It was a short drive today to get to our next destination, Pemberton. This area is famous for its tall kauri trees and it’s easy to see why. The trees are enormous and can grow up to 100 metres high with a base it would take half an hour to walk around. After we got some info on the area, we headed out to check out one of the major attractions of the area, the Gloucester Tree. This is a kauri tree of 61 metres in height that has a fire observation platform at the top. It’s actually the highest fire observation tree in the world, although it’s no longer used for that purpose. To get to the top you have to climb up the spikes that have been inserted into the tree, kind of like a spiral ladder that winds around the tree up to the top. And you are allowed to climb it; no occupational health and safety here. So off we all set, not sure if any or all of us would have the nerve to climb to the top. With a lot of help and encouragement from the team we all got there. It was quite hairy, especially when you stopped for a break and looked down and saw how far up you were, just hanging out the side of a tree. Going down was a bit easier, although, once again you had to concentrate to make sure you didn’t miss a step.
Next day we packed a lunch and headed off to explore the area in the countryside around the town. We drove through kauri forest out to the local dam and did a walk around it. We then stopped at Hidden River Winery for a quick sample and to have some morning tea. This was a very picturesque winery with a café that overlooks the vineyard and dam. We also visited an organic winery and, although we didn’t like the wines, they had a delicious non-alcoholic apple cider so we bought a six pack for the boys.
We went into Beedulup National Park and did a walk which took us through the base of a kauri tree – that is you actually could walk through the tree. The walk then took us around the river, across the waterfall via a swing bridge and then back to the car park. We stopped here for lunch.
Then it was onto Warren National Park. This was a beautiful drive through tree lines roads with some more magnificent kauri trees which we guessed would be over 70 metres tall. We stopped at a few lookouts along the way to check out the forest and the Warren River below.
And then finally it was onto the Bicentennial Tree. This was a tree of some 75 metres, again which you could climb up the spike spiral ladder inserted in the side. This was higher than the tree we climbed the previous day so somewhat scarier – although we had some idea of what we were in for. Again we all made it to the top and had a view over the top of all the trees and could see ocean and sand hills in the distance – magnificent.
|Going up the Gloucester Tree and/or the Bicentennial Tree, 61 and 75 metres respectively|
|Not a problem so far|
|At the top of the Bicential Tree looking over the forest canopy|
|More shots of the climb to try and show how wild it was|
|Walking through the Kauri forest. You can see the size of the trees from this one that has recently been felled|
|Early morning in Pemberton Caravan Park|
|Out at Big Brook Dam|
|Once again we found a winery or two to stop at.|
|Tree hugging. They reckon you need eight people to be able to go around the tree holding hands. I think you would need a few more Jacobs.|