derwent valley trees from the air

4 Places You Will Find Trees That
Touch The Stars In The Derwent Valley

Some trees grow tall. And then there’s the Derwent Valley eucalyptus. Some argue they’re the tallest trees in the Southern Hemisphere and that they reach out and pluck things from the sky. This may be why Mount Field National Park and Maydena were hotpots for UFO sightings in years gone by. Believe what you will. One thing we can guarantee is that things here are just that little bit brighter, taller, deeper, fresher, darker, sweeter, wilder and weirder.
Image credit: camblakephotography (IG)

1. Feel as small as a mouse among the massive swamp gums on the Tall Trees Walk, in Mount Field National Park.

They say the wondrous Mount Field National Park is home to some of the tallest trees in the world – with some parts not even being discovered yet. With trees that can live for hundreds of years and have been known to reach over 100m tall – on this 1km loop walk you’re guaranteed to uncover some of the tallest flowering plants in the world. Venture to the upper reaches of the National Park and you’ll feel as though you’ve slipped into a prehistoric time. You’ll walk past stunning pencil pines, pandanis and other ancient conifers endemic to Tasmania. Some trees here even date back to when Abel Tasman first discovered Tasmania in 1642.

Local tip: If you’re curious about the height of certain trees, there’s a clinometer to help you calculate their height. Visit the Mount Field National Park Visitor Centre for more information and park passes.

woman and child looking up at tall tree

Image credit: francescovicenzi (IG) 

Stay at: Maydena, where you will find Mount Field National Park, has many fantastic accommodation options.

Giants’ Table and Cottages is a great value, cosy accommodation with its own restaurant and fully licenced pub. This accommodation is perfect for families or larger groups looking for a base when exploring its magnificent surrounds.

If you’re after the ultimate alpine retreat, stay at Maydena Mountain Cabins for a more intimate couples or family getaway. You will be surrounded by the most magical views and be welcomed by nothing but peace and quiet.

2. Enjoy a sensory delight when walking the Twisted Sister Florentine Valley track.

A great spot to find trees that touch the stars is on the Twisted Sister walking track, which is 21km by car from Maydena. This is an easy 1.5 km loop track through deep rainforest, towering eucalypts and a small wetland. As you weave through the bends, you may start to smell the rainforest understorey of myrtle beech and sassafras. Inhale and take it all in, but don’t forget to look up at all the incredible tall trees (and also look down to discover the colourful fungi).

This walk also passes through an old conservation camp site known as ‘Camp Flozza’ which is a sight to behold in itself. You’ll find reclaimed trees along the forestry road, and a fallen forest giant from when conservationists stopped heavy machinery building the road. With a bit of luck, you may even see some of the natural inhabitants like the glorious Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle and white goshawk.

Local tip: If you’d like to learn a thing or two about the Derwent Valley’s controversial forestry history take a guided tour out at Lake Pedder.

Image credit: WildIslandWomen (IG) 

Stay at: Nestled in the heart of Maydena and close to Mount Field National Park is the National Park Pub – a cosy tavern where you can grab a bite to eat or stay the night. Also surrounded by trees, it’s said that there have been low flying UFOs spotted escaping the branches nearby.

3. Spot giant Swamp Gums in the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area.

There are many tails to be told about the Styx Valley. In Greek mythology, the Styx is the river separating Earth from the underworld. Whatever you choose to believe, the beautiful Styx Valley reserve is well worth a visit for the tree spotting fanatics among us. Drive past stunning tree reserves or walk through magical rain forests – either way you’re bound to spot a giant tree or two. This small reserve is home to some of the tallest flowering wood trees on earth. Not to mention, giant Swamp Gums (Eucalyptus regnans) that grow up to 87 metres tall. Thanks to public protest, the remaining trees of Styx Valley were saved from logging. As of 2013, some of the Styx Valley was incorporated into the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area thanks to the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement.

Local tip: While there are dozens of giant trees in this area, there is only one recognised walking track at Styx Big Tree Reserve. Mobile phone reception is also unreliable here, so be sure to follow the signage and keep an eye on the time. We recommend booking a Tall Trees Tour if you wish to explore deeper.

Image credit: jordanb_ull (OG) 

4. Learn about one of the oldest trees in the world, a Huon pine that was about the width of a car, at Strathgordon.

Deep in the heart of Tasmania’s Southwest National Park and World Heritage Area is Strathgordon – home to some of the oldest Huon Pines. The magical surrounds of this area boasts everything from ancient landscapes reminiscent of the Jurassic period, to striking mountains and alpine rainforests. Some of the trees are centuries to thousands of years old. Unfortunately, one of the largest trees was cut down in the 1970’s, before protection was in place. It was about the width of a car and had ring marks dating all the way back to the birth of Christ (well over 2000 years). You will still find some of this Huon Pine on display along Gordon River Road. Recognised as one of the world’s extraordinary natural wonders by the World Heritage Commission, this site is now protected. So, you will still find many other spectacular giant trees here.

Local tip: While you’re in this area, it is definitely worth visiting man-made marvel, the Gordon Dam.

cross section of old tree

Image credit: RickOneThree (Tripadvisor)

Stay at: Pedder Wilderness Lodge is located right in the heart of Tasmania’s Southwest National Park / Tasmania’s World Heritage Area and is a great base when exploring the area.

Be sure to share your experiences with us by tagging @Derwent Valley Tasmania on Facebook or Instagram, or by using #DerwentValleyTasmania and #UnquestionablyDerwentValley.