Society Flat rainforest walk and Kirrama Range Road

Kirrama Range
View from Kirrama Range Road

Access to Blencoe Falls (previous post) is from the small township of Kennedy, just north of Cardwell: take the only road which turns inland from the highway, follow it for 10 km or so, veer right onto the gravelled Kirrama Range Road, and you’re on the right road. For quite a while.

The top of the range is reached after about 20 km of steep, rough, winding road through dense rainforest. Several viewing spots offer spectacular vistas over the coastal plain and to Hinchinbrook Island.

The road levels off at the top and winds through more rainforest to Society Flat rainforest walk, marked by a towering kauri pine. It is less than a kilometre long but presents the best opportunity to enter the rainforest jungle: no-one takes a casual stroll through this green tangle except on a made, and maintained, path.

It’s an abundant environment, but an abundance of plants, not animals. Certainly there are birds (more often heard than seen), butterflies and spiders, but the trees, vines and epiphytes make it what it is.

Further inland, the country gradually dries out and the vegetation changes to open forest dominated by eucalypts. I stopped there for lunch on my way to Blencoe Falls and again, for somewhat longer, on my way home.

forest
A misty dawn in open forest on Kirrama Range

The distance from Kennedy to Blencoe Falls is about 70 km but that doesn’t give much of an idea of the travel time: if you allow three hours then you may be pleasantly surprised but if you plan on two then you may arrive later than you expected. The road is all gravel except for the steepest section, up the range, which is broken bitumen. All of it is narrow  and has enough blind corners, pot-holes, rocks and fallen timber to keep average speeds low. 4WD vehicles aren’t absolutely necessary in dry conditions but may be after rain, and the gently decomposing corpses of a couple of backpacker vehicles beside the road are reminders that inland roads are unforgiving. The journey is well worth the time and effort, however.

Leave a Reply