On Wednesday, we sadly had to say goodbye to Margaret River and all its treasures. We took the scenic Caves Rd towards Augusta. Our first quick stop were the Jewel Caves but we then decided that they cost too much. So, we headed straight to Hamelin Bay, where we went looking for stingrays. We walked along the pretty beach but at first did not see any. No wonder, they were all assembled around the boat ramp, where somebody was throwing fish garbage into the water. Once the crowed left, I started talking to a guy who was loading a boat to go diving and then he gave me a small fish that I could feed to the rays. That was cool!
Then, we drove on to Augusta. Again, we took the tourist drive and had beautiful views over the lighthouse. At this cape the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. I was convinced one side looked greener than the other 🙂
We moved on towards Pemberton and drove into the national park 15km before the town. In the Lonely Planet it said that the Bicenntenial Tree was less populated than the Gloucester Tree, so we wanted to have a look at this one. This is a 75m high tree which the fireman used to climb on top of to watch out for fires. I couldn’t believe that you can still climb to the top without any safety lines or without a ranger watching over the tree. We actually were the only ones at the tree! Nevertheless, we were determined to reach the platform at the top (I wasn’t so sure whether I would make it). It should be quite safe because there are steel poles every 20 cm hammered inside the tree, forming a ladder that leads around the tree and on the side is something like a safety net. So, only if you lose your strength and fall in between the poles because you slip or pass out it would become problematic.
Now, I like to climb on trees or rock climb but I always feel uneasy when I look to the ground. Here, you kind of saw the ground constantly whenever you reached one of the thin poles and it really looked high! So, for the first 20m, I felt like throwing up but nevertheless, I climbed on to at least make it to the first platform. Finally there, I hugged the tree for a while to calm my nerves and pretend that we were on something solid that wasn’t moving in the wind. Miriam was so motivated to reach the top, that I climbed on too and it actually got easier after a while. In the end, it was just steel ladders from platform to platform. From the top, there was an enormous view over the Karri Forest as far as the ocean.
Unfortunately, there was no lift or zip line, so we had to climb the same way down again. Now, I just prayed that I wouldn’t pass out because the ground still looked so far away. At least it came closer with every pole I stepped down. Finally on the ground again, we felt really proud that we managed that.
Because Miriam thought that this wasn’t the tallest tree, we ate some chocolate chip cookies and then drove to the Gloucester Tree. There was one guy at the top and another couple climbing it. Somebody was waiting on the benches on the safe ground. It probably was too high for him 🙂
Actually, this tree is shorter than the other one but since we already knew that we could do it, we climbed to the top of this one too. I was glad that we did the other one first, because here the first platform was on about 40m and no break before that is a long way up!! But here, I didn’t have that sickening feeling anymore. I guess the thrill of the first time was already over 🙂 Nevertheless, I was relieved when I reached the platform.
Back on the ground, we drove to Big Brook Campground, a little outside Pemberton. The lady in town told us that it would be a free campground with showers. Too good to be true. There were no showers and it would have cost 7.50$ but the host was very kind and let us stay for the concession rate or 5.50$. The campground itself was nothing special but close to it was a beautiful lake. This forest area reminds us a lot of Europe. We could be camping at a quarry pond in Austria.