Tarra Bulga National Park climb

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Distance:  16.6 km
Average Gradient:  4%
Elevation gained:  585 meters
Category:  2
Surface: Sealed
Traffic: Light

Click here for the link to the Strava segment.

The Tarra Bulga National Park is a 1,522 hectare national park situated in the eastern part of the Strzelecki Ranges. The area was named after “Charlie Tarra” who was an Aborine guide who led Count Strezelecki and his party through Gippsland when they discovered the area in 1840.  The National Park itself was originally given the Aborininal name “Bulga”, which means “Mountain”.  It is very popular with hikers and those that love the feel of a rainforest. The cool moist conditions provide the perfect environment for a rain forest. The park is well known for its giant Mountain Ash trees and lush fern gullies and ancient myrtle beeches.

Tarra Bulga National Park climb

The Tarra Valley roads is quite narrow windy road with a number of blind corners. There are no line markings on the road and cars tend to drive in the middle of the road so keep an ear out and keep as far to the left as possible when a vehicle approaches. The road is covered in a rainforest canopy and to either side of the road are lush fern gullies, and tall giant trees.  Due to the road rarely seeing any sunlight, it is common for the road to be wet in sections.

The road follows the Tarra River, with the road running parallel to this river on the lower slopes.  There are four bridge road crossings over the Tarra River.  All are wooden bridges, which have gaps which will swallow your tires.  The safest way to cross a wooden bridge to avoid the cracks is to ride diagonally over it, however these bridges are often wet.  They can be quite slippery to ride across and dangerous even when dry.  It is highly recommended that you disembark and walk across these bridges.

The climb finishes in the town of Balook.

This is one of the most stunning climbs you will find in the state of Victoria, and one you should add to your bucket list.  There are several tourist spots on the climb which are worth stopping off for. The Tarra Valley Picnic grounds (pictured below) is a magical place to visit and offers some amazing hikes.  Nearby are the Tarra falls, which are only a very short walk from the road down some stairs to view the falls (take care on the steps in the wet).

Just make sure to get a photo or three.

Over on the far side of the climb to the north is Mount Tassie.  This offers some truly spectacular views of Gippsland from up top.

Heads up

  • Narrow windy roads with a number of blind corners
  • A number of undulation changes through the climb with several steep sections along the way
  • The National Park is home to a large number of wildlife
  • Bring adequate supplies as shops may not be open
  • This area receives a very high level of rainfall each year and temperatures are much colder than surrounding areas. Make sure you plan your ride
  • During summer this is a bushfire area
  • Dangerous descent

Grand Ridge Road

Tarra Valley Road joins onto Grand Ridge Road.  This is one of Victoria’s most spectacular tourist roads which follows the ridge of the Strzelecki Ranges and is a gravel road which is 135 km in length from Seaview to Carrajung.  If you’re in the area its a  bucket list ride.

How to get there

Tarra-Bulga National Park is situated approximately 190 kilometres east of Melbourne.  Take Princes Highway to Traralgon, then follow Traralgon Creek Road to Balook. The park can also be reached from Yarram via the Tarra Valley Road or Bulga Park Road.

During fire season

Tarra Bulga National Park is in a fire district. Anyone entering parks and forests during the bushfire season needs to stay aware of forecast weather conditions. Check the Fire Danger Rating and for days of Total Fire Ban at www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

Further information for the Tarra Bulga National Park (on Parks Victoria website)

The descent

Use extreme caution when descending Tarra Valley Road.  It is a very narrow road, which is often slippery due to the damp rainforest air.  There is poor visibility around corners and if a vehicle was coming the other way you will not see them until the last possible second.  You may encounter a significant amount of tree debris lying across the road, and the area is also home to an abundance of wildlife, which you will not want to see on your descent.

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