In the green hills above Walpole lies a forested oasis that is home to some of the biggest trees in Australia, the Red Tingles (Eucalyptus jacksonii). Only found in this part of the world, some of them have been allowed to grow to enormous proportions and there is a spot where you can get up close and personal with them.
What Is It?
The Giant Tingle Tree is an ancient example of the Red Tingle that over the centuries has been hollowed out by fire. As with most Australian hardwood varieties that have adapted to fire, the heartwood of the tree can get damaged by fire while the outer sections of the tree can remain standing to ensure survival. At over 400 years old, this girthy giant is one of the biggest trees still standing in terms of circumference. The unique bell-bottomed shape of the Tingles pronounces this effect and what is left is an area that is quite impressive to behold and walk around.
Where Is It?
Walpole is located on the south coast of Western Australia about five hours (415km) south of Perth. The Giant Tingle Tree is a short ten-minute drive from the centre of town. Head east along South Coast Highway until you see the turnoff for Hilltop Road, take this one-way gravel road up the hill, following the signs for the Hilltop Lookout and then the Giant Tingle Tree. There is plenty of parking along with an information gazebo and toilet facilities.
What to Do?
From the car park there is a 1km loop trail that will take you through the forest to the Giant Tingle Tree and back. Exploring the lush forest filled with Tingles, Karri trees and a rich diversity of flora and fauna, the relaxing walk really adds to the experience of seeing the Giant Tingle. Along the way there are QR codes on the edge of the path so make sure you download the South West NatureGuide App to learn all about what can be found in the forest. The big-ticket item that everyone comes to see is the Giant Tingle Tree and it’s quite an impressive sight. Surrounded by boardwalk to protect the roots, you get a great vantage point to take pictures and get a sense of scale as you stand in the middle of the hollow.
What Not to Do:
The Red Tingles are very unique so must be respected and looked after. Please do not climb on the Giant Tingle Tree, graffiti it or carve anything into the wood. Stick to the paths on the loop and remember to take any rubbish with you as you leave.
On the way up to the Giant Tingle Tree there is a nice lookout to stop at providing a nice framed view of the Nornalup Inlet and the Southern Ocean. If you’re after a longer walk then you can park here and follow the Bibbulmun Track all the way to the Giant Tingle Tree (about 3km return). A popular addition to a day exploring the hills around Walpole is a visit to Circular Pool on the Frankland River and the popular Valley of the Giants. Both will provide a fantastic nature experience and let you appreciate this lovely part of the state even more.
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.