• Length: 40.5km

  • Duration: 3-4 days

  • Grade: 5

  • Style: Circuit

  • Start: Tamboritha Road

  • End: Tamboritha Road

  • Location: Alpine National Park

  • Closest Town: Licola

  • Distance from CBD: 246km

  • State: VIC

  • Latitude: -37.59832607

  • Longitude: 146.6385607

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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 - Tamboritha Road and Mount Margaret is a 40.5km, grade 5 return hike, located in the Alpine National Park Victoria. The hike should take approximately 3-4 days to complete.

Hike Summary

Lake Tali Karng is a hidden jewel nestled deep in the mountains of Gippsland, fed by snow-melt 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.

One of the most difficult routes to Lake Tali Karng. Start from the Tamboritha Road approx 4km from Licola. From there climb over Mount Margaret to the Dolodrook River where there is a campsite and water. From here it is another 3.5 km to the Wellington River via Brady Pinch Track, then on to the Lake. Horses are not permitted at the Lake or on the Clive Lanigan and Gillios Tracks.

Return via the same route.

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

NOTE: The available GPX file is for a single leg of the hike. You will need to double the distance for the return journey.

Total distance: 20255 m
Max elevation: 1090 m
Min elevation: 216 m
Total climbing: 1736 m
Total descent: -1074 m
Download GPX File

Hikes Nearby

107 thoughts on “Lake Tali Karng – Tamboritha Road and Mt Margaret (40.5km)

    1. I was thinking maybe Saturday of the labour day weekend, camp at Millers Hut Friday night and hike Saturday (if the weather is suited) which still leaves Sunday&Monday for Butcher Country 🙂

    2. Chantelle does that mean your thinking about coming as navigator Labour Day Weekend?!?… you know if you don’t we will dependant on Penny’s map reading for Butcher Country ? (no pressure haha)

  1. My grandmas name ☺️ it’s a multi day one so We would have to get someone to watch our girl or we get her use to tents more and be more prepared but could we please do this one next year ? Go as a group ? ☺️ Cameron Forrest

    1. i know ? if we can get her use to tents by then we shouldn’t have to worry about asking anyone to watch her plus we do need to be more prepared but we can do this one next year after I get my license back ?

    1. Tristan Beard will probably take you up on that! We have a wedding at Licola at the end of March so will be taking advantage of the week before smashing some high country gems.

    1. oh boy oh boy … may have to wait a few years so we don’t have to carry as much alcohol … I feel that’s waaaaaay too many esky’s at the moment!!! Haha ?‍♂️

    1. there’s a few options for distances. I think you should start with the shorter one ? also, there is an established campsite area ?

  2. Just wondering if the GPX file is right?
    Trail info says circuit, but map file/chart seems to show return.
    Is it possible this was switched with the other Tali Karng hike (that one says Return, but looks to be a circuit?)

    1. Good pickup Tam. The GPX file is correct but the description was not. This is a return hike, not a circuit hike. Likewise, the Hidden Lake hike is a circuit hike, not a return as mentioned. Both have been updated to reflect the correct terminology. Thank you

  3. “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.”

    This is a pretty spot on description of this section of the track.

    We just completed the walk along the Mt Margaret Walking Track (closed track but still accessible) to the Lake via Clive Lanigan Track returning via Riggall Spur then out via Wellington River Walking Track to Tamboritha Rd. We had no GPS – just compass and map for this trip.

    It was a tough hike especially on the first 2 days along the Mount Margaret track. The track starts okay following the creek with some tape markers. Once off the creek it is quickly very overgrown and you’re bashing most of the way through. There is a section with tape that makes it easy to follow but we lost both it and the trail quickly and then had to bash all the way to the first 4×4 track using our bearing set to this point. Took us about 7 hours to do 5.5km in the rain and we were knackered – it’s mostly climbing and bashing – definitely grade 5.

    We ended up about 700m to the left from the track exit onto the 4×4 track and we scouted around, found the entry point on the other side a little further up and planned the next days hike, camping on the side of the road for the night. This was awesome – a true hiking/camping experience. Loved it.

    Day 2 we decided to continue to Chromite Mine and Brady Pinch on the same Mount Margaret walking track. The going was really tough and we took our time, which meant we didn’t get lost too much except at 2 critical turning points where we took our time to get it right having to back track and scout options a bit until finding the trail. There is no tape and you really have to rely on the compass and map and check every 100m or so. But you’re mostly along ridge lines so it is fairly stress free as long as you keep that in mind and make a strong continual effort to check for the trail. A really hard but rewarding walk. (Note there are some spray painted markers and also a few cut logs which indicate the trail). Once you see the big square yellow marker with the arrow on the tree – pointing in the wrong (confusing) direction – you need to head directly to the tright alonga faint overgrown trail and then make a sharp right turn and it almost feels like you’re heading back in the wrong direction but the trail quickly becomes visible – it is crucial you get this part right.

    Once at Chromite Mine it is easy to follow the Brady Pinch track to the campsite. This track is along a parks maintenance track and is steep and long. Arrival at the campsite is the junction for the rest of the trails – a nice clay rich, swampy site along the river and really serene and pleasant. We stayed here for 2 nights. It is wet but you can have big fires so it is worth it.

    Day 3 we left the packs and took the Clive Lanigan track to Lake Tali Karng via the Valley of Destruction. The first km is 4×4 and easy walking. The next 1.5km of the track was easy to follow, but lots of tough walking here as it is really overgrown and it was also very wet due to the rains and we were soaked due to the fact that you’re bashing through wet bushes. Then once you cross the creek/river the last 2-3km is the Valley of Destruction and this is hard slog up hill to the lake – but by far one of the most beautiful rainforest walks I have done. Feels really wild and very isolated and is really quite magical (reminded me of parts of the Overland). Arrival at the lake is exceptional and I won’t ruin it for anyone with my bad descriptions. Suffice to say this is totally worth the effort and I recommend Clive Lannigan to get there.

    The return back to the campsite at the junction was via Echo Point from the Lake for a km and then west via Riggal Spur – a very easy and well maintained slow descent – a welcomed change from what we had done thus far.

    Last day was out to Tamboritha Rd via Wellington River Track 13km. Easy to follow so a pleasant walk but there are something like 13-14 waste deep river crossings and they are all really fun. So expect to be walking with wet boots the whole way. We then walked the full 13-14km back to the car at the entry to Mt Margaret along the road (I wouldn’t recommend this but we wanted to get into Licola General Store for a beer – closes at 5pm). Mostly a safe walk except for a few crazy 4×4’s.

    A few notes:

    The Mt Maragert track is officialy closed but you can still walk it.

    A very hard grade 5 slog but super rewarding – you need good fitness and strong experience and navigational skills (unless using a GPS) and I would not recommend doing this part of the hike alone.

    It is mostly wet so prepare for that (start of November).

    Gaiters recommended.

    Heaps of water along the way so we got away with having a half to 1 litre at a time making the packs much lighter.

    I highly recommend this if you want a – for lack of a better word – truly hardcore hike. It is not a 2-3 day hike – more like a 3-4 day hike if you want to visit the lake too.

    Hope more people do this trail. It is so much fun.

    1. Hi Jackson, thank you for the detailed report and recommendation that this be a grade 5 hike over 3-4 days. I have updated the description accordingly

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