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Great Forest National Park

Discover nature’s beauty, right on Melbourne's doorstep.

Why it's important

Just 90 minutes north-east of Melbourne, stretching from Kinglake to Mt Baw Baw and north-east up to Eildon, the Great Forest National Park will protect endangered forests and wildlife while giving Melburnians an escape from the concrete jungle. 

IMAGE: Hikers in Warburton | Martin Stringer

The Great Forest National Park proposal will add 355,000 hectares of protected forests to the existing 170,000 hectares of parks and protected areas in the Central Highlands of Victoria. Learn why the Great Forest National Park is important scientifically, socially and economically.
 
This is a park for people: The Great Forest National Park will be a perfect weekend getaway; a place to relax and enjoy nature. There will be something for everyone, with activities such as bike riding, bushwalking, bird watching, four-wheel driving, camping, zipline tours and so much more. Download the Wilderness Society’s free self drive tour map of Toolangi’s amazing forests.
 
A fairytale ending: Home to threatened species, including Victoria’s endangered animal emblem, the Fairy Possum, the proposed park will also be a sanctuary, providing real and lasting protection to some of Victoria’s – and the world’s – rarest plant and animal species. With fewer than 1,500 Fairy Possums remaining in the wild, only the Great Forest National Park can deliver a fairytale ending for this gorgeous animal. 

IMAGE: Sleepy Fairy Possum | Parks Victoria

Not only is the park home to forest fairies – it's also the land of giants: Magnificent Mountain Ash trees blanket the mountains as you approach the region proposed for the Great Forest National Park. Mountain Ash are the tallest flowering – and the tallest hardwood – trees on Earth. They can live for upwards of 400 years. Yet, they are not properly protected, and are still logged to make cheap copy paper. Find out about forest-free paper options.
 
The Great Forest National Park will protect these unique forests. 
 


IMAGE: Central Highlands, Victoria | Peter Halasz

The threat

With logging still occurring in this area, the Fairy Possum’s habitat is in fast decline. Clearfell logging comprehensively changes the structure of a forest for more than 200 years. The beautiful Mountain Ash trees are still being dragged away to be used for paper pulp, leading to a crisis in the number of large trees in the landscape – trees old enough to form the hollows which Fairy Possums call home.
 
IMAGE: A logged tree in Toolangi State Forest, Victoria | Sarah McConnell
 

What we're doing about it

IMAGE: A tiny Fairy Possum | Steven Kuiter

The proposed Great Forest National Park will allow the Mountain Ash forests of the Central Highlands to recover. The Park will also create new jobs and enterprises for regional communities in the Central Highlands.
 
The Great Forest National Park will be an opportunity for Victoria’s State Government to invest in the state’s environmental future, and show the world what first-class parks management looks like.
 
Overland walking tracks, wildlife surveys, family accommodation in eco-lodges and opportunities to see spectacular scenery from your mountain bike or your cross-country skis – all of this will make the reserve system jobs-rich, and deliver real economic returns to the region.
 
Jobs will be created through well-resourced parks management – including mitigating fire risk and protecting biodiversity. With more than three million people visiting the region annually already, there's plenty of interest in what nature-based tourism has to offer both daytrippers from Melbourne, and international visitors.

Read: The Great Forest National Park: An Economic Boon
 
As the world moves toward a carbon trading future, protecting some of the most carbon-dense forests on the planet is an economic opportunity that the State Government can not afford to ignore.
 

How you can help

There is a growing movement of Australians who are getting behind the Great Forest National Park – Victoria’s next great national park.
 
 
IMAGE: Bushwalkers in the forest | Kevisato D Sanyu
 
Ethical Paper

At home and at work, your printer and copy paper choice matters. Review your forest-free options at ethicalpaper.com.au.
 
Join us!

The Great Forest National Park Volunteer Campaign Team needs you! Text 'GFNP volunteer' to 0428 029 437.
 

If you live in or are visiting Victoria, why not take one of our self-drive guides for a spin?

Explore Warburton | Discover East Gippsland | Tour Toolangi

The Wilderness Society Victoria also regularly runs guided tours of forests in the Central Highlands (except during summer, which is bushfire season). Check out our events section to see when the next tour is taking place!