Valley of the Giants
Walpole-Nornalup National Park
Tree Top Walk - 600m (Loop) - With the weather taking a turn for the worse on Boxing Day night, my plan was to tackle a section of the Bibbulmun in the morning but I woke up to some serious rain and this continued all the way through the morning. I love watching the rain so was happy to chill in the holiday home drinking coffee and playing with my nieces. Part of their Christmas present was a pint sized Life of Py t-shirt each and Uma (Uncle Mark) taking them to the Valley of the Giants for the Tree Top Walk. With the weather forecast clearing up for the afternoon, the plan was to have lunch and then head out there to battle the weather/tourists. Locating the Valley of the Giants is easy, follow the signs on South West Hwy east of Walpole and it's a short drive to the main car parks. Built in 1996, this impressive structure towers above the ancient forest and allows you to get a true appreciation for the scale of the giant Karri and Tingle trees that are native to this area.
The tallest platform is 40m above the forest floor and the see-through boardwalks between the towers gives you the full experience of being so high above the ground. Along with the Tree Top Walk, there is a Discovery Centre and Gift Shop and the ground based Ancient Empire Walk (see below). When we arrived the place was full and we parked in the third tier of the car park, making me wonder if they made an effort to plant more trees somewhere else after clearing what would have been a lot of giant Karri trees. With the nieces all raring to go, we bought our tickets (see website for pricing) and set off on the 600m loop. Everyone else had the same idea but early on it wasn't too much of an issue. The platforms on the day we visited had volunteers monitoring the amount of people on each section as they are only rated for so many at a time. Unfortunately there seemed to be one group that was holding up proceedings by taking multiple selfies, followed by group selfies, followed by different group selfies on every section of boardwalk. Seeing as how the boardwalks only allow one person (two if there is some cooperation) to pass at a time, there was soon a backlog of people waiting to go through at a normal pace.
We were stuck on the highest platform for a while so took our time looking around at the forest and then to the ground, 40m below. I'm not great with heights so was being on the cautious side but my little nieces (3 & 5) were zooming around like they were on the forest floor. Eventually though we reached a platform where we could pass the offending family and enjoyed the rest of the walk at leisurely pace. To think that some of these Karri tree can grow up to 75m tall and the highest point you reach is only 40m is quite an amazing thing. While in sections you are right in the canopy of the trees (and can actually touch them), there are other section where you can immerse yourself with the size of these giants. We reached the end and planted our feet on terra firma after spending the last 600m on steel platforms. The final section of the walk leads you past some Tingle trees on a paved path and back to the start where you can either do the walk again, visit the gift shop or continue on to the Ancient Empire Walk.