Don’t Go Past the Tarra Valley!

While spending a bit of time in the Tarra Valley Car Park on Saturday morning it was mind blowing to witness a significant number of touristy looking vehicles slow down, check out the place from their vehicles and then drive on without getting out of the car. One lady who had stopped for a look around, approached me and said “we have come up from Yarram and were wondering where to go for the best walks!”. She seemed surprised when I said that one of the best walks in the park is right here.

The Rainforest Walk at the Tarra Valley is certainly a must-do Tarra-Bulga National Park experience. The ancient gnarly Myrtle Beech, fresh mountain streams, lush green mosses and delicate filmy ferns are truly spectacular (not to mention Cyathea Falls). Maybe it needs better signage (VicRoads) or publicity but seriously people if you a driving through, stop, get out of the car, take a walk and check it out for yourself.

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Dicksonia antarctica Soft tree-fern

Tree Ferns at Tarra Bulga

There are four main species of tree ferns found in Tarra Bulga National Park, (along with many other fern species) The two most common you will see are Cyathea australis (Rough tree-fern) and Dicksonia antarctica (Soft tree-fern). The Soft Tree-fern is more common in the moister areas including the rainforest gullies while the Rough tree-fern is more dominant on the slopes. Once you get you eye in it is fairly simple to tell the difference between these two, the most obvious being by comparing the trunks. The Rough tree-fern has much of its trunk covered by the remains of broken off stems (Stipes) Which are rough to the touch, while the Smooth tree-fern is soft to the touch and is covered by masses of soft hairs which are actually roots.  On this soft trunk other species of plants will often grow including tree and shrub seedlings, epiphytes and other ferns.

Cyathea australis - Rough tree-fern
Cyathea australis – Rough tree-fern, the broken of scaly frond bases (Stipes) on the upper part of the trunk of these ferns are a quick aid to their identification.