Into the Valley of the Giants

One of the places on our MUST SEE list was the famous Tree Top Walk near Walpole. I was worried it might be commercial and Disney-fied, but I’m relieved to be able to report that it’s not. The walkways are cleverly constructed. You’d be forgiven for assuming there’d be a gazillion stairs to climb first to get you into the treetops but instead, after a gently sloping walk you find yourself up amongst the top branches of these giant trees.

The walkways are brilliant because they do two things – they get people into the forest where they can understand and appreciate the wonder of these giants, and they keep us off the ground, where we’d be loving the trees to death by compacting the earth around them. That’s what happened to the giant Tingle tree that people used to drive their cars through many years ago. One day it just fell over, while a car was in it.

Thankfully this one didn’t fall over while Lex was in it. This was a different part of the forest, with paths through the trees.  The forest consists mainly of Karri, Marri and the legendary Tingle trees. Karri might be the tallest tree in the forest, but the red Tingle is the biggest. The trunks can be 20 metres in circumference, and often have huge hollows at the base, caused by fire, fungus and insect infestations. They don’t have tap roots, which is why the trunks form these huge buttresses, enabling them to stand up. They can live for over 400 years, and they exist in just 6,000 hectares of the south-west, between 2 rivers, and within 10km of the coast.

Above: Lex appreciating a Karri tree, in case they were feeling neglected.   We came across the Swarbrick art trail, an eclectic display of artwork out in the bush. The first thing you come across at these unusual exhibitions, is yourself:

A very unusual use of highly polished metal! I guess it puts you in the picture where the trees are concerned.  You also find out other things:

Lex has a halo! Who knew?

And to discover that conservation is not a new concept – thankfully, or we would not have these magnificent forests to marvel at and to make us aware of the importance of

Walpole is a great stepping out point for so many wonderful sights, such as the Circular Pool, a natural cappuccino. At first glance it looks like a badly polluted stream. Natural saponin in the water (from trees) turns it a dark brown, and when it tumbles over rocks churning air through it, the saponin produces a white foam

We climbed Mt Frankland. I can say ‘climbed’ because there were 300 steps (and not shallow ones) and a vertical ladder involved, not to mention a few hundred metres of steeply sloping trail as well.

But the view from the top was worth the effort, even if it was a pretty gloomy day. The rain held off until we’d climbed back down

And I am continuing my love affair with Western Australian signage:

Who amongst you is prepared to admit you are foolhardy and therefore should not attempt the climb!      And in case anyone is suffering withdrawal symptoms, here are some of the flowers we saw that day…






3 thoughts on “Into the Valley of the Giants

  1. Thanks for letting me know about your blog. The trip is sounding awesome. Love the pictures. You’re both photogenic!

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