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”

Naturalists’ Bookshelf 1: Plants

Several new, or merely new-to-us, natural history books arrived in this house a couple of months ago – mostly around December 25, actually – and I’ve been meaning to write about them ever since. Here are those which focus on plants.

Visions of a Rainforest – a year in Australia’s tropical rainforest

Text by Stanley Breeden, illustrations by William T. Cooper.

Simon and Schuster, 1992

Queensland’s Wet Tropics region contains the oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest on earth and is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, 12 of the world’s 19 ancient flowering plant families being found here. Continue reading “Naturalists’ Bookshelf 1: Plants”

White Beech – the Rainforest Years

white-beech-coverGermaine Greer: White Beech – the Rainforest Years, Bloomsbury, 2014

Germaine Greer made her name in 1970 with The Female Eunuch and for me, as for most people of my generation, her name instantly evokes thoughts of radical feminism and a brilliant, often abrasive, mind. Her subsequent career was that of a very public intellectual but as she approached 60 she began to look for a wilderness home here in Australia. Her initial impulse was to live in the inland desert but, to her own surprise, she ended up with 60 hectares of degraded dairying land in the Gold Coast hinterland, tucked away between the Lamington and Springbrook National Parks.

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