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Volcanic Trail Masterplan


The Western Victorian Volcanic Plain is the third largest volcanic plain in the world, covering approximately 22,000 square kilometres. It extends from Melbourne through to Mt Gambier and south-eastern South Australia, holding not only an environmental and geological significance but is vital for First Nations, tourism experiences and economic opportunities necessitating a collaborative approach.

Southern Grampians Shire is home to several culturally and environmentally significant volcanic sites along the plain, forming the “Volcanic Trail”. The region features approximately 100 extinct volcanoes, dotted with lakes, rivers and wetlands. Some of the wetlands are Ramsar listed and are of international importance, and many of the regions parks and reserves are listed as protected areas by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The region includes the traditional lands of four Aboriginal nations – Boandik, Jardwadjali, Djab Wurrung and Dhauwurd Wurrung (Gunditjmara). Aboriginal people have occupied the area for many thousands of years, and continue to have a close association with the land for its cultural, environmental and spiritual value.

The ‘Volcanic Trail’ is comprised of seven sites - Wannon Falls, Nigretta Falls, Byaduk Caves, Harman’s Valley Lookout, Wallacedale Tumuli, Mount Napier and Mount Rouse.

Currently these sites are developed and maintained to varying degrees across multiple government authorities and are not linked in any way through branding, interpretive themes or a consistent approach to infrastructure.


To recognise cultural meaning for the local indigenous community as well as the wider public, appropriate signage, interpretation and visitor experiences are required at facilities to better respect the place, value-add to the experience and strengthen the visitor economy. This project intimately connects to and expands upon the world heritage experience of nearby Budj Bim and the Grampians National Park.

Council recently developed the Volcanic Trail Masterplan which sets out the strategic direction for development of these assets over the next 10 years. The masterplan places high importance on preserving and promoting both the natural environment and Indigenous heritage of the region, with an approach that is sustainable, respectful and inclusive.

Proposals cover both infrastructure and heritage interpretation. Infrastructure proposals range from the upgrades of existing walking trails, through to the development of entirely new campsites and picnic grounds. An interpretive framework is also provided for each site, covering major themes and supporting content for heritage interpretation.

If implemented in full, the masterplan has the potential to achieve the dual benefits of attracting increased tourism to the region, as well as improving the recreational opportunities available to local residents, through the creation of high quality and meaningful visitor experiences. Importantly, the project will support reconciliation through first nations cultural heritage interpretation.

The Ask

$9.25m to fund detailed design and construction of works at the listed priority sites.

Nigretta Falls $2.6m
Wannon Falls $2.7m
Harman’s Valley $0.15m
Mount Rouse $2.1m
Byaduk Caves $1.7m (although under Parks Victoria’s management - seen as priority due to current state of the site).

Priorities Addressed

  • Environment
  • Economic Growth
  • First Nations
  • COVID Recovery
  • Jobs
  • Community Activation
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