The Visitor Centre at Balook was officially opened on 2 August 1990 by the Federal Environment Minister, the Hon. Ros Kelly, and Victorian Conservation and Environment Minister , the Hon. Steve Crabb.
It cost $283,000 and was jointly funded by the State and Federal governments under the National Rainforest Conservation Program.
The Centre is a focus for information, interpretation and education in Tarra-Bulga National Park, with a theatrette and display area including panels explaining the natural and cultural history of the park. With its curved corrugated iron roof and simple rectangular plan, the Centre attracted attention after it opened in 1990. The designer Bruce Katsipidis of the Public Works Department, was congratulated for bringing contemporary design into a forest setting. ‘His approach’, explained the magazine Architecture in Australia, ‘recalls the idea of a minimal shelter found in mountain cattlemen’s huts without resorting to the split logs of pioneers or the mud bricks of environmentally conscious builders’. Here was a building with spring in its step’.
- Weekends and public holidays: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
- Over the winter period the hours are currently 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Tarra-Bulga National Park, situated at the eastern end of the Grand Ridge Road, offers visitors several short walks through rainforest gullies and Mountain Ash forest. In addition there are some longer walks for more experienced walkers looking for a greater challenge.
Short tracks are well maintained are suitable for anyone to walk. Hiking tracks are not regularly maintained, and may in places be quite wet and muddy. Hikers should be well prepared before they begin their walk.
Corrigan Suspension Bridge – 1.2 km, 25 mins one way
Walk to the impressive Corrigan’s suspension bridge, which stretches through the rainforest canopy, affording spectacular views of the lush fern gully on the forest floor below. Follow the signs from the visitor centre carpark via Lyrebird, Ash and Wills Tracks.
Return via the same route.
Lyrebird Ridge Track – 2.4km, 45 mins return
Commencing at the Visitor Information Centre, this track leads through regenerating and mature Mountain Ash forests. Rest on the seats provided and listen to the sounds of the forest
Additional notes available for this walk – Lyrebird Track (pdf 2,993kb)
Forest Track – 4.4km, 1.5 hours return
Starting at the end of the Lyrebird Ridge Track, this longer walk completes a circuit back to the Visitor Centre via part of the Old Yarram-Balook Road. This track winds its way through Mountain Ash forest, a rainforest gully and an unusual thicket of Hazel Pomaderris. This track contains some steeper sections, is unsurfaced and is recommended for the more serious walker.
Ash Track – 680m, 12 mins one way
Branching off the Lyrebird Ridge Track, this track leads through regenerating Mountain Ash forest to the beginning of the Fern Gully Nature Walk. Look for the remnants of the logging that occurred here in the early 1900’s and the Eucalypts now growing to replace them.
Fern Gully Nature Walk – 720m, 15mins return
The Fern Gully Nature Walk begins where the Ash Track meets the Wills Track and provides an excellent introduction to the plants and wildlife of the Mountain Ash Forests and Cool Temperate Rainforests of the Strzelecki Ranges. A leaflet is available at the start of the track to explain the features seen on the way.
Additional notes available for this walk – Fern Gully Track (pdf 687kb)
Scenic Track – 1km, 20 mins one way
This walk takes you through tall Mountain Ash forest and patches of Cool Temperate Rainforest. It commences at the Corrigan’s suspension bridge and finishes at the Bulga picnic area.
Tarra Valley Rainforest Walk – 1.4km, 35 min return
Meander through a rainforest gully and across trickling mountain streams to Cyathea Falls. The Ancient Myrtle Beech along the trail creates a protective canopy above a delicate understorey of tree ferns, lichens and moss.