Today we drove a short distance from Margaret River to Pemberton, a little timber town in the SW of Western Australia. This trip of about 138 mms only took a couple of hours and we were in Pemberton in time for lunch which we had in a little cafe in the main street.
This town is famous for its ‘lookout’ trees. We saw two of them – the Gloucester Tree and the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree. These very tall Karri Trees are unique in that they have a platform in their crowns that is used as a fire watching platform. By triangulating the position of any smoke in the forest from these platforms, it is possible to identify the exact location of a forest fire and call out any required fire fighting services. Access to these platforms is via a series of steel bars that have been driven into the trunks in a way that forms a spiral staircase. It would take a much more courageous person than me to climb the 75 metre height of these trees in this way, although we did see a number of brave (stupid??) people climbing them.
The forest here is very beautiful and it is very pleasant to drive through it on a network of forest roads.
Along the way, we saw many Burrawang Trees. When I was a kid, we called these ‘Blackboys’ but since this is now politically incorrect, the are mostly known by their botanical name ‘Xanthorea’ These plants grow up to three or four metres tall and have a long flower stalk that rises from their middle. Some years ago an author, Tom Prior. wrote a series of children’s books about a character named ‘Grug’ who was an upturned Burrawang tree and had a number of adventures in the forest. Our grand daughters love these stories and i will have to send them a photo of the ‘Grug Trees’ that we have seen.
We had a very interesting afternoon in the forest visiting a number of attractions. One was the Beedelup Falls which are in full flow after the recent heavy rains in this area. There is a walk way around the falls and a swing bridge over the river at the bottom from which you can get a good view of the falls. There is some quite rare fauna in this area and a great diversify of wild flower species.
In another area of the forest are the ‘Cascades’ on the Lefroy Brook. These scenic cascades have a nice pool below them that looks very serene and peaceful. There is a pathway and a board walk that follows the stream and it provides a very pleasant viewing area over the little falls where the stream makes its rocky descent down to the Warren River.
We are staying in the historic Pemberton Hotel and have just had a vey nice pub meal for dinner. The newish motel rooms are quite comfortable.