The region of Western Australia where the karri trees grow is a special corner of the world – one of my favourite places for bush walking, camping and just being out in wild nature.
These magnificent trees reach heights of up to 90 metres.
A Magnificent Wilderness Area
Between Augusta, Pemberton and Walpole, a continuous chain of national parks and nature reserves protect vast swathes of pristine wilderness.
The Karri Forests Region is defined by the majestic towering karri trees, but it also includes areas of jarrah forests and forests made up of a mixture of different trees, including karri, marri, jarrah and tinglewood.
And down near the coast, the thickly forested landscape changes to windwept heath, sanddunes and wetlands.
Karri Forests Travel Highlights
- Climb one of the fire lookout trees – the Gloucester Tree, Bicentennial Tree and Diamond Tree have metal rungs spiralling up their trunks. The tallest is the Bicentennial Tree, at 75m high. The climb is scary, but the views over the forest canopy make it more than worth while!
- Walpole’s Tinglewood trees and the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk
- Canoe the Frankland River – an easy and peaceful paddle from Nornalup into through of the towering karri forest takes you to Monastery Landing, the perfect spot for a picnic.
- Warren National Park – Protects some of the tallest and most beautiful old growth forest in the region. Drive the Heartbreak trail and photograph your car looking like a tiny toy car drawfed by the massive trees. Climb the Bicentennial Tree and walk through the forest down to Warren Lookout. You can also swim in the river and camp overnight.
- 4WD adventures in the D’Entrecasteaux National Park – explore the Yaegarup Dunes, wild deserted beaches, seacliffs, lakes, rivers and estuaries
- Nuyts Wilderness Trail – a walking track down to remote campsites on the wild and rugged south coast west of Walpole
- WOW wilderness cruise to remote corners of the Walpole-Nornalup Inlet
- Mount Frankland in Spring – for magical views of the Walpole Wilderness Area and colourful birds and wildflowers.
Explore the Region
The two main tourist towns in the region are Pemberton and Walpole. Both of these towns are small and charming, surrounded by beautiful natural scenery. Both have good range of different accommodation options for staying a few days.
Most of the area’s main tourist attractions are clustered within half an hour’s drive of either Pemberton or Walpole and are accessible by 2WD vehicle. However, vast areas – the D’Entrecasteaux National Park in particular – can only be fully explored by 4WD.
Here is a guide for exploring the wilderness surrounding Walpole on the south coast. The Walpole Wilderness Area is a continuous chain of 13 national parks and reserves protecting one of Western Australia’s most beautiful wild landscapes – the karri forests, ancient tinglewood trees, beaches and waterways of WA’s south coast.
Where are the Karri Forests in Western Australia?
Karri forests are found only in the south west corner of Western Australia, which has the highest rainfall and coolest temperatures in the state.
The Karri Forests Region encompasses the main belt of karri trees. It stretches from Nannup and Manjimup in the north west, down to Walpole and Denmark in the south east. On the map below, it’s the area to the south of the green line.
View Karri Forests Region Location in a larger map
Towns and Settlements in the Karri Forests Region
The national parks close to Pemberton contain the tallest trees of all (which is really saying something!). Pemberton is a cute little town well set up for travellers, with plenty of options for accommodation and jouneys deep into the forest and South West Wilderness – including a historic steam train and tramline, scenic drives, canoe tours and hire, a 4WD adventure tour and excellent hiking trails. The climbing trees are not to be missed!
Manjimup is the regional centre of the Blackwood Valley and Forests regions. It’s surrounded by farmed and forested land. Manjimup has some great bushwalks, picnic spots and places of historical interest, so is well worth a visit if you have time.
Northcliffe is a tiny dairy farm south of Pemberton that’s worth stopping to have a look around. It has a short bushwalk trail with sculptures and art installations along the walk, and a small local history museum.
Windy Harbour is a small holiday hamlet down on the wild D’Entrecasteaux National Park coast. It is the only place on the coast between Augusta and Mandalay Beach (near Walpole) that you can get to in a 2-wheel-drive car. Windy Harbour is an isolated town and a bit of a detour to get to, but is well worth the visit for the spectacular, beautiful coastal scenery.
Walpole is a town on the south coast surrounded by a wilderness of forest, coastal heath and pristine waterways. The townsite is on the Walpole-Nornalup Inlet, which is a great spot for boating and fishing. The tinglewood trees are found around Walpole and nowhere else. Walpole is an excellent base for exploring both the Tall Karri Forests and The South Coast regions. Click here to find out more about Walpole.
More Towns and Settlements on the Edge of the Karri Forests
- Denmark on the South Coast
- Nannup in the Blackwood River Valley
- Bridgetown, not far north of Manjimup
- Mount Barker, inland from Denmark and Albany, is the closest town to the Porongurup National Park, an outlying pocket of karris growing on a granite ridge
- Augusta at the far southern end of the Margaret River Region is close to the pretty Boranup Forest, in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
Here’s a map showing the towns within the Karri Forests Region:
The green line shows the border (roughly) of the Karri Forests Region as defined by Wild Western Australia.
From the satelite image it’s clear to see that most of the region is thickly forested, especially to the north and west of Walpole.
View Karri Forests Region in a larger map
National Parks in the Karri Forests Area
Beedelup National Park
The Beedelup National Park is about 20km west of Pemberton. The main attraction is the Beedelup Falls and the walking trails through the forest, along Beedelup Brook and around Lake Beedelup.
D’Entrecasteaux National Park
This is a huge, wild and largely inaccessible national park. It protects almost the entire coastline between Augusta and Walpole and the hinterland dunes and forests 10 – 20km inland. The D’Entrecasteaux National Park connects with Shannon National Park and the Walpole Wilderness Area.
Gloucester National Park
Almost within walking distance of Pemberton, the Gloucester National Park is where you’ll find the Gloucester Tree, the most well known of the three climbing trees.
Mount Frankland National Park
Experience beautiful wilderness views, springtime wildflowers, colourful birds and the serenity of the forest at Mount Frankland, or canoe down the rapids in upper reaches of the Frankland River.
Shannon National Park
There are some excellent bushwalks in the Shannon National Park, half way between Pemberton and Walpole. There’s also the Great Forest Trees Drive, a scenic circuit along a narrow gravel road through several different types of forest.
Walpole-Nornalup National Park
Surrounds the town of Walpole and the Nornalup Inlet, protecting forest and coastal scrub all the way down to the beaches and seacliffs. It’s most famous feature is the ancient tingle trees in the Valley of the Giants, where there is a treetop walkway.
Warren National Park
The Warren National Park is a truly magical place – my favourite of all the Pemberton National Parks. The karri trees here are absolutely monstrous and awe-inspiring. Drive along the Heartbreak-Maidenbrush Trail, go for a bush walk climb the Bicentennial Tree or swim in the Warren River.
Last Updated: 12th July, 2015.
First posted on 14th October, 2013 by Bonny.
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