Mike's Australia by Mike Dixon - HTML preview
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There have been rainforests in the mountains of tropical Queensland for over 100 million years. Even during the last Ice Age, when the climate was far drier, small pockets survived in mountain gullies and other wet areas. When the Ice Age ended, about 15,000 years ago, rainfall increased and the forests expanded to cover much larger areas.
Australia's rainforests have survived from the time when the first flowering plants appeared on Earth and are home to an amazing variety of species. The forests of Europe and North America date from only 15.000 years ago and are impoverished in comparison. Their plants and animals are newcomers that moved north to colonise land made available by the retreating glaciers of the Ice Age.
Like the Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s tropical rainforests are veritable wonderlands. They are luxuriant places where one form of forest gives way to another in rapid succession. Walk along a forest path and you will pass gullies stacked with slender palms. Further on, you will come to trees with huge buttress roots. Turn a corner and you'll see trees bedecked with orchids. Iridescent butterflies flutter in clearings. Ferns cling to branches. Waterfalls cascade down rocks. Tree ferns tower above your head and ancient cycads line your path.
The forest birds are as colourful as the butterflies. Many have the raucous voices that film producers like to use in their jungle movies. It's not difficult to picture Tarzan and Jane swinging on jungle creepers.
Walking is one way to see the rainforest. That’s my way. But not everyone has the time and walking in the rain does not appeal to a lot of us. So you might think of other ways. One is to take a trip to Mount Tamborine Mountain, just south of Brisbane, and go out onto the walkway there (top picture). Another is to go to Cairns and take a trip on the sky train (bottom picture). I give these as examples. Lots of places have similar attractions.
Alternatively, you might hire a car and drive into the rainforest. That would be my choice. There’s no shortage of roads. The National Parks Services of Queensland and New South Wales provide detailed information on the internet … or consult Google maps.
Tropical rainforest begins near Coffs Harbour, in northern New South Wales, and patches dot the coastal mountains all the way to Cape York Peninsular. You can visit rainforest from Coffs Harbour, Gold Coast, Mackay, Airlie Beach, Hinchinbrook, Cairns and Daintree, to name just a few places. For more detailed information, surf the net using tags: rainforest, Australia, World Heritage, National Parks.