Vast, natural landscapes await in Walpole and surrounds, with the ecologically significant Walpole Wilderness area protecting more than 363,000 hectares of national parks, nature reserves and forest conservation; that’s roughly the size of countries such as Luxembourg and Samoa.
The small township of Walpole offers a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors including swimming, boating, sailing, inlet cruises, fishing, bush walking, and climbing. The town is located on the Walpole Inlet; a small estuary connected through a narrow channel with the bigger and deeper Nornalup Inlet.
The Walpole area is best known for the Valley of the Giants; red tingle trees which are endemic to this small region of Western Australia. At the Tree Top Walk, a 600-metre walkway rises 40 metres above the forest floor and provides a birds eye view of the forest. Below, a meandering boardwalk takes visitors through a grove of veteran tingle trees called the Ancient Empire. This walk shows at close hand, some of the unique shapes of the giant trees. You can even walk through the hollowed-out butt of one tree.
This tingle forest is also home to a community of cute quokkas; a creature dubbed the world’s happiest animal that rose to internet fame after the recent episodes of #quokkaselfies. Many believe that you can only meet quokkas on Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth, however there’s a community that live in this forest too. If you head here close to sunset, you’ll up your chances of seeing them!
Walpole Wilderness Discovery Centre
The Walpole area features three sites which are collectively called the Walpole Wilderness Discovery Centre. The aim of these sites is to educate visitors about this protected area and provide opportunities to interact with nature. The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, mentioned above is one such site. The other two are at Swarbrick and Mount Frankland.
Travelling 8km along North Walpole road, heading towards Mount Frankland, you will find Swarbrick. It is home to some of the oldest trees in Australia, specifically Western Australia’s famous old growth karri forest. It features forest art exhibits and a giant 39-metre long ‘Wilderness Wall of Perceptions’ which encourages people to explore perspectives of the forest and wilderness.
Mount Frankland, dominated by an impressive peak is 29 kilometres north of Walpole, is an adventurer’s playground and provides a range of walking and viewing opportunities. Follow the Summit Walk or take the ‘round the rock’ trail at the base of the granite outcrop. It is also a popular spot to abseil the 150 metres drop (permit required).
Top things to do in Walpole and Surrounds
- Join a WOW Wilderness Cruise – it’s possible that it will be the funniest informative tour you’ve ever joined!
- Try a different style of accommodation - spend a few nights on a houseboat. The boats can travel through the Walpole and Nornalup inlets and up the adjoining rivers.
- Take a drive to Mandalay Beach, the site of the 1911 shipwreck of the Norwegian barque ‘Mandalay’. Stroll along the boardwalk and read the interpretive information about the wreck, which can sometimes be seen in the sand.
- Visit Circular Pool; a beautiful natural pool in the Frankland River. This area is the scene of raging torrents of water after the winter rains, causing large amounts of froth to foam. The leaching of tannins from vegetation causes this brown colouring. It’s a beautiful spot to picnic.
- Take a picnic to Fernhook Falls - Located on Beardmore Road (36kms NW of Walpole), Fernhook Falls are part of the Deep River with spectacular falls in winter. This area is also a popular picnic spot in summer. Below the falls, at the river edge, are board walks and a stairway.
- Visit Conspicuous Cliffs; one of only a handful of 2WD access points close to the coast. As the name suggests, these cliffs make quite a statement, rising up over a beautiful white sand beach.