Pemberton's Climbing Trees
A series of fire lookouts were constructed in the top of a few very tall Karri trees, mainly during the 1930s and 1940s. These lookouts were a way of spotting fires in the tall Karri forest. The first Karri fire lookout tower, called the Big Tree, was constructed in 1938. By 1952, eight tree towers had been constructed. A trilogy of karri tree towers remain and are open to the public..
Today you can still climb some of these lookout trees and take in their view:
The Gloucester Tree in the Gloucester National Park is only 2kms from the Post Office in Pemberton. The Gloucester Tree was chosen as a fire lookout in 1947, one of a network of lookouts built in the Karri forest between 1937 and 1952. The Gloucester Tree was named after the then Governor-General of Australia, His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, who was visiting Pemberton as the lookout was being built. Today, visitors can climb up the 61m to see one of the most spectacular views of the Karri forest.
The Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree in the Warren National Park is a 15 minute drive from the Pemberton township, and off the Old Vasse Road. The Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree lookout was first pegged in 1988 as part of Australia’s bicentennial celebrations. At 75m above the ground, it is the tallest with a 360-degree view of old growth Karri forest.
The Diamond Tree between Manjimup and Pemberton is also a 15 minute drive from either town, on the Southwest Highway. The Diamond Tree is a 51m Karri tree on which a wooden cabin was built and used as a fire lookout tower from 1941 to 1974. It is the only wooden tree top tower in the world.
Please note that cars require a National Park Pass to enter the national parks in which the climbing trees are located. These can be purchased from the Pemberton Visitor Centre prior to arrival. Please call into the Pemberton Visitor Centre for any information on these climbing trees. We are open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I obtain a climbing certificate?
Yes, come into the Pemberton Visitor Centre and purchase a climbing certificate.
How old are the trees?
Karri trees live to about 350 years old, some longer. They are at their best between 150-200 years. They reach their full height after about 75 years. The three fire lookout trees are likely over 250 years.
Where is the big tree you can drive your car into?
This was a red tingle tree near the Valley of the Giants. Vehicles and the footsteps of hundreds of people damaged the shallow and fragile root system of this tree and it died and fell down in 1990. You could say that it was loved to death. The death of this tree lead to the development of the Tree Top Walk which allows people to enjoy the tingle forest with minimal impact.
Where is the Valley of the Giants?
About 14km past Walpole towards Albany. It is about one and a half hours drive from Pemberton.
Have the climbing pegs changed?
The Gloucester tree was originally pegged with wooden pegs. All the trees are now pegged with metal pegs which are easier to grip. They are regularly checked for any faults.
Has anyone ever died climbing the trees?
No one has died climbing the trees, however two people have suffered heart attacks after climbing the trees.
How many pegs are in each of the trees?
The Gloucester Tree has 153 pegs.
The Diamond Tree has 130 Pegs.
The Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree has 165 pegs.
How do you get people down if they freeze up the top of the trees?
Usually you can talk them down. Sometimes they need to be guided down.