With Easter weekend approaching, we decided to get away for a couple of nights, the main reason being to visit Healesville Sanctuary. Realising that this is traditionally a busy weekend, we opted for leaving on the Thursday to beat the rush and headed for Toolangi – the nearest free campground to Healesville. Never having been there before, we were pleasantly surprised with what we found.
Toolangi, Aboriginal for tall trees or stringy bark, is located about 5 km to the east of the Melba Highway (B300) at the southern tip of the Toolangi State Forest. The township comprises a primary school, some houses, state forest management offices and a community centre – no shops, no hotel! On researching the campground, detailed information was hard to come by, but what we found seemed to fit with what we were looking for. The campground amenities and location suited us perfectly. Although there was only one campervan in the area when we arrived just after midday, we fully expected it to fill up the next day, Good Friday. Being Easter Weekend, we anticipated that the area would remain pretty busy all weekend, but by the time we left around midday on the Saturday, there was only one campervan and one tent left. More Toolangi Campground information.
Arriving so early, we set out to explore the township. There is a well-formed path along the main road that leads through and beyond the ‘built up’ area, presumably to assist with access to the primary school. It was on this walk that we came across the start of a short circuit walk to the Yea River and a strange looking building very well camouflaged in the trees on the opposite side of the road. On closer inspection of this, we found it is the Toolangi Discovery Centre, but it looked very much like it had not been used for quite a while – was this due to Covid or some other reason? On returning home, this is what I found out – it had closed much earlier than last year.
Although our main reason for staying in Toolangi was to visit Healesville Sanctuary, we decided to explore the Yea River Walk on the Saturday morning. This is a very short walk through the southern tip of the Toolangi State Forest mainly comprising very tall and straight Mountain Ash. The walk is circuit of about 1.5 km in length which we completed in 40 minutes.
We followed this by a 20 minute walk along the Toolangi Sculpture Trail which starts and ends at the Discovery Centre. Sadly, many of the timber structures are either in a very bad state or have disappeared. Those sign boards that have not fallen off their stands are almost illegible due to a covering of moss. The trail presents sculptures that date back to 1996 and the later additions of 2016.
The area offers a small number of short and medium bushwalks, which under other circumstances we would have explored – perhaps another time.
On a final note the Toolangi area is very accessible from the Murrindindi Scenic Reserve that I posted about recently. As always, I welcome any comments and/or requests for further information.