The Black Bean in my title is a local tree, Castanospermum australe, and it’s flowering now. Two of our neighbours have well-grown specimens and I am simply taking this opportunity to share a photo of its attractive flowers.
I know the tree as a local species but didn’t realise just how limited its range was until I looked it up: a patchy distribution along our tropical coast, and that’s all. Nor did I realise just how high it can grow – forty metres. (I wonder if our neighbours know, but I’m not going to tell them in case they start worrying and get their trees chopped down. We need all the trees we can get, and these are very beautiful.)
There’s more information about the Black Bean here for anyone interested.
The Rainbow Lorikeet is incidental but gives me an excuse to mention my ongoing list of birds seen in my new Mundingburra garden. It’s now up to 25 species, which is not bad for less than a year. Here’s to the next 25!
Tully Gorge had been a blank spot on my mental map for far too long before I decided to visit it last month. All I knew – all that most people know – is that it attracts lots of (mostly young) tourists for white-water rafting. But I’ve been collecting waterfalls along the coast (e.g. Wallaman, Blencoe, Jourama, Behana and Murray) for some time and I had heard of the Tully Falls. And any gorge is worth a look – and I needed a break from the city.
A closer look at the map showed me that the Falls and the Gorge had to be two separate trips, since the Falls are only accessible from Ravenshoe and the Gorge is accessible only from the coast: the two roads both dead-end, one at the top of the falls and the other a couple of kilometres downstream from their foot. The possibility of including the Dalrymple Track in the trip made me opt for the Gorge this time; Jourama and Cardwell were entirely incidental.
So … drive to Tully and turn left, through the town and farmlands (sugar, cattle, and lots of bananas) before entering National Park (actually parks, plural: Koombooloomba NP on the western side of the road, Tully Gorge NP on the eastern side). From here on, the road follows the river quite closely, and I paused for a photo.
We have been moving lots of pot-plants recently, planting out many of them and re-potting others, and in the process disturbing a few strange worms … or so I thought.
All of them were typical worm size, perhaps 8 – 12 cm long and shoelace-thick; most were black, but one was a delicate lilac colour; and they were all very active, wriggling for their lives until they could vanish into any tiny crack in the soil. When I handled them, I found them very dry and slippery, which puzzled me. It didn’t intrigue me enough to stop work, however, or I might have trapped them for closer observation and discovered that they weren’t worms at all but snakes.
On the short trip which included Jourama Falls and the Dalrymple Track I seized my opportunity to visit the Cardwell Lookout and nearby Attie Creek for the first time.
The Lookout is a few kilometres out of town on a good, mostly-gravel road which leads through pine plantations before winding uphill to a parking area and a lookout with very good views to the North over Cardwell and Rockingham Bay towards Mission Beach and Dunk Island. A walking track leads further uphill from this point for even better views to the North and panoramic views across the channel to Hinchinbrook Island. The extra walk is worth the effort but I have to say it was also more effort than I had expected: it’s only a few hundred metres but it’s quite steep.