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The small town of Walpole, encompassed by the Walpole-Nornalup National Park and the Walpole-Nornalup Inlet System, is home to around 500 residents. Of the many inlets along the south coast of Western Australia, none is more beautiful than the magnificent sheet of water that makes up the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets, the only marine park on the south coast. The daily inlet cruise is a great way to see some of the sights and learn more about the rich history of the area. Walpole has many scenic sights and activities to offer the passing visitor and a great place to start is the Visitor Centre. The Trail passes just behind this centre, which is situated in Pioneer Park. With public toilets and picnic benches, it’s a good place to stop and refuel. Walpole has a small supermarket, a few cafes and a range of accommodation to offer.
Section 8 of the Trail passes around a kilometre from the Valley of the Giants tree top walk, a popular tourist attraction and worth the visit. Booner Mundak hut is the first hut within this section and is 52km from Walpole. From here the next hut (Jinung Beigabup) is 64km and rewards you with a great view of Mount Lindsay. The last leg of this section to Denmark is 40km and passes close to stunning beaches like Greens Pool and Lights Beach.
Walpole was named after Lieutenant William Walpole, who served with Governor James Stirling on HMS Warspite in 1809. In 1909, Pierre Bellanger and the Thompson family were the first European people to settle permanently in the Nornalup/Walpole area. Further settlement occurred in the 1930s when the Nornalup Land Settlement Scheme sent unemployed men and their families, hit by the Great Depression, to the area to establish farms. The task of hand clearing the small blocks of karri and tingle forest was daunting to say the least. Many settlers eventually left the area. Today Walpole exists as a service town for the surrounding rural areas where fishing, dairy and beef are its main industries. It has also benefited from the international attention it has received regarding the alluring forests that surround it and world-class attractions such as the Tree Top Walk.