From Bunbury we skirt around Perth. It’s still school holidays and everywhere on the southwest coast is busy, so we’ve booked a farm stay at Big River Station in the Margaret River region. It’s a peaceful spot and we spend three relaxing and very enjoyable days there.
From there we travel further south to where the big trees are. And when I say big, I mean REALLY BIG. The south coast of Western Australia is cooler than the north, the beaches intertwine with forests and as we drive through the Southern Forests and Valley Region the scenery becomes lush and greener. The Karri is the world’s third tallest tree species and they’re native to this corner of Western Australia and nowhere else.
Pemberton is the heart of tall timber country and home to a couple of massive trees that can be climbed. One of them, the Gloucester tree, is 58 metres high and has 153 pegs which allow dare devils to scale its imposing trunk, to a platform at the top.
I’d love to say I fearlessly climbed to the top but, alas, I have developed a healthy fear of heights in recent years. As a little girl, I was often up trees, climbing them, playing amongst big branches laden with fruit and daydreaming of other worlds. My imagination was always wild, even as a child.
Fast forward to now and Doug starts climbing this giant in his thongs, much to my horror. Thongs are definitely NOT RECOMMENDED but he only gets about fifteen metres up before deciding to come back down. I could barely watch.
The ONLY thing we have to fear is FEAR ITSELF … and spiders, and falling out of giant trees.
Our next destination is Normalup, near Walpole, the gateway to the famous Tree Top Walk and the Land of the Giants. The tree top walk which goes high above the canopy has been on my wish list for a long time. So, to find out the elevated walkway was closed for maintenance, the first time in its history, was pretty disappointing.
The next best thing, was The Ancient Empire Walk and seeing these beauties from the ground. From here, as you look up, you fathom the scale and it’s impossible not to be awed. It’s humbling and I feel surrounded by life and love energy.
The Land of the Giants
As we wander through the forest I marvel at the trees around me. Each has a story, if only we would listen, a life of their own. Imagine all their roots underneath, how massive they would be, how united and interconnected with Mother Earth they are. Could humanity ever be that united?
As Van Morrison says in his song, I Forgot that Love Existed, If my heart could do my thinking, and my head began to feel, I would look upon the world anew, and know what’s truly real.”
“To really feel a forest canopy we must use different senses, and often the most useful one is the sense of imagination”. The tree below is named Grandma Tingle. She’s knarled and wrinkled and her distinct face gives her an almost human character. It’s like she watches over the forest. Perhaps she does.
I could almost feel her energy. This matriarch of the forest measures over 12 metres in circumference, 34 metres in height and she’s estimated to be over 400 years old.
In the cool breeze and amongst the trees I feel at peace and yet a strange sense of impermanence. .As the Aboriginals say: “We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love, and then we return home.”
On our third day in the Walpole area we head out to Mount Frankland and again we’re immersed in the arms of Mother Nature. There’s an easy walk to a wilderness lookout which looks out onto pure vastness. Then comes he real challenge, getting to the summit. The last 100 metres is ridiculously steep and my heart is racing. But the views from the top are worth the effort.
The weather clouded over on our last day but still we enjoyed a drive through the Tingle Forest, another walk to another amazing Tingle tree and a jaunt down the coast to see the Conspicuous Cliffs and to drive on the beach at Peaceful Bay. This place has it all: it’s bordered by stunning beaches, rugged coastlines, long curving rivers and trees that literally reach for the sky.
Wherever you are, I hope you can get out into nature and hug a tree. Under a forest canopy or a big sky the magic of nature takes over and the heaviness of life lifts a little. Feel the energy, the life force and pure love that emanates from the earth. It has a beat all of its own. Raise your arms and your heart and be one with her.
Sending love and light as we continue our journey.