Walk from the town of Marysville along the Tree Fern Gully Trail to reach one of Victoria's tallest waterfalls, Steavenson Falls, and to enjoy a close-up view of forest regeneration.
Marysville was a favourite honeymoon spot from the late 1880s. Guest houses appeared in the town, as well as horseriding and walking tracks. Since the Black Saturday bush fires in 2009, Marysville Forest has changed a great deal. Home to the largest concentration of mountain ash in Victoria, this played an essential role in Victoria's early timber mill past. In 2009, two mills were lost and much of the forest too. There are now signs of regrowth, slowly emerging in the vast open views of the valley, once covered in dense bush land. This walk meanders deep into the forest, following the lilting flow of Steavenson River, towards the thunderous sound of the falls from above.
DIRECTIONS: This walk begins at the back of the carpark behind Marysville's Information Centre. Head towards the BBQ gazebo and then cross the footbridge until you see a signpost for the Tree Fern Gully Trail. From here, follow the path until you reach the orange-coloured trailhead sign.
HAZARDS: This trail is 3.4km each way, so it's best to come prepared with water and snacks. There are a few steep parts along the trail but there's a fabulous park at the beginning of the walk, as a treat on the return.
TRANSPORT: Buses run daily between Melbourne and Lake Eildon, stopping at Marysville.
Please check Parks Victoria website for the latest updates and alerts:
Open daily daily from 9am to 5pm. There are public toilets, water fountains, fantastic playgrounds, BBQs and picnic tables near the information centre.
The history of Marysville and its response to Black Saturday is expressed in words throughout the picnic area and playground. Keep an eye out for murals and images as you explore.
On 7 February 2009, a fire front destroyed nearly all the town's buildings. Some of the residents who survived the fire came to Gallipoli Park before being evacuated the next day.
The path climbs as you leave Marysville, with views to your right and a gully of fern trees ahead. Tourism took off here in 1886 when the railway linked Healesville to the city, inviting interest.
As you walk, keep your eyes high to see remnants from the bushfires and signs of new life, closer to the ground at your feet. Marysville has a hidden valley feel, surrounded by mountains at all sides.
As well as tree ferns and mountain ash, there's also plenty of moss and lichen to admire along this walk. The mostly dark conditions suit the mossy blanket well.
Depending on the season, you might see a mushroom or two, clinging to a tree branch or nestled in the roots below.
At the end of the trail, you can visit Steavenson Falls and walk back to town the way you came. Enjoy the shade of the tall manna gums before the shorter tree ferns appear.
Once back in Marysville, see the 2011 sculpture titled, 'New Life' by local artist, Bruno Torfs. The dedication reads: 'to honour the past and embrace the future'. Bruno has a sculpture garden too.