Walk amid ancient mountain ash forests and rest at shady picnic spots in this national park, where you might glimpse a lyrebird as it dashes through the undergrowth.
Sherbrooke Forest is the largest tract of bushland in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, extending across over 1,976 acres (800 hectares) of Melbourne’s leafy east. The forest is home to vast stands of mountain ash, the world’s tallest flowering plant. Walk along picturesque trails and discover the range of native plants that grow in the mossy gullies and forested hillsides. Spot local wildlife, including cockatoos, parrots and the elusive lyrebird, or rest under a canopy of native trees at one of the forest’s scenic picnic areas.
Known to the local Aboriginal people as Corhanwarrabul, the Dandenong Ranges encompass careening hillsides of ancient eucalypt forests. Much of the Dandenong forests were used as timber reserves from the late 19th century until the region was protected in 1987. Explore Sherbrooke Forest’s magical nature trails and discover the vast diversity of plant and animal life that thrives in the region.
Begin your walk from one of the picnic grounds in the park. O’Donohue Picnic Grounds and Sherbrooke Picnic Grounds are nearest to the pretty cascades of Sherbrooke Falls. Wander through mountain ash stands and tree-fern glades to reach the waterfall and return within an hour.
Grants Picnic Ground provides the starting point for three interpretive trails, one of which is suitable for wheelchairs and prams. The longest and most challenging trail loops around eucalyptus forests and rocky ridges. Bring some snacks to enjoy as you rest at the shady picnic tables. Grants Picnic Ground has a kiosk that sells snacks and drinks, as well as seed to give to the local birdlife at the bird feeding area.
Listen out for the fascinating mimicry of the lyrebird, a magnificently plumaged and rarely seen bird that copies natural and mechanical sounds in its environment. While it commonly mimics the calls of other birds, it has also been known to make chainsaw and camera shutter sounds.
Sherbrooke Forest is a 5-minute drive northeast from Belgrave in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Maps, barbecue facilities and restrooms can be found in Sherbrooke Forest’s three major picnic grounds. The park is free to enter and open daily.