The Latrobe River originates on the Baw Baw Plateau and passes through relatively flat to undulating plains cleared for agriculture, before flowing into Lake Wellington (the westernmost point of the Gippsland Lakes). Notable tributaries include the Tanjil River, Narracan Creek, Morwell River, Tyers River, Traralgon Creek and the Thomson River.
Water for the environment is supplied to the Latrobe River from Blue Rock Reservoir on the Tanjil River. Blue Rock Reservoir also supplies water for electricity generators and a paper mill in the Latrobe Valley and urban supply.
The Latrobe River from Rosedale to the Thomson River confluence (reach 5) is the priority reach for water for environmental watering because it contains endangered plant communities that have good potential for rehabilitation.