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Cowwarr Weir

Cowwarr Weir, located in Gippsland near the township of Cowwarr, is a pretty area popular for swimming, kayaking and picnicking.

Cowwarr supplies water to the Macalister Irrigation District and levels can vary throughout the year.


Hours of Operation

Cowwarr Weir is open between 8am and 8pm.


Facilities and What To Do

Cowwarr Weir is popular for kayaking, fishing, swimming and picnicking. No powered boats are allowed on the weir. Camping for completely self-contained recreational vehicles is available (see Things to note, below, for full details).

Facilities include:

Icon_Picnic_tables  Icon_parking  Icon_toilets  Icon_Swimming  Icon_Shelter  Icon_Dogs_on_leads  Icon_electric_BBQ  Icon_Non_Powered_Boat  Icon_Fishing

RV Camping at Cowwarr Weir

  • Under an initiative of Southern Rural Water and the Shire of Wellington, Recreation Vehicle (RV) overnighters can camp free of charge at Cowwarr Weir for no more than 48 hours.
  • There is a specific area allocated for overnight stays, and good signage on site.
  • Eligibility is limited to entirely self-contained vehicles and people who do not leave any trace of their stay, so camping with tents, camper trailers etc is not allowed.
  • Campers must abide by the rules indicated by signage at Cowwarr Weir, including a ten ton limit on the bridge and no dumping point for waste.
  • It is important to note that the facilities can be closed in short notice if we experience emergencies such as fires, floods or works on site.

Please ring us on 5139 3100 and check to ensure the camping area is open first as part of your planning.

You must take your litter home with you.

Firearms and horses are not permitted.

Dogs must be on leads at all times.

Fires are not permitted at any time.

Cowwar Weir History and Operations

Cowwarr Weir is a concrete gravity structure with three steel vertical lift spillway gates for regulating water supply from the Thomson River to the MID.

During an exceptional flood in 1952, the Thomson River formed a breakaway course through a series of depressions beginning at the point where the river emerges from the foothills on to the river plains. The new course continues east to rejoin the original course near Heyfield. The distance of the new course between the breakaway and rejoining points is much less than that of the former course, while the fall between the two points remains the same.

In 1959 the Cowwarr Weir and diversion channel were constructed at the point where the breakaway course of the Rainbow Creek begins. The weir allows control of water flow along the breakaway and to divert water to the area south of the Thomson River along the Cowwarr Channel to supplement water from Lake Glenmaggie for irrigation in the Nambrok-Denison area.

Cowwarr Weir was buil to service the Macalister Irrigation District (MID) in Gippsland.

Thomson River water is diverted via the Cowwarr Weir channel generally at the beginning of the spring months to irrigate the Nambrok-Denison Area. This enables water to be conserved in Lake Glenmaggie for as long as possible, thus maximising the water available to the irrigation district. Under normal conditions during the irrigation season the Cowwarr Weir Pool is maintained at or near the full supply level.


Capacity 387 ML
Surface area 14.1 ha
Full supply level 40.50 m AHD
Full supply level 77.1 m AHD
Catchment area 1,942 km2
Maximum height 5 m
Length 120 m
Crest length 120 m
Discharge capacity 500,000 ML per day

Cowwarr Weir is located on Rainbow Creek, which is a breakaway section of the Thomson River near the Cowwarr township in Gippsland – Melway reference Map 82 C9.

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