“You missed them! The cassowaries always come at 7 am…”. I looked sleepily out of my campervan door as the couple in the van next to mine let me know I managed to miss one of the world’s largest birds walking past less than two metres away.
It was 2018 and I was on holiday in a campervan in the Daintree National Park, Australia’s largest rainforest and part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Our campsite was at the heart of the rainforest and the cassowaries are regular visitors here.
It was time to leave the savanna and head toward the coast, before journeying north into the Daintree rainforest. It was 2018 and I was on a solo trip exploring tropical north Queensland by campervan after attending a conference in Brisbane.
After a couple of days staying at Bustard Downs organic farm, I took the road southwards and then westwards towards the tropical north Queensland coastline via the small town of Julatten on the eastern edge of the Atherton Tablelands. This area is a mecca for birders.
The southern hemisphere spring is on its way to the Cape. Although Spring Day isn’t officially until 1 September, the plants in the fynbos, renosterveld and strandveld around Cape Town don’t know that and are starting to come into bloom for the spring flowering season.
After the cold of winter with snow on the mountains, the weather is starting to warm up during the day and the African sun feels warmer. There is still a chill in the air, but less so than on the bitterly cold winter nights.
The spectacular Mossman Gorge sits at the heart of the southern section of the Daintree National Park in tropical north Queensland in Australia. I was lucky enough to visit this fascinating region after coming to Queensland for a conference on restoration ecology.
The Mossman Gorge section of the park comprises the largely steep and inaccessible slopes of the Main Coast Range and the Windsor and Carbine Tablelands.
It is the sense of space that stays with me the most from my journey to tropical north Queensland. It was early summer of 2018 and I had made the long trip to Australia for the Society for Ecological Restoration conference in Brisbane.
After an extraordinary week in Brisbane, I flew to Cairns, spending two weeks exploring tropical north Queensland in a rather elderly orange campervan. After starting my journey in the Atherton Tablelands, I travelled north, heading for the beautiful and remote Cape York Peninsula.
Rising below Black Mountain in the Great Dividing Range, the mighty Daintree River meanders through the rainforest to the Coral Sea in tropical north Queensland.
The Daintree River forms part of the Queensland wet tropics World Heritage Area, placing it at similar conservation status to the Grand Canyon and the Galapagos Islands.
It was the heat that I noticed first. As soon as I ventured from the coolness of Cairns airport terminal, the tropical heat and humidity stopped me in my tracks. I had just arrived in Cairns, the largest city in tropical north Queensland.
My airport transfer took me quickly into the city to my accommodation, speeding past mangrove swamps where large saltwater crocodiles were apparently lurking. Woe betide any shoestring travellers who decided to walk into the city from the airport instead…
In my room the fan was working overtime, making little impact on the tropical heat and humidity. I…
Nestled in the Drakenstein valley at the heart of South Africa’s winelands region are the beautiful Babylonstoren gardens. Surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery, the gardens are a place that celebrates South Africa’s culinary riches, biodiversity, and natural heritage.
Still a relatively young garden, Babylonstoren was designed in 2007 by French architect Patrice Taravella. Its design was inspired by the historic Company’s Garden in Cape Town city centre.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa, has just turned 108 years old. Founded in 1913, it has grown from humble beginnings to become one of Africa’s most famous botanical gardens.
Sited on the lower slopes of the iconic Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch showcases a vast and diverse collection of South Africa’s indigenous plants from all over the country.
South Africa’s West Coast is famous for its picturesque coastal towns, excellent seafood and the spectacular wildflower displays to be seen in the Postberg section of West Coast National Park during spring.