Giants and Kangaroos
flickr image by InfoMofo

Giants and Kangaroos: The Australian Karri Forest

Tucked away in the far southwest corner of Australia, is a wondrous forest of giants and kangaroos. Stretching from Margaret River to Denmark, one can find numerous patches of Karri trees to fill the soul and liven the spirits. These glorious trees are nothing less than magical, and it is rumored that druids and witches live unrecognized in these forests, practicing their arts of nature worship. Whether you are a fairy, hiker, biker fisher, four-wheel driver or just nature enthusiast, you are bound to fall in love with the karri forests of southwest Australia.


flickr image by Kyle Taylor, Dream It. Do It.

Karri trees are members of the eucalyptus family. This means that they have bark that falls from the trunk resulting in a creamy colored wood exposure. They can grow up to ninety meters tall, making them one of the largest trees in the world. Their remote location in Australia keeps them protected, even though they are a tourist attraction. Many years ago they were highly sought after for their wood, as it is beautiful in color, and makes fine furniture. There are still streets in London that are paved with circular cutting from ancient karri trees.

The Australian Karri Forest

flickr image by Pete Fordham

Just outside Margaret River there is a patch of karri forest where you can stop and enjoy the silence. The colors provided by the light being diffused through the leaves is magnificent, and the sounds of the bird calls bouncing off the trunks echoes right through you. Most visitors to the region may only see this small area, as it is close to a highly trafficked tourist destination, but to truly immerse yourself in the karri forest you must drive a couple hours south to the Warren National Park and biological region. It is there that you will simply be awed by the full majesty of these trees.

South of Nanup, just as you cross the Donnelly River, you will be greeted by the Karri Forest Region. There is a radio guided tour available, and highly recommended, called the Karri Forest Explorer. Keep your eyes open and you will definitely see the road signs denoting the station and various locations for the tour. If you are adventurous, you might consider climbing one of the three lookout trees known as the Diamond Tree, Gluocester Tree and the Bicentennial Tree. The tallest is seventy-five meters tall, and they all have platforms near the top that were and still occasionally are used for spotting fires.

I you want to see the tree tops, but are not ready to climb the leg shaking ladder to the top, then the Valley of Giants tree top tour in Walpole is probably best for you. It is another hour and a half south of Pemberton and Warren Park, but is a beautiful drive through similar karri forest to get there. You can refresh and educate yourself at the wilderness discover center, and take your time meandering over the high walkways suspended across the tops to the karri trees.

Luckily this region is blessed with higher rainfall than the rest of Western Australia, which means you’ll probably see green forest most of the year round. Karri trees flower in the spring and summer, so you can take your pick of season for visiting. These amazing trees grow very near to the coast, and have two significant rivers running through them, so be prepared to stay a while at any of the many camping sites, budget or higher end lodges that populate the area. Being in the karri forests of southwest Australia is like nothing you’ve seen or experienced before, and should be a high priority on your vacation checklist.

Date posted: 28th March, 2013

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