Don't Step on My Tingle Toes

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September 9th 2013
Published: September 15th 2013
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Albany - Granite Peaks State Forest

The sun was streaming through the windows this morning, what a lovely lovely start to the day, I think I must have slept through all night and woke up feeling refreshed it was 7am.

Although there is much more here in Albany to explore, we decided to move on, today is going to be nice but we think there are storms coming, that said, we will get them anyway as we are still travelling along this coastline, one of the locals has told me that they don't normally get the rain like this at this time of year, it is usually a month or so later.

It was a slow start to the day, Andy disappeared for a shower whilst I got Gypsy ready, I left all the shutters open to help dry out the condensation on the inside. I heard Andy come back so I put the toast on for him and then I heard him talking so I knew that he would be ages, subsequently his toast went in the bin and he had to make some fresh when he finally returned.

Whilst waiting I ran over to the beach to check out the the bay sadly no whales this morning, but the bay looked beautiful all the same.

Karen and Scott wandered over they were curious about how easy it is to pack Gypsy up, we met them last night when they wanted a look.

As always though, no time at all we were packed up and ready to go, I could easily have stayed at this campsite a bit longer, it feels so ideal here and a really relaxed atmosphere. I can thoroughly recommend the Big 4 at Middleton Beach, it is not a big site, but the staff are excellent, really friendly, the facilities are modern and clean, the site is very well kept, not only is there a camp kitchen, there is a proper recreation room and a lounge for campers. It really is a great place.

Driving out of the campsite we took the marked tourist route through Mount Clarence Parklands and toward the Port of Albany, and along the Princess Royal Drive. Still following the tourist route we head towards Denmark on the Lower Denmark Road, it is a beautiful drive not to mention how green it looks, the cattle here have plenty of lush green grass to eat and water to drink as the dams are full.

Stopping for diesel in Denmark and then make our way on toward Walpole. About 13k's from Walpole we turn off for the Valley of the Giants. There is a tree top walk here that we would like to do, I think very similar to that of the Illawarra Fly in New South Wales.

On the way in, we overheard someone talking to a hiker, he was sitting down with his back pack still on, he was almost using it to lean on, the hiker said he was on his 52nd day and by the sounds of it the path he is walking is around 900k's long! Entrance fees here are not too bad, $12.50 per adult, so we pay and head off, up the path. It seems to be quite a busy day I note that the spans have a loading of about 20 people at a time, I find myself looking back and counting the number of people coming in behind us.

I am surprising myself that this walk is really easy, it is very high and we are walking on a structure that you can look through, I usually hate these things but on I go and with Andy in behind we are soon at the highest point, which is 40 metres above sea level - Yikes!! That is high, I gingerly look over the edge to the forest canopy below. We truly are in amongst the tree tops wandering around high so that the trees and plants are protected from people walking on them.

The trees here are Tingle Trees and mostly very very old, they need to be cared for as they have very shallow roots and there used to be a Tingle Tree here that was literally loved to death. Visitors would come and walk around it and because it was very large and hollow, they also used to have the obligatory photograph with their car parked under it. Well all of this took it's toll and finally in 1990 it couldn't take any more and it fell to it's death, a few years later the idea of the tree tops walk was born.

Andy did not tell me until we head got to the bottom that even he had a slight intake of breath on getting to the high point, I am so glad he waited until we got back to the bottom, that really would have burst my confidence.

We could have gone round again but chose not to, and went on to do the other boardwalk, the Ancient Empire, which is sign boarded and explains the flora and fauna of the area, around here we see the matriarch of the Tingle Trees called the Grandmother, the Tingle trees are hollowed out by fire or fungi.

After a great walk it was back in the truck and a drive into Walpole where we stopped at the Pioneer Park for some lunch before moving on and looking for our stop for the night.

I identified a nice place on the map, it said no caravans but that was ok because we do have a camper trailer, although now I look back I think it should have said no trailers! We turned off for Crystal Springs and followed the track and while looking for a camp site found very quickly that we were going to struggle to get Gypsy round the track. I jumped out with a two way radio and guided Andy back carefully until we were at a point to turn around and go back out the way we came.

A few more kilometres up the road we found another site in the Granite Peaks State Forest, this one also says no caravans but we found a suitable spot and no problem at all manoeuvring. This is $7 per adult per night, but it seems to have good facilities, barbecue and drop toilets, very clean and looked after.

I think it is looking like rain but I am hoping that it holds off, on the way in I noticed that the ditches on the side of the track were fairly full of water.

Finding ourselves a spot just opposite the barbecue area we tuck Gypsy into the back and no need to unhook and set up fully this will be just an overnighter. We have a short rest and then on with the hiking boots to go and investigate the area and see the Fernhook Falls.

There is plenty of water here, you can hear the falls from our campsite and as we get closer we can see the foamy waters. I believe it does get quite dry here in the summer months so we are lucky for a change to see some waterfalls in full flow. The foam is a brownish colour but looking at the water coming over the falls it does have a brown tinge to it, so the water must be rich in the mineral from the rock that it is coming through.

We do walk up to the bridge for a better view of the falls, there is a sign up that would indicate that nobody is to walk on the bridge, I am sure this is because they want to avoid large crowds blocking the road for through traffic. It is late, we have not seen any other vehicles and there is only the two of us so we disobey the sign for a better look.

The camp area is not very big, but there are huts here for some of the hikers that are on their way through, there are small piles of firewood, but we are not going to bother with a fire tonight, we decide that the hikers probably need the firewood more than we do.

There are Kookaburra's here, we can hear their familiar laugh, the strangest thing is that neither of us have heard Kookaburra's for ages and cannot remember the last time so it is lovely to listen to them as the darkness starts to descend.

It was a damp evening and not a pleasant one for sitting out, after cooking our dinner on the barbecues provided we ate our dinner in the comfort of Gypsy and afterwards played Rummikub, Andy beat me 2 games to 1, he claims he is the grandmaster poobar of Rummikub but I don't think so, there will be payback but for now he can enjoy his victory.

Co ordinates 50S 462747E 6146884N (UTM)

34 49 0 S 116 37 25 E Camps

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


16th September 2013

Wet & Dry
Very brave Caroline to do Tree Top Walk - it is really worth it though, high in the canopy, and quite safe. Great to see photos of Fernhook Falls wet. They were bone dry in March - but we did see the interesting rock platforms, formations & colours! It was quite obvious where the torrents of water would flow. Keith & Jan xx
16th September 2013

Tree Top
You are now in familiar territory. We absolutely loved the Treetop Walk. And the Whaling station, too. You are bringing back so many fond memories. Thanks and ENJOY

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