Walpole is a beautiful little town about 50kms west of Denmark in the south west of W.A.. Driving from Denmark to Walpole you drive past the Valley of the Giants, tree top walk. It’s actually in the shire of Denmark, though it’s about 40km out of town and a lot closer to Walpole, but it’s the “tourist” thing to do when you’re in the south west and you want to see the big trees.
It’s very difficult to portray the actual size of the trees down here, but they are HUGE and very impressive, especially when you get in among them and either look up, or just admire their enormous buttress roots.
But, onto the treetop walk, which is the draw card of the site.
Now if you have a fear of heights, this walk is NOT recommended, it’s about 600m long, starting on the ground before stretching up into the treetops, there are a number of long walkways interlinked by platforms, and over 40m off the ground up among the treetops.
Looking down at your feet doesn’t help things because you see straight down into the forest below through the walkway. Though by far the most off putting aspect I found of the tree top walk is the bouncing and swaying and constant movement of the whole structure. Of course this is accentuated by the obligatory young fool that wants to stand in the middle of the walkways jumping up and down and shaking side to side to make it sway and bounce even more.
I found myself trying to work out which was better standing on the platforms which had recommended load of 10 people, or standing out on the walkways that had a recommended maximum load of 20 people, while this guy was jumping up and down trying to impress his girlfriend who seemed way more upset and scared than impressed.
Now to be fair, many people probably love it, and leaving aside the aspect that I’m not a great fan of heights, the walk is ok, though I actually found it a lot more of an experience being down on the ground looking up into the canopies. From up the top you’re sort of absorbed by the walkway rather than the trees and the shear immense size of them. Where as down below you tend to look up in awe thinking WOW, look at those massive trees. Up on the walkway there are branches and leaves around you and you look down thinking WOW it’s a long way down…
Down below there’s a walk around on the ground looking at the trees but you are very constrained where you walk which is probably a good thing considering they have so many people through here.
It’s an interesting walk and I felt happy to have my feet back on the ground.
You won’t get your feet muddy, you know exactly what path you’re on and where to walk, there are flushing toilets at the end of it as well as a shop to buy trinkets, and if this is your style, then it’s worth the $15 entry fee to walk the walk, but personally I prefer things a little less constrained. Over closer to Walpole there’s the giant tingle tree walk which I found far more to my liking. and I’ll talk about that in the next post.