Yarra Ranges National Park
A vital catchment for Melbourne's water supply, Yarra Ranges National Park is home to forests of Mountain Ash, rainforest and fern gullies, and the endangered Leadbeater's Possum.
Stretching from Healesville to Warburton, from the headwaters of the Yarra to Marysville, this national park was declared in 1995.
Things to Do
The new Rainforest Gallery with it's spectacular observation platform and rainforest walkway is on the southern slopes of Mount Donna Buang. Take the scenic drive to the summit of Mount Donna Buang.
Snow in winter, great views from the twenty-one metre lookout tower all year round. Delightful drives along the Acheron Way between Warburton and Marysville, or along the Warburton-Healesville Road. Enjoy cross-country skiing, tobogganing and snow play at Lake Mountain.
See spectacular rainforest at The Beeches Rainforest Walk on Lady Talbot Forest Drive. Drive the world famous Black Spur between Healesville and Narbethong and have a picnic and short walk at Fernshaw along the way.
Much of this park forms the catchment for Melbourne's water supply, and access is limited to protect water quality. However, there are many interesting visitor areas such as Mount Donna Buang, Badger Weir, Fernshaw, Keppel Falls, Cambarville, Lady Talbot Forest Drive, Lake Mountain or the Big Peninsula Tunnel.
Camping is permitted at Upper Yarra Reservoir Park and in the towns of Warburton and Marysville.
Motel, hotel and guest house accommodation is available in Warburton, Healesville and Marysville.
The dense forests of this area were not particularly favoured by Aboriginal people, and were a barrier to European settlement. Europeans first settled the area in the 1860s to access Woods Point goldfields and soon the area was recognised as a valuable source of timber. The water catchment value of the forest was also recognised last century, and dams were built at Maroondah and later at Upper Yarra.
The Black Spur (or Blacks Spur) gained its name from the route taken by displaced Aboriginal people from northern Victoria on their way to a mission settlement at Corranderk near Healesville.
Around 40 native mammals are known to occur in the park. The large areas of undisturbed old and mixed-age forests are particularly important for the conservation of hollow-dwelling species including bats, owls and parrots. Among the most significant of these is the endangered Leadbeater's Possum.
The park provides habitats for 120 recorded species of native birds. Significant hollow-using species are the Sooty Owl, Powerful Owl and Barking Owl. Other important species include the Pink Robin, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Australian King-Parrot and Grey Goshawk. Crimson Rosellas are common.
The park's most significant features are its tall Mountain Ash forests, with their understorey of tree ferns, and adjacent gullies of cool temperate rainforest. Large pristine areas of these and other vegetation types within the catchment are of national and state botanical significance.
The highest elevations, such as Lake Mountain and Mount Donna Buang, are characterised by sub-alpine vegetation, and receive regular snowfalls over the winter months.
Fourteen plant species occurring in the park have been identified as being rare or threatened, including the Slender Tree-fern and Tree Geebung.
Looking After the Park
>> Stay on roads and tracks open to the public. Observe signs, particularly in relation to protected catchment areas.
>> Dogs and other pets are not permitted.
>> Firearms are prohibitted.
>> Please take all rubbish away with you.
>> Please do not disturb or remove any plants or animals.
>> Camping in the park is not permitted.
>> Light fires only in fireplaces provided.
How to Get There
The 80 km drive from Melbourne via the Maroondah or Warburton Highways takes between one and two hours. The park stretches from Healesville to Warburton and beyond to the headwaters of the Yarra River and north to Marysville. Some public bus transport is available.
Annual Parks Passes are available which include entry to Mount Donna Buang during periods of snow. These can save entry fee costs for regular users, local residents and interstate visitors.
Dom Dom Saddle Picnic Area
The toilets at Dom Dom Saddle are relatively new, and include a good accessible unisex facility. There is an information shelter, but it lacks a hard floor, good lighting and good accessible path. The view is excellent, and generally accessible. The walking trails leading from this site are very steep, making them quite inaccessible.
Donna Buang Rainforest Gallery
The Donna Buang Rainforest Gallery is a platform that gives visitors a fantastic opportunity to view old growth trees from canopy height. It is fully accessible. The structure begins at road level and extends out into the tree canopy while the ground drops away rapidly beneath. There are accessible toilet facilities directly adjacent to the car park.
Mount Donna Buang
Picnic facilities at Mount Donna Buang are of a high standard, and include shelter, but not barbecues or drinking water. There is a designated accessible toilet. The lookout tower has many steps, but there are a number of good lookout points by the roadside on the drive up the mountain. This area is closed to vehicles at times in winter because of snow. Snow influences the accessibility of facilities here.
At present Donnellys Weir picnic area is poorly accessible. There is a creek crossing involved when accessing the site by vehicle, which may be difficult when the creek’s water level is high. Wheelchair access from the car park to the picnic area is hindered by a narrow gate entrance. The picnic area is good, with shelter provided, but there are no designated accessible toilets. park. Logs around the edge.
Fernshaw Picnic Area
Fernshaw is a mostly flat parkland setting and there is a reasonably accessible designated unisex toilet. Large logs mark the perimeter of the car park. Gaps have been left for accessing the picnic area. There are two wood fired barbecues.
The picnic facilities at Gerratys are of a good standard. Overall accessibility of the site largely depends on conditions, as the whole area is generally snow covered in winter. The toilets include facilities marked as accessible, but they are not compliant with current standards.
>> Scenic Drives,
>> Snow Skiing,
3. Canoeing / Kayaking
5. Coach/Bus Tours
6. Four Wheel Drive Tours
7. Mountain Bike Riding
9. Rock Climbing
10. Ski Touring
11. Spotlight Tours / Nightwalks
12. Trail Bike Tours