Walpole- Giants, long drives and not so mountainous mountains

As part of our resolution to see more of beautiful Western Australia we decided to spend Easter Monday discovering some of Walpole. I have never been before and Alex has only seen a small part of it. Walpole is part of the Great Southern region of WA and is home to many forests, national parks and a beautiful coastline (though most of the coast is accessible only via four wheel drive). The drive to Walpole from Bunbury is 3-3.5 hours and passes through several small towns, many of which seemed like they’d be worth visiting on a more leisurely weekend trip. But this was a day trip and we had lots of things to see! We were unusually prepared and had a picnic packed the night before and were able to leave the house by 7 am! My little sister Molly joined us on this trip too. 
 

Walpole’s beautiful forests

 

Our first stop on the drive was Diamond tree between Manjimup and Walpole off the South western highway. It’s well sign posted so it’s hard to miss. This is part of a network of trees which were historically used to spot bushfires in the area. The Diamond tree is 52 metres high and you can climb to the cabin on the top via metal spikes inserted in the tree trunk. Neither me or Alex were quite able to reach the top but fortunately Molly could be our Guinea pig and she got there and took some photos for us! Upon reaching the bottom she asked “can I go again?” 

 

Molly and Alex ascending the Diamond Tree

 
The diamond tree also has a short 400 metre loop trail that points out some local flora and has some more little trees to climb. There are also flush toilets, so it’s a really luxurious spot! 😉

 

The view from the top

 
After the Diamond Tree we went directly to Walpole’s Tree Top walk in the Valley of the Giants. This is a 40 metre high walkway among a forest of giant tingle trees. There is a fee for entrance-$19 per adult and $9.50 per child. (Families can avail of the family pass for $47.50) The walk is wheel chair friendly and is 600 metres round trip. Walking through the canopy of trees from this height was very cool and offered a different perspective on the Forrest. Afterwards you can do a ground walk called the Ancient Empire walk and the different view the two walks provided was a cool comparison. It is worth noting that the walk way does shake and wobble and one lady had to get off as it made her feel dizzy. Over all the treetop walk was pretty cool and definitely worth visiting but I personally felt it was a tad overpriced for such a short walk. 

 

Walking amongst the giants

 
From the Valley of the Giants we made our way to Mount Frankland. This granite peak is located in amount Frankland national park. The parks has many entrances so it can be confusing to figure out the way to go, but the best access point isn’t via the park at all- it’s down North Walpole road off the South Westen highway. The last section of this road is unsealed but is accessible to two wheel drives-though I probably wouldn’t drive it in a Porsche! 

 

The Ancient Empire walk

 The hike to the top of Mount Frankland is relatively short at just 600 metres each way, but it contains over 300 steep steps and a ladder. The steps were a bit exhausting especially in the warm weather, but I would think that most people with a moderate level of fitness could do this hike in under an hour. The view from the top is beautiful- miles of forest and bush land , the ocean in the distance, and the surrounding mountains such as bluff knoll and mount Roe. As usual the hike was insignificant to Molly and her boundless energy. “That wasn’t a real mountain.” I think she was expecting ice picks and a 90 degree drop! I really enjoyed this hike and I think it’s definitely worth doing if you’re in the area. I found it more enjoyable than the treetop walk. 

 

The view from Mt Frankland

 
I was seriously impressed with all that Walpole had to offer. There are so many national parks and reserves in the area. I really hope that next time we visit we can take the whole weekend, and maybe even rent a four wheel drive to explore the beautiful coast line. 

We made it!

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