Walpole’s Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk celebrates 25 years
Twenty-five years and more than four million visitors after its launch, the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk continues to achieve its original aim of immersing visitors in nature while protecting the centuries-old forest.
Walpole and Denmark school students, locals and TTW staff past and present came together earlier this month to mark the milestone.
Opened in 1996, the 600m walk was designed as a way to protect the fragile roots of the WA tingle forest by suspending visitors 40m in the air.
Nestled in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park, the more than 400-year-old eucalypts are some of the world’s biggest timber giants and not found elsewhere.
Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk manager Ryan Smith said locals turned out in droves to celebrate and reminisce.
“The trees are a little taller, the girths slightly wider, and some of the familiar faces a little older, but the community spirit that plays such an important role in showcasing our region to the world is just as warm and welcoming as it has always been,” he said.
Mr Smith said a highlight of the day was hearing about how the Tree Top Walk began after the collapse of the famous giant tingle tree, through a tour by Wow Wilderness tourism operator Gary Muir.
“Gary told the story of that famous tree, and how families and tourists had come for generations to visit, to park their car inside, to have a picnic and to connect with nature,” he said.
“He told of the day in 1990 when that famous tree collapsed, mid-photo, with an English couple inside running to escape.
“It was the end of a giant that was loved to death, and it was the catalyst for the Tree Top Walk.”
After an Australia-wide contest a team was selected to design the first of its kind tree top walk.
One of the original driving forces behind the project, former CALM director Dr Syd Shea, was recognised at the anniversary for his contribution through the renaming of the attraction’s timber hut dubbed Syd’s Hut.
Walpole Primary School students also unveiled new interpretive signs featuring their artwork, depicting the story of the tingle forest and the history leading to the creation of the Tree Top Walk.
The Walpole Nornalup Historical Society collaborated on the signage project which will remain a feature in Syd’s Hut.
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