When 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 www.pembertontourist.com.au.
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