Giant Tingle Tree Walk
Start - Follow signs on SW Hwy east of Walpole
Length - 1km (Loop)
Grade - Green
Terrain - Single Track, Pavement
Vertical Climb - Fairly Flat
Time - 30 mins to 1 hour
Signed - Yes
Date Hiked - 26th December 2016
Best Time - All Year Round
The Hike - With a family holiday in Walpole planned over the Christmas break, I was very much looking forward to escaping down south for a week in the forest.
After a lovely Christmas day spent enjoying some great food, great wine and plenty of naps, it was time to leave the house and explore the area around Walpole. With my young nieces not up to the rigors of a full 10km hike just yet, we settled on a few family friendly walks close to town during the week with plenty of opportunity for me to escape and do some more challenging hikes. With warmer weather forecast for Boxing Day and then some cold/rainy days following that we took the opportunity to take the boat out in the Nornalup Inlet for some unsuccessful fishing and a swim.
In the afternoon we swapped out the thongs for the walking shoes and headed out of town towards the Walpole-Nornalup National Park to visit a few of the popular sites including the Giant Tingle Tree. Things did not start out well as both myself and my dad missed the signs for the turn-off and got all the way to the Valley of the Giants turn-off before maybe realising we had gone too far. A helpful map in Nornalup pointed us back towards Walpole and we found the one way gravel road leading to the Giant Tingle Tree. The uphill road is good fun to drive on and before you get to the Giant Tingle, there is a stop at the Hilltop Lookout.
Offering some impressive views of the Nornalup Inlet and Southern Ocean, the dark clouds made for a moody landscape. It's a short drive to the Giant Tingle Tree car park where we found my sister's car and the start of the Giant Tingle Tree Walk. They had been there a while after our detour so were already out on the trail. There is a gazebo for shelter that also provides some interesting information about the unique tingle trees of this area. A member of the Eucalyptus genii, the Red Tingle is one of the tallest trees in Western Australia, measuring up to 75m and unfortunately is limited mostly to the Walpole-Nornalup National Park.
The path leading to the headlining Giant Tingle Tree is all bitumen, winding its way through the dense forest, which was still very green this late in the year. With wildflowers still dotting the undergrowth I had some fun getting up close and shooting some examples. Before you get to the Giant Tingle Tree, there is a smaller fire-affected tree, along with an information board about how this effect happens. Eventually though you reach the highlight of the trail and the wooden boardwalk/steps leading to and around the Giant Tingle Tree. What makes this tree special is that is estimated to be the largest girthed living eucalypt in the world.
At 24m wide and having a giant hollow section means that a lot of people can fit underneath and it certainly makes you feel small when you look up from inside. It was here that I caught up to my mother and it wasn't long after until we found the rest of the family, along the return path to the car park. Utilising a section of the Bibbulmun Track, the gentle path takes you through some classic Karri forest that had me feeling like it was the dead of winter given how green it was. Eventually though the trail leaves the Bibbulmun and heads back to where you started so we enjoyed the last little section and took some family photos (minus me).
Final Thoughts - At 1km long, this walk is perfect for the pint sized adventurers in your life and lets them explore nature without getting bored or restless. There is plenty to see and the size of the trees should capture the imagination of not just kids but everyone.
While the shallow roots of the Tingle trees don't like constant trampling, it is at least nice to be able to have the opportunity to educate people on how rare the Tingle trees are. Hopefully the Queen tree that you can walk under survives for many generations to come and there is more of an effort to expand the forests further than the Walpole-Nornalup National Park.
The consensus from the family was this was a nice little walk but it came at a cost. Despite being a fun uncle, I won't be getting the opportunity to purchase any new hiking gear this year after my nieces extorted me over the rights to use their images on the website. They may be small but they drive a hard bargain.
Seriously though, if you're in the area then this walk is definitely worth checking out given it's close location to the centre of Walpole.
Get out there and experience it!
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