Gulaga National Park is one of many stunning rainforest regions in Australia, highlighting the amazing biodiversity of our magnificent country.
As well as our large rainforest regions, Australia also has pockets of surviving rainforest nestled in other ecosystems. One such example is on the slopes of Mount Gulaga – formerly Mount Dromedary – within Gulaga National Park on the New South Wales south coast. The former volcano is home to both subtropical and highland rainforest species, and can be accessed from the quaint country town of Tilba Tilba, inland from Narooma.
In Indigenous tradition, Gulaga symbolises a mother figure, and it is an important women’s place. In 2006, in a historic agreement with the NSW Environment Minister, it was handed back to its traditional owners, the Yuin people. Today, visitors can take a tour with a local Yuin guide to learn about the mountain’s spiritual and cultural importance. You can also see the remnants of the area’s European history, and take a 14km return trek up the mountain that was carved out by gold miners in the gold rush period.
While the rainforest on the lower parts of the mountain has degraded in recent years due to mining and bushfires, the rainforest on the upper part of the mountain is bursting with flora and fauna, including a species of tree called pinkwood which can grow up to 30 metres tall. In any case, the hike is worth it for the stunning vistas of the surrounding lakes and villages, and with easy access to parking and cafes at the base, it’s the perfect day out if you’re in this neck of the woods.
Activities at Gulaga National Park
One way to immerse yourself in the region is through the Gulaga creation experience. Run by the Ngaran Ngaran Cultural Awareness Centre, this three day and two night immersive tour begins with a welcome to country including language, song, and a smoking ceremony. Participants will stay in luxury tents at night, and ascend the volcano during the day, learning about the cultural knowledge of the Yuin people handed down from generation to generation. You’ll also be taken on a dining journey as you eat meals prepared by some of the best chefs in the country, all with an Indigenous twist to help you immerse in the food culture of this traditional community.
The nearby historical town of Tilba Tilba offers some great experiences of its own. With perfectly preserved colonial buildings, you can step back in time as you wander the main streets, full of unique shopping opportunities. Sample delicious dairy and cheese at the cheese factory, satisfy your sweet tooth at the old timey lolly shop, and stay in a variety of bed and breakfasts or farm cabins just on the edge of Gulaga National Park. On weekends, the local markets offer up the freshest local produce to sample and enjoy.
Gulaga National Park forms part of the Ulladulla to Merimbula Important Bird Area, due to its significance as a habitat for Swift Parrots, a species of broad-tailed parrots found only in southeast Australia. The parrots are a critically endangered species that only settle where food is available, making the area important for preservation efforts. Within the park you’ll also find Wallaga Lake, the largest lake in southern New South Wales, with breathtaking views up the mountain from its banks.
Keen to explore Australia’s other rainforests? Click here to learn all about the Daintree.