Yanga National Park

Overview

Yanga National Park, close to Balranald, features great fishing spots along the Murrumbidgee River. Bring your tent or caravan to stay at the free campgrounds. Bird watchers will also enjoy Yanga Lake. 

Read more about Yanga National Park

Yanga National Park may be one of the state's newest parks, but this land boasts a long and significant history and Aboriginal families have lived here for a millennia. 

From the early explorers, to shearers and rabbit trappers, fishermen and campers – people have flocked to this area for all sorts of reasons. Now it's your turn to camp by the banks of the Murrumbidgee like Burke and Wills once did. 

Unbeatable for bird watching, you'll see as many as 150 species of birds in the park’s trees, skies and ecologically-important wetlands. Be sure to check out Yanga Lake Red Gum bird hide too. Acquaint yourself with bygone days at the old Yanga homestead and woolshed or enjoy a spot of fishing by the river. You might even take a guided tour and visit significant Aboriginal cultural sites.

Drop in to the park office in Balranald to pick up information and learn about self-guided tours. Park staff are always happy to answer your questions and offer expert advice on camping or bushwalking in the area. If the park office is unattended you can also find plenty of visitor information at Balranald Discovery Centre. The Cook’s Cottage exhibition is open daily and you can wander around the grounds of the homestead.

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/yanga-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Yanga National Park.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Balranald, take the Sturt Highway east for 7km. Turn south onto Old Sturt Highway at Yanga rest area. Turn left at the Yanga National Park sign and drive 2km along the main road where you will arrive at the park office and Yanga Homestead.

    Park entry points

    Parking Show more

    Road quality

    • Unsealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • Dry weather only

    Best times to visit

    The locals will tell you it can get pretty hot out this way, so you may wish to time your visit to avoid the summer heat. Temperatures during autumn, winter and spring are more moderate - just be sure to check the forecast as roads can become inaccessible in wet weather.

    Spring

    A great time to see the woodland birds - be sure to bring your binoculars.

    Facilities

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

    Fires in the park

    Open fires are not permitted in the park during the Fire Danger Period (usually 1 October to 31 March). When a Total Fire Ban has been declared for Southern Riverina Fire Area, no fire may be lit in the open and no gas or electric barbecues may be used in the park.

    Outside of the Fire Danger Period (usually 1 April to 30 September)
    Wood fires are permitted in fireplaces provided in the campgrounds except on days of Very High or Extreme Fire Danger. Ensure fires are attended at all times and extinguish when you leave. Wood fires are not permitted in the woolshed picnic area.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    Outback safety

    Safety is of high priority in outback areas. In summer, temperatures can reach up to 50°C in some places. Food, water and fuel supplies can be scarce. Before you head off, check for road closures and use our contacts to stay safe in the outback.

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the OEH pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Balranald (6 km)

    Conveniently located on Sturt Highway as it crosses Murrumbidgee River between Sydney and Adelaide, Balranald is the perfect pit stop on a road trip through outback NSW. This small country town, with its rich pioneering past, is a gateway to Yanga National Park and the World Heritage-listed Mungo National Park.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Hay (124 km)

    This exciting and innovative exhibition space uses contemporary design and cutting edge technology to tell the story of Australian sheep shearing. You'll meet the shearers, shed hands, cooks, classers, cockies, sheep and dogs behind the legends at this sparkling gallery-museum in Hay.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Mildura (168 km)

    Mildura is set amid a diverse landscape on the Victorian side of the Murray River. The region is renowned for its long tradition of producing and serving fine food and wine at iconic restaurants, farmers markets, gourmet eateries and cellar doors.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Yanga National Park is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    Unbeatable for birdwatchers

    Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), Yanga National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    A large number of migratory birds rely on the Yanga National Park red gum wetlands. The park is a great place to see egrets, herons, spoonbills and glossy ibis using the wetlands as a resting, foraging and breeding ground. Walk to the bird hide at Yanga Lake to see great crested grebes and sea eagles. The park is also home to the endangered southern bell frog. This frog's calls' are said to resemble a distant motorbike – listen carefully to see if you can hear it.

    • Yanga Lake paddle Kayak Yanga Lake for an outback experience like no other. Wonder at the vast sky reflected in 1200ha of water, and spot wildlife and birds drawn to the wetlands in Yanga National Park.
    • Yanga Lake Red Gum bird hide All the family will enjoy spectacular birdwatching and scenic views at Yanga Lake Red Gum bird hide in Yanga National Park near Balranald.
    • Yanga Lake walking track Short yet rewarding Yanga Lake walking track is a family friendly lakeside walk offering scenic wetlands views and spectacular birdwatching in Yanga National Park.

    Rich in Aboriginal culture

    Trees by the water's edge, Yanga National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Yanga National Park has a rich Aboriginal history; the park provided resources including waterbirds, fish, and yabbies as well as shelter and medicine. Look closely at the trees in the floodplain where you're visiting – many bear the bark-stripping scars from canoe-making. Today, local Aboriginal people remain connected with Yanga National Park through employment or community involvement.

    • Yanga Lake viewing deck Yanga Lake viewing deck offers spectacular birdwatching and scenic wetland views in Yanga National Park, near Balranald.

    A remarkable landscape

    Murrumbidgee River, Yanga National Park. Photo: Gavin Hansford

    Yanga National Park is blessed with 170km of Murrumbidgee River frontage. The river is great for canoeing or swimming, and its banks provide excellent fishing and camping spots. On your visit, you'll notice the landscape's unique contrast of black and red country. Vegetation on its black soil floodplains comprises river red gum forest and swampland, while its red soil varies from grass to saltbush to woodlands. Come and spot the differences yourself.

    • Regatta Beach picnic area Enjoy swimming, boating, birdwatching and paddling in the tranquil lakeside waters of picturesque Regatta Beach picnic area in Yanga National Park, near Balranald.

    A pioneering history

    Yanga Woolshed, Yanga National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Some of the country's renowned early explorers passed through this area, and you have the opportunity to retrace their steps. Explorers included John Oxley in 1817, Charles Sturt in 1830, Major Thomas Mitchell in 1836 and Burke and Wills in 1860. Visit nearby Balranald to see where Bourke and Wills' party crossed the Murrumbidgee by the Mayall Street punt, then camped by the river in front of Balranald Inn.

    • Yanga Woolshed Take a self-guided tour of Yanga Woolshed in Yanga National Park. When constructed the Woolshed was once the Riverina’s largest, and offers an insight into Australia’s pastoral history.
    • Yanga Woolshed picnic area Located in Yanga National Park, near Balranald in the Riverina, Yanga Woolshed picnic area is an excellent place for a barbecue or spot of fishing on the Murrumbidgee.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Southern boobook. Photo: David Cook

      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.

    • Eastern common ringtail possum. Photo: Ken Stepnell

      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.

    • Closeup of a laughing kookaburra's head and body. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

      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.

    Plants

    • River red gum, Murrumbidgee Valley National Park. Photo: Paul Childs

      River red gum (Eucalpytus camaldulnesis)

      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. Photo: Jaime Plaza

      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.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Yanga National Park has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents. Here is just some of the work we’re doing to conserve these values:

    Preserving biodiversity

    River red gum forests in Yanga National Park provide habitat for a multitude of species and are of international significance. Water is a fundamental component of river red gum forests, and contributes physiological, cultural, aesthetic and visual values. These waterways are recognised as having high conservation values, and assessment and monitoring takes place to ensure the ongoing ecological well-being of this value.

    Conservation program

    BioNet

    Uniting technology with the vast collection of information on biodiversity in NSW, BioNet is a valuable database open to any user. From individual plant sightings to detailed scientific surveys, it offers a wealth of knowledge about ecology and threatened species in NSW. 

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Pests and weeds have a significant impact to the ecosystems within Yanga National Park. NPWS carries out risk assesments for new and emerging weeds to protect biodiversity in this park.

    Conservation program

    Regional pest management strategies

    Weeds and pest animals cause substantial damage to agriculture and our environment, so it’s essential we manage them in NSW national parks and reserves. Our regional pest management strategies aim to minimise the impact of pests on biodiversity in NSW.  We work hard to protect our parks and neighbours from pests and weeds, ensuring measurable results.

    Historic heritage in our parks and reserves

    The buildings were constructed around 1870 and are indicative of a period when ‘Yanga’ was one of the Riverina’s most productive pastoral stations. The historic heritage on display at Yanga provides a tangible record of a long and rich history of early pastoral life. The conservation management plan for historic and cultural heritage values in Yanga National Park will be reviewed, and a schedule of recommended conservation works will be developed and implemented.

    Developing visitor facilities and experiences

    Improving visitor facilities and creating engaging experiences is an important part of the ongoing work in Yanga National Park. Priorities from the NSW River Red Gum Nature Tourism Action Plan will be implemented, including the establishment of a Murrumbidgee River – Yanga Lake kayaking and canoeing experience. Education resources and signage will be developed and implemented to provide more information about having an environmentally-conscious and safe visit.

    Conserving our Aboriginal culture

    Yanga National Park will work with the local Aboriginal community to rehabilitate, protect, interpret and promote sites, as appropriate, to the broader community. Significant Aboriginal places and values within the parks will be identified and protected. Archaeological surveys and cultural assessments will be undertaken prior to all works in Yanga to ensure that on Aboriginal sites, artefacts and values are continually respected.

    Managing fire

    NSW is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world as a result of our climate, weather systems, vegetation and the rugged terrain. NPWS is committed to maintaining natural and cultural heritage values and minimising the likelihood and impact of bushfires via a strategic program of fire research, fire planning, hazard reduction, highly trained rapid response firefighting crews and community alerts.

    Conservation program

    Hazard reduction program

    Managing fire-prone NSW national parks requires a three-pronged approach, including fire planning, community education, and fuel management. When it comes to fuel like dead wood, NPWS conducts planned hazard reduction activities like mowing and controlled burning to assist in the protection of life, property and community.

    Follow the dirt track to Yanga National Park. Photo: David Finnegan.