Valley of the Giants

We left this morning to drive to Walpole some 50 miles away on the coast. It’s here that you find Tingle trees This area is called Valley of the Giants and for good reason. Karri trees are huge but these Tingles, although slightly shorter are up to 25 metres in circumference and have huge thick boughs high up in the trees making them real giants. Part of the natural process of the bush is the bush fire. Large trees like the Tingle and Karri explode their seed pods in the high temperatures and the fire gives them chance to grow on the cleared ground. Some of the larger trees get fire damaged but still carry on growing leaving a hollow trunk at the bottom. Some are so big you could park a car in them. What is unique about the Tingle is that it only grows 20km either side of Walpole and nowhere else in the world. Now that is strange but not for Australia.

There are three types of Tingle – the Red Tingle (reddish bark), Yellow Tingle (yellowish bark) and the Rates Tingle. The Rates Tingle was discovered by a man called John Rates who kept saying there was a third Tingle tree and eventually proved his point and so the third one was named after him. So far so good. Unfortunately, John was killed by a falling bough – yes, you’ve guessed it. From a Tingle Tree!! As usual a lot of the hotels, shops and attractions around here are named after the trees but the one we liked best was the youth hostel in Walpole called ‘Tingle All Over’.

After spending the morning doing a scenic drive through these giants we visited one of the very few man made attractions that we have come across. It’s called the Tree Top Walk and a great experience it was. It’s been built to blend in with the forest surroundings. It’s a 600m metal walkway with a slatted floor so that you can see down beneath your feet and sways in the wind to mimic the movement of the treetops. At its highest it is 40m off the ground and is not for faint hearted. The good thing is that once you have been round once you can go round again as many times as you like at no extra cost so we did a second lap just to make sure we’d taken it all in. You can also do a forest walk under the same trees and view these giant trees close up. It really was a great afternoon.

Afterwards we headed along the coast looking for a campsite and found a little gem in Peaceful Bay. We know instantly now when we’ve found a good one so we booked in for 3 nights.

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The campsite is based near Beccles in the Waveney Valley in Suffolk.

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