One last look at the forest. The major attraction in these parts are the climbing trees. These are very tall karri trees with a viewing platform at the very top that were traditionally used as bushfire lookouts. Now the majority of climbers are tourists hoping to get a great view of the Southern Forests, but you won’t see that view without climbing the (trecherous) numerous rungs, with nothing more than a feeble-looking safety net between you and the cold, hard ground below.
There are three climbing trees. The Gloucester Tree is the most well-known as it is a mere 3km from Pemberton. Its viewing platform is 58 metres above the ground.
The Diamond Tree is just outside of Manjimup, and its viewing platform is 51 metres above the ground.
But the tallest is the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, with platforms at 30 and 68 metres above the ground.
To be honest, I was too scared to climb up any of these trees to the top – I could only manage the first 2 – 3 metres of all three of them.
I do like my tree burrs. There’s something very primeval about them. On east coast gums they’re fascinating. On giant west coast karri, they’re absolutely spectacular.
Getting back to the flora of the forest, we have some wattle – quite similar in hue to the east coast varieties…
And some delicate purple peas.
Occasionally we came across some felled trees. Apparently, sometimes the logs were so big that they couldn’t haul it out of the forest. The ring detail is fascinating. No wonder karri wood was (and still is) in such demand.
Unlike the rest of Western Australia, they generally get good rainfall in the south west, particularly during winter and spring. So it wasn’t so surprising to find some interesting fungi on the trees.
I found it hard to find an angle that showed the true size of the tallest trees. This one shows the scale of the big tree in relation to the path and the forest floor. You can’t even see its branches here.
The birds in the south west were different to the east coast too. Here’s a very ubiquitous one – a lorikeet like bird with very different colours!
The forest is definitely more open than similar environments on the east coast. On the ground are vines and low-lying scrub, many of which were flowering. Here is a dimunitive but sunny flower for the day.
The Southern Forests cover quite a large area of the south west. The area around Pemberton is famous for karri, a species of eucalypt, and one of the tallest species in the world. It is not unusual to see trees over 50 metres, and they can grow up until 90 metres. Unlike other big trees, these are relatively fast growing. They can reach heights of 30m within 70 years, and 50+ metres in 100 years. That’s way it is unfortunately the favourite of loggers. Pemberton still has a large mill operating.
Near the jetty was a lone duck…
It however wasn’t the only one. The rest of the group were swimming on the other side of the dam. I guess some choose to be alone.