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The Glenelg River


The Glenelg River flows through the 21,300 hectares of the Lower Glenelg National Park which was created in 1968 to preserve the lower reaches, and the most spectacular part of the Glenelg River - the limestone gorges.

Formation of the limestone gorges began 40 to 25 million years ago. The region was once submerged by a shallow sea, and over millions of years, marine deposits and sediments settled on the bottom of the ocean. This was slowly compressed to form limestone rock and combined with the lowering of the sea level, this spectacular gorge area was born.

The park is renowned for its diversity of flora and fauna. Fisherman may catch mullet, salmon, bream, perch and mulloway, while bushwalkers and campers can enjoy the part of the Great Southwest Walk which runs alongside the lower 40 km of the river. But, the best way to see this region is from the river.

For nature lovers, this haven features a magnitude of differing flora. The diversity of vegetation encompasses the tall forests of southeast Australia and drier areas to the west and north. Rare and threatened species such as the metallic sun orchid, Melblom's spider orchid and the veined spider orchid can be viewed in their natural habitat. Experience the critters and creatures in this natural paradise such as the red-necked wallaby, sugar glider, echidna, koala, possum and wombat. Other creatures include platypus, the rare bent-winged bat, long-necked tortoises, eastern tiger snake, and the endangered bird life that is the red-tailed black cockatoo and the powerful owl.

The river is also fundamentally responsible for creating the Princess Margaret Rose Cave. This spectacular show cave runs guided tours displaying living examples of stalagmites, stalactites and helictites.

Creation of the cave began some 800,000 years ago, when the Glenelg River was some fifteen metres above it’s present level. The walls and the floor of the cave were formed by water from the river flowing 300 metres over a fault line. Combined with deposits that seep down the roof of the cave which dissolves the limestone and reforms as calcite crystals, this is the basis of the amazing decoration that we are able to see today.

Whilst you cruise the 50 kilometres of limestone gorges and ever changing habit of the Glenelg River, choose to stop at one of the 29 landings and use the campfire, barbeque and picnic facilities available in one of Victoria's best kept national parks.

You may wish to download the Glenelg River Guide produced by Parks Victoria.

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