Ecological & Environmental
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Edmond Kennedy Walking Track
Edmund Kennedy is a national park in Queensland, Australia, 1269 km northwest of Brisbane. The national park is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. It was named after Edmund Kennedy, a mid-nineteenth century explorer.
The park protects part of the coastline between the mouths of the Tully River and Meunga Creek at Rockingham Bay Waters adjacent to the park belong to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The coastal plain contains mangrove and freshwater swamps associated with the waterways of Murray River, Dallachy Creek and Wreck Creek Other vegetation types include low coastal rainforest, eucalyptus forest, melaleuca woodland and sedge swamp The Arenga palm grows here, one of only a few Australian mainland locations where this occurs. The Red Beech, pandanus and melaleucas are typically found in the park.
The endangered southern cassowary and mahogany glider are found in the park Saltwater crocodiles are found in the creeks. The park is part of the Coastal Wet Tropics Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance for the conservation of lowland tropical rainforest birds. Common birds include the black butcherbird and various honeyeaters. The orange-footed scrubfowl nests in the park. Their mounds, which can be up to three m high, are the largest of all mound-building birds in Australia Lace monitor lizards can also be seen in Edmund Kennedy National Park.
The land was once home to the Girramay people. In 1848, explorer Edmund Kennedy and his party landed 35 km north of the park. He travelled south through the area now known as Edmund Kennedy National Park in a failed attempt to find passage over the ranges behind the coast. It was expanded in 1980 by land donated by conservation activists Margaret and Arthur Thorsborne. In 2011, Cyclone Yasi caused a lot of damage to the area.
Licuala State Forest
For those of you that love the rainforest why not treat yourself to the famous Licuala State Forest.
Licuala State Forest boasts several enjoyable walking tracks. Enjoy the native wildlife of the area as you walk around the forest…the Ulysses butterfly, cassowaries and green tree frogs. Be sure to look upwards to enjoy the sunlight shining through the beautiful palm leaves…it's truly remarkable! The Licuala Fan Palm is native to the area and has the majority of the fan palm trees in all of Australia.
Children are catered for in the forest…they can even follow cassowary footprints to a nest full of eggs on the children's walk! Licuala State Forest is a beautiful place to appreciate the beauty of nature.
Two day-use areas — Licuala and Lacey Creek — have been developed for visitor use within Djiru National Park.
Lacey Creek day-use area is beside the El Arish–Mission Beach road, 8km from the junction with the Bruce Highway and 7.5km from Mission Beach township.
The toilets at Lacey Creek day-use area and part of the 1.3km Fan Palm walk at Licuala day-use area are wheelchair accessible (with assistance).
Since Europeans began to settle North Queensland, over 80 per cent of the lowland rainforest in the Wet Tropics has been cleared for agriculture and housing. Much of the forest in Mission Beach was selectively harvested up until the 1970s. This forest type is now preserved as national park.
From the Licuala day-use area, the short Fan Palm walk takes visitors through a native fan palm grove. The impact of Cyclone Yasi—fallen trees and sawn-off trunks—is most evident here. The dappled canopy that is usually created by the bright green, splayed fronds is slowly recovering.
At Lacey Creek, visitors can follow the Lacey Creek walk through the rainforest along, and across, the creek. Many of the features of mature tropical rainforest can be seen: tall trees with wide buttressed trunks; epiphytic ferns perched on tree branches, high in the canopy; and twining vines climbing up and over other plants to reach the light. The unmistakable features of cyclone damage are also evident here—clusters of regrowth on branch tips, fallen logs and vines, and large gaps in the canopy. Cassowaries are often seen in this park, appearing from the surrounding forest and then melting away again.