What You’ll Find
East Gippsland contains the most extensive areas of forest wilderness left in Victoria. Some still remain untouched or surveyed by biologists. It was only with the help of satellite photography that the largest extent of lowland rainforest was discovered in 1975. Unique to almost any other forested area on the planet, East Gippsland still has a large unbroken chain of forest stretching from the alps to the sea.
(The office of EEG is situated in the heart of the forests in the small settlement of Goongerah (see map), between the Snowy River and the Errinundra National Parks.)
There are alpine environments and dry rain-shadow woodlands, tall wet mountain forests where the trees can reach 60 metres tall with a rich understorey of sassafras and ferns. There are dry, wildflower-rich foothill forests, coastal wilderness areas, deep gorges that fall off the high rainfall plateaus and a huge diversity of ecosystems unmatched in Victoria.
Tall wet old growth forests and Mountain Plum Pine rainforests dominate the Errinundra Plateau, while the Snowy River National Park can change within kilometres from the tall, grand Alpine Ash forests to rugged, dry, rainshadow woodlands with native cypress pines. Both native pines are remnants from Gondwanic times.
There are rare plateau wetlands, coastal heathlands, and of course lily pily and vine dominated warm temperate rainforests and the ferny, moss-blanketed cool temperate rainforests. Many of the older trees began their lives around 1400AD and the understorey plants much earlier.
The forests support a rich suite of wildlife from the huge hollow dwelling Greater Glider to the tiny Feather-tailed Glider. Brush-tailed Possums and a smaller Ring-tailed Possums are often seen at night in the spotlight.
The endangered Powerful Owl, Barking and Sooty Owls hunt in the forests by night, along with the Spot Tailed Quoll, mainland Australia’s largest marsupial (pouched mammal) carnivore, which is similar in size to a large cat. This also is very rare now.
Wallabies and Kangaroos are common but Bandicoots and Victoria’s rarest marsupial, the Long-footed Potoroo are fewer and more secretive. They all depend on unlogged forests for survival.
Walks and Self Drive Tours
Experience the grandeur of old growth forests on the Errinundra Old Growth Walk. Walk along ancient Aboriginal ridgeline routes among giant trees, cool rainforest and the oldest and largest Shining Gums known to exist.
The Errinundra National Park adjoins the settlement of Goongerah and is accessible by a 20 minute drive. The Snowy River National Park to the west is a 40 minute drive away. Further east, Coopracambra National Park is accessible from north of Cann River. Many smaller state parks and reserves are also dotted throughout the region.
If you’re planning a trip to visit the Errinundra Plateau and National Park, this basic self-drive map and description of the area can be printed out and folded into an A5 for easy reference
The Snowy River, Errinundra and Coopracambra National Parks and other nearby Reserves are all fairly accessible with a regular car.
Park Notes and map (PDF) of camping areas and walking tracks below. To save a copy on your computer right click each link and select ‘save link as’ from the menu.
Snowy River National Park
Errinundra National Park
Coopracambra National Park
Further information can be obtained from Parks Victoria.
EEG would like to see these protected areas enlarged and joined by decent links. This would enable species to move and adapt as the climate changes, allowing ecological processes to continue. the more damage done to these forests, the less able species can cope with the impacts of climate, fires and feral invasions.
Closer in to Goongerah, short walks can be taken from the camp ground which includes a viewing site overlooking the central part of the valley which was first settled in the 1860s.
A circuit walk up near Mt Jersey would take an easy day.
Mt Ellery in the Errinundra Park is a ‘hearty climb’ but gives a spectacular view that stretches from the Kosciusko ranges to the coastal dunes. Huge round granite tors dot the mountain top like giant eggs (Goongerah is said to be Aboriginal for ‘egg rock’). These are surrounded by Mountain Ash, Grey Gums and Messmate – a truly magical place, whether in the mist or the sunshine.
There are many other walks that are too numerous to mention.
Brown Mountian visitors – please note
If any of you plan to visit the Valley of the Giant’s Walk, a wonderland of tree giants, just be aware it’s extremely treacherous! Or so says the government.
We have formally been told by DSE that our old growth walk at Brown Mountain must not be promoted (download your own self-guided walk booklet here).
Of course the track is not ‘officially authorised’… But what is authorised is clearfell logging. This may only cause escalating climate change, biodiversity loss, water reduction and general planetary collapse.
However, tourism is dangerous and so is not authorised as it may cause a bumped knee.
Enjoy this magnificent forest at your own peril!
We are trying to keep out nasty pathogens or fungi that could kill off rare frogs and other delicate critters in this area. We ask everyone adopts a ‘clean boots’ policy. If people would like to download the maps and walk booklet, we’d encourage you to take a clean pair of boots in or give the soles of your boots a good wash and scrub before you get there. Thanks – for the frogs.
Where to stay
Jacarri Eco-Cottage sleeps four people and is fully self contained with solar power and a wood stove and the Tin Chalet is also fully self contained, compact and comfy sleeping two (or three at a pinch). Hot water and power are from solar.
Both are situtated on the small organic farm of well known Earth Garden writer and conservationist Jill Redwood.
Bookings can be made here
There are also a number of camping areas throughout the region that are listed on Parks Victoria maps. Eco-friendly camp sites on the Brodribb River (with dry-composting loo) are available – free – at the small settlement of Goongerah. Follow the signs and turn down Ellery Creek Track off the Bonang Rd.
National Park Management
Unfortunately, the inland parks and reserves of East Gippsland are neglected and poorly funded or promoted despite them having magnificent walks, lookouts, streams and forests to explore.
The general public is fascinated by old forests and big trees, but old growth forests are off the government’s radar when it comes to tourism. Most funding and resources go into promoting the coastal areas for tourists and holiday makers.
EEG contracted Newspoll Market Research to survey Victorians in September 2003. The results showed that 86% or respondents would want to see East Gippsland’s old growth and rainforests if they visited the area.