The Valley of the Giants Tree Top WalkOn 10. March 2020 by Cookie
Near Walpole, you’ll find one of the “Getting High in Nature” locations of Parks and Wildlife Service WA, the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. To be getting high here would probably not be wise, despite the cheeky name of the scenic walk: The 600 metres long and 40 metres high metal walkway that is going in a loop through the canopy absolutely feels a little bouncy.
It is the only attraction in a National Park that we have encountered until now with a separate entrance fee (besides the parks pass), but it’s definitely worth a visit. You can walk around the loop as often as you like, and additionally there are three guided tours through the Ancient Empire per day. The Ancient Empire is an old part oft the forest with a short walk through trees that are up to 500 years old, and pretty impressive.
After having looped the Treetop Walk twice, and having enjoyed the many unexpected views, we wanted to walk through the Ancient Empire. Incidentally, there was just a tour about to start, and it was very interesting to hear what our guide, Helen, had to tell us about this forest.
The trees, Red Tingles, grow only upwards, towards the canopy, for about 75 years. After having reached the top, and sunlight, they start to grow in diameter, from the inside out. This makes the tree grow hollow in the middle, and that is why there are quite a few trees with a burnt hole in the trunk, even if they look healthy and keep growing.
1937, there was the last big fire in this region. The course of this fire was very similar to the story Sue told us in the Visitor Centre in Northcliffe. Helen indicated to us the bare tree tops throughout the other trees: The burnt, dead trees from 1937. The “young” shoots from after the fire barely have grown to the same height yet.
She had a lot of knowledge about the use of the different plants by native people and trappers, who lived and hunted in this region at the beginning of the 20th century. And, by the way: One of the animals that still live in this forest are our friends, the Quokkas. This is one of their few remaining habitats besides Rottnest Island. The Quokkas here are still nocturnal, and not used to being out in the daylight and around visitors, as on Rotto.