08.10.2015 - 08.10.2015
Setting off from the winery,
I cycled past the sugar cane fields and passion fruit vines
stopped to photograph a local goanna
and on to Mossman, and out to Mossman gorge
There are no cars allowed for the last 2km, only a shuttle bus, as it's quite a narrow road
There are several walking tracks through the rainforest
Ancient Tropical Rainforest
Millions of years ago, much of Australia was covered with rainforest. As continents shifted and glacial periods came and went, the climate became drier. Only the mountainous regions of the north-east coast remained constantly moist. these areas became the last refuges of Australia's ancient tropical rainforests.
The tropical rainforest of Daintree National Park are part of the largest continuous area of rainforest in Australia. Tall lowland rainforest cloaks the plains and valleys giving way to more stunted cloud forests on the higher slopes and mountain tops.
Lowland rainforest grows in areas that are accessible for development and on soil that is suitable for agriculture and have been heavily cleared elsewhere in Queensland. Daintree National Park protects a significant portion of the remaining lowland tropical rainforest in Australia and is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
One pretty spot along the walk was this beautiful swimming hole
perfect for a dip to cool off from the midday heat
although I did have to share it with the resident jungle perch
The source of the Mossman River is high on the Main Coast Range and the Carbine Tableland. These mountains intercept moisture-laden winds coming in from the ocean, causing large amounts of rain to fall in the catchment area. This maintains the rainforest and feed both the Mossman and Daintree rivers.
Heavy rainfall high in the mountains can cause the Mossman River to rise suddenly. The power of the river in flood is able to shift granite boulders, such as those you can see in the river bed.
Not all the water in the rainforest comes from rain, high in the mountains where clouds and forest meet, trees 'strip' moisture from passing clouds. As clouds blow through the rainforest canopy, water is deposited on the leaves, sterns and trunks and then flows or drips to the ground.
In some months, up to 40% more water is harvests from clouds by the forest than falls to the ground as rain.
Mossman Gorge is a popular place for cooling off. The water is crystal clear, although quite refreshing!
but too tempting for this Englishman abroad
Rainforests need rain, but the wet conditions leave the soil unstable, waterlogged and low in oxygen. Some tress cope with these conditions by growing buttress roots.
Buttresses stabilise trees in soggy ground - the wider the base, the less likely the tree is to fall over.
They also collect fallen leaves and other organic matter, channelling valuable nutrients into the soil around the tree.
Buttress roots are more common and usually larges in lowland rainforests. Many tress only product buttress roots if needed - so the same species of tree may grow large buttresses in wet lowland rainforests and no buttresses in dryer upland rainforests.
can begin life in the canopy on an upper branch of an established tree. Other fig trees make a conventional start form the ground.
The material used to construct tis platform was created from recycled plastic. Seventy per cent is crap, left over from industrial processes, and 30 per cent is from domestic, kerbside waste (mainly HDPE plastic used for milk, juice and shampoo bottles). It provides a good, non-slip surface which requires less maintenance than wood. In this wet environment, plastic is more resistant to rot, it doesn't split or splinter and isn't affected by insects such as termites. Using it also saves trees.
Recycled plastic car pack bollards and wheel stops, and picnic furniture are also used elsewhere in the park. These are constructed from 100 per cent kerbside waste; 2,500 two-litre milk containers are used to make one plastics setting.
A rugged cultural landscape
These ancient cloud-covered mountains and clear flowing waters have been part of the traditional lands of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aborginal people for many thousands of years. The culture of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people os interwoven with the landscape and the seasonal rhythms of this country.
Wurrmbu (pronounced oorm-bu), a steep rocky peak also known as The Bluff, is a dominant feature of the landscape, as is the imposing twin-peak Manjal Dimbi (Mount Demi).
An important Eastern KuKu Yalanji story for this place is that of Kubirri (Goo-bi-di). Kubirri can be seen as a large rock pinnacle on Manjal Dimbi. He is known as the good spirit who taught the old men to find food when they arrived in this area. Kubirri acts as the 'good shepherd', holding back the bad spirit, Wurrmbu, to protect the Eastern KuKu Yalanji people.
Australian brush-turkeys are large, black birds with red heads, yellow neck wattles and upright, fan-like tails. They build large mounds of soil and leaf litter to incubate their eggs. Females lay their eggs in holes in the mound, where they are warmed by heat produced from decaying plant material. Male birds ten the mounds until the eggs hatch - adding and removing material to keep the temperature at about 33 degrees Celsius.
Rex Creek Bridge
In 1985, due to the popularity of Mossman Gorge, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service decided to build a suspension bridge over Rex Creek - increasing access to the rainforest.
High design costs and even greater labour costs resulted in QPWS calling in the Australian Army.
In September 1986 construction began. To protect the rainforest, all material were moved by hand from the car park to the water's edge Cement and about 20 tonnes of aggregate were loaded into sandbags and carried along the 700m track. Each sand bag held around 20kg of aggregate which meant about 1,000 return trips. some men walked nearly 50km a day travelling half that distance hauling materials.
After a hot day of walking and cycling home, I stopped at the river crossing
and cooled off!