Nobody can deny the allure of a thick, green forest. Here in Victoria, we’re surrounded by them, whether it’s the drier inland bush like at the Grampians or the beachside heath of Wilsons Promontory. But did you know you can find Californian redwood forests right here in Victoria.
There are three distinct redwood species: dawn redwood, giant sequoia and coast redwood. And while all three are breathtaking to behold, there are a few reasons why Californian (or coast) redwoods are extra special. They're distinguished by their extreme height (they can reach up to 115 metres tall), forests of them can store up to three times as much carbon as any other type of forest and the oldest coast redwood is around 2,200 years old, making them the dinosaur of trees.
So how on Earth did they end up way over in Australia? The story goes that redwoods were planted down the coast in the Great Otway National Park in the 1930s as a softwood logging experiment, but since there’s great fertile foil and great water supply in the Otways, these trees have grown rapidly over the last 90 or so years.
Keen to see them for yourself? Take a drive down the Great Ocean Road toward Apollo Bay and venture inland towards the Beech Forest. It’s nearby the Aire River and Hopetoun Falls, so you can easily spend a whole day exploring in the wild.
For those on the other side of the city, there’s also a collection of redwoods in the Warburton Valley. Located just a few kilometres outside Warburton on Cement Creek Road, the redwood forest here was planted around the same time as the Beech Forest redwoods, with further plantings done in 1960.
Note: Access to the Warburton Redwood Forest via Cement Creek Road is currently closed due to necessary bridge upgrades. Visitors can still access the Cement Creek Redwood Forest by bike or on foot via the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail, this journey is approximately a 16-kilometre round trip.
There are no bathrooms and no bins. Take everything you bring in with you.