Pemberton

In the Big Tree Country

After two weeks in Perth, staying with Julie, we hired a car and headed south. Because it was the school holidays and New Year, accommodation was hard to come by and we found ourselves staying in Pemberton which is some distance from the main tourist centres. In particular we were staying in chalets which once belonged to the Warren National Park, but have since been sold on to a local avocado farming family.

Our chalet at Hawke Brooke Chalets

Our chalet at Hawke Brooke Chalets

We couldn’t have found a better place! It was quiet, a fifteen minute drive from Pemberton, self-catering, very comfortable and in a beautiful part of the country. It overlooked a spring fed dam which was rather scenic.

Our chalet from across the dam

Our chalet from across the dam

The farm was a working farm specialising in avocados and kiwi fruit. A walk through the farm was always worthwhile.

A karri tree reflected in an irrigation dam

A karri tree reflected in an irrigation dam

And if you went further afield the magnificence of the forest was manifest.

On the Old Vasse Highway

On the Old Vasse Highway

Trying to photo these monster trees required great efforts.

Chris photographing tall tree

Chris photographing tall tree

But the rewards were quite good.

Karri from below

Karri from below

There has been a long (in Australian terms) history of forestry in the karri forests and only in the last few years has it been brought under strict control. Pemberton used to be a logging town and is now transforming itself into a forest tourism town. And doing it rather successfully.

One of the attractions it boasts is the Pemberton Tramway which carries you through the forest along a narrow gauge railway in a tram of 1907 design.

The Pemberton Tramway

The Pemberton Tramway - it does actually move!

Inside the Pemberton Tram

Inside the Pemberton Tram

At various points you can get off and have short walks through the forest.

Walking in the forest

Walking in the forest

At one time the tram went all the way to Northcliffe but now it stops at the Warren River Bridge, in the heart of the forest and then returns to Pemberton.

The Pemberton Tram at the Warren River Bridge

The Pemberton Tram at the Warren River Bridge

One of the traditions of karri forestry was that of building fire lookouts in the tops of large trees. This was commemorated for Australia’s Bicentennial by the construction of a new lookout in the top of a very large tree. The topmost lookout is 75 metres up and getting to the top is not for the faint-hearted (or for me!). The means of ascent are by way of steel spikes inserted in a spiral fashion up the trunk.

Climbing the Bicentennial Tree

Climbing the Bicentennial Tree

The tree is huge – I got as far as the 25 metre level and thought that was quite far enough!

The Bicentennial Tree

The Bicentennial Tree

After four days at Hawke Brook we made our way to Margaret River and that will be the subject of the next post.

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