It takes about 3 hours to drive straight there, but we chose to break the journey at Walpole and visit the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk.  Walpole Visitor Centre gave us a very helpful map which helped us navigate our way there via the scenic route which gave good views of Walpole and the coast.

En route, we visited the Giant Tingle Tree that you can stand in the middle of.  You could actually drive a car through the middle of it the gap is so huge!  It was 300 years old with a massive girth of 24m.

A stop at a cafe was another good opportunity to talk to locals here.  They really like watching Escape to the Country and look wistful as they talk about visiting the UK one day to explore the rolling green countryside.  There is a great fondness here for England – I’m not sure it would live up to those great expectations in some areas these days?

It’s always great to pick up the local paper in a cafe too.  Today’s told of flights starting from Melbourne to Bussletopn – 3 times a week $75 one way.  That will change things a bit down here – hopefully not too much?

The avocado harvest is in – the headline in the paper was “It’s time to smash an avocado!”

Flora and Fauna:
Eucalyptus Trees“Australia has some 700 varieties of eucalyptus trees and they have the most wonderfully expressive names:  Kakadu wollybutt, basgtard tallow-wood, gympie messmate, candlebark, ghost gum … and … stringy bark.”  Bill Bryson – Travels in a Sunburned Country

Australia borders nothing and is on the way to nowhere.  It feels in every sense like the last place on earth.”  Pico Iyer Five Thousand Miles from Anywhere.  It is a very long way away from the UK, that’s for sure, and it’s gradually getting further away too.  Since it split from Antarctica 45 million years ago, is is moving steadily northwards by 6cm a year.  It is like a giant Noah’s ark, moving into increased isolation with its unique array of wildlife passengers.

Photos I wished I had taken:
A kookaburra – sighted just outside the cafe in Walpole.  I suppose they are fairly common place if you are Australian, but I was amazed by its laugh.  So amazed I forgot to reach for my camera and click the shutter.

The forest after rain. Pear shaped raindrops hung from the delicate flowers on the tall bush and ferns like a string of glistening jewels.  A photo just doesn’t do it justice (at least, mine didn’t – keep practising …!)

The Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk was good fun.  It sways from side to side a bit and is 40m up in the tree tops, but a must do experience here really, even if you do have a bit ofd vertigo (like me!).  There were people pushing pushchairs along it, in the rain – how =hard can it be?  You get a great view over the forest and feel as though you have climbed to the top of the trees to do it.

Fascinating Fact:
Tingle trees grow to great heights on a very shallow root system.  Swaying in the wind stimulates growth of the trees lower limbs and roots which broaden out in the shallow soil to stabilise the tree – like angle brackets.

Glad I packed:
A raincoat.

Souvenir I wished I had bought:
Koala fart.  A eucalyptus preparation that’s good for soothing insect bites etc.  Very astutely named – not sure it was worth the $13.95 for a small bottle just for the name though?!

Foodie Firsts:
Bronze Whaler.  A shark – absolutely delicious battered and fried.  Enjoyed at Hooked on Middleton Beach – voted the best fish and chip restaurant in Australia and conveniently located went steps away from our front door here in Albany.  Think 14 choices of fish and a wine list – this is definitely way above your average chippy!

​The great Aussie Pie.  If you can’t resist, they do a tiny version too – the party pie.

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