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DO AND SEE
Established as a wine region in
the 1980s, the Southern Forests’
temperate weather and rich gravelly
soils make this an ideal place to
grow splendid cool climate varietals.
Riesling, chardonnay and pinot noir
do particularly well. Cellar doors are
dotted around the region, but check
opening times because some are
open only on weekends.
As you explore the Southern Forests,
don’t forget to stop for some local
fruit and veg – often it’s a case of
‘leave your money in the honour
box’. The fertile soil grows amazing
potatoes, cauliflowers and broccoli,
apples, avocados, peaches, apricots,
pears, plums, cherries, persimmons
and other treats.
It’s the prized gourmet black Perigord
truffle – grown in the roots of oak or
hazelnut trees – that put the Southern
Forests on the foodie map. The
region offers ideal conditions for this
delicacy to flourish: Western Australia
produces 70 per cent of the country’s
black truffles, making it the largest
producer of the highly prized fungus
in the southern hemisphere.
MARRON AND TROUT
The region’s freshwater crayfish – the
marron – is a delicacy. To catch one in
the wild, you need a licence, and the
season is short, but you can catch your
own and even have it cooked for you,
there and then, at the marron farm (it
doesn’t get any fresher than that). The
region is also known for its exceptional
Pemberton’s Climbing Trees
The downside of living in an ancient forest? The risk of fire. To protect
against this, a series of lookouts were constructed at the top of a few very
tall karri trees during the 1930s and 1940s. Three remaining towers are
open to those who are brave and love to climb.
Z The Gloucester Tree was set up for convenient forest-fire spotting just
outside of Pemberton. Today, visitors can climb 61m (about the same
height as the Sydney Opera House) to see one of the most spectacular
views of the the Gloucester National Park.
Z Only in wa The 51m Diamond Tree between Manjimup and
Pemberton once housed a wooden cabin. The only wooden treetop
tower in the world, it was one tall treehouse!
Z The Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree in the Warren National Park was
first pegged in 1988, overtaking the Gloucester Tree as the tallest
Pemberton climbing tree, 75m above the ground with a 360-degree
view of old-growth karri forest.
TIP Purchase a national park pass from the Pemberton Visitor Centre to
enter the parks and climb the trees. The visitor centre also has information
on the region’s trees and forests in general.
Pemberton’s central location and good choice of accommodation make it a great base to explore the Southern
Forests. Get cosy in one of the region’s luxury winery chalets or family-friendly farm stays, or settle down in
a secluded, unpowered campsite. Opt for self-catering and take full advantage of the abundant produce.
trout, and people enjoy a visit to the
farm to catch or simply eat one.
TALL TIMBER FORESTS
A staggering 80 per cent of the
Manjimup region is forest and national
parks. The tall straight trees, some 300
years old, are majestic, and emit an
energy you can’t deny. With an array
of activities, from bush-walking and
mountain biking to canoeing in the
river, getting away from it all and into
nature is the region’s real attraction.
TREE TOP WALK
Nervous to take on a climbing tree?
The highly civilised, 38m-high Tree
Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants in
Walpole offers majestic views of the
tingle forest treetops, and is suitable
for everyone. The interpretive centre
and gift shop are also worth a stop.
The $1.14 million Manjimup Timber
Heritage Park is perfect for families.
The kids can run wild over a massive
climbing net, in and out of cubbies,
slides, rides, and animal sculptures.
There’s also a 40m double-cable flying
fox. For adults, there’s an outdoor
gym, and when you’ve worked up an
appetite, light up a barbecue at one
of the picnic spots. Open daily.
ALSO Play a round of mini-golf at
the Pemberton playground; or take
a dip in Fonty’s freshwater pool, while
the grown-ups sample organic wines,
avos and truffles.
(08) 9776 1133
Fresh produce in Pemberton.
Gloucester Tree (photography
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