Denmark (forests)October 13, 2017 in Australia
With the forecast promising better weather for the weekend, we headed south to the coast. We'd planned to stop at Walpole, but changed our minds and decided to use Denmark as our base to explore the area (and save us one set up / pack up!). The dense, towering forests thinned out as we neared the coast and were interspersed with rolling green farmland. Tummies rumbling, we decided on the spur of the moment to stop off at the Elephant Rock Cider Co for lunch. There's something for everyone at this family run operation - cider, a toffee factory, a shop selling an extensive range of sauces and preserves and a pleasant cafe with outdoor seating and play equipment for the kids. We'd been tempted by Wikicamps' reports of amazing burgers - and they were pretty good...but HUGE! They also had a pretty cool looking mini-soccer course (I.e.like mini golf but with soccer balls) but we decided to push on and head for Denmark, just down the road.
We stayed at Denmark Rivermouth Caravan Park, where Jen and Roy had stayed 19 years ago and were pleased to discover it was as good (or even better) than they remembered. We had no problem snaring a site with river views and the hopped on our bikes for the short ride back to town and the big playground on the banks of the Denmark River. The kids enjoyed playing and Roy and Jen soaked up some warmth in the sun.
On Friday, we packed a picnic and hopped in the car to head back to Walpole-Nornalup National Park to visit some more giants of the south west forests - first up were the Tingle Trees (apparently their name is derived from the local Noongar Aboriginal people's name for the trees). We followed a one way loop up to a lookout with spectacular views over the forest, the inlet near Walpole and the sea beyond. Sections of the Bibbulmun Track traverse these forests and would be a wonderful way to explore them. We continued driving and stopped off to check out the "Giant" Tingle Tree and the "Large" Tingle Tree. Many of these trees have huge hollowed out bases, the result of fires burning out the heartwood. Amazingly, owing to the structure of the bark, they can survive this trauma and continue to grow to towering heights. Sadly, in 1990, the original "Giant" toppled over after years of visitors feet, and even cars, trampling its fragile roots. Unlike many other forest giants, the Tingle Trees' roots grow out horizontally rather than deep into the earth - now this is better understood, the current "Giant" and "Tall" specimens are surrounded by boardwalks to minimise the impact of foot traffic. There was a pretty 1km loop walk through the forest - plenty more Tingle Trees and wildflowers to be enjoyed. If the weather had been better we would have continued on to Circular Pool (which sounded like a nice swimming spot); instead we headed back to the highway and on to the Valley of the Giants and Tree Top Walk.
The Tree Top Walk is a wheelchair accessible walk, literally in the Tingle Tree tops, 40m off the ground at its highest point! The kids and Roy loved it...Jen not so much! The metal structure is comprised of spans between pylons - and the spans swayed unnervingly with only 5 of us on it (would hate to think what it would be like in school holidays when no doubt there'd be the maximum of 20 people per span at any given time!). The kids were given a great little detective hunt booklet at the start of the walk which made it easy to convince them to continue through the short Ancient Empire walk at ground level - they wanted to solve all of the clues!
We stopped off at Bartholomew's Meadery on the way back to Denmark. The kids were fascinated by the glass beehive in the shop, Roy tried some of the mead (not convinced!) and we all enjoyed a delicious honey-based ice cream made onsite. The shop also sold a variety of honey and other honey and bee-related products. Back at the campsite, Jen headed over the Denmark River via the bridge at the front of the caravan park for a walk along the Heritage Walk Trail (a Rail Trail that now forms part of the Bibbulmun Track) and Roy and the kids tried some fishing on the River (usual success rate!).Read more