Unique ways to experience tall forests

Monday 1 August, 2022

Victoria’s tall forests are magical all year round, offering a cool escape in summer and a misty wonderland in winter. Pack a bag, charge your phone and get ready to recharge your soul through these unique experiences in Victoria’s incredible tall forests.

Connect to the forest in Kinglake National Park

Stepping into the towering mountain ash forest at Jehosaphat Gully you pause, connect with your body and breathing and soak in the forest around you.

Walking in a tall forest is a wonderful experience but to make the most of your visit to Kinglake National Park, try connecting with your senses on a mindfulness walk.

Ranger Tony Fitzgerald can guide you to use all your senses to connect with the forest.

“By focusing your mind on the present, you will enjoy a different journey through this spectacular place,” explains Ranger Tony.

“Hear the trickle of water in the creek, feel the cool moss on a tree, the air on your face and your feet connecting with the earth beneath you. It’s a case of ‘doing’ less and ‘being’ more.”

The 40-minute guided mindfulness walk is slow and gentle, suitable for a range of fitness levels. Book in to join a mindfulness walk or follow Ranger Tony’s tips to try the technique for yourself.

Two women walk through ferns along the Shelly Harris Track in Kinglake National Park.

Experience the forest from all perspectives at Mount Donna Buang

You don’t have to venture far from Melbourne to see the giant trees of the Yarra Ranges National Park, but did you know you can experience them from above and below? Starting at the base of Mount Donna Buang, with the sound of a mountain stream trickling below you, walk among the base of the mountain ash trees, tallest flowering plants in the world. As you drive towards the summit, watch out for Superb Lyrebirds which can often be seen foraging on the roadside, particularly in the cooler months.

Halfway up the mountain, the Rainforest Gallery is a suspended 40-metre-long observation platform gives you a whole new perspective on the forest as you walk at the level of the treetops. See birds darting among the trees and look down into the tops of the tree ferns below before descending to the gully floor and walking along the 350-metre elevated boardwalk.

To really take your breath away, the 21-metre-tall lookout tower at the top of the mountain gets you right up above the forest where you can take in sweeping views across the top of the forest. You’ll marvel at the vast forests that spread east from Melbourne’s doorstep.

If you want to explore further afield in the forest from the comfort of your car, take a drive along Acheron Way. The unsealed road suitable for 2WD vehicles winds beneath the canopy of the forest and is beautiful in all seasons.

A family take in the view of the Yarra Ranges from the elevated platform at Mt Donna Buang.

See glow worms at night at Melba Gully

For a whole new experience in a tall forest, grab some sturdy shoes and set out after dark into Melba Gully, deep in the Great Otways National Park. We wouldn’t usually recommend walking in the dark, but this is one thing you can only experience at night.

In the dark, away from the glare of natural light, thousands of glow worms light up the sides of Madsens Track Nature Walk at Melba Gully. To get the most spectacular twinkling show, walk carefully, try to keep quiet and avoid shining your torch light directly at the glow.

Nature is full of surprises. These glow worms are the larvae of fungus gnats that make little sticky chandeliers and use their glow to attract other insects, which get stuck like flies on spiderwebs, then eaten by the larvae. As you wander along the track and boardwalks, remember that while the forest may tower above you, sometimes beauty can be found in the tiniest things.

Young children will love the sight of the side of the walking track sparkling like the night sky as the glow worms do their thing. Make sure to stay on the path and don’t touch the glow worms.

Two girls glowworm spotting at Melba Gully in Great Otway National Park

Find more ways to experience tall forests.

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