Tallaganda NP/State Forest
, covers some 58 000 hectares and lies approximately 40km southeast of Queanbeyan. This forest straddles the Great Dividing Range beginning about 10km south of the Bungendore / Braidwood Road, and extends down the range for a distance of nearly 50km. Along this section of the range, water draining off to the east flows into the Shoalhaven River
whilst, to the west, gullies and creeks empty into the Molonglo system and then into Lake Burley Griffin.
Tallaganda NP has easy access and is a great spot
for a day drive from the Canberra
region. Vehicle access is restricted to the Fire Trails. Bush camping is available and there are some nice spots for camping near where Butmaroo Trail and Mulloon Fire Trail meets Mullen Creek.
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Variety is the keynote of Tallaganda NP/State Forest
and is a characteristic reflected in all aspects of its environment. The altitude, for example, varies from 800 to 1400 metres above sea level, while the rainfall fluctuates between nearly 1000mm at the higher elevation and 550mm at Hoskinstown near the lower western perimeter. The southern part of the Park also affords glimpses of some local landmarks ‑ a series of peaks known as "the Pyramids” and beyond them, Mt Lowden
soaring to 1346m above sea level.
The vegetation too reflects diversity, ranging according to aspect, elevation etc. From dry open woodland forests of scribbly gum, ash and peppermint to tall forests of brown barrel, messmate and ribbon gum. Frequently encountered stands of almost pure snow gum complete the picture. In Lowden Forest Park
, walking trails have been constructed nearby to give visitors a chance to explore the surrounding forest and identity some of the species encountered, e.g. brown barrel (Eucalyptus fastigata), messmate stringybark (E. obliqua), ribbon gum (E. viminalis), and narrow leaved peppermint (E. radiata). Some of the trees have been labelled to make this job easier. Changes in soil conditions in this area have produced an equally varied understorey of shrubs, with ferns, wattles, banksias, hakeas and geebungs, and a number of native grasses.
The forest is also home to a variety of native animals and even the visitor may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of swamp wallabies, echidnas, or large grey
kangaroos near the lower grazing country. Many other animals live in or around the forest but most of them are nocturnal and seldom seen by day visitors. Many bird species frequent the forest understorey of shrubs and grasses and the adjacent grazing areas. Those include finches, currawongs and lyrebirds.
Tallaganda State Forest has been logged successfully for 100 years. This logging is still carried out but now on a limited scale. A small pine plantation was established in this forest in 1968 with the aim of supplying mainly scantling to the developing local market. In 1982 the plantation covered 1470 Ha.
Lowden Forest Park: It was at this spot that a group of logging contractors established their camp in 1937. In 1952, a water wheel built by William Hopkins and Spencer Hush in Queanbeyan was transported to the campsite. There it was installed to generate electricity for the camp and charge batteries (via a generator) for the logging trucks. The wheel and associated weir and water storage areas have been restored and are now in full working order. Forestworkers used the camp regularly until the early 'sixties' when improved roads and transport made on site accommodation unnecessary.