A side road off the Hastings Forest Way leads to Banda Banda Arboretum, where there is a delightful circuit through cool temperate rainforest with Antarctic beech, coachwood, carabeen and Californian redwood (Sequoia gigantea). Redwood? Forestry planted exotic species from seven countries here in 1964, including redwood, radiata pine and monkey puzzle tree which can still be seen in the abandoned arboretum.
The native old growth are part of the World Heritage Gondwana forests. We noticed some seed collection bags on plants as we walked. The route follows old forest tracks, with treefalls in places which you will need to negotiate. A track continues beyond a locked gate towards Mount Banda Banda (1,258 m), the highest mountain in the region. We will have to come back another day and explore further.
It’s cool and shady at elevations over 1000 metres, so this walk is a great choice in summer. The pretty road in is narrow and slippery with encroaching vegetation, a 4WD is recommended. 2WD vehicles should park on Hastings Forest Way and add another hour to allow for the walk into the Arboretum loop. There are no facilities – continue on to either Brushy Mountain, Plateau Beech or Wilsons River Picnic Area if you want to enjoy a picnic with more walks.