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Pemberton, Western Australia

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Pemberton is a town of towering timbers. Set in the heart of karri tree country, it's here you'll find and climb the world's tallest fire lookout tree - the famous Gloucester Tree, see a forest filled with the colour of spring wildflowers and taste some of Western Australia's top wines. Hit the freeway south from Perth and you'll be in Pemberton in approximately three hours and 45 minutes. If you're in no hurry, why not swap the bitumen for the Bibbulmun Track - one of the world's great long-distance walk trails. Stretching nearly 1,000 kilometres from Kalamunda in Perth, it passes through Pemberton and finishes in Albany on the south west coast. Those arriving by car can go off-road and explore the forests by hiking, driving or riding the network of bush tracks. Paddle a canoe on the river and lakes. Or take a four wheel drive tour to where the forest meets the largest inland dune system in the southern hemisphere and gaze in awe at the white-sand mountains of Yeagarup Dunes. Closer to town, the best forest vantage points can be found by venturing up Pemberton's climbing trees. Originally used as fire lookouts in the 1940s, the largest (known as the Gloucester Tree) stands at 61 metres - roughly the same height as the Sydney Opera House. You can get up into the canopy with more ease and grace by taking a drive to Walpole, home of The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, elevating you 38 metres above the magnificent tingle forest. If you're heading out for a day in the forest, you'll find plenty to fill your picnic basket at Pemberton's gourmet produce stores and cellar doors. Enjoy a chardonnay beside Beedelup Falls or a barbecue at Big Brook Dam. Or throw a line in from the river bank and catch a feast of local trout. Pemberton's central location and good choice of accommodation makes it a great base to explore the South West, with Margaret River and Busselton less than two hours away.

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