Adventures among the tree tops in Western Australia

January 22, 2012 in Australia,Places,Western Australia

Coming from just south of the California Redwood Forest and a place affectionately known as the “City of Trees”—Sacramento has more trees per capita than any other city in the world—I’m no stranger to tall tangles of bark and leaves.

Gloucester Tree, Western Australia

But even I felt dwarfed for a day in Western Australia, strolling along the canopy in the Valley of the Giants and scrambling up to the top of a 61-meter tree with no safety gear.

Valley of the Giants walkway, Western Australia

Wandering in the Valley of the Giants, it’s almost impossible to comprehend just how big these trees are. 400 years old and 40-meters high, the Treetop Walk is suspended far above the ground.

Grandmother tree, Valley of the Giants Tree top walk, Western Australia

There’s the Grandmother Tree, with enough enormous gnarls and knots to resemble the Wicked Witch of the West. There are trees with splits in the trunk big enough to walk through, and trunks with diameters not even a giant could wrap his hands around. After a few days in the treeless plan, the Valley of the Giants feels impossibly lush and green, with a damp humidity sitting in the air.

Valley of the Giants Tree top walk, Western Australia

And the walk through the treetops is a feat of engineering, an experience that slowly-but-suddenly takes you to the very tops of the trees.

Valley of the Giants Tree top walk, Western Australia

After a relative relaxing and serene walk in the canopy, climbing up the Gloucester Tree seemed positively daring. I’m not scared of heights—and I’ve done plenty of extreme sports in the air—but climbing up a 61-meter tree with absolutely no safety gear or net was enough to get my hands shaking.

Climbing  the Gloucester Tree warning, Western Australia

The tree consists of metal pegs stuck into its trunk, wrapping around the tree until a small wooden landing about two-thirds of the way up. There’s another risk warning once you get there: after that point, the metal rods become increasingly narrow and almost vertical.

Climbing to the top of Gloucester Tree, Western Australia

At the top, you’re essentially climbing up a completely vertical ladder jutting out of the tree until you reach the landing with 360-degree views over the canopy.

View from the top of Gloucester Tree, Western Australia

The view is incredible, but the rest is anything but relaxing: going up was one thing, but going down backwards is quite a notion. In short, it’s terrifying.

Note: I discovered all of these treetop adventures via the Nullarbor Traveller tour

  • Anonymous

    My boyfriend and I are planning a working holiday in Australia starting in August. Your posts are giving me so many ideas of things to do. Keep posting and I’ll keep pinning!

  • Anonymous

    Dear Christine,

    Please refrain from writing awesome stuff about Australia, until I have more money in the bank. Stop being selfish :PYours Sincerely,

    Anthony

  • Oh man! I climbed the Centennial Tree … and holy… i know what you mean about terrifying.  And I’m not even scared of heights.  Only in Australia would they have these unsupervised trees with metal rods sticking out of them with no safety net or harness or anything, and they’re MEANT to be climbed. 

    Man I miss it there! 😛

  • I climbed the Gloucester Tree too – can still remember how much I was shaking by the time I got to the top. Luckily there was a winery really close by so had to stop in to calm my nerves when I got back down!

  • Anonymous

    You’re from Sac?! I’m from Fresno! Being from the valley, have you found that the west coast of Oz reminds you a lot of home?

  • Anonymous

    Hooray! You will love Australia–too many beautiful places and wonderful people to count!

  • Anonymous

    If only Australia loved me as much as I it…I too had to move on to Southeast Asia after Australia emptied out my bank account. But fully worth it, my friend! Fully worth it!

  • Anonymous

    Haha I know! The whole time I was climbing, I was just thinking about how something like this would NEVER fly…and how if I fell, I would have a hell of a time explaining what I was doing climbing an insanely tall tree to my mother. Oh well–such an awesome view!

  • Anonymous

    Haha I know– I was absolutely shaking and wondering how the heck I was going to get back down. Almost considered not going the last third up, but super glad I did 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Ha! Small world. Yesss Perth/WA definitely reminded me a lot of California…but the beaches are MUCH better than what we have in Nor Cal!

  • Been there! Climbed that same tree. Beautiful place. Your pictures are divine!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! Such a scary experience, non? But the views are incredible!

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