We left Denmark to head up to Busselton which was going to be a half way stop for us on the way back to Denmark. We had to make one more stop along the way to see the famous Gloucester Tree.
The Gloucester Tree is a giant karri tree in the Gloucester National Park of Western Australia which had far reaching views of the surrounding forest. So, in 1947, some forester had the grand idea of using this tree as a fire lookout tree, as this tree was easy to climb.
They put rebar rods into the tree which spiralled around the tree to the top, which was a towering 58m above the ground. That equated to 153 rungs of the spiral ladder.
I am sure that it wasn’t until the thought went through their head that “Wait a second, someone may fall to their death” ….that they put a safety cage around the outside of it. Good call.
The other thing that wasn’t in their engineering design back in the 40s was that it was going to be a popular tourist attraction down the road.
That meant that the rungs were standard width for a ladder. Maybe, if I was generous, they were 24” wide. Oodles of people visited the tree every day, including suped up converted van-loads of backpackers with their extra hair and poor bodily hygiene (sorry to anybody who falls under this category, but in general it is true). And then there were busloads of Asians who don’t really understand the meaning of “personal space” were there. They just motored on through without regard for anyone else….(again, sorry to any Asians, but in general it is true). Multiple people going up and down with no one monitoring and controlling (seriously…you pay $17 at the parking gate and then you see no guide or parks person again!) makes for a butt clenching pass hanging onto the wire cage on the outside…or hugging the tree if you are lucky enough to claim stake on the inside of the rung!
Oh well, we reached the top…of course the young ones reached there first, and given Wilson’s fear of heights, we were very proud that he got up there to the top. Peer pressure has a good impact sometimes too…
At the top of the tree, the vistas of the surrounding area were pretty amazing in all directions. There were some trees that certainly gave Gloucester Tree a run for its money, but it was still the tallest by far.
Given our experience with some of the local area attractions in the previous few days, we had to reward ourselves with one more stop at Simmos for another feed of ice cream. This time I went full bore and got the Christmas Pudding one and it didn’t disappoint. They didn’t have any egg nog ones, but I will leave that to Kawartha to hold that title.
We made our way back to Busselton where we stayed at a local campground that had a big playground, jumping pillow, and splash pad for the kids.
Not to be outdone by this old man, the 17 year old Robyn challenged me to a poolside workout competition. Surely she would be me…or at least so she thought. There were multiple legs of exercises then jump in the pool to swim a length (which was about 10m or so), and then repeat…. Old man won one round, and young girl won one round. Not bad for an old guy.
The campground also had a great kitchen which had a foozball table and a ping pong table in it. This led to some more challenges between all of us, and Deb and I went full out with all of the smashes and spins we could dish out. In the end, the old man won fair and square.
Dinner and bed so that we could get up and get back to Perth to drop our camper van off in preparation for our trip to Sydney, which would be a quick three day stop en route to Tasmania.
The camper was a blast to be in, and it was nice that the kids got to sit in the back and have a bit of space to themselves, and they behaved themselves for the most part. There were times that we just shut the curtain and let them at it while we were sitting in the front, but all in all it was good.
It was a lot of fun to have Robyn along for this leg of our trip as well. So much so, that we did some fancy footwork to get her included in on our Tasmanian adventures including our three day costal hike, which we booked months ago. The kids are super excited to have her around for a little while longer…and Deb and I are as well as she has been an easy addition to this crazy travelling troupe. It was fate that she was to join us.
We are really looking forward to seeing all that Tasmania has to offer. It really is a place that is off of the radar for most people, as people tend to stick to the mainland of Australia for their trips.