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Wright Forest Bushland Reserve (Cockatoo)

Located above the Wattle Creek Valley between Avonsleigh and Cockatoo, Wright Forest is the perfect place for exploring natural bushland. A variety of walking tracks meander through the park’s serene setting, offering fantastic vantage points to watch Puffing Billy. This 161 hectare reserve consists of remnant native eucalypt forest and features significant wildlife and vegetation

History - Miners and prospectors were the first Europeans to visit the district in the 1850s, but they soon moved on to more promising goldfields. Timber workers logged the area during the late 1800s. From the early to mid-1900s local land was surveyed for sub-division.

A narrow-gauge rail line between Fern Tree Gully and Gembrook took out timber and agricultural produce and brought in supplies from 1900. Operators of the Avonsleigh Guest House, John and Anna Wright, requested a nearby stopping place be established for their guests in 1904. The name ‘Wright Forest’ emerged for this section of public land.

Today, Puffing Billy Tourist Railway travels the narrow-gauge line taking visitors between Belgrave and Gembrook, although it no longer stops at Wright Station.

Walking Tracks - There are several walking tracks throughout the forest from the short nature walk to extended half day walks. A network of walking tracks also link Wright Forest to Emerald Lake Park and the town centre of Cockatoo.

The Puffing Billy Railway line was restored in October 1998 from Emerald Lake Park to Gembrook. When visiting Wright Forest be sure to listen for the trains or watch them pass.

Birdlife - Numerous native bird species inhabit Wright Forest including parrots, rosellas, kookaburras, wrens, honeyeaters and pardalotes. Uncommon birds such as Gang Gang Cockatoos and Yellow- tailed Black Cockatoos can also be seen.

Mammals - Possums and gliders can be observed at dusk emerging from the tree hollows where they nest during daylight hours. Wallabies and echidnas can sometimes be seen if the observer remains unnoticed by these extremely shy creatures.

Bats can be spotted at night flying low over pathways and tracks utilising their echolocation skills to navigate and locate insects.

Flora - Over 75 species of native plants exist in Wright Forest. The cool moist conditions within the sheltered creek gullies support a diverse range of flora, including a stunning collection of ground storey fern species, shaded overhead by numerous tree ferns.

The upper storey consists of magnificent Mountain Grey Gums and wattle species. A wide variety of flowering shrubs survive in the creek gullies such as Hazel Pomaderris, Snowy Daisy- bush, Christmas Bush, Kangaroo Apple and Tree Lomatia.

Contrasting the fern gullies of Wright Forest are the dry northern slopes and ridges. Shrubby foothill forests of peppermints and stringybark eucalypts overshadow the dense variety of understory shrubs including Spike Wattle, Bushy Hakea, Hairpin Banksia and numerous species of the superb orchid family.

Address | Contact

Wright Track,  Cockatoo 3781, Victoria, Australia. View Map Map opens in new browser window
Map: 311 Ref: C5

Web Links

Link Wright Forest - Park note (PDF)

Link Wright Forest Map (PDF)

Link The Best Family Activities in the Dandenong Ranges

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