Published: December 28th 2011December 19th 2011
This Blog entry covers our stay in Walpole from the 16th
We stayed at the Rest Point Holiday Village, a very pretty spot on the banks of the Walpole Inlet. A basic park, but everything worked and the scenery and location were 5 star. Walpole (pop 320) is entirely surrounded by National park and is the only place in the South West (SW) where the forest meets the sea (like in the Otways!). The Walpole wilderness area is known for its ‘striking ocean and forest scenery’ which provides a great setting for outdoor activities such as boating sailing and fishing, and bushwalking. It is a unique region with the coastal heathlands, granite outcrops, magnificent waterways and Karri forests all on the doorstep. The town of Walpole was established in 1930 through the Nornalup Land Settlement Scheme for city families hit by the great depression. Arriving by train, land allocations were done by a ballot but only a third of the original settlers stayed due to the remoteness, extreme hardship and poverty. If ever a Royal Commission was justified this would have to be it…why when you have all that flat open forest country in the rest of the
Coffee after a hard day at Philippine Magic, Walpole
state would you land inexperienced city folk in the middle of the biggest forest you can imagine in a totally remote area and expect them to carve out a viable farm …give me a break please !! Today the town has 3 or 4 good coffee shops, a supermarket and servo, pub, bakery (of course) and a lot of accommodation. Walpole is a thriving little community providing everything that a tourist/visitor needs to visit the district and enjoy the timelessness and serenity that this haven provides. Walpole is a great base to visit all the local attractions of the ‘forest’ and SW coast. Make sure when you visit Walpole you have coffee, or a meal, at Philippine Magic and say hi to Colin and Gina.
One of the scenic drives we did was along Hilltop Road through a Red Tingle (tree) and Karri forest. 2klm up this rd is a fantastic lookout (Hilltop Lookout) that overlooks the Frankland River and Nornalup Inlet to the ocean. Driving further along we came to the Giant Tingle Tree. A circular walk from the car park takes you down to the Giant Tingle tree, at 25 mtr circumference defines this tree as one
of the ten living things on this planet. In fact it is said to be the largest living eucalypt in the world. It truly was an awesome sight and when you stand next to it in this amazing forest of giant trees you do wonder what we, as a species, are doing to this planet. No we could not hug this tree, it was too big, but yes we did hug other giant Tingles (for Neil).
From The Tingle tree we headed to the Circular Pool, a beautiful natural pool in the Frankland River. A large pool formed by granite outcrops, the water here is ‘weak black coffee’ colour from the leaching of tannins from vegetation.
Nornalup is situated on the banks of the Frankland River and at the base of the mountains which support the massive forests of Tingle and Karri trees. First settled by Frenchman Pierre Bellanger in 1911 (how the …?). The river is navigable downstream to the Nornalup Inlet and probably contributes to this small towns existence today as a fishing destination and a base to explore the local forests, (Walpole Nornalup National Park), 18,000 hectares of rare flora and fauna.
east of Nornalup we turned off onto the Valley of The Giants tourist drive, another memorable outing. This 6 klm drive through Karri, Red Tingle, Yellow Tingle, Marri and Karri Oak leads to the world famous Valley of The Giants Tree Top Walk, Ancient Empire Walk and the Walpole Wilderness Discovery Centre. Our first stop was the Tree Top Walk, where you can wander over a walk way suspended 40 metres above the forest floor, the highest and longest tree top walk way of its kind in the world. The 600 metre long walk way gives you a bird’s eye view of the forest and forest floor, after reaching a height of 40 mtrs above ground it gradually descends to ground level to complete the loop. This was a fantastic experience and the swaying and bouncing of the walk way in the wind matched the movement of the tree tops enhancing the forest canopy experience.
There is also a boardwalk through a grove of uniquely shaped veteran Tingle Trees called the Ancient Empire. Again walking amongst these giant old Tingle Trees, some more than 400 years old, which are unique to the Walpole area it is a time for
Another drive we would recommend is Ficifolia
Road and Conspicuous Beach Road which gives you a magnificent display of this unique flora for which it is named after, this is the sole ‘wild’ habitat of Red Flowering Gum trees in Western Australia. The flowers are at their peak in January so we only got to see the beginning of the blossoms which can be (as you Aussie’s will know) scarlet, crimson, orange or pink. Conspicuous Cliffs, a fantastic beach with an imposing backdrop.
Driving along the South Coast Highway east from Walpole another must see ‘tip’ is Parry Beach situated on William Bay. A secluded, beautiful, beach with 4WD access and pristine white sand. Most importantly we found the Parry Beach Campground here, which does not get a mention anywhere. It may not have power to sites or much more but it was packed, fully booked out, and at $7/night I can see why, what a great spot. I guess it was Xmas but anyone coming through out of peak times could not do better than spending a few lazy days here.
Following the William Bay road off the Sth Coast Hwy to the ocean we
Walpole Nornalup National Park
Hilltop Lookout looking towards Nornalup Inlet and the ocean.
came to Greens Pool, known for it’s wind swept granite tors. Greens Pool is a natural rock pool that remains calm and safe for swimming and snorkelling all year round. Nearby are the Elephant Rocks, massive rounded granite boulders resembling elephants (in some one’s imagination at least!). Once again the white sand and blue sea here was amazing.
Denmark pop 2750, lies at the foot of Mt Shadforth, overlooking the Denmark River and Wilson Inlet. The Aboriginal name for Denmark is ‘Koorabup’ meaning ‘place of Black Swan’ Once again it is surrounded by forests of towering Karri trees. Originally a timber town, Denmark is a diverse community servicing a dairy and beef Industry, timber and Tourism. Denmark was a pretty town, clean, with good shopping facilities and had ‘attractive street scape’. Obviously other people felt it ‘had something’ also as house prices were not the cheapest along the coast. Not far out of Denmark was Ocean Beach, an absolutely fantastic beach at the mouth of Wilson Inlet, a picture perfect beach if ever there was one.
This SW coast area is a fantastic part of WA, remote, with great beaches and magnificent old forests. Denmark and Walpole are
great destinations to spend time in and enjoy the area, and don’t forget Parry’s beach as a camp site.
There are more photos below