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Cowwarr Weir

Cowwarr Weir is popular for recreation and non-powered water activities and is an ideal day destination. 

It is a pretty area, well patronised for swimming, kayaking, fishing and picnicking, with lots of shady spots by the water.  There are pleasant walks around the reserve and it is popular with bird-watchers. 


Cowwarr Weir is located in Gippsland near the township of Cowwarr. It 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. There are picnic tables and toilets. There are no barbecue facilities.

Facilities and activities include:


Not permitted

While visiting our facilities you are not permitted to:

  • camp or stay overnight
  • no powered boats on the weir 
  • have fires or fire pits
  • leave rubbish - all our sites are carry in carry out zones
  • reserve any picnic areas
  • drive or ride motorbikes along the shoreline or in fenced areas
  • enter prohibited areas
  • vandalise the facilities
  • hunt, carry or discharge a firearm
  • ride or walk horses anywhere, including in the water.
  • use the park or picnic areas outside of opening hours
  • undertake any dangerous activities including abseiling, paraflying, shooting and archery.

Request to hold events

From time to time, people wish to hold events at our recreational facilities including festivals, birthday parties and weddings. We cannot close our recreational facilities for private events and you cannot book sites. 

You must have permission to hold any organised entertainment, rally, boating event or regatta, festival, public meeting, training class or demonstration, wedding or similar ceremony, or private functions for 30 or more people.

Please email us with your request in writing.

  • 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 Macalister Irrigation District.

    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 onto 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 built to service the Macalister Irrigation District 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.