Valley of the Giants, Denmark Western Australia
For many years tourists would come to the Valley of the Giants and take a photo of their car in the middle of a giant Tingle tree. However, with people and cars damaging the shallow root system, the tree collapsed in 1990.
The Ancient Empire walk and a tree top walk were envisioned and created so that people could still come and admire the beauty of the forest without damaging the trees. Walking through the Ancient Empire Walk was relaxing. Looking at the beautiful trees, listening to the birds and the wind through the branches was calming. Only 30% of light filters through, so it is cool here.
The Ancient Empire walk is 600m long, the first 150m are wheelchair accessible and takes around half an hour to complete. There are two types of Tingle trees – the yellow Tingle Eucalyptus guilfoylei grows to a height of around 40 metres. The red Tingle Eucalyptus jacksonii grows up to 75 metres tall and up to 20m in girth. The red Tingles bases are often hollowed out. These hollows are created by a combination of fungal and insect attack, and then fire burning out the dead wood from the centre of the tree.
Boardwalks and paths have been created to guide you around this amazing grove of Tingle trees that are unique to the area.
The Grandma Tingle tree almost looks like a face watching over both you and the surrounding forest. She measures 12 metres in circumference, 34 metres high and estimated to be over 400 years old. There is also a King Tingle. This red tingle tree has a crowning glory of small white flowers every four years.
Burls are created on the trees, each one unique. They are caused by insect, bacterial or fungal attack. The tree forms a protective growth around the wound, like a scab on human skin.
Karri she-oaks also live in this forest. If you look closely you may see slipper orchids in the branches of the trees.
The tree top walk is an adventure through the canopy of the trees where you can imagine being a bird, looking down on the forest. At the highest point on the walk you are 40 metres above ground.
The tree top walk only occupies about three square metres of forest floor which definitely minimizes the damage to the trees. The walkway did sway a bit when other people were walking on it at the same time. Holding the handrails on the side helped me keep my balance. It was delightful to be up above the forest. In seemingly minimal time the walk was over. You do have the option to go around again. I loved visiting both these walks because of the different perspectives you are given on each one. The forests are stunningly beautiful both from on the ground and above.
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