Buried deep in the hills around Walpole is a nature lovers paradise complete with a magical forest, stunning views over the surrounding landscape and a tannin stained river cutting through the ancient rock.
What Is It?
Within the paradise is a trail that explores some of the highlights that Walpole-Nornalup National Park is famous for. Just a short drive from town you will be immersed in the stunning and unique Tingle Forest, with the Red Tingles only growing in this area of the world. A stop you in your tracks kind of tree, the Tingles are massive bell bottomed giants that are some of the girthiest in the world. Along with these impressive trees is an exploration of the highest point in the entire area, Mt Clare and a descent down to visit the suspension bridge over the Deep River.
Where Is It?
Located just outside of the centre of Walpole on the South Coast of WA, take South Western Highway west from town until you reach the turnoff for Tinglewood Road. Turn left here and follow the gravel road all the way to the end where you’ll find a small car park and an information board about all the walks in the area a short distance from the car park through the forest.
What to Do?
The best way to explore this beautiful area is to slow down and wander through on foot. The 4.8km hiking trail that does a loop from the car park and back provides a taste of what makes this spot so special. Utilising a section of the 1000km Bibbulmun Track, you walk through the Tingle and Karri forest towards one of the campsites that Bibbulmun hikers stay at along the way. A quick side trip takes you to the granite platform on top of Mt Clare where you will get some nice views of the surrounding forest, hills and off towards the wilds of the Southern Ocean. Passing through the campsite, this is a good place to admire the height and thickness of the Tingles with three large examples being the centrepiece of the campsite.
From here you start descending Mt Clare through a winding single track where you will find little hidden details along the way. Fungi love this part of the world with damp, dark conditions combined with plenty of dead tree matter to consume. A kaleidoscope of greens and oranges can be found in the dark places of the forest as the fungi and mosses thrive. Reaching the bottom of the valley, a short side trip takes you to the wooden suspension bridge where you can take in the dark waters of the Deep River as it flows from the forests near Mount Frankland and eventually empties into the Nornalup Inlet. Finish the walk with a gentle stroll along the edge of the river and then a challenging climb back up to the car park on vehicle tracks. This is a great way to appreciate the scale of the forest and work up a sweat.
What Not to Do:
As always, keep to the Leave No Trace Principles so these natural spaces are kept in great condition for the next hiker. The roots of the Tingle trees are very sensitive so please keep your distance and refrain from damaging the trees in any way. The Bibbulmun Track shelters are fee to use and looked after by volunteers so please don’t leave anything there and treat them with respect.
Walpole is a fantastic place to explore if you love nature with so many great trails, attractions and beautiful scenes. Be sure to check out Mount Frankland, the Giant Tingle Tree, Fernhook Falls, Valley of the Giants or perhaps start planning a town-to-town section of the Bibbulmun Track or Munda Biddi.
About the author:
Mark (The Life of Py) is a Perth based outdoor enthusiast that loves exploring the trails of Western Australia in his free time. When he isn’t out taking photos he is busy planning the next adventure. See more of his content here.