Add Tarra-Bulga National Park to your Gippsland Itinerary
Tarra-Bulga National Park is nestled in the hills of the Strzelecki Ranges in South Gippsland, Australia, and is definitely worth a visit. There are endless things to do in this beautiful cool temperate rainforest including walking, picnicking, admiring nature and simply enjoying the fresh air and sounds of nature.
Tarra-Bulga National Park is on Brataualung Country and is very important to the Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners
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Bulga is most known for the Corrigan Suspension Bridge and you can park in this small car-park, or at the main Visitor Information Centre and walk the 1.2km.
The Suspension Bridge is really beautiful and you feel as though you are suspended over a carpet of lush green ferns. There are multiple walks in this area as described in the Parks Victoria Visitor Guide.
Visitor Information Centre
This is the main car-park for exploring the Bulga area and has toilets, barbecues and the information centre. There is plenty of grassed area for picnic blankets and for children to run wild!
Most visitors come here for the Cyanthea Falls which is a 1.4km walk from the car-park. The walk is very calming with several small bridges over the creek and a lush canopy of trees.
A short drive from Tarra Valley on the way to Yarram are the Tarra Falls which are super easy to view with only a short set of stairs between the road and the falls (look for the waterfall sign, there is no formal car park/entrance).
Best Areas of Tarra-Bulga
My personal suggestion is to visit all the areas of Tarra-Bulga. I enjoy parking at Bulga, walking to the suspension bridge and exploring this area, then walking to the Visitor Centre. From there head over to the Tarra-Bulga Guesthouse for coffee and food then drive down to Tarra Valley and the Tarra Falls. Perfect day out!
Walking around Tarra Bulga National Park is really enjoyable with narrow paths that wind around trees and over creeks. The Parks Victoria Visitor Guide has details on the all walks with range from around 600m to 4.4km.
If you go quietly, you might be lucky enough to hear or see the beautiful Lyrebird which mimics the sounds of other birds. If you hear different bird calls/sounds one after the other you are probably in the presence of a Lyrebird. Never heard of Lyrebirds before? Check out the David Attenborough video on the BBC Earth You Tube channel. Lyrebirds are freaking awesome!
Flora and Fauna
The flora and fauna of Tarra Bulga is very diverse and the Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park have awesome species lists on their website.
Everything from massive Mountain Ash to delicate orchids, huge Wedge Tail Eagles to wrens and robins. Echidna, wallaby, koala and possum are also residents of the park, along with a variety of snakes and lizard.
Don’t forget to take the time to look for Fungi, with Autumn being the best time for viewing the variety.
If you go to Tarra Bulga and don’t spot anything interesting, you obviously were not looking! Go back and try again!
So, you have read about the things to see and do at Tarra-Bulga National Park, but what about how the park feels?
Tarra-Bulga feels ancient, with old trees stretching towards the canopy, the tips of ferns uncurling, and the damp smell of soil. Take the time to stop, put the phone or camera away, and simply watch, listen, feel.
Observe the micro-worlds of moss and teeny tiny plants as they cling to rocks and tree trunks. You might even see blue cobwebs if you look closely.
Honestly, it makes me sad to think that before European settlement much of the eastern Strzelecki Ranges looked like Tarra Bulga, but instead it is now cleared land.
Where to Eat
There are many shelters scattered throughout both parks that can be used for picnicking. Barbecues are available at the main visitor centre picnic area.
Didn’t pack lunch? Then try the Tarra Bulga Guesthouse which is across from the visitor centre. The guesthouse has indoor and outdoor seating and an kids playground. You can also feed the Rosellas which a very well loved and very colourful Australian bird. Best to check before you visit if they are open since there are limited options for food without going for a drive.
Heading from Melbourne, Tarra-Bulga is around 2 hours taking the M1 to Traralgon, then follow the Traralgon Creek Road to Balook. Take the opportunity to stop at one of the small towns along the way – I have a massive soft spot for Yarragon! Stop in Yarragon for bakery goods and stretch your legs wandering the cute shops and admire local art at Town and Country Gallery.
Heading from a different direction? Then make your way to Traralgon or Yarram which are the last main towns before the winding roads to Tarra-Bulga National Park.
There is no public transport to Tarra-Bulga, the easiest way is self-drive.
Take care on the roads, they are windy and narrow and can be frequented by trucks. Drive Safe!
How Long to Stay
One day is long enough to explore the park, but staying the night and enjoying the beautiful surrounds is also an excellent option!
For a day trip it is easy enough to visit one area, have lunch, then visit the second area.
If using accommodation websites such as Airbnb you many need to search “Tarra Valley” or pick the closest main town (Yarram or Traralgon) and then use the map option to navigate to the area.
Alternatively, accommodation can be found in Traralgon (30 minutes) and Yarram (25 minutes).
Note: as I only live an hours drive from Tarra-Bulga I have not used the above accommodation options so can’t provide any personal insight.
When to Visit
When is the best time to visit Tarra-Bulga National Park? Well, it really depends on you and what weather you prefer.
Summer in Victoria can be very hot but the park can be cooler and still enjoyable. Winter is lush and green and the air smells rich of damp soil, and who doesn’t love seeing water droplets on leaves and spider webs!
Autumn and Spring are both lovely times to visit. The waterfalls are better after rainfall events, but this can also mean that the tracks are wet and soggy – bring a spare of shoes!
In terms of crowds, weekends are busy, as are the school holidays. Travel mid-week if you want to avoid the crowds.
PLAN | Visiting more of Victoria? Check out the best time to visit post.
What to Bring
The walks at Tarra-Bulga are well signposted so just bring your common sense! A spare of shoes is advisable as the tracks can be quite wet and slippery.
Bring your own food unless you have checked if local food providers are open (the veggie burger at Tarra-Bulga Guesthouse is nom nom nom) and take water.
Dress for the weather and dress comfortably (ie don’t dress for Instagram!) so you can enjoy this beautiful location!
PLAN | Not sure what else to bring, have a look at the list of essential items for travel in Australia.
The below websites provide wonderful information on Tarra-Bulga National Park:
Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park – a brilliant group of volunteers that staff and maintain the Visitor Centre and do significant work around the park.
Parks Victoria – information on the park including downloadable visitor guide and information on the walks.
Visit Gippsland – Tourism site showcasing the beautiful Gippsland region.
Extend your visit
Do you have time to stay a night or two? There are plenty of beautiful places to explore in Gippsland!
Heading from Melbourne? Why not drive to Tarra-Bulga along the M1, stay the night then wind your way back via quaint towns of Yarram, Meeniyan and the foodie heaven of Loch.
EXPLORE | Head to the Gippsland destination guide for more inspiration.
Explore Street Art
Yarram has been transformed in 2020 with 12 stunning murals by street and silo artist Heesco Khosnaran. These murals are seriously awesome and definitely worth viewing if you are in the area.
Yarram also boasts some great cafes, speciality store and super cute Information Centre. Accommodation, petrol stations and major supermarkets are also in town.
Discover the Gippsland Ports
Another wonderful extension of a visit to Tarra Bulga is to head the coast and visit Port Albert and Port Welshpool. Both locations are beautiful with views over to Wilsons Promontory, walking tracks, food and drink outlets. Port Welshpool is best known for the 800m long jetty, called unsurprisingly the Long Jetty.
TIP | Head to the Port Welshpool boat ramp and see if the massive sting rays are there! They are seriously impressive!
Hopefully this post has inspired you to get out and explore Tarra-Bulga National Park and some of the surrounding beauty that Gippsland has to offer!