Public land in Victoria covers approximately 8 million hectares in area, which is approximately one third of the State. It is made up of over 110,000 parcels which form parks, reserves and areas of State forest.

The 8 million hectares include the following:

  • National parks and other conservation parks managed by Parks Victoria (4 million hectares)
  • State forests, managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (3.2 million hectares)
  • Over 1,200 public land reserves with a broad range of purposes (550,000 hectares)

We also partner with Traditional Owners and a range of stakeholders to ensure that:

  • land is productive and used in a sustainable manner
  • infrastructure on public land is suitable for its purpose and well managed
  • marine and coastal environments are protected and improved
  • biodiversity is protected and healthy

Managers of Public land reserves include:

  • the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DEWLP)
  • other state government departments
  • statutory agencies
  • local councils
  • voluntary committees of management

Crown water frontage is Crown (public) land that runs alongside waterways. These areas contain important cultural heritage and environmental values that need to be managed alongside other land uses such as grazing, stock access to water and recreational uses such as walking, fishing or bird watching.

For further information on licensing, access and use of Crown water frontage, please visit the following pages:

Victoria has a long history of mining that has resulted in many thousands of former mine sites across the state. These sites, which include abandoned and legacy mines, present several management issues for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Parks Victoria as Crown land managers and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) as the mining regulator. To improve clarity in relation to abandoned and legacy mine management responsibilities, a joint statement between DELWP, DJPR and Parks Victoria has been developed. This joint statement provides a clear definition of abandoned and legacy mines and outlines responsibilities regarding their management on Crown land. This will assist government in reducing significant liabilities and risks of community, cultural and environmental harm as a result of abandoned and legacy mines.

The joint statement can be found on the DJPR website here.

Crown land reserves support a variety of amenities and uses including caravan and camping parks. There are approximately 175 caravan and camping parks on Crown land in Victoria. These parks provide the community with low cost recreational opportunities and the chance to relax amid some of Victoria's most beautiful natural attractions.

While Crown land parks provide many benefits to the community, there are also numerous challenges faced by park managers - many parks are located in environmentally sensitive areas and are facing increasing demand as our population grows.

Crown Land Caravan Parks Policy Update 2019 (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Crown Land Caravan Parks Policy Update 2019 (DOCX, 1.8 MB)
Crown land caravan parks fact sheet (PDF, 23.4 KB)

Best Practice Management Guidelines

The Best Practice Management Guidelines for Committees of Management: Managing Caravan and Camping Parks on Crown Land have been developed to help Committees of Management plan for the future. The guidelines aim to assist Committees of Management and park managers to manage Crown land caravan parks according to best practice.

Crown land caravan and camping parks are generally operated under a private lease arrangement, or in some cases, directly by the Committee of Management. Committees of Management are responsible for managing the land on behalf of the government, often on a volunteer basis.

Best Practice Management Guidelines: Managing Caravan and Camping Parks on Crown Land (PDF, 1.4 MB)
Best Practice Management Guidelines: Managing Caravan and Camping Parks on Crown Land (DOC, 882.0 KB)

Improving Equity of Access to Crown Land Caravan Parks

In July 2011, the policy statement Improving Equity of Access to Crown Land Caravan and Camping Parks 2011 was released. The policy seeks to be inclusive ensuring that affordable holidays on Crown land are available to as many people as possible.

To enable this, Committees of Management (CoM) and park managers need to ensure a minimum 10 per cent turnover of each type of site to new users each year or peak season. This is not required however, if there is a 10 per cent vacancy rate as the park will have sufficient capacity to accommodate new users.

On-site sales of registrable caravans in Crown land caravan parks are allowed in specified circumstances. The policy does not apply to caravan and camping parks in national parks, on private land, on council-owned land, or to caravan and camping parks outside of Victoria.

Improving Equity of Access to Crown Land Caravan Parks 2011 (PDF, 328.0 KB)
Improving Equity of Access to Crown Land Caravan Parks 2011 (DOC, 83.5 KB)

Sign that reads: Whipstick Loop Walk. 5km circuit, take two hours. Short steep hills. Formed track with some obstacles.

Track grading is a primary means of informing people about the features of walking tracks, so they can gauge their suitability for a particular track. Over the course of 2007 to 2010, Victoria worked with other State and Territory land management agencies to design a grading system that could be nationally adopted. The Grading System was endorsed by Parks Forum as a voluntary industry standard and recommended for adoption amongst its members.

The aim of the Australian Walking Track Grading System is to encourage people who are not regular or confident bushwalkers to get out there and give it a go. It is specifically designed to assist less experienced or entry level walkers find tracks suitable to their skill level.

There are 3.1 million hectares of state forests in Victoria with walking tracks, picnic and camping areas, bike trails, four-wheel driving and more.

  • Under the system, walking trails are graded on a difficulty scale from grades one to five.
  • Grade One is suitable for people with a disability with assistance
  • Grade Two is suitable for families with young children
  • Grade Three is recommended for people with some bushwalking experience
  • Grade Four is recommended for experienced bushwalkers, and
  • Grade Five is recommended for very experienced bushwalkers
  • How to grade walking tracks using the Australian Walking Track Grading system

How to use the Australian Walking Track Grading system

The grading system operates at two distinct tiers:

  1. A technical grading of the walk where the land manager determines the walk's grade of difficulty using a set of technical questions based on the Australian Standard 2156.1-2001 Walking Tracks - Classification and Signage
  2. A plain English language description to describe the walk to the public

An explanation of how to grade a walking track using the grading system is detailed in this brochure:

Users guide to the Australian Walking Track Grading System (PDF, 944.9 KB)
Users guide to the Australian Walking Track Grading System (PDF, 944.9 KB)

Symbol files

The grading symbols for use on track head signs are included below in both EPS and JPG format.

eps file jpg file
Advisory walking grade 1 (EPS, 268.8 KB)Advisory walking grade 1 (JPG, 262.9 KB)
Advisory walking grade 2 (EPS, 266.1 KB)Advisory walking grade 2 (JPG, 248.4 KB)
Advisory walking grade 3 (EPS, 260.0 KB)Advisory walking grade 3 (JPG, 202.5 KB)
Advisory walking grade 4 (EPS, 261.7 KB)Advisory walking grade 4 (JPG, 197.1 KB)
Advisory walking grade 5 (EPS, 267.2 KB)Advisory walking grade 5 (JPG, 243.5 KB)

If you are having trouble accessing the individual EPS files (EPS files not supported by some browsers), please download the files from the Walking Grade Symbols ZIP file (ZIP, 412.0 KB).

Legal agreements, under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 embed Traditional Owners in government decision making and creating system and structural changes in public land and natural resource management. ​

These legal agreements recognise. Traditional Owners’ inherent rights and interests in County; their rights to access, own and manage public land; their right to be involved in decision making; and the excise of other rights in the use and development of public land and natural resources.

Page last updated: 23/05/22