“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.
A longer visit to Ingham’s Tyto Wetlands was high on my wish-list after our very short visit on the way home from Mission Beach a couple of months ago.
The wish came true sooner than I had thought likely, as I managed to get there before 8 a.m. last Wednesday (on my way home from Broadwater) with no need to leave before mid-afternoon. Walking all the way around the main lagoon (at bird-watching pace) and exploring some of the side tracks occupied most of the morning very happily.
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.
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”