The Arbornaut

Arbornaut coverPart 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.

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Cape Tribulation

“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.

Daintree River ferry
The Daintree River ferry, gateway to the World Heritage area

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Broadwater

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.

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Paluma – rainforest and birds

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!

We paused briefly at Crystal Creek (where Poul was quite excited to see his first-ever Scrub Turkey) on the way up the range but didn’t really stop until we reached McClelland’s Lookout Continue reading “Paluma – rainforest and birds”