Kookaburra, kangaroo, cockatoo, and fur-headed flying foxes in Atherton Tablelands
One of the main reasons we returned to Australia was to visit our friend, Heather, whom we first met in Scotland in 2011. While we were in Cairns with Heather in 2012, we had an adventurous two weeks diving, snorkeling, and beach combing on Fitzroy Island.
Cairns is a charming town with four lane downtown streets divided by center islands of palm trees and tropical plants. We walked to the lagoons where the city has free public swimming pool on the bay. Every weekend in Cairns a farmers market in the center of town, merchants sell fresh produce grown in the Atherton tablelands — monkey bananas, mangos, papaya, tomatoes, passion fruit, dragon fruit, grapes, and lettuce.
Heather is a delightful, adventurous woman who loves to travel. She was in Berlin in August for her son, Warrick’s wedding. Her daughter, Shea, also lives in Berlin and was in the wedding.
We only spent a day in Cairns so I could reserve a three-day diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef. Then we took off for Heather’s ‘miners cottage ‘ in Herberton in the ‘wet tropics’ Atherton tablelands. The tablelands is a lush tropical agricultural region with sugar cane, banana, mango and tea plantations.
Flora and fauna
We love Heather’s tablelands retreat. Since our last visit, she had a new verandah built around the front and sides of her house with views of the mango, citrus, banana palms, and frangipani trees in her yard. frangipani produce the delicate, fragrant flowers used in Hawaiian leis.
One of the delights of the Atherton tablelands is the diverse and colorful flora and fauna. I spent three days photographing tropical trees, flowers, plants, birds, and even bats!
On a morning walk into Herberton, I passed homes with beautiful flowering plants and trees in their yards. Sorry, I don’t know the plants’ names, but I’ll do a little research.
Fur-headed flying foxes
In November, a flock of fur-headed flying foxes, a species of bat, flew into Herberton settling on the Wild River riverbed on the edge of town. Within weeks, thousands showed up, roosting in trees, feeding on a flowery plant blooming in the area. The local newspaper reported that there are now hundreds of thousands of the nasty looking creatures screeching day and night, fouling the ground and river banks. Residents are upset and have appealed to shire officials demanding something be done. But the creatures are protected indigenous species.
After looking at those creatures, here’s are friendlier looking indigenous animals, a kangaroo and kookaburra we saw one afternoon visiting an old mining town, Irvinebank, near Herberton.
Heather’s ‘miners cottage’
Much of our time in Herberton was spent walking around Heather’s yard and admiring her tropical trees, plants, and birds.
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Next: Cruising for ‘crocs’ on the Daintree River
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