During the very cold winter we are having in Canberra, we are visiting North Queensland…guaranteed to be warmer!
North Queensland is known for the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef, and the Wet Tropics rainforests.
Most people head for the Barrier Reef and beaches between Cairns and Port Douglas, but we often begin with a visit to the Atherton Tableland. My cousin, Theresa, has been living and working in the Tablelands for many years, and through her we have been introduced to all the wonders of this area.
The Atherton Tablelands is an amazing contrast of rolling hills, farmland, rugged bushland, tropical waterfalls, and volcanic lakes.
Last week we returned to one of the first places we ever visited in the Tablelands, the volcanic lakes Eacham and Barrine.
One of my favourite books for children is “Where the Forest Meets the Sea”…… here we are at a place where the rainforest meets the lakes.
A Ngadjonji legend tells of young hunters striking a sacred tree, which angered the rainbow serpent. The earth roared like thunder and winds blew like a cyclone. The ground twisted and cracked and red clouds rose in the sky that had never been seen before.
Scientists believe volcanos were active here until almost 12 000 years ago.
The day we walked around the lake it was hard to imagine the turbulent and violent past that created these lakes. Now they sit, still, deep and quiet.
Paul took some amazing photos which show just how peaceful, calm, and full of food the pelican and cormorants were!
Much of the original rainforest in the Tablelands has been cleared, but several small fragments remain…
….as it says in the guidebooks..
”green fragile jewels in a sea of farmland’
It was only when Paul had taken this photo that we realised a baby turtle was in front of the mother… blending into the fallen branch and totally unseen by the naked eye.
We were happy to see the contented bird life and turtles, but this area is also home to some of the most primitive plant and animal species, such as the Musky Rat Kangaroo and the ancient Cycads.
Standing under the magnificent trees in the forests, looking down on the reflections of fallen trees in these deep lakes, was like travelling back in time… snatching a glimpse of the evolution of plant life on the planet.