Inspired by our family adventures, my sister told me of a list she’d created of places to visit around Victoria whilst she was off work for the school holidays. So when she visited us one weekend we decided to tick off something from her list in the Yarra Ranges. We went with the Redwood Forest of East Warburton, which we have been wanting to see for some time now too.
Unfortunately Amanda and Immy missed out, but on Sunday Fletch, Elli and I decided to get out and visit these sentinel sequoias. The trip from Lilydale was about 40 minutes, but the views along the drive are pretty damn good as you get into the mountain ranges from Yarra Junction onwards past Warburton. As we pulled up in the car park there were a lot of cars and I anticipated a packed forest rather than the peaceful bush walk we were hoping for. This turned out not to be the case, although there were people around, we only crossed paths with a few groups over the 3 hours we stayed enabling us to soak up the forest’s tranquility.
However, kids don’t really care for tranquility, so thankfully some legendary person many years ago decided it would be cool to stack the fallen branches into circular piles scattered around the forest floor. Others have since added to these over the years with many stacks now piled high. To Fletch these were amazing, immediately recognising them as “Dinosaur Nests”. So whilst we took in the trees he went from nest to nest checking for dinosaurs and/or their eggs.
Just a couple of dinosaur trackers sitting in a nest, probably a T-Rex one!
Alas no eggs remained in the nests, which I can vouch for as we had to check them all, it did not dampen his spirits though as he went off in search of these elusive dinos. Our lead tracker Fletch was on point finding many dinosaur footprints and big poos left through the surrounding scrub [note: imaginary footprints and poos]. Now knowing there was definitely dinosaurs here he felt he should pick up every green leafed branch he could find to leave in the nearest nest for the dinosaurs to eat for dinner when they got back.
From the tall redwoods to the surrounding gums and ferns
The dinosaur tracks lead us away from the redwood plantation area into the more common Yarra Ranges bush land of gum trees and tree ferns, where we could either make our way via the beaten path or rough it through the ferns and undergrowth. As we worked our way through the bush we could hear the unmistakable sound of a flowing river getting closer. The dinosaurs must be having a drink in the river, so we got back on the main track and headed towards the water. After a previous outing to the slightly underwhelming Sherbrooke Falls it was refreshing to come across a waterway that looked and sounded like something out of a Tolkien novel. It helped that the path that lead along the river allowed you to get down to the water line and even at places to get into the ankle deep water and show Fletch the smooth rocks and ice cool water. This seemed like a good idea at first until every little ford in the river was a chance for Fletch to splash around and throw the rocks. However, still no dinosaurs only their tracks.
The dinosaur waterhole.
To cap off the Redwood Forest there is a significant open area just in front of the car park, which at the time was home to many picnic blankets. Not having brought a picnic blanket, we made our way to a fallen tree branch that would make for a perfect seat, but before we got there we crossed under a large tree that had dropped all its leaves. I couldn’t help myself and grabbed an arm full throwing them over Fletch. A battle ensued, which I was losing under a shower of leaves, but it ended abruptly as good ol’Dad went a bit too hard with a throw that was also a bit wetter and heavier than the rest that smashed Fletch in the face. Queue some tears and play time over. Luckily food and a little bird friend that kept visiting for Fletch to feed helped distract him back to his happy self.
I know some think of kids as restrictive to take along on outings, but honestly I find they are the opposite. Kids can see what you can’t, always picking up the little things you would otherwise overlook. They are also able to add to the world you are in, opening up a whole new adventure you hadn’t planned on. We could seriously have spent the whole afternoon there, but we needed to get back home to our ladies. At least now we know of a great place to take the kids for a picnic lunch and a back to nature adventure.
The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below.