The Gloucester Tree

gloucestertree.jpgWhen you think of thrillseeker adventures, tree climbing isn't normally what first springs to mind. But this is a tree with a difference.

A million people can't be wrong. That's how many people have climbed the giant Gloucester Tree. In fact, hundreds of thousands of people travel to Pemberton every year to tackle this famous karri tree, and in 2002 it carried it's 1 millionth climber to the top.

Standing at 61 meters tall, the Gloucester Tree is from the Karri family, which is the third tallest tree species in the world. It was pegged in 1946 so that people could climb it and use it as a watchtower for bushfires. Today it has become a very popular tourist attraction in the south west - and it's definitely not for the faint hearted.

For those of you who haven't stood next to a towering karri tree amongst the cool surroundings of a beautiful karri forrest - what are you waiting for? There's only one place in the whole world where the karri tree grows. You guessed it, in the south west.

A great day awaits those of venture out to see this great specimen (Eucalyptus Diversicolour).

First, just for a treat, when you arrive at the base of the tree you're normally greeted by a myriad of native birds that flock to your arms, looking for a feed.

Once you've enjoyed that for a while, it's time to tackle the tree. And there's only one way to do it. By hand and foot up the pegs that have been stuck into the side of the tree. All the way, 61 metres up.

But there's a great reward. The view from the top of the tree is fantastic, and all the more special because of the effort you made to get there. The panoramic view of the top of the forrest shows why it was such a good fire-spotting technique.

Then there's just the small matter of getting back down. I challenge anyone to say they honestly don't feel a flutter of nervousness as they look down and take that first step onto the ladder rung below!

The Gloucester Tree is in Pemberton, within the striking karri forrests of the south west, and only about 3km from the post office. Pemberton is great at any time of the year. Winters within the forrest are beautiful, but the summers have their own attractions too, with plenty of cool fresh water rivers to swim or fish in.

To get exact directions to the Gloucester Tree, or any of the other climbing trees around Pemberton, drop into the Pemberton Visitor Centre. Their web site is at

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Comments (39)

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:17 am

who is the youngest person to climb the Gloucester tree

Danny Criddle
Said this on 22-07-2010 At 02:52 pm

i was the youngest to climb it at our year 7 school camp

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:18 am

This is really cool. I saw this tree on a Globe Trekker episode. I wish I had the money to go to Australia to climb to the top of that beautiful tree.

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:19 am

I first saw the tree in 1967 at the age of 7. I was not allowed to climb it at the time but never forgot about it. On the 4th of Jan 2009 41 years later I found myself back in Pemberton and I competed  a life long dream of climbing the tree. Not an eazy task I must admit, for someone not crazy about heights like me.


Amy Watson
Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:19 am

hey did you know that my pops dad, 'george' reynolds was one of people how first peged the tree.
my pop jack reynolds was also one of the first to climb it, their names are in the recording book, next time you go check it out!

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:20 am

I climbed the gloucester tree above 5 years ago when i was in australia visiting family, my brother and i were the only two of our group to climb it. It was amazing, even though i climbed bare foot and in a skirt.

Colin Abbott
Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:21 am

I climbed it twice in the early 1970s, and I never did have a head for heights! I think I would have to partake of several neat whiskies if I were to consider doing it again. Crikey!

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:21 am

I climbed this tree when I was now 53. It was absolutely amazing...only thing was the small matter of getting hubby had to climb up to rescue me.

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:22 am

In Jan.09 I climbed up (@55years).  2 girls in front of me were in bare feet and screamed all the way to the lower platform. They wouldn't take the last few rungs to the top! It sure is a great challenge and worth doing!

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:22 am

I climbed the tree when I was 7 or 8. Apparently the sign said I wasn't supposed to climb it because I was too small, but I did it. It was amazing!

Said this on 10-01-2011 At 04:00 pm

you are never to small to do anything <3

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:22 am

I heard about and climbed the tree for the first time on the 11/07/09. It was a fantastic experience!!

Don Wilson
Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:23 am

I climbed the tree in 1981 when I was 39 years of age, married with three small children. That was 28 years ago. I remember it vividly as if it were yesterday because I had had 4 operations on my left knee for cartilage damage and still decided to risk it. I'm so glad I did even though there was no protection then. I will never forget the amazing view from the platform at the top.

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:24 am

Just got back to Melb from WA, climbed it for the first time, very daunting! After getting back down, had some lunch, worked out the cramps, then at my daughters' insistence, climbed it again with them-12& 13yrs, it was great fun

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:24 am

I am 61years young and I climbed this beautiful tree whislt touring the south west part WA.My son who is half my age followed me to the top where we enjoyed the wonderful view above the tree tops. Heights do not bother me but for my son it did. 

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:25 am

I climbeb the tree first when I was 51 years old.
I did it again when I was 63, and hope to do it again this year now that I am 71.

Said this on 10-01-2011 At 03:59 pm

age never did stop anyone :D i will climb it forever.. <3

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:25 am

Dude, im 15 and i just climbed the this tree and the bicentennial tree (which is in face taller and has a better platform at the top), as i was climbing down this kid was climbing up and it was like right at the top and i asked kim how old he was and he said 9! i was like WTF!! anyway if you like the gloucester tree, dont forget the bicentennial tree, cos its even better 

Said this on 10-01-2011 At 03:58 pm

bicentennial tree?.. where is this?.. :D

Said this on 02-02-2010 At 09:26 am

I managed the first 5 metres but at 65 decided that I really ought not to climb to the top, wish I'd had the nerve though!

Said this on 20-02-2010 At 07:27 pm

climbed it last year (12 years old). i could hear all my family friends screaming and struggling on the first few pegs. such wimps xD hope to climb it again one day

Said this on 01-03-2010 At 10:03 pm

Just got back from riding in the Karri Cup mountain bike race which starts and finishes in down there on Saturday and had some spare time so took the family to "the tree"....I climbed while my wife looked after the kids....took in the views for a bit, came down, then she climbed while I looked after the kids....while she was up there, I discussed with my 6 year old whether he wanted to try it or not, and in the end he said he I climbed it again, this time with him just above me! Apart from him stepping on my fingers a few times, he did really well and made it to the top really quickly. Coming back down was a bit harder because it's quite a drop between each peg for a 6-year-old's legs....I was very proud of him. He now thinks he's the youngest ever to climb it but I doubt that somehow! For the record, he'll be 7 in August 2010. Great job, son!

Ralph Brown
Said this on 04-04-2010 At 03:10 am

Ray Brown, I made my first visit to Australia in 1990 at the age of 60. My wife and I came across The Gloucester Tree on a trip down from Perth. I'm proud to say that I climbed to the top and recollect seeing a hawser stretching from the top to the ground. This apparently was used as a Bo'suns Chair for those people who got to the top and were too scared to make it down, under their own steam! My wife, Heather, would have freely admitted that wild horses wouldn't have got her up that Karri Tree!

Rob G
Said this on 13-04-2010 At 01:51 pm

I'm 58 yrs old and climbed the tree in March 2010.  Great view from the top. When I got down the ranger told me 4 people had died climbing the tree over the years ! 2 from heart attacks and 2 fell off. 

Sue Angles
Said this on 09-07-2010 At 07:28 am

I climbed the Dave Evans Bicentennial tree in August 2006 - it was wet and a little windy.  Sign said not to climb in those conditions, but knew if I didn't then I wouldn't get another chance.  So, very hestitantly I started - got to the 1st lookout and was nervous about going down and certianly didn't intend going higher especially after seeing the sign "if you thought this was difficult it gets harder - more spaced & more vertical".  Made myself continue to next platform and then up 2 ladders to the top.  Made it!!!  Didn't like the side to side sway in the wind so took a few photos for proof, then a slow descent.  Next day did the Gloucester Tree, then Dave Evans again, and days later the Diamond Tree.  Was confident by the last day and almost ran up .... oh to overcome fear!!!!  Well worth the challenge and the view amazing - also read the history of the 'fire lookout trees'

Said this on 13-07-2010 At 08:41 pm

I climbed the Gloucester Tree on the 26.11.1990 When I was 58 and Have my Certificate Framed  together with a Photo of the Tree and me at the Top.  Wonderful Holiday with Pommie Aussie Friend from Perth Len Hall. who had visited it previously 4 times. But this was the 1st time he had the Courage and he also made it to the Top


Simon Mazier
Said this on 26-07-2010 At 01:51 am

I've been telling my kids about the time I climbed a huge karri tree in Australia, long before they were born.  Today I found a certificate I was given for getting to the top of the Gloucester Tree ("with courage, dignity and decorum"), dated 13 March 1992.  Are they still giving these out?

I definitely need to take them there some time to see if the crazy gene was inherited.


Rob Jacobs
Said this on 11-08-2010 At 02:35 pm

Our family spent time in beautiful WA in 2003/4.  My 3 daughters loved the climbing trees.   The older two climbed to the top of both the Gloucester and Bicentennial Trees. The youngest one (5yrs 6mnths), not wanting to be left out, made it to the the 25m platform on the Bicentennial tree  (though she did use a safety harness).


Said this on 26-08-2010 At 05:23 pm

I'm from Germany and we climbed the tree. In Germany nobody would allow that because it wouldn't be save. But it was interesting and the view was amazing.

Did anybody die there before? Were there any accidents?

Said this on 10-01-2011 At 03:56 pm

no one has died there sweet heart :p

Said this on 14-10-2010 At 11:06 am

I've just climbed the tree a few days ago, aged 50. It was an incredible experience and after ten metres or so I doubted myself and nearly retreated. After a mo' I realised that I could overcome my fear of heights. I could not help having slightly wobbly knees as I went up step after step. There were just two others up there and when they scrambled down I had the top platform to myself. The view is incredible! Kudos to the brave ones who placed those simple rebar spikes up in a spiral round the tree and who built the solid metal and timber platform at the top. Looking down I wondered if anyone had ever fallen. The climb down was quick and today, two days later, I can still feel a few small aches from the exertion. It was well worth it. I will be back...there was no information about a certificate when I was there.

Said this on 10-01-2011 At 03:54 pm

haha i remeber climbing this tree when i was 9 :p although im only 14 now haha :D it is so cool.. i like the birds at the base of the tree.. u put bread anywhere on your body and they will perch on you <3 so cuoot <3

Said this on 02-06-2011 At 06:05 pm

im going to climb it in a few days :D for mid term

i've wanted to for aaaaages!!

joshua davies
Said this on 08-08-2011 At 07:52 am

i climbed this tree along with the bicentennial tree on the weekend. amazing trees and a great view. would recommend this to anybody :)

John, Joy & Lily
Said this on 14-08-2011 At 04:46 pm

My then girlfriend & I climbed "The Tree" in 1984 while travelling around Aust. It looks much the same except we were very much alone then > looks busier now.

We are going back to the west this Spring with our 9yr old adventurious girl to climb all the climbing trees  (I'm 60 next year)

John Richardson
Said this on 01-05-2012 At 11:46 pm

I climbed this tree as a 16 year old in 1964 when I was over from Victoria with the Scouts....... absolutely awesome!! Am talking with my 17 year old son right now about going their again in June 2012 with a view of both of us climbing it.  I am just 64 years old now and am not sure whether my son or I shall be the one to "chicken out".  Time will tell but, one thing is certain, it was an incredible experience and one of the most memorable things I have ever done.

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Said this on 06-11-2012 At 03:33 pm

I climbed this tree on 3rd November 2012. This has been one of the best experiences of my life. I'm 23 yrs old and my best decision to take te risk. I'm from india and have come here to visit my sister. Besides the fact that Pemberton is such a beautiful place, climbing the Gloucester tree was simply amazing. When I climbed half the tree, it started to get difficult and I jus was getting a feeling of slipping down as my shows didn't have good grip. My palm had become reddish and was hurting. It was extremely windy and scary especially without any safety measures. But once done, reaching to the top was liking seeing Heaven.. Mysterious trees all around and scared to death me. Wow unexplainable experience!!

Said this on 10-12-2012 At 09:44 am

I climbed the Gloucester Tree in 1986.  Amazing, but nobody warned me about the toughest bit - passing someone on those narrow rungs, when they're on their way back down.  "Do you want the inside or the outside?" he asked me.   What a stupid question!  I clung to the trunk like there was no tomorrow!

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