Updated: Jun 1, 2021
Where are the Rainforests?
Travelling the length and breadth of Australia rainforests can be hard to find. When you arrive in the World Heritage Wet Tropics of North Queensland the scenery changes. Leaving Cairns travel south on the Bruce Highway. At Gordonvale turn right and head for the mountains. You are on the Gillies Highway, a road full of bends but containing spectacular scenery.
Approaching the range you are travelling through rich, dense rainforest on the bank of the Mulgrave River. Progressing up the escarpment you will notice a change to open forest or Eucalypt forest. Very different and this continues for some distance. Around Heales Lookout the vegetation changes, once more to dense rainforest. Rainforest at this elevation is the richest in the variety of flora and fauna. At the top of the range pockets of rainforest continue with the Danbulla forest and the Cathedral Fig Tree on the right. The forest continues past Lake Barrine and on to Yungaburra and the Curtain Fig Tree. If you take the turnoff to Malanda you are treated to a beautiful rainforest drive beside Lake Eacham.
You may not know but before the arrival of the early settlers 80% of the Atherton Tableland was covered by rainforest, 80%! Then came the settlers, timber cutters first cutting down massive Red Cedars, Kauri Pines and other 500+ year old giants. They came crashing down and then dragged out of the forest by bullock teams. Just imagine the shock/horror suffered by the local Aboriginal people who had been the custodians of Rainforest County for thousands of years. Then came the farmers to take advantage of the rich volcanic soil. Progress may be necessary for survival but what a cost.
To further explore this topic click on my short award winning video The Cost of Cultural Change in the Wet Tropics