Australian Adventure (July 21, 2013)

40 Days Down Under (Day 38)

Sunday, July 21, 2013
We started our 38th day in Albany and headed to Torndirrup National Park.  Torndirrup has many gorgeous spots, and a road that seems to invite driving off a cliff.

Our first stops were Salmon Holes, Isthmus Bay, and Stony Hill.

Wild Black Parrots

Our last stops in Torndirrup were Natural Bridge and The Gap.

We found a scuba car in the parking lot.  We saw a lot of these pipings on vehicles.

Natural Bridge

The Gap - the color of the water was enchanting

We left Albany for a scenic drive to Denmark.  Our main purpose of going to Denmark was for a stop at the award winning Denmark Bakery.  I got a chicken & leek pie and yummy gourmet carrot cake.  (Don't think I'd ever had a leek before, but the pie was tasty.  It was hearty and earthy.)  Kris got a jungle thai chicken pie, a chili con carne pie, and a sausage roll.

Denmark, Western Australia

After a scrumptious lunch, we headed to William Bay National Park to view Green's Pool.  When the temperatures are warmer, it seems like Green's Pool would be a good place to swim.  The waters were incredibly calm.

However, our main attraction of the day waited for us in Walpole.  The Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk is a huge attraction located between Denmark and Walpole.  The Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk really has two components - the treetop walk and the Ancient Empire Boardwalk.

The main draw is the treetop walk - an incredible 600 meter (656 yard) walk on metal swinging platforms that rise to 131 feet above the forest floor and places you right in the heart of the Karri and Tingle tree canopies.

While this afforded an incredible view, it completely freaked me out that while we were making our way up through the flourishing forest we could feel the walkway moving beneath us.

(The people who designed the walkway wanted visitors to feel like they were truly part of the forest and moving naturally along with the gently swinging branches, so the steel spans that make up the walkway were specifically designed to sway slightly with movement.)  Of course, the more people on the walkway at once - the more sway.  The larger the people on the walkway - the more sway.  And, even though the rules specifically stated how many people could be on certain sections of the walkway at one time, people don't read and the rule breaking completely messed with my mind.

The second part of the park, the Ancient Empire Boardwalk, is named after the grove of archaic Tingle trees that help make up the 'Valley of the Giants'.  There is a timber boardwalk that ambles its way both around and through some of the largest trees and thickest vegetation located in the southwestern section of Western Australia.  Some of the tingle trees measure up to 49 feet in perimeter at their base, and some of the ancient trees have naturally hollowed out trunks, which allowed us to walk right through the middle of them.
So very tall

They call this one the old woman.

Peeking through

Just the hole in the base of the tree is over 6 feet tall!

I thought this growth looked like a face.

Knot on the side of one of the trees.  The guy whose home we visited in White Cliffs uses these knots to make furniture.

I call this one The Lorax.

Wild mushrooms I spotted underneath the boardwalk.  We called them "Over Easy".

Fallen beauty

We hadn't gotten in enough climbing, so our next stop was to the Diamond Tree Lookout.  At the top of Diamond Tree, a 170 foot tall Karri tree, is the only wooden treetop tower in the world.  It is still used as an integral part of the fire management and spotting program in Western Australia.  Visitors are allowed to climb the metal spoke system in the tree to go to the platform at the top.  Kris and I never intended to climb to the top, but we had to see the system for ourselves and test out the sturdiness of the spokes.  It was far sturdier than I expected.

While there, we met up with two locals.  They climb the tree as a right-of-passage.  The young man had already climbed it four times successfully.  The young lady was in flip flops - not exactly friendly footwear for the task.  The locals like to come down to Diamond Tree just to watch tourists try to climb the tree.  It's entertaining.

We stayed overnight at the Manjimup Central Caravan Park & Deli.  While the town was tiny and unassuming, the park was impeccably clean with many shower stalls.  You get to pick your own spot too.

We found the toilet nozzle in the laundry room a tad confusing.

While at the park, I finished Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.