- Category: Travel in WA
- Published: Friday, 21 October 2011 08:10
- Written by Emily Cordz
Have you ever strolled through a forest and wondered what it would be like to be one of the animals living in the canopy? How it would feel to be so high above the ground. What kind of view you would have. If you’ve ever found yourself wishing you could climb the nearest tree and discover the forest tree tops, then you need to head to the Valley of the Giants.
The Valley of the Giants is located southeast of Perth in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park between Denmark and Walpole. Its main attraction is the Tree Top Walk, which takes visitors up to 40 metres above the forest floor. For those afraid of heights, the Ancient Empire Walk is a good option. Either choice will have you surround by Red Tingle trees, which can grow up to 75 metres tall with bases as big as 26 metres. They are only found here in the South West of Western Australia. There trees are able to continue growing after being hollowed out due to fire and fungus and can live over 400 years. You will also see many yellow tingle trees, which don’t grow as big but are still very impressive.
I strongly recommend going on the Tree Top Walk unless you are deathly afraid of heights, it is a rare chance to walk high up amongst the forest canopy. The breathtaking views into wilderness areas and the unique perspective of the forest really made the experience for me. You can go around the 600 metre pathway as many times as you would like. We went twice and the second time was easier than the first (I’m really not keen on heights) and I experienced a few views I missed the first time around.
Despite my natural fear of heights, which was not helped by the memorial plaque on the second highest platform for Arthur Perrott who died tragically during construction, the Tree Top Walk is very safe. Around 2.6 million people have traveled along the walk so far and it shows no sign of wear. As an engineering feat, it is rather impressive. The walk is even wheelchair accessible, whereas the Ancient Empire Walk is not due to stairs, and we saw several families with strollers and toddlers up there. Challenge yourself and go for it.
After the Tree Top Walk, take some time to explore the forest from the ground. Wander along the Ancient Empire Walk and read about the natural history of the trees and area. Be sure to have your camera ready. There are lots of great photo opportunities along the way where you can pose by or inside some of these magnificent trees. Kids and adults love to wander through the hollowed out trees. If you’re lucky enough to be there when it isn’t very busy, take some time out to sit along the path and just absorb the quite atmosphere of the forest. It is a nice way to recharge a little from your travels.
Before or after you forest explorations, you’ll want to stop in the Wilderness Discovery Center. If it seems really busy while you’re waiting to buy your admission ticket for the walk, then you’ll want to go later. Inside you’ll find lots of information about the surrounding area and natural history, including pictures and stories from early visitors to the area. I particularly liked the image of the family in their car parked in a tingle tree. It showed that these trees have been attracting curious visitors for many years.
The Valley of the Giants is about 420 kilometres south of Perth. If you are down visiting Pemberton, Walpole or Denmark it is a relatively short drive along sealed roads to the Valley of The Giants.