The Californian redwood just outside Melbourne

DSCF3820As one enters the forest, sturdy trunks carve out a wooded path that rises 60 meters into the sky. Its walls are speckled red and gold. Its roof is a vast green and white canopy. Thin shards of light break the ceiling, spotlighting the forest below. The effect is otherworldly.

It’s the type of forest you might expect to find scattered across the Californian coastline, but this Californian redwood is located right here in Australia’s southeastern state of Victoria. Tucked away down an old logging road near Beech Forest, the Aire Valley redwood sits about three hours southwest of Melbourne on the inland route to The 12 Apostles.

DSCF3808How did a forest native to California end up in Victoria? The dense forest was planted in the 1930s as a softwood logging experiment. For reasons unknown, the experiment never concluded and the trees have kept growing. Today they tower into the clouds, forming a canopy about 60 metres high.

DSCF3822Californian redwoods or sequoia sempervirens are not generally the type of tree you would travel to Victoria to see but some people have reason to think they might be in the future. This species of redwood are among the tallest and oldest living trees in the world. They can grow up to 115 meters high.

Surrounded by eucalyptus trees, providing a plentiful water supply, forestry expert Roger Smith expects Victoria’s redwoods to rival California’s forests in the coming decades. He believes the trees will double in height over the next 70 years.

So if you don’t have time to visit this weekend – no need to fret. The Aire Valley redwoods are only likely to improve with age. They’re also evergreen, meaning you can visit all year round (road access permitting).

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