Sherbrooke Forest contains some of the finest examples of towering Mountain Ash in this region. These are the world’s tallest flowering plants growing to more than 100m in height. Many of the trees in Sherbrooke sprouted after a severe fire in 1926. Being there feels a little like we’re on the site of a Twilight movie.
Below the tall trees in an understorey of treeferns, wattles and shrubs. Birds are proflific with many treecreepers and parrots. The first is also home to the superb lyrebird which searches the forest floor for insects and grubs. This large bird is able to mimic most sounds and is commonly heard imitating other birds and man-made noises. It is sometimes seen crossing the tracks.
Kookaburras, known as the Laughing Jackasses of Australia, are from the family Kingfishers. The Kookaburra’s rolling, laughing call is one of the best-known sounds in the animal world. The birds raise a wild chorus of crazy laughter as they go to roost in the treetops at dusk, and again wake everyone within hearing just as dawn breaks, so regularly that in the hinterlands of Australia they are know as the bushman’s clock.
We had breakfast of Devonshire tea and wattle seed scones at Grants on Sherbrooke , which is owned and operated Cheryl and Geoff Campbell.
After breakfast, we came up close and personal with the parrots. at the Grants Picnic Ground we were able to hand-feed colourful and unusually tame sulphur crested white cockatoos and crimson rosellas.
The Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans) is a parrot native to eastern and south eastern Australia. Once familiar with humans, they will accept hand held food. Natural foods include seeds of eucalypts, grasses and shrubs, as well as insects and some tree blossoms.
The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) is a relatively large white cockatoo found in wooded habitats in Australia. Their distinctive raucous call can be very loud; it is adapted to travel through the forest environments in which they live, including tropical and subtropical rainforests. These birds are naturally curious, as well as very intelligent.
On our way into Belgrave, we spotted this lovely mural.
Puffing Billy, Australia’s century-old steam train, still runs on its original mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook in the scenic Dandenong Ranges. It travels the 25km track every day, passing through beautiful forests and fern gullies. This Railway is the major survivor of four experimental lines used to develop rural areas in the early 1900s.
Open-sided carriages give wonderful exposure to the views, and passengers can hop off and on at any station along the way. It’s a wonderful way to recapture the romance and charm of the bygone days of steam.
The fun thing about Puffing Billy is that you can sit on the window ledge, which is all barred in, and dangle your legs out of the train while chugging along through the beautiful forest watching the landscape change.
The majority of staff at Puffing Billy Railway are volunteers. They may be having a day off from their normal jobs, using their retirement to come and help the railway, meeting new friends in a safe and energetic environment, or simply enjoying a holiday in Australia.
Sassafras is an attractive village located in the bushy and scenic Dandenong Ranges. The area was named Sassafras Gully, after the trees which grew in the area, and the town’s commercial centre features a diverse collection of cafes, antique and craft shops.
A small alley along the main road opened up to a collection of quaint shops selling garden furnings, books, old records, and other little curios. The items were so attractive I was really tempted to buy everything!
This post is one of an 11 part entry of our trip to Victoria, Australia.
See all the places we visited on this trip below:
- Dandenongs – Sherbrooke, Puffing Billy, Sassafras
- Geelong – Wool, Waterfronts, Bollards
- Great Ocean Road – Gibson Steps to Bay of Islands
- Great Ocean Road – Lorne, Apollo Bay, Cape Otway Lightstation
- Melbourne – Gardens, Aquarium, Gaol
- Melbourne – MCG, Yarra River, Southbank, St Kilda
- Melbourne – QVM, City Sights and Streets
- Mornington Peninsula – Dolphins, Mazes, Vinyards
- Phillip Island – Chocs, Koalas, Penguins, Nobbies
- Phillip Island – Churchill Island
- Yarra Valley – Healesville Sanctuary, Wine, Cheese