During my planning for this trip I did not come across this region in South West Western Australia, and therefore until we saw the sign post to the National Park a visit was not part of our plan.
One of my rules, when I travel is to explore as many places that I possibly can. I am so glad to have explored this particular place.
On this day we had driven from Augusta stopping at quite a number of places on the way, the result was that we had a very short time to explore the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. As we wished to cram as much into this trip as was humanly possible, and having a fixed time to see a million thing, it was very important for us to explore this beautiful place.
There is no regret in having to hurry through a number of locations, but it was abundantly clear that there is so much to see in Australia that the BIG Lap should be a minimum of 12 months.
The Valley of the Giants Tree Top walk is in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park and is accessed from the South Coast Hwy and then the Valley of the Giants Rd.!
Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk
Apart from the Tree Top walk, and the ground walks there is an extensive display featuring inhabitants of the forest floor. Each of the subheadings is directly taken from the different displays, any narrative is my interpretation of what is written with the exception of a couple of quotes thrown in for good measure.
On the forest floor
The forest floor is alive! Have a close look at the forest floor to see creatures such as the tingle spider, moaning frog and the red-thighed frog.
The frogs feed on invertebrates from the forest floor, and they mate and lay eggs in moist places in and around trees and other plants.
Fungi break down forest debris on the soil into nutrients.
The Tingle Spider
This picture represents the Tingle Spider at 10 times its normal size, it is actually only 10 mm long.
The Tingle Spider is related to the Trapdoor spider, and also catches her prey at the mouth of the tunnel, dragging it under ground in the process.
This picture is of the male spider, and they feed by wandering around the forest floor trying to find food amongst the litter of the forest.
A Noongar (Aboriginal) perspective
From the Dreaming and archaeological evidence we can determine that the Noongar Aboriginal has had around 38,000 years of habitation in the South West (of Western Australia).
“It is important to recognise that wilderness had, to some extent, been shaped by human hands through millennia of land management practices by indigenous Australians. For Indigenous Australians wilderness is home”
Extract from: CALM Policy Statement: No. 62 Identification and Management of Wilderness and Surrounding Areas.
The view points of the settlers of Australia bears no resemblance to our current management practices or beliefs but that change has only occurred in recent times. Naturally, there are still people who wish to destroy forests with logging but they are doing it for money (and perhaps greed).
Below is a quote from a very pleased early settler when viewing the work which had been done to create pastures:
“If only you could see the pastures, you would realise with me the pleasure one feels in conquering nature. The self-confidence one gets and the sense of power as a keen axe bites deep into the immense Karris to bring them crashing to earth, robbed of their majesty.”
Quote: “Crawford and Crawford” 1927
Apart from the style of their writing, the feeling is painfully obvious as to their delight in creating pastures. That was the “era” though and they thought they were doing what was best for them and their families.
Fortunately, we now do enough to preserve as much of the native forests as we can, but we could do more!
Visitors can have a cumulative impact on the places they love to visit. At the Valley of the Giants the tradition of parking within the fire-hollowed Tingle Tree caused the collapse of a large Tingle from root compaction.
The Tree Top walk is a perfect example of how, with careful planning, the visitor can experience these majestic trees without causing any serious damage to the trees.
There are now signs in place throughout the “walk” around the Tree Top walking path which ask that we be mindful of the delicate nature of the Tingle Tree, by not walking too close to the trees. Imagine the damage done by the car in the picture below.
Once we had finished checking out the displays it was very close to closing time, and therefore getting quite late. We had planned to stay in Peaceful Bay that night and were not sure how far it was, time was of the essence.
Fortunately, in one sense, it was not that far away and neither were the bush fires (which you can read about here) which were about to cause us a few problems!
If you like the story of the Tingle Tree and want more information, there is a link above (oh ok here it is again) to the website or you can leave me a comment below and I can provide you with some more information.