Trees and caves
1 May 2007
|First of all sorry for the delay in updating this! I have been travelling up the west coast where there is little internet access.
Anyway, to continue...
We finally managed to leave Denmark under a cloudy sky that threatened rain, which was a little worrying as the next thing to see was a tall trees walk 40 metres above the ground on an exposed walkway. The place we were going to contained a type of tree called the tingle tree, which is only found in this part of Australia and can reach heights of over 60 metres after some 400 years.
Luckily as we arrived the clouds parted and there was some sunshine and soon we were walking along the not too stable feeling walkway admiring the amazingly tall trees. I managed to drop a lighter I had in my pocket (I had used it to try and see how to do something when camping previously) and it fell through the grill of the walkway to the forest below. I meant to tell the people at the entrance when I left but I forgot and subsequently had a brief paranoia that it could cause a forest fire the following summer.
Anyway after the walk along the tops of the trees there was another walk along the bottom looking at more huge trees, before we headed to a different forest up the road to see a giant Tingle tree, which was really impressive. These trees are hollowed out in the middle by forest fires, but the outer skin lives on producing large gaps in the trunk. The hole in the giant tingle tree is so large that people used to be able to drive cars into the space and it was amazing to see.
After seeing loads of trees we headed towards the town of Pemberton, via a winery along the way and went to the only hostel in town. Pemberton has a huge saw mill and a strip of shops and cafes and nothing else. Entering the hostel was like entering a cheesy zombie horror film with everyone there staring at you with dead, uncaring eyes. You had the distinct impression that many of the people staying there were just about to slit their wrists, they just could not be bothered at the moment.
Anyway when we checked in Thomas got very excited as he found the guy behind reception really hot, but luckily the guy did not notice (he did not look like the sort of guy that would have appreciated Thomas's attentions) and checked us into the sub hostel across the road. It appeared that to stay in the main building you had to be working nearby and one of the zombie hoard. The building across the road turned out to be a run down place with although having facilities had obviously not been touched for ages and we were the only people staying there asides from a slightly mad middle aged Aussie woman who talked constantly about whatever rubbish came into her mind. Even if you left the room and so obviously wanted out of the one sided conversation she continued to talk for a couple of minutes...
The weather was bad outside and it got dark early. There was a telly but the sound would not work so the woman watched it for about an hour while me and Thomas played pool on a battered table in a back room (which was missing a couple of balls). Thomas went over to speak to the manager about the telly (he wanted an excuse to talk to him) and after it was fixed we all sat and watched Time Team dig up some peoples gardens in search of some Roman ruins in the south of England, which was really surreal. (There was only 2 channels we could see on TV and the other contained sport which no-one was interested in). Before I went mad I headed over to the main part of the hostel to see if I could go onto the internet or get any social interaction out of the zombies (which I couldn't). It was not a fantastic evening.
As we left the hostel in the morning the woman tried to tell us in detail of her potential breakfast choices but by this point both myself and Thomas were completely ignoring her. We headed out of town as quickly as possibly and soon were back in the forest.
Next stop was called the Gloucester tree, a huge Karri tree some 62 meters tall that you can climb up by means of some huge metal spikes that have been driven into the tree in a spiral. Right at the top was a small tree house where you had a commanding view of the forest, the original purpose of which to enable people to see forest fires coming before the days of helicopters and satellite imagery. There was some basic safety measures in the form of a net hanging off the side of the spikes, but it still was a slightly dangerous business climbing the tree and after getting part of the way up I started to get vertigo and had to come back down. Thomas, however (with some coaxing) managed to make it to the top, which was impressive.
By the tree were loads of beautiful parrots, the reason for their hanging around became obvious when a bunch of school children turned up with a load of bird seed, it must be a regular thing. Thomas got some extra bird seed off one of the teachers and and we fed the parrots as well which was quite nice. The next stop was another forest of Karri trees (the original gum tree) where there were loads more huge trees and another tree you could climb, which were still impressive but after the past couple of days of tree related sights were not as interesting as they could have been.
After leaving the forests we headed down to Augusta for some excellent fish and chips before heading off to one of the three large caves in the area, called Jewel Cave. It was really impressive and in a couple of places there were tree roots from the giant trees above going straight through the cave.
We decided to camp for the night close to another cave called Lake Cave, even though it was raining slightly. There was some wood on the campsite and for some reason me and Thomas decided to make a fire, even though the wood was a bit wet and we had no firelighters. Eventually after breathing in a lot of smoke and a couple of hours later we had a working fire, which we sat around drinking beer for a bit.
There was a kangaroo around the campsite and at one point Thomas left the fire and walked back to the car and almost bumped into it, he was quite lucky as kangaroos in Australia can be deadly and have been known to kill a number of people! As it was he and the kangaroo stared at each other for a couple of seconds and then they went separate ways.