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Site of the World's Tallest Tree

Home > Melbourne > Unusual Things to do | Quirky | Outdoor | Escape the City | Environment
by Lyndsey V (subscribe)
I'm an ecologist and writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Also visit me at
Published August 11th 2019
You'll need your imagination for this tourist attraction
The winding country roads of Gippsland are a scenic destination for a weekend drive. So one sunny winter's morning, I headed out of town to explore, travelling through the rolling hills of the Thorpdale area. This is prime potato growing country, with views across bright green pastures and charming farmland.

My destination is the Lyrebird Forest Walk, near Mirboo North. But as I'm travelling along the Mirboo North-Trafalgar Road, a small sign catches my attention: Site of the World's Tallest Tree. It points up a side road, McDonald's Track. I'm curious, so I slow down and turn left.

Thorpdale, World's Tallest Tree, Mountain Ash, Gippsland, tourist attractions, trees
But where's the actual tree?

The site is about a kilometre up McDonald's Track. There's a very small pull-off on the side of the road. But there's no tree: it's only the site of the World's Tallest Tree. Instead, there is tall pole, with the words 'The World's Tallest Tree' at the top.

Thorpdale, Gippsland, World's Tallest Tree, Mountain Ash, tourist attractions, plaque
Information about the site of the World's Tallest Tree

It's certainly not the world's most exciting (or biggest) tourist attraction, but the story it tells about the area's history and ecology is fascinating.

Thorpdale, Gippsland, World's Tallest Tree, Mountain Ash, tourist attractions, plaque
Not the world's biggest tourist attraction

The area once supported extensive forests of the Mountain Ash tree (Eucalyptus regnans), which hold the record as the world's tallest flowering plant. However, since European settlement, enormous areas of Mountain Ash forest have been cleared throughout Victoria. But here at this small tourist attraction (well, apparently 160 metres over the fence in the adjacent private farmland) once grew a particularly tall Mountain Ash.

Unfortunately, to find out exactly how tall, in 1884 the property owner decided to chop it down so his brother - a government surveyor - could officially measure it. It came to an incredible 114.3 metres. "You will not believe a tree could be so tall", one of the information boards proclaims. Sadly the tree never got the chance to grow any taller.

Thorpdale, Gippsland, World's Tallest Tree, Mountain Ash, tourist attractions, plaque
Another information plaque at the site

It really requires a vivid imagination to picture the green grassy countryside covered in tall Mountain Ash forest. But thankfully there are still places left where we can go and walk among these giant trees. One such place is the nearby Tarra Bulga National Park, with plenty of walking options.

Tarra Bulga National Park, Mountain Ash, trees, bushwalk, nature, tall trees
Mountain Ash trees and tree ferns at the nearby Tarra-Bulga National Park

The Yarra Ranges are another great place to see huge Mountain Ash, including the Big Tree on the Cumberland Walk, the Kalatha Giant Tree and the Wirrawilla Rainforest Walk near Toolangi, and the beloved Ada Tree closer to Warburton.

Closer to Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges are another great destination to see Mountain Ash trees, including Sherbrooke Forest.

If you want to know more, check out this great resource on Victoria's tallest trees.
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Why? See where the world's tallest tree once stood
When: Any time
Where: McDonald's Track, Thorpdale
Cost: Free
Your Comment
wow thanks Lyndsey - I had no idea.
by May Cross (score: 3|7151) 414 days ago
Very interesting Lyndsey. Great history but sad that the very thing that made the tree special brought about its end.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|8038) 407 days ago
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