50 things you didn't know about Tropical North Queensland

3 January, 2018
  1. In Tropical North Queensland, two World Heritage areas sit side by side. It's where the Rainforest meets the Reef.
  2. Swim with minke whales. The ribbon reefs off Port Douglas are the only place in Australia where tour operators are permitted to allow people to swim with dwarf minke whales.
  3. Australia's largest land animal, the cassowary at around 60kg, with the largest recorded at 83kg, calls Tropical North Queensland home.
  4. The McBride Volcanic Province consists of 160 extinct volcanoes and the Undara Lava Tubes, at 160km, one of the world's longest lava cave systems formed from molten lava from a single volcano. The area is rich with craters, lava tubes, gem fields and hot springs.
  5. The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area covers less than 0.1% of the Australian continent, yet it is the country's most diverse region. It boasts Australia's greatest concentration of bird species with over 400 different species recorded in the region, 13 of which are endemic. The Wet Tropics is also home to more than 51 species of frogs, the greatest diversity of frogs in Australia with 21 species found only in the Wet Tropics.
  6. Twin kauri trees thought to be more than 1000 years old can be gazed at in the Atherton Tablelands.
  7. Millstream Falls is Australia's widest single-drop waterfall.
  8. The title of Australia's wettest town is a battle between Tully and Babinda with an average annual rainfall exceeding 4,000 mm. Both are near the Tully and South Johnstone rivers, making it one of the best white-water rafting destinations in the country.
  9. Michaelmas Cay bird sanctuary is the Great Barrier Reef's most accessible seabird rookery with up to 20,000 seabirds inhabiting the island during the peak nesting and breeding season (during summer months).
  10. Black Mountain near Cooktown has granite boulders the size of houses stacked precariously on one another, appearing to defy gravity.
  11. The first recorded European sighting of a kangaroo was at Cooktown by botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander when they arrived with Lt James Cook in 1770.
  12. The Lumholtz's tree kangaroo and the Bennett's tree kangaroo are found only in Tropical North Queensland.
  13. Lizard Island is the best place in the world to find black marlin, one of the fastest fish on earth and the holy grail of game fishing.
  14. The Hou Wang Temple at Atherton is the only remaining iron and timber temple in Australia and is one of only two or three temples dedicated to Hou Wang outside China.
  15. Laura on Cape York Peninsula has the world's largest collection of Indigenous rock art galleries and is home to the bi-annual Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival - the largest gathering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the most varied display of the world's oldest living culture.
  16. Cape York is the northern-most point of Australia.
  17. Mount Bartle Frere is Queensland's highest mountain.
  18. Hinchinbrook Island is Australia's largest island National Park.
  19. Misty Mountains boasts more than 130km of short and long-distance wilderness tracks in a high-altitude rainforest environment.
  20. Tropical North Queensland has the greatest number of tours to the Great Barrier Reef, the most diverse ecosystem known to man.
  21. The Gulf of Carpentaria is the only known location where the unique Morning Glory cloud formation (a rare meteorological phenomenon) can be observed regularly.
  22. The 32km Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island is one of the world's most renowned wilderness walks.
  23. Innisfail has Australia's largest concentration of art deco buildings.
  24. The Riversleigh Fossil Mammal Site is the most diverse World Heritage-listed fossil site providing evidence of how the environment and mammals which lived there have evolved.
  25. Mount Lewis National Park is the home of the rare white Lemuroid ringtail possum and the endemic Mount Lewis crayfish.
  26. The endangered mahogany glider is found only at Cardwell.
  27. The Chillagoe Smelters is Queensland's only remaining evidence of the smelting process and the State's largest remaining slag dump. The three tall brick chimneys surviving at the site are unique as a group.
  28. The Cod Hole is one of the best-known dive sites in the world - a place where you can hand feed giant potato cod up to 30kg and dive with Maori Wrasse.
  29. The Atherton Antechinus is one of the rarest members of its genus and is found in the rainforest between Mount Bellenden Ker and Cardwell. It has the smallest distribution range of any marsupial in Australia at 150 sq. km.
  30. The Cooktown Cemetery is where the Normanby Woman is buried, a fair-skinned woman found living with Aborigines in 1886.
  31. Tropical North Queensland's Hercules moth is the largest moth in the world.
  32. Giant clams are the largest solar powered organism on the Great Barrier Reef.
  33. The world's smallest kangaroo, the musky rat kangaroo, is found in the Wet Tropics.
  34. Clustered above Cape York, the 274 Torres Strait Islands are home to Australia's indigenous Torres Strait Islander people, a seafaring people with their own distinct culture.
  35. The world's smallest vertebrate is the 7-8mm long stout infantfish that lives on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. This tiny fish is also one of the lightest, weighing just one milligram.
  36. Six of the world's seven turtles are found on the Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland.
  37. The Great Wheelbarrow Race to Chillagoe is an annual three-day race where people push wheelbarrows 140km between Mareeba and Chillagoe to honour the pioneering miners of the 19th Century.
  38. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is in the Guinness Book of Records as having Australia's longest running stage show. Through song and dance, the performances at Tjapukai have been a vehicle for sharing the culture of the Djabugay people with the rest of the world since 1987.
  39. The Cairns-Kuranda Railway was constructed between 1882 and 1891 and is considered an engineering feat of tremendous magnitude. Hundreds of men were employed to build the 15 hand-made tunnels and 37 bridges.
  40. The Atherton Tableland is the only place in Australia where you can get everything you need for a cuppa locally – coffee, tea, milk and sugar.
  41. Ribbon reefs only occur in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef extending from Cooktown to eastern Torres Strait, a distance of 670 km. They form along the edge of the continental shelf and in some places the reefs grow high and form narrow walls.
  42. At 930m above sea, Ravenshoe is the highest town in Queensland.
  43. The blue tassel fern is so rare it was thought to be extinct until it was discovered growing in the treetops of the Wet Tropics rainforest.
  44. The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is a dedicated Indigenous art market that exclusively profiles the art work of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and includes both art centres and commercial galleries in a single location.
  45. The Great Barrier Reef is home to the world's fastest fish. Both Sailfish and Marlin compete for the title with speeds in excess of 110km/h.
  46. Nine out of Australia's 10 kingfishers are found in the Wet Tropics.
  47. The endangered northern bettong, a small rat-kangaroo, is only found in the Wet Tropics.
  48. The Great Barrier Reef is the site of the biggest orgy on earth when the coral spawn occurs each year around November.
  49. The Wet Tropics rainforest has the most complete record in the world of the evolution of plant life dating back to the beginning of life on Earth, some 3.5 billion years ago.
  50. The Curtain Fig Tree on the Atherton Tableland has aerial roots that drop 15m to the ground.