Golden Valley Tree Park, Balingup
The Park originally comprised of two farms, "Yungerup" and "Golden Valley", sold to The Forestry Department . Golden Valley was one of the earliest farms established in the area and Yungerup had lots of well-established exotic trees.
In 1978 it was found that the Forests Department intended to plant pines. A group was formed, the Balingup Progress Association, to prevent the establishment of a plantation so close to town. After considerable negotiations, it was agreed that the two properties could be developed as an arboretum. It has been established through a successful partnership between the WA State Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), who has made available a wonderful site and basic infrastructure, and the energetic community volunteers, currently there are about sixty volunteers, who tend the trees or help with management.
The park is an inspirational place for all to enjoy the beauty of nature. It has great picnic facilities and an area where kids can play safely. Walk trails criss-cross it and lead to spectacular scenic lookouts. For the less adventurous, there is a 10 minute walk trail which is easy to navigate! The Bibbulmun Track runs right through the centre of the Park. Dogs on a lead welcome.
This 60ha. Arboretum is both heritage-listed and a Registered Botanic Garden. Overall it displays nearly five hundred different tree species, almost all are labelled. Most of these trees were planted since 1981 by local volunteers. Due to its sheer size, it takes a while to see it all. It is divided into two sections - the World Collection and the Australian Collection.
The World Collection is a mix of heritage plantings of hundred year old oaks, elms etc, these are the original exotic trees planted on the ‘Yungerup Farm’, with the more recent plantings since 1981. Included is a wonderful grove with a large selection of oak species and the Oak Grove Walk which been picked as one of WA’s “Top Trails”. The World Collection is a highly seasonal landscape: autumn chill presents a moving feast of reds and gold, whilst misty winter mornings shroud the landscape in mystery until the sun busts out highlighting the feast of rolling green hills under blue skies. Then comes the procession of the spring flush from early September onwards as the exotic trees unfurl their soft pastels and all is lush. Summer is always cool under the glorious shade of the mighty oaks.
Across Old Padbury Rd that dissects the Tree Park you will find the Australian Collection. What a contrast, yet equally enjoyable! This collection is designed like a short walk around Australia: starting amongst tall eucalypts you go through a small rainforest glade, then up to collections of south west gimlets, mallets and into the mallee country. Look for the wonderful grove of Rates Tingle, one of WA’s rarest trees, thriving on the hill top. The Park is open daily.
Across all 60 hectares, the volunteers adhere to organic practices when planting and tending to this Arboretum. [The Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) uses a discrete mapping process to apply herbicide to identifed invasive 'Blackberry' and 'Thistle'.]
Our Point of Difference
The arboretum is full of information about trees. Within the World Collection these trees are mapped on an easy to read data base displayed in the information shelter at the main car park. Across the road, in the Australian Collection, there is a general species location map located in that car park. Both these maps are repeated in the brochures that are readily available to help your self-guided walk.