It’s holiday season and if you’re looking for something to do, one place to start is the Forestry Corporation of NSW website, where you can learn a little bit more about what fun can be had in a state forest nearest to you.
With all of us spending this festive season a little bit closer to home, there are no excuses not to go.
Tumut State Forest has trails that cater for both walkers and mountain bike riders of all abilities, and offers wonderful views over the Tumut township and Tumut River valley.
Also near Tumut is Micalong Swamp, a unique and special site in Buccleuch State Forest.
Consisting of 526 hectares of wetland, woodland and forest, Micalong Swamp Flora Reserve has special Aboriginal cultural and natural heritage values.
Micalong Swamp is a unique montane peatland and is one of the largest remaining swamps on the southwestern slopes of NSW.
The swamp is home to the threatened northern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne pengilleyi), while the tall forest adjoining the swamp is habitat for the threatened yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis).
Box Cutting Rainforest Walk in Bodalla State Forest offers a superb walking trail through the dense, grey myrtle rainforest of trees laden with mosses and lichens. Bird’s nest ferns grow in the dense canopy and a variety of birds can be seen and heard along the walk.
The Bermagui Picnic Area features barbecues, picnic tables and toilets, and is situated within Bermagui State Forest on the banks of the Black Lagoon. Close by is Bermagui Mountain Bike Park where you can be led astray through beautiful spotted gum forest on this 6.7km track with bridges, berms, switchbacks and technical sections. There’s a 900m track for the kids, too.
Near Canberra, the surrounding native bush of Tallaganda State Forest includes majestic stands of brown barrel trees, making bushwalking, four-wheel-drive tours and mountain bike riding a favourite in the area. Bird watching is also popular, with the rare olive whistler a possible sighting.
However, visitors to state forests in southeast NSW and the South West Slopes are being reminded to be safe and respectful as they explore the great outdoors.
Forestry Corporation of NSW’s manager of tourism and partnerships, Louise Faulkner, said the forests are a great place to visit during the Christmas break, but rules apply.
“Be sure to tread lightly, observe fire bans, avoid excessive noise and consider your fellow campers,” she said.
“And while bins are provided in some visitor areas, we encourage people to take their rubbish home.”
As many forests continue to recover from last summer’s bushfires, visitors are also asked to be mindful of fire-impacted trees.
“Visitors to burnt forests need to be aware of the dangers of falling branches and avoid dead or fire-affected trees,” said Ms Faulkner.
“People planning an outing are asked to check the Forestry Corporation of NSW website, as well as the Fires Near Me app and State Emergency Service (SES) website for any closures, fires or emergencies that could affect their trip.”
Trail bike riders need a rider’s licence and a registered bike before they venture forth.
“Trail bike riders must stick to formed roads at all times and are not permitted to ride on sanctioned mountain bike single trails,” said Ms Faulkner.
“State forests contain thousands of kilometres of roads for four-wheel driving, mountain biking, trail biking, horse riding and bushwalking.
“There are so many areas where you can bring the family and picnic, or camp for free. Even the family dog is welcome!
“There’s spectacular scenery and award-winning visitor attractions. I encourage anyone who hasn’t visited in a while to download our free VisitForests app and discover great places to enjoy these holidays.”
Visits to NSW state forests must be registered via a COVID-19 camper self-notification form available on Forestry Corporation of NSW’s website, or via the QR code displayed in visitor areas.
The full list of current state forest closures is available at Forestry Corporation of NSW.
For up-to-date information on special places to visit, there’s also Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Facebook page.