Tarra Bulga National Park is a mountainous region of cool temperate rainforest which once covered most of Gippsland until European settlers cleared most of it in the mid 19th century.
Access is via Traralgon from the north (2.5hr drive from Melbourne) or via a windy narrow two-way bitumen road from the south along the Tarra Valley which is not suitable for caravans, but which takes you to other picnic areas en route such as Tarra Falls (not an easy photograph) and Cyathea Falls (a short circuit loop walk accesses this small waterfall), the remote Tarra Valley Caravan Park (this is as far north on the Tara Valley road that caravans can access – they can’t go further north to the NP), and then access to coastal Gippsland including historic Port Albert (Gippsland’s first port, established c 1850) and Wilsons Promontory (The Prom).
If you are coming from the south then a short detour to Victoria’s tallest waterfall, Agnes Falls is well worth it:
Olympus mZD 12-40mm f/2.8 lens at 17mm.
Tarra Bulga NP has a nice open picnic ground and nearby tea rooms. The picnic ground has a variety of birds including the very friendly crimson rosellas which you may find end up sitting on your shoulder while you try to eat:
The flighty wrens and robins are much harder to catch such as this flame robin which was about 10-15m away and required cropping:
and even the Laughing Kookaburra likes you to keep your distance of about 10-15m:
on the road near the picnic ground was this poor wombat who appeared to be coping well despite a limp from past trauma:
The main attraction though at Tarra Bulga NP is the historic suspension bridge within the majestic Eucalpytus regnans rainforest (the tallest flowering plants in the world) – if you walk the full circuit “scenic track” it is a pleasant largely shaded 2.8km circuit walk with total ascent of 129m (mainly up graded path rather than steps) which will take just under 1hr allowing for time to get a few pics.
If you have the time to also visit Wilsons Prom you can complete your Aussie wildlife in the wild experience with a few more such as this cute kangaroo joey feeding at dusk:
or these emus:
and if the prevailing winds have been westerlies, you may find the beaches covered in these small beautiful but painful Blue Bottle Portugese Man’O’War jellyfish which will give you a painful sting if your skin touches the tentacles which can measure some 1m in length:
and nearby, this Sooty Oyster Catcher was taking a bath:
I hope this has inspired you to get out and go for a drive, or better still stay for a couple of nights or more and explore the region.
We had an amazingly tasty and healthy lunch at the Port Albert Cafe and Wine Bar – the owner is a brilliant chef who obviously loves her cooking, the crispy duck with mango and cashew salad was awesome and the many cake options for dessert (or take with you for your NP walk) make it well worth the visit – unfortunately she has the business up for sale so make sure you get there before she has moved on.
Most of the above photos were taken with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 lens, or for the birds, the Olympus mZD 300mm f/4 lens using a Micro Four Thirds Olympus OM-D E-M1 or E-M5 camera.