The river and its environs are marvellous places for watersports, walking, cycling, fishing or just relaxing. There are ample facilities to help you enjoy a visit. You can picnic at riverside Queens Park, watch the water cascade over Buckley Falls or stroll or cycle the kilometres of sealed paths along the river's banks.

They pass fascinating wetlands, parks, a golf course, the Yollinko Aboriginal Garden and urban areas. Enjoy the native birds at Balyang Sanctuary or visit the Barwon Valley Park adventure playground.

One of the iconic river systems in Victoria, the Barwon begins in the Otway Ranges and flows through the heart of Geelong on its 160-kilometre journey to meet the sea at Barwon Heads.

The river is managed by a number of different agencies. We look after a series of connected conservation reserves. These take in the riverside environments upstream of Queens Park Bridge through to Baums Weir and its surrounds.

Our reserves include Queens Park (riverside), Zillah Crawcour Reserve, Buckley Falls Park (Reg Gum Island/ Paper Mill precinct/ Bunyip Pool precinct), Fyansford Common, and Mt Brandon Peninsula and Wandana.

The riverside vegetation is characterised by River Red Gum, Blackwood, Silver Wattle and Woolly Tea Tree, while the drier slopes are home to Drooping Sheoke Golden Wattle and the indigenous Kangaroo, Wallaby and Tussock grasses.

The reserve is also rich in bird life with over 100 species found including the secretive Nankeen Night Heron. Keen eyes might also see platypus, native water rat (Rakali) and the occasional swamp wallaby by the water’s edge.

The Red Gum Island area is a sensitive flora and fauna refuge – please keep dogs on a lead.

The area has a rich Aboriginal history and was an important source of food, such as eels and fish, for the Wadawurrung people.

Tips when visiting

Keep in mind the trails are shared between walkers and bike riders, please slow down and use your bell when passing others.

Dog walkers:

  • please keep your dogs under control
  • please clean up after your dog and use a lead where required, and
  • please put dog poo bags in the litter bins
  • please stay on the trails to help protect the environment. 

View our dog walking map to find where you can walk your dog off leash.