Climbing the Valley of the Giants and the Gloucester Tree

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
7
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
1
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
7
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
6
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
3
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
7
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
67 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Oceania
country
Australia
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 10
Time of year visited
December
Primary Tags
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RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
141st/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 40% SUMMARY RATING: Superb

Summary

Western Australia’s southwest is primarily known for its wonderful wines around the Margaret River region, but its forests are also simply magnificent with some of the tallest trees in the world around the suitably named “Valley of the Giants”

 

Its certainly worth half a day to explore and the best way to do it is:

  1. Drive through the area – in particular on the Great Forest Trees Drive near the Shannon River
  2. Walk the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk – a walkway suspended 40m / 130ft high that allows you to walk through the forest canopy
  3. Climb the Gloucester Tree – a giant Karri tree with a 58m / 190ft viewing platform at the top, making it the second tallest tree lookout in the world.  But it isn’t so much the height that is unusual.  Instead, it is the 153 spikes that ring the tree and are the method for climbing it that stands out.  For those even remotely scared of heights, this is a truly terrifying experience wrapped up as a family friendly activity – especially as people have to pass you by on the way up or down.  Only 20% of people make it to the top lookout . . . and back down again – respect if you do

The Gloucester Tree and Treetop Walk can get a little busy (relatively), so I would suggest prioritising the Great Forest Tree Drive as there are various options to be able to stop and have a walk around with the forest largely to yourself, including a 8km Great Forest Trees Walk across the Shannon River.  The drive is also in between Gloucester Tree and Treetop Walk, so you can then chose to drive to either as part of your route

highlights

#1 The drive through the magnificent forests, occasionally stopping to have large walks all to yourself

#2 The Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk - an elevated walkway that allows you to have the 40m / 130ft canopy view of these giants

#3 The truly terrifying climb up the spikes to the viewing platform at the top of the giant 58m / 190ft tall Gloucester Tree. Genuine respect for those who get to the top

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone