The Southern Forests

Australia, Western Australia, Wines Add comments

From our awesome spot alongside the Blackwood River on the edge of the Margaret River region we said goodbye to Sergey and continued east into Western Australia’s Southern Forests.  The Southern Forests are an array of towering eucalypts that stretch from west of the quaint, inland timber town of Pemberton to the beginning of the southern inlets near Walpole.  We first stopped off in Beedelup National Park on our way to Pemberton, taking in the gushing 12 meter (39 feet) high Beedelup Falls and having a walk through the Karri forests to the ‘Walk Through Tree’ near Karri Valley Resort (Mum: you’d like Karri Valley Resort…). 

Lisa in the 'Walk Through Karri' in Beedelup National ParkBeedelup FallsSam in the 'Walk Through Karri' in Beedelup National ParkLuxury accommodation at Karri Valley Resort on the edge of Beedelup National Park

View from the Gloucester Tree in Gloucester National ParkLisa climbing the Gloucester Tree in Gloucester National ParkNever one to resist a country town bakery, I convinced Lisa on lunch at The Crossings Bakery in Pemberton (it didn’t take much convincing) before exploring a portion of Gloucester National Park.  A climb up the 60 meter (197 feet) trunk of the Gloucester Tree was quite a workout, amazing views from the top over the canopy of the forest making up Gloucester National Park.  The towering eucalypts in the forests in southern Western Australia are used as lookouts by firefighters, the tallest trees in each portion of the forest have metal stakes driven perpendicular to their trunk to form a makeshift staircase.  The Gloucester Tree is one of the few trees used as lookouts open to the public.

The Crossings Bakery in Pemberton (definitely one of Australia's best!)Lisa climbing the Gloucester Tree in Gloucester National ParkThe Gloucester Tree in Gloucester National Park

Our private steps to the Warren River from our campsite in Warren National ParkTaking a much needed hot shower in Warren National ParkWe spent our first night in The Southern Forests at a beautiful campsite alongside the Warren River in Warren National Park (S34°30.569′ E115°57.693′).  Our spot not only had a fire pit and picnic table with benches but also a private staircase leading down to the pristine waters of the Warren River.  A really fantastic spot, so peaceful and tranquil in amongst the towering Karri Eucalypts Lisa with Picardy Winery's winemaker Dan Pannellwith not a sound but the trickle of the river.  I took a dip in the river, talk about icy, lucky for The Tank’s hot shower!  From Warren National Park we stopped off at The Cascades in Gloucester National Park on our way back into Pemberton for another day of wine tasting.  Lisa called ahead to Picardy Winery, an appointment only establishment north of Pemberton, hoping to organize a tour of one of the better known wineries in the region.  Whilst waiting for a call back we took a scenic drive through the rolling hills surrounding Pemberton, stopping at Mountford Winery (where they also brew some tasty ciders), Silkwood and finally Salitage Winery.  Dan Pannell, the winemaker at Picardy, called Lisa back and we were treated to an in-depth tour and tasting of his establishment.  An outspoken but humorous bloke, Dan spent more than an hour with Lisa tasting her through all the varieties grown on his family’s estate, Pinot Noir being the highlight for Lisa.  I was fortunate enough to taste everything on offer as well, while my taste buds aren’t anywhere near as tuned as Lisa’s I did very much enjoy some of the drops on offer in the Picardy barrel cellar.

Our campsite next to the Warren River in Warren National ParkSunset on the Warren River from our campsite in Warren National ParkDriving through the Karri forests in Warren Naitonal ParkThe Cascades in Gloucester National Park The beautiful rolling hills in the agricultural areas around PembertonMountford Winery near PembertonMountford Winery near Pemberton On our way in to Silkwood WinerySilkwood Winery cellar doorSilkwood Winery cellar doorSalitage Winery cellar door Salitage WineryPicardy WineryPicardy WineryPicardy Winery vineyards

Salmon Beach in Point D'entrecasteaux National ParkSalmon Beach in Point D'entrecasteaux National ParkFrom Pemberton the South Western Highway makes its way through Shannon National Park and back to the coast near Walpole.  On recommendation from staff at a couple of the wineries around Pemberton we instead decided to make our way down through Northcliffe (Western Australia’s wettest town [even wetter than all those towns up north in the tropics!]) and to the sleepy fishing Salmon Beach in Point D'entrecasteaux National ParkSalmon Beach in Point D'entrecasteaux National Parksettlement of Windy Harbour (S34°50.187′ E116°01.538′).  We’re glad we took the locals’ advice: Windy Harbour lies in a protected cove beneath the majestic cliffs of Point D’entrecasteaux, the vistas from the cliffs in the afternoon sun were brilliant and the campsite in amongst all the holiday shacks was a great spot.  Windy Harbour immediately reminded us of some of Point D'entrecasteauxPoint D'entrecasteauxthe small hippy settlements along the Mendocino Coast…  During our afternoon in Windy Harbour we explored beautiful Salmon Beach then along the top of the cliffs to the tip of Point D’entrecasteaux and some of the lookouts in-between.  A very rugged but beautiful area of the country…  On our way back to Northcliffe and the South Western Highway we stopped off at Mount Chudalup, where we spent an hour climbing to its peak for 360° views of D’entrecasteaux Fishing is a popular pastime in Windy Harbour...National Park and the ocean in the distance.  As we made for the highway we attempted to find Lane Pool Falls in the wilderness area east of Northcliffe, but after the better part of an hour driving in what seemed like circles on a myriad of logging trails we called in quits and made a beeline for Walpole.  We ducked into Fernhook Falls in Frankland River National Park on our way to Walpole, the tea color of the Deep River was more pronounced at the falls than anywhere else we’d seen in the region, the tannins from decomposing plants responsible for the colour.  Even though the water is coloured deep brown, the Deep River is supposedly the most pure river in Western Australia, avoiding agricultural areas for over 95% of its 120 kilometer (75 mile) length. 

Looking back to Salmon Beach from Point D'entrecasteauxOur campsite in Windy Harbour next to Point D'entrecasteaux National ParkThe quaint fishing settlement of Windy Harbour Tide pools at Windy HarbourLooking at Point D'entrecasteaux from the beach at Windy HarbourThe quaint fishing settlement of Windy Harbour View of the coast toward Point D'entrecasteaux from Mount Chudalup Sam and Lisa on top of Mount Chudalup near Windy HarbourFernhook Falls along the Deep River near WalpoleFernhook Falls along the Deep River near WalpolePool along the Deep River near Walpole

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This entry was posted on Monday, November 23rd, 2009 at 8:00 AM and is filed under Australia, Western Australia, Wines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “The Southern Forests”

  1. Idaho Youngs says:

    I really liked the Gloucester Tree. Guess you just have to make do w/what resources are available. Beautiful scenery.

  2. The Great Southern | Our Walkabout says:

    […] Plain, we’ll definitely hold the southwestern corner of Western Australia (Margaret River, The Southern Forests and The Great Southern) fondly in our memories.  Such a brilliant portion of the country with […]

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