Giant Trees & Future Dreams

Whilst this trip is fulfilling many of my own and Mike’s lifelong dreams, I realise life would get boring if you still didn’t have a dream list. By that I mean a list of things you want to see or achieve sometime in your life. Some people call it a ‘Bucket List’ but I would rather a more positive connotation. I have no intention of kicking the bucket for at least another 50 years.

After spending over a week in the forests of South-Western Australia, I would like to add Bibbulmun Track in September and October to my dream list. It’s a 1000 km walking track through the Wilderness areas and National Parks of SW Australia. During the time we have stayed in this region, bush camping and pitching in National Parks, signs indicating the Bibbulmun track cropped up all over the place. I have even walked a few kilometres of it during early morning strolls I manage to sneak in every now and again. But one day, I intend to devote some serious time to it. I want to do it in the spring, when most of the regions 9000 species of wildflowers are in bloom. I’m thinking this area is spectacularly beautiful in the autumn. It must be paradise when the flowers are blossoming.

Ancient Empire Karri TreeTreetop WalkersSwarbrick Forest Art TrailAfter Albany, we ventured across to Denmark and Walpole to see the giant trees. This area contains mostly Karri and Marri trees, with the Walpole area also containing Red and Yellow Tingle trees, and the Rate Tingle sub-species. They are all varieties of eucalypt trees, and they all can live for up to 500 years, and grow incredibly tall and straight. The tree-top walk was amazing and easy for even the children. It gave you such a great perspective of the size of these trees. We took loads of photos, but they really do not do the vista justice. You have to see it for yourself.

Treetop Walk Highest PointThese forests are immensely beautiful, and I just couldn’t get tired of walking and driving through the parks. There is still logging in this area, but they are not allowed to touch ‘old growth’ forest (although the definition of ‘old growth’ is a bit shady), and they can only log trees less than 100 years old. I am secretly happy that the company that own the area’s Karri mill are not running at a big enough profit at the moment, so logging of these forests might stop altogether for a while.

Years ago, 8 Karri trees were used as smoke lookouts during bushfire season. Today, there are 3 trees you can still climb, if you are game. We went to the Bicentennial Tree, not one of the original 8, but it was created as a lookout in honour of Australia’s bicentenary. It is 75 meters tall. Coby climbed around 5 meters all by herself. I climbed to the halfway platform before deciding that was high enough. Mike climbed all the way to the top and took some photo’s of the wonderful view. Rhys was pretty proud of himself when he climbed up 4 steps, and I was kind of glad he had enough by then.

Coby climbs Bicentennial TreeJust a few tips for anyone planning to visit the area for a while. We bought a National Parks pass for $80, which gives us entry to all WA parks for 12 months. Otherwise they would cost $11 per visit. If our pass hasn’t already paid for itself in the last two weeks, it will do soon. Also, the camping grounds in the parks are great value for the facilities provided. A general rule of thumb, it costs $9 per adult per night if there are showers (usually hot), and $7 if there aren’t. Toilets are clean, cooking facilities provided, although the type may vary from gas to wood fire BBQ. The layouts are great, with generously sized plots, many with picnic tables. All we have been to so far also have water for drinking, cooking and cleaning dishes. School aged children cost $2 each per night, which again is great value considering caravan parks have been known to charge up to $11. Kids don’t really use that much extra water.Shannon NP Campsite

So as you can tell, we are becoming fans of the WA National Parks. We stayed one night in Shannon National Park, where Karri forests were so close to you, and the camp is surrounded by trees. We tried out the wood fire BBQ to cook our sausages and vegies, and relaxed after the kids went to bed to listen to the night time silence. I did hear owls during the night and loads of unfamiliar birds as the sun was coming up.

We then headed to the coastal town of Augusta and nearby Cape Leeuwin, which boasts one of Australia’s tallest Lighthouses. Unfortunately we couldn’t climb it as Rhys and Coby were too young. It is also on Australia’s most South-Westerly point, where the Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean meet. Mike and I had previously only seen the Indian Ocean from Africa in 2002.

So now we have officially crossed the breadth of Australia. The next stage is to start meandering slowly up the Western Australian coast. I have a sneaking suspicion the best is yet to come.

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One Response

  1. Glad you are enjoying our beautiful state so far. I think you are right and that you will be loving it more and more as you go! Safe travels.

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