The Narbethong forest area takes in the southern reaches of the Black Range and is situated just beyond the Black Spur to the east of Melbourne. It’s a great area for camping, 4wdriving and plenty more, with wild stretches of old growth forest, steep mountains, fern lined gullies and large corridors of subtropical rainforest.
With the area and local community devastated by the Black Saturday fires of 2009, we headed there on the tenth anniversary to see for ourselves how the forest and community had both bounced back.
Wet and green, even for the summer months, the forest was in excellent condition. Scars of the fires are still plentiful but similarly with the community, the regrowth abounds with colour and life that is slowly healing those scars.
For this trip we filmed two episodes of Life Off Road to air on 7Mate. We had five vehicles and a hungry crew of ten to feed. Fortunately I was prepared with a 60 Litre myCOOLMAN fridge/freezer and my mate Michael had the big daddy myCOOLMAN at a whopping 105 Litres. Between us we had everything we needed for three days of trekking, camping and filming from the Black Spur through to Marysville, one of the worst hit towns during the 2009 fires.
The episodes we shot were poignant, reflective and respectful. The area has suffered so much. But it also has so much to offer and is well worth a visit. Locals there certainly need all the support they can get and there is so much to see and do.
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Talk about a small town with a lot going on. 6 hours from Perth by car, this seaside detour perfectly captures the colours and spirit of Western Australia.