SW Day 2 – tall trees

Somewhat more busy today. The usual “you’re on a tour – get up” early rise for breakfast and into the bus for a quick squizz around Augusta. A replica of one of the early ships is stood on chocks not far from the hostel. This tiny thing was sailed from Canada to the UK and then to the east coast of Oz before bringing a boatload of people from there to Augusta. Impressive for a ship so small.

The Gap and Natural Bridge a few miles out of town are worth a visit. The overcast windy weather made these formations all the more spectacular as waves pounded off, under and over them. We didn’t stop for too long as the schedule was quite busy.

Our next brief stop was Demark (seriously) for a leg stretch, then another pitstop to walk along a beautiful stretch of coastline as the weather continued to blast us with windchill. It didn’t stop some people (not in our tour group) from having a swim, though. Nutters.

Bob gave us another pitstop at the Bartholemews Meadery. Here they make a gazillion things, including wine, from honey. I was particularly taken with the spicy wine which is best drunk warm. Shame my rucksack’s full to bursting or I’d have been tempted!

To burn off the alcohol, we headed into the Valley of the Giants. In here is a tree-top walk, a series of suspended walkways taking you up into the forest canopy some 40m above the ground. Not for the faint hearted (and well done to one of the Swiss girls sho does have a problem with heights for managing it), the walkways and support columns all wobble quite a bit. An amazing view, though I’m sure it would be better in sunnier weather when the birds weren’t in hiding.

Lunch was next in a little layby surrounded by greedy magpies. Then we headed for the really tall trees…

In the forests around the South West there are strategically placed trees chosen for their height. These monsters are usually over 60m tall and have tree houses perched on the top so that non-height-fearing watchers could keep an eye out for forest fires. To get to the top of them one has to clamber up a load of metal stakes hammered into the tree in a spiral. There’s a chicken wire cage around the steps, but it looks flimsy – and there’s no protection from slipping through the large gaps between the spikes.

There’s no sign up anywhere saying that anyone’s fallen through and died, so I assume they haven’t. I know I didn’t. Scared the bejabbers out of me, though. I found that a good way to ensure you don’t look down is to get an Australian woman with a great bum to go up ahead of you. Of course, this doesn’t help on the way down.

Last stop of the day was our cottage in the forest outside of Pemberton. A large shack outside housed a barbequeue and an open fire where we sat and drank beer – and ate food – until late in the evening.

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