely spot to picnic or enjoy birdwatching by the water before heading off to explore the many attractions of Murrumbidgee National Park.
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/mccaugheys-lagoon/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 McCaugheys Lagoon.
Getting there and parking
McCaugheys Lagoon is in the MIA 1 precinct of Murrumbidgee Valley National Park. To get there:
- From Yanco, travel east along Irrigation Way.
- After crossing the railway tracks, turn right, down Euroley Road.
- At about 2km, turn left onto Kiln Road (unsealed), just before the entrance to Yanco Agricultural High School.
- The McCaugheys Lagoon carpark is off to the right after about 100m
- Unsealed roads
- 2WD vehicles
- All weather
Car and bus parking is available at McCaugheys Lagoon.
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
Maps and downloads
A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.
Firewood may not be collected from the park.
NSW national parks are no smoking areas.
McCaugheys Lagoon 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.