Our second walk from my deck of cards took us to Sherbrooke Forest in the Dandenong Ranges, approximately 50km east of Melbourne. I have been to the Dandenongs quite a few times but never for a proper walk in the forest. All geared up for our 12km walk, we arrived at about noon to the car park at Grant’s Picnic Ground. But…. we didn’t expect half of Melbourne to be there having their barbeque! hahahaha – no parks at that parking area.
On we went to the next parking area, and had better luck. So we started our walk from the O’Donohue Picnic Ground. The walk promised to take us through damp fern gullies with superb lyrebirds to a rocky waterfall. We were to traverse deep mountain ash (eucalyptus) forest dripping with creepers, an area teeming with local birdlife including crimson rosellas and sulphur crested cockatoos. It was very promising because we were greeted with the ferns, mountain ash trees as well as the rosellas almost before we started the walk!
The Mountain Ash or Eucalyptus Regnans trees were amazing. They just go straight up and have a small canopy at the top. We were guessing how tall they were. I went for about 100 feet and Kendall’s guess was 30m, which works out to be about the same. After getting home and doing some research, I found that the Mountain Ash are Â the tallest eucalyptus and can grow to over 300ft tall and live to 500 years!! Wonder if the ones we saw were actually that tall or closer to the 100ft that we thought but they were magnificent.
Their girth can measure up to 50ft!
Not long after we set off, we were greeted with signs saying that there were crossings that were closed due to some damage by fallen trees. We had to veer off our original track. We found ourselves on Hillclimb Track, fortunately in the downhill direction. Happily we went, some parts were a bit muddy, but on the whole easy walking.
All that goes down must come up? Â After breaking for some lunch of tuna sandwiches and coffee, we continued walking and were still munching on our chocolates when we seemed to have run out of walking tracks and found ourselves next to a road (I think the Belgrave Ferny Creek Road) with a steep incline! Â So up the hill we trudged!
It was quite a nice area actually, we turned away from the road after a little bit, walking on a big track next to some houses. There were many butterflies which were very pretty, but of course were so quick I couldn’t get a single photo. I dont know much about butterflies but they were sort of the colour of the monarch butterflies – brown, black, orange and yellow, just different in pattern. We saw a few kookaburras too! Unfortunately I didn’t have the right lense to even try any photographs.
Eventually the climb did stop and we found walking tracks into the forest again.
There were many signs especially at the picnic grounds for people not to feed the wildlife. But…..people do not do as they are told. I got a few shots of these beautiful rosellas when they were feeding on what some people were giving them. I am truly amazed at the intricate patterns and beautiful colours of their feathers.
On the whole it was a very relaxing walk (even with the climb) through very pretty forest. Weather turned out colder than what we expected, perhaps due to the elevation or perhaps just due to the vegetation, but it wasn’t cold or uncomfortable. We did not see any lyrebird (still not sure what they look like) and did not see the waterfall as the the crossings were closed. We had fun mimicking some bird calls, I think we confused them a little. (Oh I forgot to add, we saw leeches too, which freaked Chen out). Our modern technology which we used to map our walk logged us as having walked 8km in about 3 and a half hours. Not the 12km or on the exact route that we set out to do, it was a very pleasant walk indeed.