After a busy day exploring so many places throughout the Margaret River region we decided to take it a little slower while we explored the south coast, partly because we didn’t want to rush but mostly because it takes so long to drive anywhere.
We said goodbye to the ocean and made our way inland towards Pemberton, a small town surrounded by karri forests. From here you can make your way along the Karri Forest Explorer, an 86km tourist drive of partly unsealed roads, forest walks, picnic spots, and ‘climbing trees’.
Valley of the Giants
We skipped this and made our way south to the Valley of the Giants, part of the Walpole-Nornalup National Park near Denmark (the town, not the country) because it sounded cooler. I would definitely recommend buying a ticket for the Tree Top Walk, it’s $19 well spent.
You enter the walkway and head deep into the forest of red and yellow tingle trees, climbing higher and higher until you’re standing 40 meters above the ground with a few of the trees still towering above you. It was a surprisingly fun experience and a good little adrenaline rush if heights aren’t your thing!
It also includes the Ancient Empire boardwalk, a ground-level trail that winds around and through some ancient tingle trees. They die on the inside due to disease or fire but continue to thrive on the outside. It looks really cool. I think I’ve found my spirit tree, minus the disease and fire…
Green’s Pool and Elephant Rocks
From giant trees to giant rocks, we made our way back to the coast (hooray!) and straight to the beach. All I can say is that if you make it this far south, give yourself as much time as possible for these two gorgeous spots.
Green’s Pool is a golden crescent beach in a calm bay with crystal clear water, perfect for snorkelling around the big boulders scattered around the shore. It’s so peaceful and would be a great spot for kids if you happen to have some with you.
If you follow the rocks to the left you’ll eventually find yourself looking down to another even more secluded beach lying in the shadows of the Elephant Rocks, aptly named for the shape and size of them, lined up in the water like an oversized, slightly disfigured herd of elephants.
One piece of advice for you: if you’re thinking you might need gas soon, you fill up at the first gas station you see.
Don’t tell yourself you’ll wait until the next one. It could be closed, or 156km away, and you’ll end up driving aimlessly around wondering how long it will take you to die once you run out of the water, until you find a random house with a gas pump that saves the day.
After that adventure things started looking up, for about 15 minutes.
We found a free campsite, free!! This is kind of a big deal considering camping in Australia is horrifically overpriced. It’s a little place called Torbay Inlet and it’s lovely. There is a ton of space as you drive through the camp, if people had regular-sized tents, and there’s even a toilet.
Update: There are actually a TON of free camp sights across Western Australia but we had no idea about them until we got back to Perth. Download the WikiCamps Australia app, it’s worth paying for it because you will save an insane amount of money.
One thing you should not do, if you’re driving a two-wheel drive, is drive too far out of the campsite. That sandy road actually turns into a beach and we immediately got impossibly stuck. After furiously rocking the car, getting even more stuck and angrily googling how to get out, someone came to the rescue and towed us back to safety.
We proceeded to set up camp and try to drink enough to drown out the sound of the crying baby next door. I doubt even a whole bag of goon could have managed that. In the morning I sat by the river with a cup of tea watching a pelican and felt much better about the whole experience.
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