Welcome to my first post of my "Favourite Walks" collection. Over the coming weeks, in the damp and rainy winter weather here in Victoria, I'll be taking the time to write about all the lovely places to walk locally, nationally and internationally that i've visited over the last two years.
The first one begins very close to home, and is right here in Gippsland. We are lucky enough to live near one of only four major areas of cool temperate rainforest in the state, its called "Tarra Bulga National Park."
This rainforest is famous locally for its giant Mountain Ash trees, fern gullies and Myrtle Beeches, some over 1,000 years old. There is beautiful huts to sit in and have a picnic lunch and you can walk across Corrigan's Suspension Bridge and from there see the extent of the rainforest canopy, lush fern gully, and the always damp forest floor.
There are numerous walking tracks which start at the parks Visitor Centre and other picnic areas, including the Fern Gully Nature Walk, which is one that we took that goes right down to the suspension bridge.
As well as a haven for plants, there is a wide variety of wildlife, sometimes hidden, sheltering in the forest. While walking you hear many bird calls. Some of the birds include the eastern whipbird, currawongs, yellow tailed black cockatoo, pilotbird, rosellas, king parrots, owls, and the lyrebird, which is very popular around Gippsland. Bats and possums come out at night, and there is other Australian wildlife such as wombats, wallabies, and platypuses.
As well as the 1000 year old Mrtyle Beeches, native ferms, Mountain Ash, Indigenous Eucalypts, native Fungi, there are waterfalls, boardwalks, and in the Tarra Valley Picnic Area off the Tarra Valley Road there are tables immersed into the forest as well as fireplaces, toilets and picnic shelters for the cooler, wetter weather.
The rainforest seems to be cool all year round, bringing relief on a 30 degree day, or refreshingly cool and damp in the winter weather. An ideal spot all year round for walking.
One of our favourite areas was the "Tarra Valley Falls" and picnic area, Theres a lovely short walk (West Track) to the falls, which is ideal for the kids, or you can take a longer route (East Track) thats a little steeper. You end up right at the top of the waterfall and follow the waterfall all the way back down again.
The Visitors Centre is also quite impressive, with lots of activities to keep the kids occupied in the cooler weather, theres a big colouring-in table in the middle, where they can colour pictures of the wildlife they have seen in the rainforest, theres also a movie theatre that plays the history of the park and theres many specimens of the wildlife from the park and comprehensive literature for bird watchers and nature lovers alike.
The small village of Balook, where the rainforest is nestled also boasts accomodation, guest house, tea rooms and even a Swiss-style Chalet and a caravan park with cabins available.
Tarra Bulga is located 240km east of Melbourne and 33 kms south of Traralgon, Victoria (its nearest regional centre).
I hope you enjoy the photo gallery. Happy Walking.