The Italians have a saying: “He was born with two sheds.” It basically means the same as “He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth,” but unless someone tells you that how would you know? So when I told my German girlfriend that I was “Off to climb a big tree,” she didn’t know if I was being literal or if this was some English figure of speech she’d never heard before. And if so, what on Earth could it mean???
Well in this case I wasn’t being cryptic, I was indeed on my way to climb a big tree. The Gloucester Tree in fact, one of only two tourist attractions (unless you’re into timber mills) within walking distance of Pemberton. And even that one is 3km out of town.
The Gloucester Tree is an old fire lookout point; just a really tall tree with iron spikes stuck in it to make a ladder, and a platform at the top to stand and look out from.
Back in the day it was used to spot fires, but not anymore. That’s all done from planes now. These days it’s just left for foolish tourists like myself to go up wondering, as we get higher and higher with not a hint of health and safety involved, what on earth we are doing?
I don’t mind admitting, I got the willies the higher I climbed. But once you’re half way up you may as well go all the way eh? Actually, I got the willies just looking at it from the ground, but once you’ve walked 3km to get there you can’t just turn round and go back can you? I mean, when it’s right there in front of you, you have to go up it, right? I thought so anyway.
I was out of breath when I got to the top, and my heart was going a bit, but I’m glad I did it. Not just for the bragging rights, but also the great views. Unsurprisingly you get an uninterrupted 360 degree panorama of the surrounding countryside. Ok, so it’s mostly trees, but still, it’s worth a look I reckon.
The other tourist trap Pemberton has to offer is the tram. $24 buys you a couple of hours on a cranky old tram through the woods (there’s those trees again) to a ‘waterfall’ they call ‘The Cascades’ (both of which are far grander terms than it actually deserved).
The ride itself wouldn’t have been much except for the highly entertaining commentary provided by the driver, Adam. He gave us some of the history of the area, cracked a few jokes, and anything he didn’t know he just made it. No one minded because, (A) he confessed to it at the time, and (B) he was funny while he did it. When something’s entertaining you don’t need it to be true, do you?
We went as far as the tram was able, then Adam switched ends and we went back the way we’d come. I enjoyed the tram ride. We got to see an emu, which was unexpected, but I’m not sure it’s worth $24. It killed an afternoon though, so I can’t fault it really. And just think, without it there’d just be one thing to do in Pemberton.
I only stayed in Pemberon a few days in the end. I was going to stay longer but I realised I couldn’t get to the Treetop Walk from there, which is something I really wanted to do. Plus the public transport turned out to be much more sporadic than I’d anticipated. So I juggled my plans and arranged to spend a few days in Walpole before heading west to go to Augusta. That’ll be the subject of my next post, in which I ‘climb a few more trees’.
By the way, after some discussion we decided that “going to climb a big tree” means ‘to go do something just because it’s there’ (the very reason I climbed the Gloucester Tree in the first place).
“I’m bored. Let’s go climb a big tree.” – ‘I’m bored. Let’s go find something interesting to do.’ or,
“Are there any big trees around we can climb?” – ‘Is there anything around here we can go and do?’
So there you have it, a new phrase to use in your everyday life. Tell your friends, tell your colleagues, tell strangers in the street! Let’s see if we can get it into the lexicon. If we did, I’d feel like I’d been born with two sheds! ie: Well chuffed, hehehe. 😀