Ever wanted to experience life from the height of a dinosaur? The Corrigan Suspension Bridge allows visitors to traverse ancient rainforest from above. Image: Clare Withers / Parks Victoria
Experience the sights, sounds and smells of the ancient rainforest in Tarra-Bulga National Park by traversing it from above rather than below. We are lucky to have such ancient rainforests right here in Victoria, and the chance to see one from above is a remarkable adventure not to be passed up.
Why is this place so special?
Being able to visit rainforests as ancient as those found in Tarra-Bulga is a unique experience indeed. One species of tree you will see in this forest – the Mountain Ash – is actually the tallest flowering plant in the world. And if that’s not amazing enough, the rainforest would once have been home to dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures millions of years ago. Nowadays, there are still some incredibly unique animals supported by the rich habitat of trees ferns, Mountain Ash, and Myrtle Beech that make up this diverse rainforest environment.
Did you know that Mountain Ash is the tallest flowering plant in the world? Walk through the canopy formed by these immense trees as you traverse the Corrigan Suspension Bridge. Image: Steven Wright / Parks Victoria
Such animals include Yellow Robins, Crimson Rosellas, Swamp Wallabies, wombats, platypus, and bandicoots. Perhaps the most unusual animal to be found here, though, is the Superb Lyrebird. These incredible birds are able to mimic other bird calls in order to attract a mate. You might think you hear a kookaburra laughing, but this may very well be a Superb Lyrebird showing off its vocal range! They’ve also been known to mimic other sounds heard close to their habitat, such as chainsaws, camera shutters, and car alarms.
The Corrigan Suspension Bridge is a particularly unique experience for visitors, as it allows you to observe the rainforest from a bird’s-eye view, providing a whole new perspective of a special Australian habitat from above.
What can you do here?
Follow the signs from the Visitor Centre carpark via the Lyrebird Ridge, Ash, and Wills Tracks to the Corrigan Suspension Bridge, where you can walk above ancient rainforest. What can you see from this height that you wouldn’t see from the ground? Are you afraid of heights? Have you ever been up this high before?
Admire the intense greens of the many fern species seen spreading their leaves down on the forest floor. Image: Steven Wright / Parks Victoria
Pretend you’re as tall as one of the dinosaurs that would have walked these forests 60 million years ago. These days, you might not be able to see many animals from up here, but can you hear them? In particular, listen out for the call of the Superb Lyrebird, which might be imitating other animal sounds. Has this experience given you a different perspective of Victoria’s natural world? Why do you think we should ensure that the protection of rainforests is continued into the future?
Looking for further information, check out the websites:
Hello! I’m Ranger Nigel and I love the ocean.
Growing up I would climb around the rockpools at the beach, looking for tiny crabs, star fish and red squishy anemones. I was amazed at how these pools had a little world living inside. But I wanted to see more, there was an entire ocean out there, just waiting to be explored. So, I learnt how to snorkel and eventually SCUBA dive.
This introduced me to a whole new world of vibrant colours, beautiful corals and amazing creatures. Everybody loves turtles, but my favourite sea creature is the octopus!
Here in Victoria, we have a few different types of octopus, like the Maori, Southern Keeled, Pale, and the famous Blue Ringed Octopus (BRO). Although BRO’s are only about the size of a golf ball, they can deliver a deadly venomous bite. Most of the time they are sand coloured, but when threatened, their rings will glow bright blue. These little guys are very shy and rarely seen, but you should still be carful where you put your hands and fingers when rock pooling.
My favourite rockpools are at Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary. At low tide the rocks are exposed and perfect for some exploration. Just remember, it’s a protected area which means nothing can be collected (except rubbish 😉). Just around the corner at Flinders Pier, there is some amazing snorkeling, you might even spot or Marine State Emblem, the Weedy Sea Dragon!
My favourite place to SCUBA dive is Port Phillips Heads Marine National Park. Here there is an underwater waterfall! Huh? Well, about eighteen thousand years ago, the sea level was about one hundred meters lower than it is today. Where the Yarra River met the bay entrance, there was a huge waterfall. Aboriginal people would have walked this area. Now its completely underwater and covered in beautiful coral and marine life. I love diving over the waterfall because it’s like going back in time.
I became a Ranger so I can show people this amazing environment, and I want to help protect beautiful places like this for the future. If you would like to get involved in some junior ranger programs, like Rockpool Rambling, check out what activities are on during the school holidays. 😊
National Science Week is held every year in August. It is a time when the whole of Australia celebrates science and technology! How cool!
Across the country there are thousands of events held by many different organisations like schools, museums, libraries universities and more. Science and technology cover so many topics, so head on over to the official website to search for events in your area on the things that interest you most and lets get celebrating.
A National Science Week activity: Felafel Wombat Poo!
Before you being, ask an adult for help. You can purchase falafel mix ready to go or the ingredients to make it from scratch. Follow the instructions or use a recipe to make the mix. Shape the mix into cubes about 2cm across then cook. Shaped into cubes, the falafel mix will look very similar to wombat poo! Wombats make square poo in their intestines, and when they deposit (up to 100 poop squares per night) they do so strategical. Wombats use their square poops to mark their territory, and as such will do so in high places (think logs) which makes having square poo very handy as it stops the pile from rolling away!
Have you ever seen a seal in the wild? It’s something you won’t soon forget once you do!
The Skerries in Croajingolong National Park are home to colonies of Australian and New Zealand Fur Seals. These marine mammals are fascinating to watch – observing their behavior can give you insight into their everyday life and why they are reliant on marine habitats, in similar ways to how we are. Males, females, and their pups (baby seals) display some amusing and unusual behaviors that are a great introduction to marine biology for those budding marine scientists out there!
Australian and New Zealand Fur Seals were nearly wiped out by hunters in the early 1800s. Fortunately, since then, their populations have been increasing in number, which means that visitors to Victoria’s beaches are much more likely to see them. Croajingolong is one place where it’s incredibly easy to spot fur seals, making it a popular location for animal lovers and future marine biologists. The view towards the Skerries also provides an outlook of the impressive foamy waves rolling around the rocks and into shore.
To learn more about Australian Fur Seals check our the Junior Ranger Fact File on our website.
May 20 is World Bee Day. A day to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to life on earth! Bees and their pollinator friends are in more and more danger each day due to human activity. This is a crazy thought when you consider that we now know that these hard-working friends are crucial to the survival of our ecosystems. One out of every 3 mouthfuls of food depend on pollinators such as bees. Adding to the dangers presented by human activity, is the fact that adult bees only live for about 6 weeks. Talk about a delicate situation we are in. On a lighter note, did you know some bees have a dance? Yup, they do! It is called the waggle dance. This special dance is a way in which bees can communicate information about flowers, like a flower that has lots of pollen and nectar. Clever little cuties!
Want to explore local flora in your backyard? Use the Common Heath activity sheet to help you identify one of our most significant pollinating plants.
Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park is part of the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung People whose rights were recognised through a Recognition and Settlement Agreement with the State of Victoria in March 2013. The Dja Dja Wurrung People maintain a close and continuing connection to Djandak, their traditional Country.
Found at the heart of the central Victorian goldfields, this is a rare place where you can see real traces of days gone by. Take a trip back in time to the Victorian Goldrush era.
The discovery of gold in July 1851 brought tens of thousands of migrants to the Castlemaine area. At one point it was the richest goldfield in the world! Today, the Castlemaine Diggings holds fascinating tales of the area’s golden past. Much of the gold-rush era can still be seen. Explore abandoned mines and settlements among shady Box-Ironbark woodlands. From the remains of house sites and puddling machines, to the gold mines and gullies that yielded fortunes.
The Garfield Water Wheel near Chewton is the perfect place for families to start exploring the Diggings, with new interpretive signs and several short and longer walks exploring Dja Dja Wurrung and gold rush heritage among Box-Ironbark woodland. The spreading wattles are flowering, fungi are starting to pop up, and migratory birds are passing through, so don’t forget your cameras and binoculars! The nearby Eureka Reef Heritage Walk (1.8km loop) is also ideal for families. You can download heritage notes (factsheets) and maps for both here.
Whilst in the area you can lose yourself in the autumn glory of Castlemaine itself. Tree lines streets hold fun family experiences for all interests! Visit the beautiful Buda House, an authentic goldfields villa house. Three acres of heritage gardens surround this Museums Australia accredited museum. Also on the must do list is a wonder around the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens, housing original 19th century features such as elm and oak avenue, taking in the incredible sight of the authentic steam heritage train linking the historic gold mining towns of Castlemaine and Maldon in Central Victoria (steam, whistles lights and all!) and a visit to The Mill; home of Castlemaine vintage bazaar, an artisan precinct and a must try food precinct comprised of individual small businesses offering a smorgasbord of delightful treats to feed the hungry explorer!
Castlemaine happens to be a SPECTACULAR place to enjoy the crunch of autumn leaves under your feet and have your breath taken away by the stunning pops of red, orange and gold foliage.
Check out the Junior Rangers Victorian Goldfields activity book to learn all about this historic area.
Look up, look down, look all around! There is so much to discover in Terrick Terrick National Park. The park’s diversity of habitats provide a home for many threatened plants and animals. It really is a haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers alike.
The park is located 225km north-west of Melbourne, and 4km north of Mitiamo. One special feature of the park is its endangered grasslands habitat. The native grasslands of Terrick Terrick are some of the best in the state, and are even home to elusive and endangered Plains-wanderer. It is one of the few places in northern Victoria where the original landscapes and vegetation of the area are mostly intact.
The You Yangs, or Youang in language, is a very important place for Wadawurrung people. If you’re lucky, you might see Bundjil the Wedge-tailed Eagle soaring through the sky, keeping watch over the beautiful granite peaks in the middle of the plains. The You Yangs is a place where visitors can stop and appreciate culture and sustainability, as well as see an example of a special place that humans have long held a connection to.
Who doesn’t love a good, juicy cherry? Well, what if we told you that there’s a native cherry found throughout Victoria!? But, unlike the cherries you’re probably familiar with, this native cherry grows its seed on the outside.
The Cherry Ballart is a small tree that kind of looks like a European cypress. It has soft, drooping green branches and teeny tiny leaves. This plant is a partial parasite. It uses the sun to make its own energy (through photosynthesis) but collects extra nutrients to grow big and strong by tapping into the roots of its neighbours – kind of like eating your own food at recess and then taking your friend’s lunchbox when they aren’t looking!
Wadawurrung believe Bundjil, the Wedge-tailed Eagle, is their creator spirit. Bundjil created the lands, waterways, native animals, and people. With a wingspan of 2.3 metres, you can see Bundjil soaring in the sky from a long distance away.