Pemberton Climbing Trees – Australia

The Pemberton climbing trees offer the opportunity to scale 50m+ trees using just steel rungs for support. Ok, so technically this isn’t a ski, bike or hike but it involves a load of adrenalin and it’s free.

Situation and history

The climbing trees were historically fire lookouts used for early detection of bushfires in forests surrounding Pemberton, in the South of Western Australia. The original climbing trees used wooden stakes driven into the side of 250 year old Karri trees to form a primative ladder. Eight karri trees were in service between 1937 and 1952 although only two of these remain open. A third, taller tree was bought into service for the tourists in the 1980’s.

Nowadays there are three lookout trees that are possible to climb which range from 51 – 75m (the height of climb decreases over the years as the platform is made more stable).

The Gloucester tree is the most popular as it closest to Pemberton. It is located within the national park so requires a $12 park pass (per car) to visit.

The Diamond tree is north-east of Pemberton just off the main South Western Highway 1 so is free to access. The final stretch of this climb is near vertical making for a more challenging climb.

The Dave Evans bicenntial tree is the most remote tree, located on a unsealed forest road.

The Climb

The climb involves stepping up the steel pegs that spiral the tree. At the top there is a small lookout structure where you can admire the view. The trees are free to climb but are at your own risk. Unlike most modern tourist attractions there are no helmets or harnesses. Whilst the climb is largely an exercise of mind over matter for fit, healthy people apparently three people have suffered climb induced heart attacks. According to Wikipedia only 20% of visitors reach the top – will you be one of them? Oh, and if someone is going the opposite direction there is just enough room to pass…

Planning Your trip

Pemberton is located 4.5 hours from Perth and is a worthwhile stop off on an southern touring route to Albany / Esperance region.

Beware of the March flies – they bite

Our experience

After a long car journey from Perth we were eager to stretch the legs and start our southern adventure. I am not great at heights but with some determination (and a resolve not to look down) made good progress to the top. The 360 degree view at the top was amazing but waiting for others to descend meant I accidently looked down, the decent was slower, more focused and a lot more shakey!

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