Home' Journeys : Feb Mar 2016 Contents I first came to Tasmania specifically
for these trees, and find that each has a
different story to tell. In each region of the
island, you’re never too far from meeting
one of these trees – the roads of the island
will take you right to the base of some
Ben Lomond: Perhaps the most
spectacular and rare of all of Tasmania’s
giant trees is the White Knight. You can
visit this tree while exploring the valleys
below the Ben Lomond massif – it is easily
accessed by a short walking track within
Evercreech Forest Reserve, just north of the
village of Fingal. From Launceston, take
the scenic drive through the heritage town
of Evandale towards the Fingal Valley. The
roads in this part of Tasmania wind along
hillsides and provide abundant surprises.
Soaring to the sky just shy of ninety metres
tall, the White Knight is by far the tallest
white gum in Australia, and Evercreech is
one of the last patches of giant forest in the
The Styx: The road into the deep
Southwest travels through Maydena,
and then continues past a junction where
you can travel south into the Styx Valley.
Home to some of the most impressive
groves of giant trees remaining, it also
contains the aptly named Big Tree Reserve.
This is an excellent detour as you travel
towards Strathgordon – follow the signs
three kilometres west of Maydena, then
travel south on five kilometres of good
gravel roads. The reserve is notable for the
creative use of woodworking – comfortable
sloping benches allow you to lean back and
study the treetops.
A minute’s travel on wheelchair-accessible
ramps takes you right up to the famous
Big Tree – one of the largest and tallest
of all f lowering plants. A short
distance further into the cool
evergreen rainforest is the
cleverly-named Bigger Tree.
Its trunk stands dramatically
upright, but its branches are
curiously lopsided. It offers a rare
opportunity to see clearly into
the highest parts of the crown.
The Far South: If you’re a
keen tree-spotter, you’ ll enjoy
cruising the paved road from Geeveston into the Tahune Airwalk. It can be hard to
choose between tracks, but make sure you don’t miss the well-posted Zig Zag Track.
You’ ll start out just near a giant tree labelled Eucalyptus regnans, and within a few steps
on the track you’ll also see the spiral bark patterns of a huge Tasmanian blue gum.
It’s a remarkable grove of trees – you’ ll have clear lines of sight into the treetops, and the
sloping terrain helps you to see them from several different angles. At the Airwalk itself,
a mighty stringybark next to the canopy walkway is intimately visible at both base and
The Tarkine: In the far North West, in the rich soils of the dairylands, there’s a
spectacular and gnarled stringybark in the Dip Falls Reserve. If you’re exploring the
Tarkine region, this tree lies right on the northern edge. You can drive almost directly to
the tree – only forty kilometres east of Smithton, turn south at Mawbanna and head about
twenty kilometres inland to Dip Falls. If you’re coming from Devonport, it’s always worth
a stop in Penguin along the way.
Only a short distance from a dramatic columnar waterfall, this giant tree is a lesson in
resilience. It has lost many branches, survived forest fires and outlasted the other trees of
the forest. If you scout nearby, you’ ll find a massive segment that has torn off and fallen to
the ground. This is perhaps my favourite of all of these trees – it’s clearly a survivor and
has many stories to tell.
When you’re out exploring for these trees, you can set yourself up for some incredible
photography by mentally charting where the sun will be in the sky. Canopy images
work best when the sunlight is behind the photographer. Arranging for blue skies can
be difficult in high-rainfall forests, but
if you watch the weather you can have
both a spectacular background and safe
No matter where your journey takes you,
as you clock up the kilometres, these forest
giants will still be there, harvesting the
sunshine and waiting for you to return.
OppOsiTe: The Styx Bigger Tree; Southern Forests scene.
This page, clOck wise frOm TOp lefT: Dip Falls stringy bark; the
base of the same tree; sunny day on the Styx River
Photos: YD Bar-Ness
Our five giant eucalypt species
E. delegatensis white-topped stringybark
Tasmanian blue gum
FEBRUARY / MARCH 2016 Journeys 17
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