The last major eruption of the Budj Bim volcano is understood by Gunditjmara to be when the Ancestral Creator revealed himself, between 30,000 and 39,000 years ago, spewing lava across a distance of over 50 kilometres west and south towards the sea, dramatically altering the areas waterways and wetlands.
The lava flow provided the environments necessary for the Gunditjmara to develop an extensive and complex aquaculture network. The quantities of food produced allowed for and supported semi-permanent settlements. The success of the aquaculture system was such that excess kooyang (short-finned eel) supported large-scale ceremonial events and trade with neighbouring groups.
Lake Surprise site offers a scenic location with crater lake views and walks, and nature based recreation including camping, walking, mountain biking and 4WDing. The lake is 700 meters long and is teeming with fish and birds. The colour of the water changes, varying from deepest blue to green, depending on the lake sediments and levels of algae that are present.
Key Features of Interest
- Interactive visitor interpretations centre
- Cantilevered lookout and walkway on the crater rim
- Lake Surprise
- Lava tunnels
- Wildlife including extensive koala population
Future Plans for the Site
- New multi-layered interpretations system around crater edge
Budj Bim Campground
The campground lies in protected hollows between rocky ridges from lava flows approximately 250 metres from the crater rim. Toilets, water (untreated, natural supply), hot showers and ten shared fireplaces are provided.
The picnic ground has two sheltered gas barbecues with tables, and an information shelter.
The campground has campsites of various sizes, some suitable for small caravans and camper-trailers. Camping fees apply for all sites and bookings are required.
4WDing and Cycling
A number of tracks are open to vehicles and mountain bikes to share. Drivers and cyclists are asked to be aware of and alert for bush walkers.
Natural Bridge - 3.2km - 2 hours return. Moderate
Lake Surprise - 2km - 1 hur circuit. Moderate
Crater Rim - 2.6km - 2 hour circuit. Moderate
Lava Canal - 6.5km - 3 hour circuit. Moderate
Visitor Update December 2020
Construction of new infrastructure across five Budj Bim locations has commenced in December 2020.