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Ovens river.jpg
Ovens River at Bright
Map of the Ovens River.svg
Course of the Ovens River
in Victoria
Native name Burwang, Djerrang
Country Australia
State Victoria
Region Australian Alps (IBRA), Victorian Alps, Hume
Local government areas Alpine Shire, Wangaratta City, Moira Shire
Towns and cities Harrietville, Bright, Porepunkah, Myrtleford, Wangaratta
Physical characteristics
Main source Great Dividing Range
River mouth confluence with the Murray River
near Bundalong
125 m (410 ft)
Length 191 km (119 mi)
Basin features
River system North-East Murray catchment,
Murray-Darling basin
Basin size 7,778 km2 (3,003 sq mi)
National parks Alpine NP, Mount Buffalo NP

The Ovens River, a perennial river of the north-east Murray catchment, part of the Murray-Darling basin, is located in the alpine and Hume regions of the Australian state of Victoria.

Location and features

Formed by the confluence of the East and West Branches of the river, the Ovens River rises in the Victorian Alps, at the settlement of Harrietville, sourced by runoff from high slopes located within the Alpine National Park and the Mount Buffalo National Park. The river flows generally north by west and is joined by eighteen tributaries including Morses Creek at Bright, the Buckland River at Porepunkah, the Buffalo River and then the King River at Wangaratta. The river descends 405 metres (1,329 ft) over its 191-kilometre (119 mi) course. The Great Alpine Road follows much of the course of the river in its upper reaches.

Ovens Valley

The river flows through the Ovens Valley, which is a popular tourist destination servicing the ski fields of Mount Hotham, Mount Buffalo and Falls Creek, the Alpine National Park and the Mount Buffalo National Park. Air sports such as gliding and paragliding are also practised here, and there is a hedge maze at Wandiligong. A disused railway line has been converted to the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail, a cycle trail which stretches from Wangaratta and Beechworth to Bright.

There are several wineries in the area, and many hops farms. The wineries are a popular stop for cyclists on their touring rides.

Tobacco was a major industry in the valley until 2006; that year saw the British American Tobacco and Philip Morris companies decide to no longer buy Australian tobacco, and the Federal Government began implementing a plan to transition growers out of this industry. Reminders of the valley's long and prosperous tobacco history continue to dot the valley, such as the many tobacco kilns


Hamilton Hume and William Hovell explored the area in 1824, naming the Ovens River in honour of Major John Ovens, the Secretary to Thomas Brisbane, the Colonial Governor of New South Wales.

In the Aboriginal Waywurru language, the river has two names, Burwang, with no clearly defined meaning; and Djerrang, meaning "leaf".

List of towns

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