Trees Adventure – Yeodene Park

Trees Adventure Yeodene High Ropes Course

I've had my eye on this little adventure since we moved here in July and when one of my best mates came to stay, it was finally time to feel like little kids again and go climb some trees!

The Trees Adventure in Yeodene is a fabulous place to have fun, challenge yourself and get a workout at the same time!

Trees Adventure Yeodene Park Training

Upon arrival you sign your life away on a waiver, select yourself some gloves and one of the staff will fit you with a helmet and harness. The staff will take you through some training to show you how your harness and lockers (the locks that keep you attached to the high ropes course at all times) work. After some practice on a mini course, it's time to head to the course.

Trees Adventure YeodeneIt's a few minutes walk through some bush before you start to catch sight of the course... it looks like every kid's dream tree house on steroids. All courses start from the "Home Tree" and there's plenty to choose from. The courses are graded similar to ski/mtb trails; greens are easy, blues are a bit harder, red courses are fairly challenging and black is very difficult! The harder the course, the higher off the ground it is. There are also yellow courses for very little tackers which use a different harness system than the others.

We warmed up on a blue trail - fun but not hard. We decided to follow it up with a red course. The red course we chose had a fairly long cargo net - I've done these before at the Trees Adventure in Belgrave so I knew they were hard - it was still hard and I was huffing and puffing by the time I made it to the other side. The obstacles go from tree to tree, with platforms built around the tree trunks - you become very grateful to reach a platform and be able to rest. There are also plenty of zip lines which break up the hard work with some fun flying runs. (Somewhere here my gopro went flat as I didn't charge it fully - d'oh!) Trees Adventure Yeodene

The red course we picked ended with a jump off a platform approximately 15 metres off the ground. You are attached to a mechanism that allows a short free fall, then slowly applies a brake to lower you to the ground. My advice is just clip on and jump off, the longer you hesitate, the harder it is to convince yourself to jump. I struggled with this, even though I have done it before at Belgrave.

Trees Adventure Yeodene

Finally we decided to tackle the black course. I was a bit nervous about attempting swinging monkey bars after dislocating my shoulder earlier this year, but the staff member explained a way I could cheat on that one 😉 The black is significantly harder than the red. There are more obstacles, and the obstacles themselves are more challenging. Lots of components that swivel, move and sway constantly means your abs, as well as legs and arms, get a good workout. The black course also ends with the platform jump, this time at 20 metres above ground. Although that extra 5 metres didn't mean anything to me, I still struggled with getting myself to jump, having pushed myself pretty hard to get through everything that came before, including another of these jumps. Mentally and physically fatigued I sat myself on the edge of the platform, thinking I would slide myself off the mat but I still couldn't do it. What are best friends for, except to get alongside you in moments like these? My dear friend tried to coax me off for about ten minutes, and I thought I was going to jump several times but I didn't. Eventually she said, "If you don't get by the time I count to zero, I'll push you off". I was sure I would jump before I was pushed... Five, four, three, two (I'm still sitting here), one... still here, zero. Still can't move. A swift push from behind and I was off the platform and floating down to the mat! My legs had turned to jellly by the time I reached the ground and I collapsed, laughing at the fact that my dear friend had actually just shoved me off the platform! Hilarious. She then clipped herself on and jumped off, without hesitation. Champion! I was grateful she got me off there because apparently I had found my limit of willpower. But I will be back... this time with a fully charged gopro and a mind more prepared for what is to come!

For more information, check out https://treesadventure.com.au/park/yeodene-park/.

Seeking the platypus with Otway Eco Tours

Platypus Tour Forrest

Our little family has been looking forward to this....  the time had come to go and try and spot a platypus at Lake Elizabeth.

Lake Elizabeth is about a ten minute drive out of Forrest and known for its colony of platypus.

What does a tour involve?

We met our guide, Ruby, at the Forrest Brewery at 4pm ready to go on the dusk tour. We drove in convoy to Lake Elizabeth, where Ruby gave us life jackets. We took a backpack with water and snacks for our kids - a little concerned they might be bored, we hoped snacks would help! We all wore warm jackets as it's still quite cool at dusk at the start of Spring.

You have to walk into Lake Elizabeth from the carpark - it's a beautiful walk but has a couple of steep sections. We carried our 4yo up those just to save time. Our 8yo was a little puffed but fine. Lake Elizabeth Platypus Tour Forrest

Arriving at the lake you are met with a gorgeous outlook. The lake was created due to a landslide in the 50s. We had not even gotten in a canoe before Ruby spotted a platypus off in the distance!

The four of us, and our guide Ruby, hopped into the canoes and gently pushed out on the water. Our canoes were tied together, next to each other, meaning we didn't drift apart or have to worry about navigating one ourselves.

After reminding our kids of the need to be quiet and patient, we started to follow the lakes edge. It didn't take long to spot one ahead, and we slowly paddled to where we had seen it. Ruby explained how they have to surface every minute or so, and so began the game. Far from being bored, our kids were captivated by the game of hide and seek.

Ruby was great at engaging with our children, peppering the ride with interesting facts and information while the sun set.

We had upwards of 15 separate sightings on the surface, although many of these were the same one resurfacing again as we followed them. There are said to be about 7 platypus living there, we happened to see 3 at one time, all in different places on the lake.

Aside from the platypus, there are numerous bird species living and frequenting the lake.

Once the canoe tour had ended, Ruby treated us to hot chocolates while she moored the canoes. As darkness set in, she provided us with torches to assist on the walk back.

Bonus Glow Worm Tour at Dusk

Aside from not being a morning person, another reason for choosing the dusk option is that you might get to see glow worms! A bit of a misnomer, these are actually the sticky threads of the larvae of a fungus gnat. Tiny bright spots of a blue/green light are sprinkled in the wet, vertical surfaces alongside the trail. By turning off the torches and allowing your eyes to adjust to the darkness, these sparks of light almost appear like a galaxy of stars before you. Lots of fun for kids... and adults!

Bookings

Tours run at dawn and dusk, when the platypus are out looking for food.

For more information, visit Otway Eco Tours or

Fern Gully Walk – Forrest

Fern Gully Walk Forrest

Fern Gully Walk is a gentle but stunning walk on a well-maintained trail through - you guessed it -  a fern gully. 🙂

The walk starts a little way down the road heading into the West Barwon Reservoir. Look out for a sign "Fern Gully Walk" on the right, directing you to the start of the trail on the left.

The walk meanders up and down, and along the side of a small creek which can be heard bubbling happily after some rain. The height of some of the gum trees and tree ferns is breathtaking, while the lush undergrowth is home to ferns, moss and fungi. Take some time to listen to the creek, or stay still and you will notice tiny birds flitting through the undergrowth.

The trail eventually spills out to join up with the Forrest Loop walk (trail 1) which will take you along the river and back into town.

If you want to walk it as a loop, we suggest you start in town at the Forrest Mountain Bike Trailhead, and walk straight along Track 4 till you reach the turn off to the right for the singletrack mountain bike trail. Instead of taking that, continue to the left and cross the road (carefully) to walk onto the road going into the West Barwon Reservoir. This loop should take you around an hour at a comfortable pace.

 

Yaugher Trails – Cross Country Bliss

Tiger Rail Trail, Cycling Accommodation Forrest

The Yaugher trails head out from the Yaugher trail head, just a few minutes north from Forrest.

These are cross country trails at their finest, with a wide range of trails suitable for beginners and intermediate riders, all the way through to advanced. For those wanting a challenge, there are several black trails with sharp pinches and a variety of technical trail features.

Detailed information on each of the trails that make up the 60km of trails surrounding Forrest can be found on Trailforks.