Tarra Bulga National Park

Tarra-Bulga National Park in South Gippsland is well known for its giant Mountain Ash trees, beautiful fern gullies and ancient myrtle beeches. The park covers 1,625 ha of some of the best examples of original cool temperate rainforests of the Stzelecki Ranges.

 

Things to Do

 

Tarra-Bulga National Park is popular for picnics, walks, scenic drives and the study of nature.

 

Roads throughout the area are narrow and winding but offer marvellous scenery with wide views from several points, including Mount Tassie, off the Traralgon-Balook Road, the Blackwarry fire tower and the Grand Ridge Road near the Grand Ridge Motel.

 

The self-guided Fern Gully Nature Walk starts at Bulga picnic ground and includes the famous suspension bridge. Bulga picnic area is a short distance north of the Visitor Centre, off the Grand Ridge Road.

 

Tarra Valley picnic area is on the Tarra Valley Road about 8 km from the Visitor Centre. From here a 1.2 km walk takes you through rainforest to the lovely Cyathea Falls.

 

Tarra Falls are along the Tarra Valley Road, a kilometre south of the entrance to the picnic ground.

 

Facilities

 

The Rainforest Information Centre at Balook is open at specified times. It displays the human and natural history of the ranges and a feature on rainforests. Toilets and picnic facilities are available.

 

Fireplaces, picnic shelters, tables and toilets are provided at both Bulga and Tarra Valley picnic areas.

 

Camping is not permitted in the park, but sites are available at Tarra Valley Caravan Park. Accommodation is available at the Tarra-Bulga Guest House.

 

Heritage

 

Until less than 100 years ago, most of South Gippsland was one vast forest, mainly consisting of Mountain Ash and other eucalypts.

 

From the 1870s, settlers cleared the land for dairy farming purposes in the western Strzelecki Ranges, leaving only a few scattered areas of forest. The rugged and steeper slopes of the eastern Strzelecki Ranges were opened for selection in the 1890s and settlers' cottages soon dotted the ridges. Due to the harsh conditions and the rugged nature of the land, many farms were abandoned or became neglected.

 

The quality of the fern gullies led Alberton Shire Council, in 1903, to reserve small areas of forest near Balook, and in the Tarra Valley in 1909. The former was named Bulga, an Aboriginal word meaning mountain, while the latter was named after Charlie Tarra, an Aboriginal who guided Strzelecki and his party through Gippsland in 1840. Following recommendations by the Land Conservation Council, the two separate national parks were joined through a land exchange with APM Forests Pty Ltd. The enlarged and re-named Tarra Bulga National Park of 1,522 ha was declared in June 1986.

 

Fauna

 

The fern gullies are the home of the Superb Lyrebird, Yellow Robins, Crimson Rosellas, Swamp wallabies, wombats, possums, platypus, bandicoots and native rats. There are also seven species of bats, and numerous reptiles.

 

Vegetation

 

Luxuriant tree ferns, mountain ash and ancient myrtle beeches are attractions of this cool temperate rainforest. Thirty-nine species of ferns have been recorded, and there are more than 200 different kinds of fungi.

 

Looking After the Park

 

All native plants, animals and historic relics are protected.

 

Please keep to designated tracks.

 

Dogs and cats are not permitted in the park.

 

Light fires only in fireplaces provided.

 

Camping is not permitted.

 

Please take your rubbish with you.

 

Precautions

 

Raincoats and strong walking shoes are advisable as the area has a high rainfall and the winter is often cold and very wet.

 

How to Get There

 

Tarra-Bulga National Park is 220 km south-east of Melbourne. To access the park, drive south from Traralgon along the Traralgon Creek Road, north from Yarram along the Tarra Valley Road or Balook Yarram Road, or via the Grand Ridge Road from either Carrajung or Mirboo North.

 

Balook Visitor Centre

 

The Visitor Centre is well designed for access. A toilet block with accessible facilities is located at the rear of the Centre. The picnic tables allow wheelchair access, although on an unsealed surface. Lyrebird Ridge walking track, leaving from the Visitor Centre, is a flat gravel track and is accessible to many people with a disability. There is an unsheltered viewing platform along this track.

 

Bulga and Tarra Valley Picnic Areas

 

The facilities and walking tracks in the Tarra Valley and Bulga picnic areas were developed in the 1940s and 50s. The tracks are generally narrow, and include steep sections and steps. Access to the toilets for people with a disability is poor. The Bulga car park is on a slope and accessibility is therefore generally poor. The walking track is reasonably accessible as far as the suspension bridge.

 

Nearby Parks

 

Holey Plains State Park

 

Jack Smith Lake State Game Reserve

 

Moondarah Reservoir Park

 

Morwell National Park

 

Guided Activities

 

1. Birdwatching
2. Bushwalking
3. Coach/Bus Tours
4. Surfing/Surf Education

 

 

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