Some time ago I saw an ad on the telly for Tourism Western Australia that really stuck with me. You may remember it…it was Elle Macpherson, amongst the canopy of a eucalypt forest. The imagery was magical, a supermodel, in a super forest, the colours vivid in that way that colours in WA just seem to be. I made a mental note that I would go there one day. (As an aside, the ad went to air in 1997, almost 20 years later I STILL remember it!)
The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk is in the Walpole Wilderness area, made up of a continuous chain of 13 national parks and reserves. Within this protected area are some of WA’s most beautiful wild landscapes, including Karri forests and Red Tingles. (Both Karri & Red Tingles are a species of eucalypt, only found in this south west corner of WA, as a result of high rainfall, and temps being cooler here than elsewhere in WA.) These forests are ancient, with some trees said to be over 400 years old!
Admission to the Valley of the Giants grants you access to a steel walkway, that juts out at strange angles, like a super sized Mechano set, and rises into the canopy above, reaching 40 metres above the ground at its highest point. There is a bit of movement to the walkway, which freaked Kinga out, but Wolfie loved it! There were signs advising no more than 10 people on a stretch of walkway at a time which freaked me out!
What really struck me once we reached the top was how peaceful it was, no noise save for the odd bird, just rustling of leaves in the wind, the gentle movement of the forrest. Strange how being so high off the forest floor could be so…grounding! The perspective up there is so unique that you seldom look down. It’s a rare opportunity, being up so high and surrounded by green.
The Ancient Empires Walk is the continuation of the tree top experience, but back on solid ground, on a 600m looped boardwalk, through and around the trunks of the giant tingles. There are felled logs to clamber over, and gigantic, gnarly hollowed out tree trunks to pass through, all of which the kids found terribly amusing!
It is just under an hours drive from Denmark where we were staying to the Valley of the Giants, and the drive along the South Coast Highway is a very pretty one. Keep your eyes peeled for the Old Kent River Winery on the way, look out for a GIANT blue marron (yabby to anyone on the East Coast!) out the front. The folk at Old Kent River have a dam with intensely cobalt blue marron in it, and sell them for $400/kg. We were curious to taste test, but had to satisfy our curiosity by checking them out inside a tub in the cellar door/cafe.
I loved being so immersed in nature, and history too.
This ancient and unique forest is a must see during your stay in the south west!
Entry to The Ancient Empires Walk & Discovery centre is free
Admission to the Tree Top Walk is as follows:
Adults (16 yrs and over) $19
Children (6 to 15) $9.50
Family (2 adults/2 kids) $47.50
Kids under 5 are free
(you can do the tree top walk as many times as you like after paying admission)