"tree climbing - extreme style...!"

Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Australia  ,
Saturday, May 28, 2005

To give the girls credit, we were all up early and checked out of the empty hostel by 10am this morning. We had a comparatively long drive of 400kms to do to an old whale fishing town called Albany, with a few 'small tree climbs thrown in along the way!

When I say small, I am of course being sarcastic; the first, Gloucester Tree was 68 metres tall, and the second, Bycentenural tree, stood an impressive 75 metres high. There's no easy way up though, you climb, rope free mind, up and around the trunk of the tree.

Although there is a wire mesh to protect you from falling off the side, there isn't anything to stop you from falling between the many thin steps, made from metal poles drilled into the trunk.

They were originally made for Park Wardens to spot fires in the distance, but now they are only climbed by travelers brave enough. I have jumped out of planes and done many bungee jumps, but none of them compared to the fear I had walking up those trees! The fact one slight slip could mean the end of your life isn't a nice one!

That said, after 10 minutes of climbing we were awarded both times with spectacular views above the trees, what it must look like above the canopy of a rainforest. Unfortunately for the photos, it was a cloudy day, but you can still see what an amazing site we saw.

Eventually the time came to make our way down the trees, which, as you would imagine, is even worse than going up! The feeling of relief when your feet touch the ground is like none other, but I did at least resist the temptation of kissing the ground! I can't believe that these trees don't have supervisors and yet no accidents have happened!

After climbing both trees we headed for Albany, not before stopping at what the girls thought was a chocolate factory. It actually ended up being a liquor distillery; the sign for chocolate was just advertising the chocolate liquors they sold!

It would have been rude not to try any of the liquors, so we went about trying every 1 of 15 on offer! As we had now got used to, the owner blatantly thought we were there just for a free piss up, so to prove him wrong we left holding a full bottle of chocolate orange liquor; great on ice cream apparently, but even greater for drinking games we thought!

We drove the long distance to Albany because we had been told there was quite a 'happening' nightlife. It wasn't until we got there that we told Albany's nightlife only happens on Friday, it was now Saturday!

We went out regardless, but wasn't surprised to find the club empty, with the only other people in there being either 40+ and female, or 50+, male, and from a biker gang. I think we counted about 30 people max all night!
To keep ourselves amused we played on a weird circular pool table, and watched as Emma harassed the locals for photos!

The final day was spent driving back to Perth, stopping along the way in Warnbol to visit the tree bridge walk. Simply, a newly built bridge that lets people walk up through the trees, without having to climb up like we did. Although a much nicer day, after yesterday's climbs, it just didn't feel 'extreme' enough for us!

The aim was just to drive straight back to Perth, but after Emma managed to get the front window stuck all the way down, we had to make a slight detour to a coastal town called Bunbury, so that the RAC could be called out. When I say slight, it took us 3 hours to get there, with Dan and Alex having to live with the windy conditions all the way in the back!

I conveniently parked by a beach, so for the last hour of sunshine, we spent swimming and body surfing in the massive waves. Not long after the sun set, the RAC man turned up and fixed the problem in 10 seconds - its amazing what hitting the window with a screwdriver can do!

We pulled back into Perth at 10pm exhausted from all the driving. In an ideal world we would have spent longer in each place, but as with travelling, everyone had places to go so we had to say our good-byes. Emma was catching a flight to Sydney in the morning, Alex was catching a bus up north, and we were moving to Fremantle, just South of the city. Who knows, our paths may cross once again!
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