Wandering around Walpole
28 June 2010
The forests of magnificent Tingle Trees reaching for the sky and miles of inlet waterways protected from the impacts of man by legislation. According to Gary Muir, a local tour guide, the three poles are North Pole, South Pole and Walpole. When you hear him talk, it is clear from his passion which of those he thinks is the most important.
Established in the early 1930’s on the south coast of Western Australia, on the edge of the Walpole Inlet, which in turn is off the Nornalup Inlet, Walpole is a sleepy little town with a peak population of about 500. Both the Deep and Frankland Rivers flow into the Nornalup Inlet which enjoys a mild climate with warm sunny days during summer and good rainfall in winter.
The drive to Walpole along the South Western Highway is one of the most picturesque in Australia, whether from Albany via Denmark in the South or via Bridgetown and Manjimup to the North.
The family-owned Rest Point Holiday Village has a water frontage and access to the National Park. A short walk from your camp site will put you on a stretch of lawn that roles down to the inlet waters. Here you can cast a line or just relax and watch the pelicans.
Around the jetty a number of sting rays jostle for scraps from the fishermen. Most notable of these is an albino who has been coming to the jetty so long he is almost a member of the family.
Walpolewas initially settled by farmers, with timber milling developing soon after. This coastal and bush paradise has attracted a wide variety of characters over the years and the area is steeped in history, both recent European and ancient Aboriginal. The region is most famous for the Giant Red and Yellow Tingle Trees, many over 400 years old.
What may come as a surprise, even to some relatively local West Australians is that the region has also developed into one of the richest dairy and beef farming areas in the state. The lush green pastures surrounded by National Parks and State Forest make for great views. More recently, wineries have started popping up in the surrounding hills.
Possibly the best way to get a view of the Tingle Forest is from the Valley of the Giants tree top walk. This award winning attraction offers you an exhilarating view of the trees and their inhabitants, taking visitors from the valley floor to the spectacular canopy 40 meters above.
While the Valley of the Giants walk costs $4.00 for a child and $8.00 for an adult, you can get to see the trees at ground level for free. There are many forest walks, including the Giant Tingle Tree Walk, Mount Frankland and Circular Pool Walk. The Giant Tingle Tree is the largest known living eucalypt. As well as the mighty trees you will see prolific wildflowers in spring, including many ground orchid species. For those more adventurous, the Bibbulmun Walking Trail passes through the area. There are many access points, so you can walk it for a few hours or even a day or two.
The Walpole and Nornalup Inlets flow into the Southern Ocean. The inlets provide a calm expanse of water with reasonable fishing and stunning views of the forest reaching down to the water. The Wonders of Walpole (WOW) tour is a 2.5 hour highly informative cruise across the inlets and an optional walk to the beach where the Nornalup Inlet meets the sea. Coalmine Beach is an excellent sheltered swimming spot.
If you have a 4WD it is possible to drive down to Mandalay beach for a spot of fishing: salmon in season or whiting all year around.
PLACES TO STAY
Walpole Inlet Retreat
Lot 168 Walpole Street East, Walpole, WA, 6398
Phone: (08) 9727 1535
Town Of Walpole:
South Coast Highway
Walpole WA 6398
PO Box 196
Tel. (08) 98401111
Fax: (08) 98401355
Fish in the Inlet
Walk Between Rest Point and Sandy Beach (1.5KM)
Visit the Giant Tingle Tree
Picnic at Fernhook falls
Stroll around the park by the visitors centre and look at the logging equipment.