Standing in the pouring rain in the middle of the one of Tasmania’s state forests, is not something I would usually consider fun (the things I do to keep you guys informed). However, on this particular day it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Where am I...? I hear you ask.
About an hour and 15 minutes north-west of Hobart, is a little town called Maydena, and just a short drive past the town, is the Styx Big Tree Reserve. Well, now you know where I am, let me tell you about the day I spent up there.
I headed up through New Norfolk, along the Lyell Highway, through some charming, little country towns like Glenora and Westerway. Along this road, Maydena is the last point of service, and so I called into Maydena Adventure Hub (Forestry Tasmania’s latest tourism venture) to refuel both the car, and myself. The coffee is lovely, and they have a range of foods, such as toasted sandwiches, salad rolls, and the like. From here, I headed about ten minutes further along the road, to a turn-off which leads you into the heart of the forest, and to the Styx Big Tree Reserve.
The road is gravel; however it had been recently graded so it is suitable to all car types. If you keep your eye out, the signs located along the road will point you in the right direction, and it’s about 15km to the actual reserve. After the initial turn-off there is only one other turn-off and then you basically just following the one road the rest of the way. You can tell you are getting closer if you notice the trees are getting bigger.
The reserve is equipped with toilets, disabled access and a car park. It also has some lovely picnic facilities throughout the forest. Due to my unorganised nature, and the fact that the decision to come up here was very spontaneous, I was not well equipped to deal with the wet weather, or the forest. Luckily, someone in the office leant me their waterproof jacket, and with my jeans tucked into my socks to keep away the leeches (paranoid I know), I told myself to toughen up and get out there!
The Big Tree Reserve has a boardwalk, which takes you on an informative tour of the giants that call this forest home. It turns out that the trees here can grow so big due to a combination of factors including, high rainfall (1000-1500mm per year), high soil nutrient content, and a lack of regular wildfires in this particular area. The trees in this area are over 85m tall, and are swamp gums. There is so much to learn here, and I won’t tell you anymore, you will just have to come up and experience it yourself! Or, if you like, Maydena Adventure Hub can set you up a guided tour of the Styx Forest, or other areas in the region. The staff in there are very approachable and will be happy to help you out with anything you need to know.
Rain or no rain, it was a lovely experience. Heading back from the reserve you can either turn right and continue further west to Lake Pedder and Strathgordon, or turn left and explore the rest of what Maydena has to offer. As I left it so late to leave from Hobart that morning, and the wet weather, I thought it would be best just to head back home. However, don’t worry, I will be back shortly and then I will let you know what the rest of the South-West wilderness has to offer.
Until next time, get out there and explore some of these wonderful sites for yourself.
Oh and by the way, someone was just trying to scare me and I didn’t even come across any leeches!
GPS Coordinates :
LAT : 42°48'54.79"S
LON : 146°39'51.46"E
Always check our road and track closure information before setting off on your journey (click here)