DEN OF NARGUN CIRCUIT WALK:

This hidden gem is tucked away in the Mitchell River National Park and is a must-see if you’re exploring East Gippsland on a weekend away or road-tripping through. Highlights include vista-views of the national park, lush gully trails, river access, waterfalls (when flowing), pools and of course the Den of Nargun. Legend has it a fierce being, half human and half stone lives there. Are you game to explore the lair?

FAST FACTS:

  • Start/Finish: Den of Nargun Picnic Area.
  • Distance: 5 km loop.
  • Time: 1.5 hrs.
  • Grade: Easy/Moderate. Some rocky sections.
  • Attire: Sportswear. Runners will be fine.
  • Where: Mitchell River National Park.
  • Stay: Echo Bend Camping Park (1km away)
  • Nearest Town: Lindenow (29 km).
  • Provisions: Plenty of water & snacks. Plenty of epic picnic spots too.
  • Explored In: Winter. Suitable for all seasons.

GETTING STARTED ON THE DEN OF NARGUN WALK

When you arrive at the Den of Nargun Picnic Area you have two options; head straight down towards the Den of Nargun or complete the circuit walk. The circuit walk is a few kms longer, but you’ve come all this way and there’s plenty more to see… so the choice is easy, right?

Den of Nargun Picnic Area Signage_mini

Your starting point, the Den of Nargun Picnic Area.

Bluff lookout over Mitchell River

The view of Mitchell River Gorge from Bluff Lookout.

The first port of call on the circuit walk is the Bluff Lookout. Here you get EPIC views of the Mitchell River and the rainforest gullies of Mitchell River Gorge. While it’s a view that seems to go on forever, it’s just a small section of the 14,250 ha National Park. Yes, this place is massive, and full of adventures.

From the Bluff Lookout, the Den of Nargun loop walk drops down towards the Mitchell River, where you continue upstream towards Woolshed Creek. On this section of the walk there are several access points to the river. While the water was up when we explored during winter, it would be a beautiful spot to take a dip in the warmer months when the river’s running clear.

Overlooking the Mitchell River

The view from the trail, just before you reach Mitchell River.

EXPLORING DEADCOCK DEN

Once you reach the point where Woolshed Creek joins up with the Mitchell River, there’s the option to take a short off-shoot track up to Deadcock Den. This is arguably more beautiful than the Den of Nargun, and a must-see.

Just a few hundred meters up the track you’ll find a beautiful natural amphitheatre that’s been carved out over millions of years. Here Woolshed Creek cascades over a number of platforms, pooling, then continuing. It’s a beautiful thing. The flow can become a trickle over summer, but it’s an absolutely stunning space that can be enjoyed any time of year.

Up for a challenge? Try and find the remnants of an aboriginal grinding stone in the far right corner (when looking at the falls) and the fossil of a branch in a rock under the main falls.

Deadcock Den Cave Outlook

Looking out at the main falls from a shallow cave at the Deadcock Den.

Looking out at Deadcock Den Pool

The veil of Woolsheed Creek dropping into the pool at Deadcock Den.

WALKING UP THE LUSH GULLY

Continuing on from Deadcock Den, follow the signage towards the Den of Nargun. You soon drop down into a lush gully that is as green as it gets. From the thick native canopy above to the moss covering everything, it’s an extremely unique environment.

Follow the trail up the right hand side of the creek, before crossing where the tree is marked with an arrow. It’s an easy crossing, just be sure of your footing.

Crossing Woolshed Creek en-route to Den of Nargun

Crossing Woolshed Creek en-route to the Den of Nargun.

After crossing the creek, there’s a particularly rocky section to navigate on the final stretch into the Den of Nargun. Take your time as it would have certainly taken a few casualties over the years.

Track to Den of Nargun

It’s a moss covered, rocky road down towards the Den of Nargun.

DISCOVERING THE DEN OF NARGUN

Before reaching the Den of Nargun, take a minute to read the info provided to get a better understanding of its cultural significance. In brief, aboriginal belief is that a Nargun resides in the den, a female creature that is all stone except for the breast, arms and hands. The Nargun would drag unwary passers-by into the den, and it could turn any spear or bullet back upon you.

The den holds cultural significance and it’s therefore asked that visitors do not enter the cavity behind the falls, enjoying the view from across the pool. Take photos and leave nothing but footprints. It’s an amazing area with a rich history that deserves respect.

Den of Nargun

The Den of Nargun.

After exploring the area it’s a short ascent back to the Den of Nargun Picnic Area. It might be time to make the most of the facilities which include covered and uncovered picnic tables, toilets and a BBQ area with a gas BBQ in operation.

All in all, this is a fantastic walk with a lot to explore and photograph. The grandeur of the Mitchell River National Park, the amazing Dens that have a Northern Territory feel about them and the rich aboriginal history make for an unforgettable walk. Enjoy!

If you’re staying at the local Echo Bend Camping Park (highly recommended), the road leading back is clearly marked and you can’t miss it.

HOW TO GET TO THE DEN OF NARGUN

Your starting point, the Den of Nargun Picnic Area, is around 3.5 hrs drive west of Melbourne, Stratford being the last town with shops you’ll pass through (so stock up on fuel and any other last minute supplies). Use a GPS or Google maps and you shouldn’t have a problem finding it, as you can still get mobile phone reception.

 

Want more? Explore more of the best bushwalks in and around Melbourne.