We could not leave the Margaret River area without visiting one winery. We decided to make it a random visit to a winery we had never heard of. It is hard to go wrong with wines in this area and Hamelin Bay Wines did not disappoint.
The drive to Pemberton was scenic with loads of lush forest and a bit of farming land. We headed to a great free camp in the Warren River National Park, just south of the town. It was a small site with room just for us right next to the Warren River and surrounded by huge trees and lush vegetation.
We were drawn to visit this area for its fire lookout trees. These are a series of Karri trees that were set up as fire lookouts between 1937 and 1952. They could not build towers tall enough to see over these stunning trees so decided to find the tallest trees and build the fire lookouts in them. Three trees remain open to the public today.
The first tree we visited was the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree. This is the tallest tree and also the newest being built in 1988. (Yes, I know that’s inconsistent with my previous paragraph but that’s what the brochure said – we don’t really get it either).
The tower stands 65 metres high and to get to it you climb 130 steel pegs that spiral up around the tree. We are amazed that such trees are still open and free for the public to explore – no helmets or harnesses and limited warning signs. It seems a bit like taking a trip back 20 years or more before the world became hyper-vigilant about risk and litigation. Izzy summed it up by saying as she climbed “Wow this is so dangerous…but also really, really cool’. Needless to say climbing the tree is a real thrill and quite scary. The kids had no fear and scaled it easily and the view from the top was very impressive as we looked out over the tree canopy.
Just driving around this area is stunning also due to the enormity of the trees and lush vegetation. This is just as well as where we were camped had a myriad of tracks, many of which did not cross rivers or petered out or were closed off without notice, making some of our drives take a little longer than expected.
This area is also known for is mountain bike tracks so one morning Izzy and Andrew explored the tracks around Pemberton. They had a great time and Izzy came back super happy having tried out some steps and ramps.
Meanwhile Matthew and I took a tram tour into the forest for a lovely relaxed morning. The old tram took us to the Cascades and across the Warren River. It was informative, fun and relaxing and it was great for each of the kids to have some 1:1 time with a parent.
That afternoon, Izzy and I scaled another fire tree, the Diamond Tree. This was not as tall but seemed a bit more challenging as the higher pegs were vertical and a bit more difficult to scale. Izzy had chosen this tree as it was the only one to have the original hut at the top. Unfortunately, when we got to the top we found that this level was sealed off so we could only make it to a lower platform.