The DDW Parks are the ‘Appointed Lands’ of the Board, and fall within the Country of the Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owners. The Parks include: Hepburn Regional Park, Paddys Ranges State Park, Kooyoora State Park, Wehla Conservation Reserve, Greater Bendigo National Park and Kara Kara National Park. These six parks have been transferred to the Traditional Owners on Aboriginal Title, under the historic Dja Dja Wurrung Recognition and Settlement Agreement of 2013.
The Lands are rich in Dja Dja Wurrung Dreaming stories and have enormous spiritual and cultural significance to the Dja Dja Wurrung community. The Appointed Land are living landscapes that hold sites of ceremony, lore and healing, the stories of ancestral beings, the memories and spirits of Djaara ancestors, totemic animals and birds, plants, elements and entities that entwine a relationship with Country today.
This living culture is continued in the form of traditional knowledge and belief systems passed down in language, song, place names, stories of seasons, star calendars and historical publications and recordings, as well as modern scientific understandings of the present-day landscape.
Click through each of the National Parks below to find out more information about them.
The Hepburn Regional Park is located around the famous mineral springs townships of Daylesford, Hepburn and Hepburn Springs and contains natural mineral springs and relics of the gold mining era set in delightful bush surroundings. The sheltered extinct volcanic crater of Lalgambook (Mount Franklin) provides ideal surroundings for a picnic or short-term camping. Panoramic views can be obtained from the summit and there is a scenic walking track along the rim of the crater.
The Dja Dja Wurrung today still speak of their creation story where Lalgambook and Tarrengower (a mountain further north) had a disagreement over family matters and hurled giant boulders at each other. The Dja Dja Wurrung People at the time witnessed a volcanic event that they captured through their stories to be passed along generations to today.
Paddys Ranges State Park is well known for its wildflowers in springtime, and is home to 30 types of orchids and more than 140 native bird species, including the rare Painted Honeyeaters and Swift Parrots.
Relics of the gold mining era are scattered throughout the park. Visitors can retrace the steps of ‘Paddy’, a miner who reputedly roamed the area in the 1800s. Bushwalking, camping and picnicking are popular activities in this beautiful Box-Ironbark forest.
With magnificent views and a rich variety of plants and animals, Kooyoora State Park is an ideal place for picnics, sightseeing, rock climbing, orienteering and nature study. It also includes the Melville Caves, huge granite boulders thought to have been used as a hideout for the bushranger ‘Captain Melville’.
Wehla Nature Conservation Reserve adjoins Kooyoora State Park on three sides. The typical Box-Ironbark forest communities provides habitat for local fauna including the endangered swift parrot and is renowned for its wildflowers. The reserve contains historic features from good mining and the former Wehla Township, as well as supporting current mining activity.
This park protects some of the highest quality Box-Ironbark forest in north-central Victoria, along with mallee and grassy woodlands. This is an ideal spot for nature study, birdwatching, bushwalking, picnics, horse riding and camping. The best time to visit is between August and October when colourful wildflowers are abundant. The 60 kilometre long Bendigo Bushland Trail goes through part of the park, and the Great Dividing Trail – which links Bendigo, Castlemaine and Ballarat – begins here.
Kara Kara National Park features mainly steep, forested terrain and is an ideal place to experience what the forests of central Victoria were like before the gold rushes. The rocky ridge tops in the park offer fine views for bushwalkers and four-wheel-drive tourers, and there are ample opportunities for hiking in the steep and rugged terrain. The Upper Teddington Reservoir is a peaceful place for picnics and camping.