I’ve been staying in HI Youth Hostels (aka, YHAs) for this leg of the trip, and in every one I kept hearing people saying they were “…off to Denmark next.” Oft times these were just snippets of strangers conversations, and I just assumed there were an awful lot of Danish people in Australia whose visas were about to run out. I was wrong.
I decided to cut my time short in Pemberton, and add another stop off to my journey, the town of Walpole. I was going there because I wanted to do the Treetop Walk in the Valley Of The Giants, and there’s just no way you can go there and do that in a day from Pemberton.
As it turns out, doing it from Walpole is a bit of a pain as well. West Australia (W.A.) is pretty poorly served by public transport when you get out in the sticks. As the locals will tell you, W.A. stands for ‘Wait A while’.
However, it was not a local who told me about not being able to get to the Treetop Walk, but rather a German called Norbert who I’d met in Pemberton, and who was boarding the bus as I was disembarking.( NB: There definitely are a lot of Germans in Australia!) Now this news was disquieting, but I was undeterred. I was as close as I could get. Surely there was some way to get there. Well indeed there was.
The lovely lady at the youth hostel also did a side-line in hire cars, and so for the princely sum of $37 I acquired my chariot for the day in the form of a battered old Suzuki Swift.
Swift by name and swift by nature, this thing went like the clappers. Within minutes of laying down the cash I was hoofing it down the highway, shoddy tourist map open in the passenger seat, looking for my first ‘big tree to climb’.
Ironically, my first big tree was in fact a big tree, the Giant Tingle Tree to be exact. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. In the spirit of ‘climbing big trees’ I pulled over on the way there when I saw a sign for a lookout point.
I enjoyed the sight for a few minutes, and then I was off again. Y’see, I was on a mission. I’d done no headstand pictures since being in Oz, and I was feeling like I needed to rectify the situation immediately. But to do that I also needed to relax the ‘rules’ a little bit. I’d been taking photos in front of famous landmarks so far, hence the title Landmark Inversions, but to do that in Oz I was going to have to broaden the definition. Otherwise I was going to end up with just three photos – the Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Sydney Opera House, and Ayers Rock – and that wouldn’t do at all!
So I started off today’s crop with a shot at the Giant Tingle Tree, and if you don’t think it looks that giant in the picture above, have a look at it with a bit of scale (ie: me).
Picture done, it was off to the next venue, the Treetop Walk.
The Treetop Walk is, as the name suggest, a walkway that allows you to view the forest canopy without the need for climbing gear or even the climbing of stairs. It runs from the top of an incline, so it’s pretty level all the way round.
It’s an impressive piece of engineering, and you get some nice views from up there. It’s also great for headstand pics, if you’ve got a friendly South African chap to help you take them.
Picture two done, and it’s off to the next ‘big tree’; Dinosaur World!
Sadly, Dinosaur World was more like Dinosaur Land (or possibly Dinosaur Peninsula), as there was more parrots than there was dinosaurs. But what they did have was snakes and lizards, and I got there just in time for snake handling time. Yay!
Unfortunately I couldn’t see any way to do a headstand with a snake on my neck (no way that they’d let me try, anyway) so I left there without another headstand picture for the collection. Still, I was undeterred as I headed to the next locale, Williams Bay.
There’s absolutely nothing famous or special about this bay, it’s just Peggy at Walpole YHA recommended it and I figured I hadn’t been in the sea for a while so I thought I’d give it a go.
I have to say, and I’m not the first to do so either, that the beaches in W.A. are lovely. Beautiful blue waters, crisp sandy beaches, you’d be hard pressed to do better. I had a little stroll through the surf, enjoyed the salty air, and got this little beauty to add to the collection.
That made three, but I had designs on a fourth, at a maze near my final destination. However, since it was getting to be mid-afternoon and I’d had nothing substantial to eat since breakfast, I decided to give it a miss and press on to the now fabled city of Denmark, West Australia.
Yes, this was what they’d been talking about. Not the country, but just another town on the south-west Australian coast, named after some vicar apparently. From all the talk I’d expected it to be full of backpackers, but not so. In the end it was just another sleepy little Aussie town with a few cafes and not much else to do. That being said, I managed to get a decent bit of food in the form of a lentil curry, so I’m not complaining.
From Denmark it was just a straight shot through back to Walpole, and I was hoofing along at a good pace when I saw this:
Trust me, the picture does not do it justice. It was gorgeous, the light cutting through the clouds, and I just had to pull over (twice as it happens) and admire the beauty of it. Another prime example of ‘climbing a big tree’.
And that was it for that day, but not for my vehicular activities. I’d hired the car for 24 hours, from 11am Friday to 11am Saturday. So, not one to waste an opportunity, I took another recommendation from Peggy and went the next morning to climb Mount Frankland, a local fire lookout point.
Actually, ‘climb’ is a bit of a misnomer. I drove up most of it, only climbing the last 200 steps or so.
I tell you what, this sign gave me pause for thought. I actually had to stop and think ‘Do I consider myself “foolhardy”?’ And in fact, yes, I kind of do (sometimes); ’But sod it,’ I thought, ‘I’m going up anyway’ (quite possibly the very definition of foolhardy, no?).
It was a great view (if you like trees) and it afforded me the opportunity to do another headstand photo.
So that makes four more headstand pictures to add to the six I’ve already got from Austria and California, and seven ‘big trees’ I climbed in a day and a half. Not bad going for one $37 car rental, don’t you think? If I can keep this pace up I’ll crack a hundred before I leave Oz. Now that would be something special, don’t you think? Well, special or silly, it’s a fine line eh? 😉