• Length: 30.7km

  • Duration: 2 days

  • Grade: 3-4

  • Style: Return

  • Start: McFarlane Saddle Carpark

  • End: McFarlane Saddle Carpark

  • Location: Alpine National Park

  • Closest Town: Licola

  • Distance from CBD: 301km

  • State: VIC

  • Latitude: -37.47440659

  • Longitude: 146.8493725

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2WD Access

4WD Access

Public Transport

Bitumen Road

Gravel Road

Steep Road

Winding Road

Speed Bumps

Vehicle Ford

Entry Fee

Large Car Park

Small Car Park

Accessible Parking

Accessible Toilet

Public Toilets

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Picnic Shelter

Picnic Table

BBQ Facilities

Campfire Pit

Camping Area

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Alpine National Park...

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Concrete Path

Timber Boardwalk

Gravel Path

Sandy Trail

Rough Trail

Undefined Trail

Prams & Strollers

Manual Wheelchair

Motorised Wheelchair

Bicycle Trail

Mountain Bike Trail

Historic Rail Trail

Dog Friendly

Urban Walk

Coast & Beach

Historic Lighthouse

Waterfalls & Lakes

Rainforest Walk

Goldfields & Mining

Heritage Walk

Aboriginal Art

Alpine Region

Alpine Huts

Exposed Ledges

Rock Scrambling

Steep Terrain

Bush Bashing

River Crossings

Scenic Viewpoints

Well Marked

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Fishing Spots

Swimming Spots

Overnight Campsites

Trail Running

Horse Riding


Lake Tali Karng - Hidden Lake Circuit is a 30.7km, grade 3-4 circuit hike, located in the Alpine National Park Victoria. The hike should take approximately 2 days to complete.

Hike Summary

Tali Karng is a hidden jewel nestled deep in the mountains of Gippsland, fed by snowmelt waters of the Wellington Plains. The lake is believed to have been formed about 1500 years ago when a massive rock slide collapsed into the valley damming the waters of Nigothoruk Creek above Wellington River. The water runs underground from the lake to emerge as the infant Wellington River 150m below in the Valley of Destruction.

The views and landscape of Tali Karng and its surrounds are so magnificent it is easy to appreciate its special cultural significance. With a depth of up to 50 metres and fed by the Snowden and Nigothoruk Creeks and by the melted snow that runs off the Wellington Plains, the water in the lake is very cold.

The easiest route to Lake Tali Karng begins at McFarlane Saddle Carpark on the Moroka Road, 60 km from Licola. The walk follows a well defined track across Wellington Plains for 9 km before reaching Gillios Track branching off to the south. This track is about 4 km long, and although steep is well graded down to the Lake.

First people

The first occupiers of this area were the Gunaikurnai tribe, most likely member of the Brayakaulung clan. Evidence of their presence can be found in many places, from stone quarries, stone tools and flake scatters, to a system of ancient pathways. Aboriginal people guided many European explorers and gold miner through the mountains along these pathways - pathways which eventually formed the basis of some of today's road and track network.

Tali Karng is a sacred place to the Gunaikurnai and in keeping with their law, aboriginal people are forbidden to go there. Although Johnny Snowden, an aboriginal stockman wouldn't visit the lake, he guided his employer Edward Riggall near the lake and showed him where it lay.

Camping and facilities

Walkers should respect the Gunaikurnai people of Gippsland by not camping at the lake itself. Nyimba Camp has been provided as the recommended campsite above the lake at the southern end of the Wellington Plains. Below the lake there are numerous informal campsites at the base of the Valley of Destruction and along the Wellington River. It is a good day walk from Nyimba Camp to Tali Karng and return without heavy packs.

Tali Karng is a fuel stove only area and no fires are permitted within a 1km radius of the lake. Fires are permitted within fireplaces at Nyimba campsite (near Riggall Old Hut site) at the southern end of the Wellington Plains. Fires are also permitted within fireplaces at informal campsites along the Wellington River. Fires must not be left unattended and should be extinguished with cold water until embers are cold to the touch.

Firewood supplies are limited especially in the alpine and sub alpine areas, so the use of camping stoves is preferred.

There are no toilet facilities at the lake. There are toilet facilities at the Nyimba Camp and Nigothoruk Creek nearby is a source of water.

The best time to visit is November through to April. Always carry and know how to use a map and compass and be prepared that weather conditions can change rapidly in alpine areas. Snowfalls can be experienced at any time of the year and water can be extremely scarce, so always be prepared with:

  • warm clothing
  • wind and waterproof jacket
  • gloves, hat, sunglasses and strong footwear
  • first aid kit and sunscreen
  • energy food and water
  • compass and relevant topographical map

Before you go, let someone know where you are going, and when you expect to return. Also, please keep your group small (4 - 8 people) and complete your details in the intentions book at the trail heads. Larger groups must register with Parks Victoria's Heyfield office. Call 13 1963 for details.

Respect for culture

Aboriginal people are tolerant of non-indigenous people visiting Tali Karng as long as they treat the area with respect. When people camp at the lake however, to aboriginal people it is disrespectful, like someone camping in a cathedral. To show respect for the Gunaikurnai people of Gippsland, please treat the area with care as you pass by the lake.

Rather than camping at the lake, please camp at Nyimba Camp near Riggalls Old Hut Site at the southern end of the Wellington Plains or below the lake in the Valley of Destruction along the Wellington River. It is a good day walk from Nyimba Camp to Tali Karng and return without heavy packs.

About the region

The Alpine National Park is a national park located in the Central Highlands and Alpine regions of Victoria, Australia. The 646,000-hectare national park is located northeast of Melbourne. It is the largest National Park in Victoria, and covers much of the higher areas of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria, including Victoria's highest point, Mount Bogong at 1,986 metres and the associated subalpine woodland and grassland of the Bogong High Plains. The park's north-eastern boundary is along the border with New South Wales, where it abuts the Kosciuszko National Park.

Getting there

Starting at McFarlane's Saddle on the Moroka Rd, the walk across the Wellington Plain to Nyimba Camp and Riggall Old Hut site is approximately 9km on a gentle gradient. Walkers with 4WD vehicles may choose to start their walk at Millers Hut. From Millers Hut it is approximately one hour walk to Nyimba Camp. From Nyimba Camp to Tali Karng via Gillios Track is about 4.5km with a descent of almost 600m and will take the average walker about two hours with light packs (allow 2.5 - 3 hours for the return walk uphill, climbing almost 600m).

Riggall Spur Track and Echo Point Track provide an alternative route between Nyimba Camp and Tali Karng. The distance is a little longer but on a slightly easier grade.

The route to Tali Karng from the south leaves the Tamboritha Road and follows the Wellington River Walking Track then either Clive Lanigan Track (through Valley of Destruction) or via Riggall Spur Track and Echo Point Track to the lake. This route includes some 16 river crossings so use care and do not attempt to cross if river levels are high following recent rain.

The difficult route to Tali Karng via Mount Margaret is unmaintained and poorly defined for much of its length between Tamboritha Road and Dolodrook River. Remote navigation skills are required and thick vegetation makes progress slow. From the Dolodrook River it follows a 4WD track past the Chromite Mine then Brandy Pinch Track to join the Clive Lanigan Walking Track below the Valley of Destruction.

Horse riders can use Wellington Plains, Millers Hut, Riggall Spur and Echo Point Tracks. Horses are not permitted within 200m of the Lake and a horse-yard is provided on Echo Point Track. Horses are not permitted on the Clive Lanigan or Gillios Walking Tracks and Wellington River Walking Track is currently unsuitable for horses.

GPX File

Total distance: 30758 m
Max elevation: 1639 m
Min elevation: 871 m
Total climbing: 1329 m
Total descent: -1329 m
Download GPX File

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64 thoughts on “Lake Tali Karng – Hidden Lake Circuit (30.7km)

    1. The road is gravel and can be rough in places but is suitable for medium clearance 2wd vehicle. Just allow a little extra time as there are a few rough patches.

    1. Nick Wright we were scheduled to do this walk at the end of the month but have rescheduled it for the end of the year. After a phone call to Parks they informed us that there would be no access in here for quite a number of weeks.

  1. We did it as 2 day hike, Macfarlane’s to Wellington river. Pretty tough going along the steep section down to the lake. Day 2 heading to Wellington river was difficult at first, the trail went parallel to Barrier creek for a good distance, but never came close. Just a series of hills and valleys crossing dry creek beds. Once it started crossing the river, it was much more scenic and pleasant. BTW, the road was rough but fine for our Camry. The biggest challenge was moving to the side to avoid 4×4’s who own the road, and don’t want to move the side in case they hit some rough bits!

  2. This is completely unsubstantiated, but the fella working at the general store in Licola told me the track described in this post is now closed, and the only access up to the lake is the Wellington River track. I didn’t go up to McFarlane’s saddle to check this, just walked up the river instead.

    The river track is fine, the water was only ankle to shin deep for the 16 river crossings, but the path through the Valley of Destruction is pretty overgrown. Gaiters wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  3. Did this hike over 2 days. Started on the 1st March 2021.

    From the trail start to Nyimba camp sight is pretty easy. trail is slightly overgrown and a few downed trees in a couple spots. But pretty easy to navigate. The camp sight has had a fire recently so the toilet facilities are no longer there.

    From the camp to the lake, watch out for spider webs across the path. We descended down to the lake via Gillos track. It gets very steep towards the lake!

    Riggal Spur track was our way out, its an old 4wd track with some large fallen trees in spots and rather overgrown too. It is steep in some sections, but not as steep as the decent to the lake. Its a longer walk but possibly a gentler way out.

    Very Nice lake. Take plenty of water and be prepared for the hike out.

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