lundi 23 avril 2012

Denmark and Walpole (Valley of the Giants)

21st of March 2012.

After having worked for 1 month in Manjimup, it was time to hit the road again (we were starting to get a bit bored). Time for the adventure to continue!  Time to get back in that stupid van (with no reverse and 5th gear, now completely brocken) and drive!

We headed off down south towards Warpole and Danmark. On our way there I saw a pelican for the first time! A giagantic bird flying high in the sky!
These two towns, strung out along the South Coast Highway, both lay claim to the magnificent Valley of Giants, which stands between them. The rolling forested countryside has green paddocks and vineyards where cleared, with a number of rivers slicing down to coastal inlets.

Denmark sits on the Denmark River, just above where the paperbark-tree-lined river runs into the broad Wilson Inlet. It’s a compact, busy little place with all the essential services.

History of Danemark
On the 9th December 1829, Lieutenant-Surgeon Wilson stood on the summit of Mt Lindesay and took in the magnificent panoramic view. Of this he wrote: ‘I have seen many far famed views in the 4 ancient divisions of the globe and have no hesitation in saying of this, the 5th, if it did not surpass, fell but little short of them’.
The next day, Wilson came to a river on the south side of Mt Lindesay. Wilson named this the Danmark River, after Dr Alexander Denmark, who served in the Royal Navy from 1814 to 1835.
The Denmark region combines a beautiful setting with an intriguing history and a growing cultural awareness. The Denmark area was known to Aborigines as Kurrabup and signs of their culture, such as fish traps, and ochre and dolerite quarries, can still be seen in the area.

In 1885 European settlers moved into the Denmark region seeking the magnificent timber that once grew throughout the region. In the  19th century streets in London were paved in timber blocks cut from trees that grew here.

In Danmark you can aslo see the Bert Bolle Barometer, the biggest barometer in the world!

Warpole is a much smaller and quieter place, hemmed in by national parks on all sides, with the finest areas designated as the Warpole Wilderness.

The jewel in the crown is the Valley of the Giants, some 15km east of Warpole. This area has never been logged and the trees are simply magnificent, mostly a mix of towering karri and red tingle. Looping through the upper branches is the elevated walkway of the treetop walk, while a boardwalk at ground level leads through the Ancient Empire.

The treetop walk was really something special. A 600m, see-through steel-mesh walkway some 40m above the ground reaches out across a forested valley. 
The walkway, ensconced within the tops of trees, is built upon tall anchored pylons at the end of each walkway section, which allows the structure to sway with the wind or as a reaction to people walking along it. It is a spooky feeling to realize that the structure you’re standing on is moving, and not necessarily in concert with the branches all around you. But it’s exciting and wonderful too!

The Ancient Empire walk was great too. The old Tingle trees with big holes in their trunks are impressive. I wonder how they can survive all burnt out like that!

We stopped to sleep not far from Danmark at West Cape Howe, the most southern point of Western Australia, where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean.

Le Carnet de Voyage
(cliquez sur les images pour agrandir)

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