Part of my reason for writing about Tahune Airwalk (previous post) was its connection to a book that came my way recently, The Arbornaut by Meg Lowman (Allen & Unwin, 2021).
Lowman is a field biologist whose unique contribution to botany was to realise that trying to understand the biology of trees by looking only at their trunks was futile and developing ways of getting up into the trees’ crowns to study them – first by using a slingshot to set up climbing ropes, then by coming up with the idea of a high footbridge through the rainforest canopy.
Tahune AirWalk, opened in 2001, is the main feature of an eco-tourism complex (home page) deep in the hills west of the Huon Valley. Access to it is from Geeveston, the nearest town, along a winding road through dense forest.
“The Daintree” is semi-mythical to most Australians, signifying tropical wilderness, rainforest, relentless heat and humidity, crocodiles, torrential rain, swamps, leeches and feral hippies.
In reality, the Daintree is a river but “The Daintree” refers to a stretch of coast between the ferry and Cape Tribulation, a distance of some 35 km, somewhere north of Cairns. It’s a narrow strip of scattered settlements between the mountains and the sea, and it is an essential destination for overseas and southern visitors looking for the real Wet Tropics experience.
I visited Broadwater camping ground in 2015 and when I returned recently I found that it hadn’t changed much except that more of the damage from cyclone Yasi (2011) had healed in the meantime.
There are wide open grassy areas with scattered tall eucalypts, picnic shelters and amenities, and camping sites for vans and tents. With almost no mobile phone service (there’s just a very poor, intermittent, signal from one part of the picnic ground) it’s a good choice for a digital detox.
A Danish visitor, in Townsville for the recent Australian Festival of Chamber Music, provided us with the necessary extra incentive to visit Paluma, in the ranges an hour or so North of Townsville, for a walk in the rainforest and some birdwatching. The three of us had a lovely day, so thanks, Poul!