The town's most popular tourist attraction is the huge Gloucester Tree with its fire lookout teetering 64 m above the ground and its hair-raising 153 rung ladder to the top. It is claimed that the view from the top is magnificent but, if there is a wind blowing, the experience of swaying from side to side is apparently less than comforting.
A Forests Department notice explains the origins of these lookout trees. "In the late 1930s the Forests Department began to establish a network of lookouts so that forest fires could be rapidly detected. In contrast with the northern forest areas the gentle undulating country and very tall trees of the southern forest offered a few vantage points for fire lookouts. To build towers high enough to see over the forest would have been too expensive. An alternative was a cabin built high enough in one of the taller trees. The first Karri fire lookout tower, called Big Tree, was constructed to the west of Manjimup in 1938. By 1952 eight tree towers had been constructed".
The Gloucester tree was prepared for use as a lookout in 1946. During the construction of the lookout cabin the Duke of Gloucester visited the site and the tree was named after him.
Other attractions in the area include fishing and the trout farm, the Pemberton to Northcliffe Railway, the Beedelup Falls and the karri tree which can be walked through, the Pioneer Museum and the Brockman Saw Pits.
Attractive town surrounded by karri, jarrah and marri forests.
Pemberton to Northcliffe Railway
The Pemberton to Northcliffe Railway, which was completed in the early 1930s, runs a small tram through the local forests. This is strictly a scenic journey with the railway crossing rivers and passing areas which, in season, are ablaze with wildflowers. It is worth remembering that when it was built the railway from Pemberton to Northcliffe was the most expensive in Western Australia costing about £20 000 a mile as it cut its way around hills and across bridges. The journey, which runs daily, takes 4 hours and tickets and timetables are available from the PembertonNorthcliffe Tourist Bureau - (08) 9776 1322.
The area around Pemberton is noted both for its rainbow trout which have been introduced (over 1 million are released into the local rivers annually) and its marron, a species of freshwater crayfish which is the third largest in the world. Details about fishing in the area can be obtained from the Tourist Bureau. King Trout Farm, 7 km south of Pemberton, is a popular attraction. King Trout Farm, which is open from 9.30 a.m. - 5.30 p.m. offers the opportunity to catch your own rainbow trout. Contact (08) 9776 1352 for details.
Pemberton Discovery Tours operate 4WD tours through the Yeagarup Dunes to the mouth of the Warren River. Contact (08) 9776 0484 for more information.
Beedelup National Park
To the west of the town is the Beedelup National Park with the Beedelup Falls, a rocky cascade which is particularly dramatic after rain, and the Walk Through Tree, a 75 m, 400 year old karri which has a hole which visitors can walk through. The hole took ten hours to cut by chain saw.
15 km south of the town on the PembertonNorthcliffe Road is the Brockman sawpit which was first used in 1865 and still has the equipment required for sawing logs with one man standing on top and two men sawing from below. It has been restored so that visitors can get some idea of how difficult it must have been to saw the giant karri logs in the mid-nineteenth century.
Tourist Bureau and Pioneer Timber Museum
The Tourist Bureau, located in Brockman Street, is housed in a building which dates back to 1912. Apart from providing information for visitors to the district (The excellent booklet Pemberton & Northcliffe Holiday Guide is a handy guide to the attractions in the area) the building also houses the town's Pioneer Timber Museum has an extensive display of memorabilia and photographs from the town's early timber days.
The Department of Land Administration has produced an excellent map titled Southern Forests which identifies all the major attractions in the area as well as providing town maps of Manjimup, Pemberton, Bridgetown and Nannup.