'There’s nothing like the extraordinary Giant Tingle Tree at the Valley of the Giants, it’s simply amazing!'
Chai and his wife Lydia, both Malaysian research engineers, were inspired by nature’s grandeur at the Valley of the Giants near Walpole. It became a common theme on their holiday, which started in Perth and continued as a road trip through Western Australia’s picturesque south-west. Accompanied by Lydia’s sisters and parents, the couple met wildlife, walked through towering karri forests, indulged in regional food and wine and generally “broke free” from their daily working routines.
It was a trip that Chai had planned six months in advance, around a friend’s wedding in Perth. After the wedding, the family soaked up lots of Perth sights. They wandered Kings Park and Burswood Park and visited the Bell Tower on the Swan River. In seaside Fremantle they enjoyed “the best fish and chips” and spotted a sea lion swimming past a jetty. At Caversham Wildlife Park, there was “a memorable meeting with a koala and kangaroo” and a family photo with a wombat. Chai and his family also visited Swan Valley wineries, where they tasted grapes fresh from the vine.
From Perth, they drove south along the Albany Highway to the scenic coastal city of Albany, where they spent a day and evening. They visited attractions such as the Gap, Blowhole and Dog Rock, the wind farm and replica of the Brig Amity ship. The family then wound north to Walpole, where they did the “wonderful tree top walk” through the sky-scraping karri and tingle forest known as the Valley of the Giants. On the ground, a wooden boardwalk led them to the Giant Tingle Tree, thought to be the world’s oldest eucalypt.
“I have never seen such a huge tree in my life. I was truly amazed to see such a huge hollow tree and how strong it was. At this point, Australia’s natural wonder had already captured my heart,” Chai said.
The next stop was Margaret River, where the family sampled local wine, cheese and chocolate and explored the limestone caverns of Jewel and Mammoth Caves. Chai was captivated by the colourful fibreglass cow sculptures decorating the area for a local charity event. The family also drove to Augusta to visit the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, where the Southern and the Indian Oceans meet.
After two nights in Margaret River, the family headed back to Perth, curving alongside Geographe Bay on the scenic coastal road. They stopped to walk Busselton Jetty, visit Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre and check out Mandurah before arriving in Perth for dinner. Chai has fond memories of their last meal in Perth – a succulent steak at Hillary's Boat Harbour.
After his and Lydia’s inspirational trip in Western Australia, Chai is keen to see more of the country.
“I hope to visit the Gold Coast to see the beautiful beaches and also Sydney to take a walk on the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. I’d also love to glimpse Uluru,” he said.