Thursday, November 9, 2017


Back on the road again this morning.  We couldn’t make up our minds about whether to camp at Pemberton or Manjimup.  For similar prices at both caravan parks, and after looking at the reviews of both parks, we decided that Manjimup sounded the nicer of the two, so Steve rang ahead and booked us into Fonty’s Pool Caravan Park in Manjimup. 

Our distance again today was less than 100kkms, so we decided to do some sightseeing along the way to Manjimup.
Giant Karri Trees
Wildflowers in abundance again
It just keeps going on and on...
 Our first stop off this morning was to check out the Beedleup National Park, in particular Beedleup Falls, which is a small and attractive series of rocky cascades, which adjoins an enchanting forest of giant Karri trees along with smaller pockets of Jarrah and Marri trees.  
Beedleup Falls

 The walk was an easy walk and made even prettier by the abundance of wildflowers out in bloom.  This really is a very pretty area of Western Australia. 

After our walk, we enjoyed a morning tea break in one of the picnic areas within the National Park before heading off towards Pemberton,  and the nearby Gloucester National Park which is home to Western Australia’s most famous Karri Tree.

 Karri trees are recognisable by their tall straight trunk and smooth bark coloured in shades of pink, white, orange and grey. The relatively few leafy upper branches are arranged in broccoli-shaped branches.  In spring and summer, the canopy explodes in a mass of white flowers, which attract flocks of raucous purple-crowned lorikeets.

The GloucesterTree

In particular we wanted to visit the famous Gloucester Tree and climb it.  The Gloucester Tree was once a fire lookout tree and can now be climbed by the public. Those who do venture up the 153 pegs to the top will be rewarded with commanding views of the karri forest and surrounding farmland.

Foresters selected the Gloucester Tree to use as a fire lookout in 1947. It was one of eight lookouts built in the south-west between 1937 and 1952. To determine its suitability as a lookout tree, forester Jack Watson climbed it using climbing boots and a belt. It took him a gruelling six hours to reach 58 metres high and return.

Before the introduction of spotter planes to look out for fires, a network of fire lookout trees spread out across the south-west forests. From the top of these trees, foresters used to scan the landscape around them for the first signs of fire.

Gloucester National Park contains three climbable karri trees, each more than 60 metres (200 ft) tall. The most famous is the Gloucester Tree, but there are also the Diamond Tree and the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, the tallest of the three at around 71 metres. The trees have metal rungs that allow visitors to climb them and reach the constructed lookout at the top.

Ian and Kathy had been here previously 8 years earlier and Kathy had climbed the tree then.  Steve was keen to give it a go this time.  Kathy and I ventured up a rung or two just for photos but Steve scaled it until he made it the very top. Have lots of photos to prove it….

By the time he climbed down again, it was starting to drizzle with rain, so we figured we had better just head for Manjimup our accommodation for tonight.

They had wanted us in before 4pm anyway as they had a 4pm wedding around the pool and wouldn’t be in the office at that time.  
These are the flowers that form the carpet under the tree
The shee pgrazing in the paddock behind our van..
 The caravan park was even nicer than we had envisaged, set in a lovely rural setting with orchards all around and sheep grazing in the paddock behind where we were parked with our van.  The park was covered in lovely flowering trees which dropped their flowers to form beautiful soft pink and mauve carpets on the lovely manicured lawns. 

They also had an amazing children’s playground which our grandchildren would have loved.

The highlight of this place though, would have to be Fonty’s Pool.  Fonty's Pool is a historic freshwater swimming pool. It is now registered with the National Trust of Australia as an area of heritage significance. 

Fonty's pool (more photos tomorrow)

Archimede Fontanini originally dammed the stream with a log and earth.  Locals convinced him to cement the dam and develop the gardens and charge and entrance fee to cover maintenance costs.  In 1925, Fonty’s Pool was officially opened and became a well known beauty spot in this area. 

Archie maintained the pool and gardens until 1973, when at the age of 93, it became too much for him and the pool was closed.  

In 1979 the pool was reopened with a “Back to Fonty’s Pool” log chop and swimming carnival attended by more than 12,000 people.

In 2005, Fonty’s Pool was sold to the current owners Jeremy and Kelly Beissel who have reopened the property (and the swimming pool) and set about restoring it to its former glory and more.  

Fonty’s Pool is a lovely setting for a wedding and looked beautiful as we arrived.  However, it was drizzling with rain, so I did feel for the young couple who were about to say their vows overlooking the pool. 

It was also really cold by the time we arrived, so in the end, we just chilled out in our vans in the warmth ( where we could turn our heaters on) and left the exploring to be done tomorrow. 


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