select - Treetop walks
Written by Brian Johnston
There are few better ways to appreciate the beauty of forests than to clamber into the canopy. Here are some of the world’s best treetop walkways that make it easy.
Lipno, Czech Republic
Starting at ground level and eventually winding 24m high into the trees, the Treetop Walkway in southern Bohemia has a bold difference: it’s open until midnight during summer, providing incredible sunset-watching opportunities and a spectacularly illuminated night walk through the forest; the walkway features 16 million LED light bulbs. In the daytime, you can admire alpine views from the 40m-tower and, as a bonus, ride back to the bottom on a toboggan.
Distance: 3,983 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes
Designed by the same architects who were responsible for the London Eye, the Treetop Walkway takes visitors to the world-famous Royal Botanic Gardens in the London suburb of Kew. Climb 108 steps and you arrive at canopy level in a grove of sweet chestnut, oak, and lime trees that are particularly pretty in their autumn colours. Visitors can learn how trees grow and breathe, and about the lichen, insects, and birds that depend upon them, and they might well spot squirrels and woodpeckers too.
Distance: 5,219 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Frequency: 6 flights a day
This treetop walk in the Bavarian Forest National Park in southeast Germany is the world’s longest at 1,300m. It culminates at a 44m-high, egg-shaped tower from which there are views across Bavaria in one direction and the Czech Republic in the other. On a clear day, you can see the Alps on the horizon. The tower’s winding spiral staircase wraps around three giant firs, allowing an inspection of these trees and their life forms from base to crown. Occasional detours to rope and wooden bridges provide challenges for the young and adventurous.
Distance: 4,305 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes
Frequency: 2 flights a day
Stunning eucalyptus trees that grow up to 90m tall are an icon of the southwest corner of Western Australia, even though much original forest has been logged or cleared for farming. Magnificent jarrah and karri trees – among the world’s tallest hardwoods – remain near Denmark, and Walpole-Nornalup National Park is the only place in the world you’ll find red tingle trees, many 400 years old. Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk takes you 40m into the tree canopy for a different perspective on this spectacular environment.
Distance: 9,312 km
Flight Time: 10 hours, 50 minutes
Kirstenbosch, South Africa
Designed for the 100th anniversary celebrations of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town and opened in May 2014, the steel and timber Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway undulates and turns through the garden’s arboretum, and provides gorgeous views of Table Mountain and its surroundings. Birds flit through the indigenous hard pears and Cape saffron trees, with information boards providing details of the exotic species that you’re likely to spot.
Cape Town, South Africa
Distance: 7,427 km
Flight Time: 11 hours, 25 minutes
Frequency: 4 flights a week via Johannesburg
Sungai Sedim, Malaysia
Running for nearly a kilometre through the tropical rainforest of Sedim River Recreation Park in Peninsular Malaysia’s northwest, this open-mesh 50m-high treetop walk is for those with a good head for heights. The monkey’s-eye view takes in gurgling streams, colourful birds, and other wildlife, and wider viewing platforms along the way allow visitors to linger.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Distance: 5,894 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 40 minutes
Frequency: 3 flights a day