Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk
Located an easy 18-kilometre drive from Walpole in Western Australia’s South West, the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk is an internationally-recognised nature-based tourism attraction. Stroll along a walkway 40 metres above the ground and admire the magnificent tingle forest canopy and stunning views. The 600-metre-long walk is suitable for all ages. A walking trail at ground level meanders between 400-year-old tingle trees. Duration: Single entry
We love the Australian bush, walking and fresh air, so a mingle with the tingles at the famous Valley of the Giants was always going to be on our list of must-dos in Western Australia’s South West.
The Valley of the Giants is a popular destination near the towns of Denmark and Walpole. It’s approximately 420 kilometres from Perth, and plenty of visitors do it as a day tour from the Western Australia capital, so keen are they to see the magnificent tingle trees. The name ‘tingle’, believed to be derived from an Aboriginal word, includes several varieties of ancient eucalypts. Tingles are one of the tallest trees in Western Australia and can grow to a height of 50-metres-plus.
While there are walking trails at ground level, the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk gives you a birds-eye view of the tingle forest — 40 metres above the forest floor. I don’t usually like heights, and I was in two minds about doing the Tree Top Walk. However, on arrival, the thought of strolling through the canopy of these giant trees beckoned me. You can almost hear them whispering on the breeze: ‘Come and see what we can see’. It’s irresistible.
We head off on the 600-metre walk along lightweight steel trussed and secure platforms, which starts at a gentle incline and then elevates high into the sky over the deep, red and yellow tingle gully. It’s like walking on air and the structure does sway a little, but don’t worry, you are perfectly safe. The tingles are seriously big trees. They are some of the largest and oldest trees in the country. Some are said to be over 400 years old. The views are phenomenal, and from up here you can really appreciate the vast size of the tingles. The path has various viewing platforms where you can stop and enjoy the views and take photos. The best part is that if one circuit is not enough, you can go around a second time.
After finishing our walk through the canopy, we decide to get a different perspective of the forest. The Ancient Empire boardwalk takes you on a stroll at ground level through a grove of veteran tingle trees. We’re fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to join a free guided tour of the Ancient Empire walk. They happen daily at 10.15am, 11.30am and 2pm.
It’s awesome having a very informative guide with us to explain so much of what we see and experience. One of the first trees you will see is ‘Grandma Tingle’ with her gnarled features that resemble that of a very old woman. She stands proud and very tall and has a tremendously large buttress which spreads at her base to give her the strength she needs to support her vast size. This grand lady is over 400 years old.
As we continue our walk we notice that many of the trees have hollow butts (bases). Our guide explains that the heartwood is often burnt out during bushfires, leaving the outer sapwood layer to sustain the entire tree. It’s incredible that they survive! Getting up close and personal to these centuries-old veterans is like being in a fantasy world and my imaginative mind takes me to a scene from The Lord of the Rings. Anyway, giant they are, especially when you stand inside one of the hollows. It quickly puts their huge scale into perspective.
It’s so peaceful and the canopy provides welcome shade from the heat of the day. The air is filled with refreshing forest-floor smells and if you stand still long enough you will see and hear many birds. You may even spot quokkas!
After farewelling our guide, we decide to wander back through the Ancient Empire. Along the way there are several benches placed in some lovely little nooks and we sit for a while and just enjoy being with nature.
Before departing, make sure you pop into the Wilderness Discovery Centre. It has information boards on some of the wildlife species that live in the area. There’s also a gift shop and a small kiosk that sells cold drinks and ice creams. Oh, and if you feel like a bit of fun, check out the car in the hollow of a tree. It’s a great photo opportunity!
For more information, please visit www.parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/site/tree-top-walk.
Cover image courtesy of Tourism Western Australia. Image: Jean Leggat. Additional images: Bigstock
Dixie Lamers is a freelance writer and travel blogger based in Coffs Harbour in northern New South Wales. When she is not writing about travel, you will find Dixie and her partner enjoying an Aussie caravanning lifestyle.