Long Forest Nature Conservation Reserve, situated between Melton and Bacchus Marsh, is a 600-hectare reserve set aside for the conservation of its flora and fauna. The reserve is managed by Parks Victoria. The area being a rainshadow with low rainfall, the flora here is generally associated with semi-arid areas.
Long Forest protects threatened Rocky Chenopod Woodlands. Here Mallee like woodland is isolated from the northern Mallee. Plants and birds adapted to an arid mallee landscape are found here. A single species of Mallee, Bull Mallee (Eucalyptus Behriana) dominates this woodland. There are also Red Box E Polyanthemos, Yellow Gum, E Leucoxylon and Grey Box E. microcarpa with patches of Moonah Melaleuca lanceolate.
The understory has 16 species of saltbush (chenopods) . These include fragrant saltbush, Rhagodia Parabolica and Saloop, Einadia hastata. Inland Pigface Carpobrutus modestus and Gold Dust wattle Acacia acinacea also grow here.
Multi stemmed mallee has a large underground root, often called Mallee root. This is a source of survival if the tree is damaged or during drought.
Box Communities cover much of the northern and eastern areas of Long Forest. Here Grey Box are mixed with Red Box, Yellow Box and Yellow Gum.
Rocky areas are covered with Green Grey Lichens which produce acids. These help to break down host rocks. Driest areas with shaly soils are dominated by Bull Mallee.
Comadai and Djerriwarrh Creeks flow north to south through Long Forest. On Creek Flats Werribee Blue Box dominates. Manna Gums skirt the edges of Creeks. Woolly Tea Tree and River Bottlebrush edge the water holes.
174 species of birds are found in this area. Bird Species found at Long Forest include Little Lorikeet, Barking Owl, Brown Treecreeper, Speckled Warbler, Fuscous Honey Eater, Red Capped Robin, Crested Bell bird and Diamond Firetail. Koalas also seen in Long Forest.
Long Forest is popular for hiking and trail running. There are picnic tables and BBQ facilities. There is no toilet facility.
Many short walking tracks are at Long Forest
Walks from Canopus Circuit
Long Point Track – Distance 3km return – Grade 2 Easy
Long Point Via Steep Track – Distance 3km return – Grade 4 Difficult
Long Point via Comadai Track – Distance 5k return – Grade 3 Medium
Walks from Happy Valley
Happy Valley Track – Distance 4km return – Grade 3 – Medium
Old House Gravelly Track Circuit – Distance 3km return – Grade 3- Medium
Walks from Djerriwarrh Gate
Djerriwarrh Track – Distance 1km return – Grade2 – Easy
Bermagui Track – Distance 1km – Grade 2 – Easy
Walks from Moonah Drive
Moonah Circuit – Distance 1km – Grade 2 – Easy
History of the Long Forest Conservation Area
In 1839, the area was mapped for European Settlement. Surveyor William Darke called the area Barren Forest Hills. Land around Djerriwarrh and Comadai creek were first alienated for freehold purchase in 1855. The plan of subdivision of 1866, the area between the creeks was described as ‘’Thickly timbered with Box and Gum’’. Despite Quartz scattered on the ground, gold mining here failed. Poor soil ensured that attempts at cultivation also failed.
From the 1960’s scientific research at Long Forest called for protection from urban subdivision. Long Forest has the only Mallee vegetation south of the Great Divide.
In the early to mid-1900’s long forest area remained a source of firewood for the industries in the district, until the wood fired boilers were converted to coal powered. Firewood was supplied from here to households, bakeries, and wood merchants. In 1960’s subdivision of 20 housing lots of 2 hectares each took place in the northern sections of the forest. In 1970’s, subdivision of 20 more, 2-hectare residential lots were established and seventy hectares of land along the Comadai Creek were exercised as public open space. In 1976, 150 hectares of land became public open space which in 80’s came under the responsibility of National Parks Service. In 1985, Government purchased 132 hectares of land along Long Forest Road.
On 6th November 1985, then Minister for Conservation, Forest and Lands, Joan Kirner officially opened 247 hectares of Long Forest Flora Reserve.
Location: Long Forest Rd, Merrimu VIC 3340
Opening Hours : Always Open
Restrictions at the conservation area
No dogs, horses, cats and other domestic pets permitted
No fire arms permitted at at any time.
Camping not permitted
Fires not permitted.
All the information provided here are taken from the information bulletin boards at Long Forest reserve provided by Parks Victoria