The Yarra Ranges National Park in Victoria, Australia located east of Melbourne houses a variety of bird species, mammals (including the cute and not so cuddly wombat and endangered Leadbeater’s Possum-i.e., the fairy possum), and lush prehistoric-like flora and fauna. Much of the Yarra Ranges is closed to public to protect Melbourne’s water supply. The small portion of the park that is open to the public, near the Yarra River, is considered a popular day trip destination for those who live in Melbourne. Ironically, my first day trip after landing in Melbourne in Eastern Australia was also to visit Healesville and the Yarra Ranges National Park.
The dense green forest of the Yarra Ranges was ignored for many years until the area was recognized as a excellent location for water catchments. Due to the Yarra Ranges not being settled until the 1860’s, much of the forest remains in its natural state. As you can see from the pictures, the tall Mountain Ash trees tower over the gigantic Australian ferns. The drive through the ranges is perfectly picturesque as I wandered along the windy dirt tracks with the booming trees towering above. The sun rays streamed down in between the leave cover overhead to warm my skin in the cool air. Driving through the ancient rainforest at the Beeches is a refreshing escape from Melbourne city.
Parks Victoria acknowledges the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Victoria – including its parks and reserves. Through their cultural traditions, Aboriginal people maintain their connection to their ancestral lands and waters. (Parks Victoria)
The view from the Mt Donna Buang Summit shows why the land is sacred (-see header photo). We even spotted a colourful Menura Novaehollandiae (similar to a peacock) dancing in the sub-alpine vegetation on the side of the road. Priceless.
5 Fun Facts about the Yarra Ranges:
- 40 native mammals are known in the park
- Fourteen plant species in the park are known to be threatened
- The Yarra Ranges receive regular snowfalls during the winter (I bet you didn’t know it snowed in Australia)
- 120 species of native birds can be found in the park
- The parks holds national and state botanical significance
South East Australia introduced me to an entirely different view of Australia. I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to get a taste of the East, West, and the Southern East Coast. Every region in Australia took my breath away and reaffirms the reasons why I decided to come to Australia on my year off in the first place. With South East Australia being my last stop in the country I’ve soaked up every moment.