Monday, December 7, 2015

Forest Secrets revealed

A UNIQUE Tasmanian forest discovery experience was officially opened in the Derwent Valley at the weekend. Forest Secrets is a locally owned and operated nature trail on the edge of Mt Field National Park.

The business is on the site of a former wildlife park off Gordon River Rd and has been operating on a limited basis for several months. An official opening was performed on Sunday by Derwent Valley mayor Martyn Evans.

Visitors buy a "Forest Flavours tucker box" and then make their way around a nature walk alongside the Tyenna River. There is also a platypus viewing area and a forest-themed gift shop and gallery.

Forest Secrets is operated by business partners Tony Coleman and David Yacopetti. Having lived and worked in Mt Field National Park for a number of years, Mr Coleman realised that whilst he appreciated the beauty and biological function of Tasmania’s forests, he had little idea of how people had long used them for food, shelter, medicines and the satisfaction of their creative drives.

“I found many of Tasmania’s plants have really interesting historic and contemporary human uses and I thought that other people might also like to know some of them,” Mr Coleman said. “Even though we thought it fascinating, we weren’t sure if other people would, but as our visitors’ book attests, those that’ve come have really enjoyed sniffing, feeling and tasting their way around the trail with the help of the bush tucker box."

Mr Coleman said the platypus viewing area had been very popular as the resident platypus were active throughout the day. "We ask people to record their sightings and the success rate is about 70%,” Mr Coleman said

Future plans include exhibitions of forest-themed sculptures and bush furniture by local artists, as well as making the site available for school excursions and special events compatible with the Tasmanian forest theme.

“I’ve always loved the Derwent Valley so it was great to be able to get back here from Hobart. I’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of the world and the valley’s scenic beauty rivals the best of what I’ve seen," Mr Coleman said. "David and I believe the area’s still got so much potential as a visitor attraction and we’re keen to try to help realise that.”

Forest Secrets is at 2167 Gordon River Rd, National Park (2km before the entrance to Mt Field).  It is open to visitors from 10am to 4.30pm, Sunday to Friday. For more information email info@forestsecrets.com.au or look up  www.forestsecrets.com.au

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