Leaving Margaret River we set of for Albany which is right down the bottom of Western Australia and another 377km drive! We decided to make a couple of stops along the way including the Bicentennial Tree and the Tree Top Walk in The Valley Of The Giants.
Our first small detour was to Pemberton where we grabbed some lunch and headed off the main road into the Warren National Park and off to The Bicentennial Tree, park entry is free and you do not need to pay anything to climb the tree either. The tree was originally a fire lookout point so as you can imagine it is high, very high, 75 meters to be exact and the tallest climbing tree left open to the public. All the way up the tree there are metal spikes hammered into the trunk (165 of them!) to enable you to climb up to the top.
The tree is not supervised and there are no safety nets or any sort of safety equipment to help you along the way, looking up to the top you can’t quite see how dangerous it is from the bottom… although you do get an idea! Mum and I started the climb and after only 5 meters, you start to feel slightly nervous with only chicken wire on the side as a form of protection. Keeping a VERY close eye on your footing you can start to see that if you slip through the pegs there is nothing below you to save you!!
We reached the first platform which is 25 meters up with my dad looking on in horror from the ground, I helped Andy up to the first platform who was looking slightly pale after revealing he is not so great with heights! He decided to head back down and mum and I decided to keep going up the only way two nutters would!
I took the lead and started (very carefully) climbing the pegs which were slowly becoming steeper and further apart with each step! About ¾ of the way up the middle section things just got way to dodgy for me as I was on my tip toes reaching round the tree to get to the next spike. With quite a height difference between my mum and I all I could think was that if I was struggling to reach them mum defiantly would!
I have no fear of heights what so ever however I have no problem telling you I was terrified as all these thoughts started going through my head!!! ‘One slip and I’m a goner!’ With a very slow and careful decent we reached the first platform once again and looking down we could see my dad literally with his head in his hands with nerves!!
By the time we reached the bottom a few more people had come to the tree and only one person made it to the first platform as most of them gave up within a few spikes! Andy explained to us that no one had ever died climbing the tree bar two men who had a heart attack once they had reached the bottom and that he had once reached the top many years ago.
Looking up we realized that we only got about half the way up before turning back but 40 meters was more than enough for me!! There is another platform and then the very last section is in a cage however I feel quite proud of my achievement!!
Back in the car we headed to Walpole and into the Valley of the Giants, so called due to the sheer size of the trees!! We paid our $10 entry fee and took a walk along the tree top walk, with the bridge reaching 40m above the ground the view was spectacular and I think I speak on behalf of my mum and I when I say we were able to enjoy it slightly more than we did up the Bicentennial Tree! We also were able to walk around the park and see just quite how big these trees were.
It was a great stop off and a great way to break up the long drive, however my nerves were slightly shattered after the tree climb…. and still are!!