This is a bushwalk like no other … suspended 40 metres above the ground!
Walpole-Nornalup National Park is in a corner of Western Australia which has an unusually high rainfall resulting in 20,000 hectares of diverse vegetation and landforms, towering karri, tingle forests, coastal heath and wetlands.
It surrounds the towns of Walpole, Nornalup and Peaceful Bay but there is little evidence of human activity. Rather it is a place of peaceful inlets and rivers and a rugged coastline and is probably best known for the 500 hectares of enormous buttressed red tingle trees which form the Valley of the Giants.They grow nowhere else in the world.
The grand red tingle trees are unique eucalypts with a very shallow root structure, relying on buttresses at their base to remain upright. They do not taper and are broad all the way up. Even if trunks are hollowed by bushfire, the tree continues to live, and while that would indicate a toughness, recent years have shown just how fragile and sensitive the trees' roots are.
Ignorance has probably caused much damage to these beauties over the years, with one tree having such a large hollow, tourists used to park their cars there for photographs. When that tree eventually collapsed due to its root system being destroyed by the family saloon, the Department of Conservation was jerked into action. Now a pathway has been constructed through the Valley of the Giants including a boardwalk through a grove of veteran trees known as the Ancient Empire. It winds around, between and through the majestic trunks and you can see and touch the rough, red bark without damaging the trees' environment.
Many of the tingles in the area are over 400 years old, reach 60 metres in height and 16 metres around the base. Grandma Tingle is thought to be 450 years old and its features look like a wizened face. King Tingle the valley's tallest reaches 65 metres.
There is also a treetop walk which offers the excitement of exploring the canopies of the forest. It is made of a series of 60 metre lightweight steel trusses built on steel pylons forming a secure ramp.
The 420 metre walkway leads over a deep, red gully on the side of a natural valley. It rises above the forest floor on a gentle grade which is suitable for children, people in wheelchairs and the elderly. The highest point in the loop is about 40 metres.
A visit to the magnificent Valley of the Giants gives a great perspective of shapes, sounds, movement and smells of the forest.
Walpole-Nornalup National Park south of Perth.
The Valley of the Giants Ancient Empire Walk is free and the Treetops Walk costs $6 for adults and $2.50 for children.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
This is also a wheelchair friendly environment.
Walpole-Nornalup National Park
Ph: (08) 9840 8263
Fax: (08) 9840 8132www.naturebase.net
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