The Lakes National Park and Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park

Tatungalung Country

Welcome to the Lakes National Park and Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park

The Lakes National Park is recognised as an internationally significant wetland, playing an important role in providing habitat for migratory bird species… Rich in wildlife, they are home to several of our totem species as well as a number of rare and endangered species… There are shell middens all along the sand dunes…

The Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park is part of the Gippsland Lakes system which has traditionally been a major food source for our people. Evidence of our use and occupation is visible in the many midden sites, artefact scatters and scar trees within the park… The waterways and lakes system were our transport network — our ancestors would use bark canoes to move from one spot to another.

— Gunaikurnai Whole of Country Plan

The Lakes National Park and Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park are two of the ten jointly managed parks and reserves within Gippsland. 
The Joint Management Agreement recognises the fact that the Gunaikurnai people hold Native Title and maintain a strong connection to Country. As custodians of the land, they are the rightful people who speak for their Country. 
These parks and reserves are cultural landscapes that continue to be part of Gunaikurnai living culture.

Connecting to Country

The Gunaikurnai have a deep, longstanding connection with both parks and the adjacent waters. The lake waters in particular were abundant in food sources and in resources. Fishing, camping, hunting and gathering were daily activities of the Gunaikurnai. Bark canoes were used on the lakes system. People travelled to the open ocean from this area harvesting food and materials, and moving up and down the coast.

A number of currently used place names for this general area originate or are derived from traditional Gunaikurnai place names, such as Boole Poole, Bunga Arm and Nyerimilang.

The Gippsland Lakes were once part of a larger bay open to the sea. Sperm Whale Head, Little Rotamah Island, the Ninety Mile Beach, Boole Poole Peninsula and Rotamah Island were formed by sands deposited by the seas over thousands of years. These landforms now enclose the waters, some of the barriers being up to thirty-­eight metres high.