Curtain Fig National Park
Getting there and getting around
The Curtain Fig is on the Atherton Tableland, on the outskirts of Yungaburra, which is about 66km or just over one hour's drive from Cairns via the Gillies Highway. The Atherton Tableland is also accessible via the Kennedy Highway from Cairns, the Palmerston Highway from Innisfail or the Mossman-Mt Molloy Road from Port Douglas.
Several tour companies travel to the Curtain Fig National Park.
There are no stairs on the elevated boardwalk around the Curtain Fig, but it does not meet the Australian Standard for disability access.
This park protects a small area of an endangered type of forest, called mabi forest (also called complex notophyll vine forest or type 5b forest). "Mabi" comes from the Ngadjon word for the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo. This type of forest has several unique features, most notably the semi-deciduous canopy trees, which allow more than the usual amount of light to penetrate to the forest floor. This in turn supports a well-developed shrub layer. It is endangered because most of this type of forest has been cleared for farming.
The large fig tree found in this park is unique because the extensive aerial roots, that drop 15m to the forest floor, have formed a "curtain". Starting from a seed dropped high in the canopy, this strangler fig grew vertical roots, which gradually became thicker and interwoven. Over hundreds of years these roots have strangled the host causing it to fall into a neighbouring tree — a stage unique to the development of this fig. Vertical fig roots then formed a curtain-like appearance and the host trees rotted away, leaving the freestanding fig tree. The tree is thought to be nearly 50m tall, with a trunk circumference of 39m, and is estimated to be over 500 years old.
An elevated boardwalk protects the tree while allowing visitors uninterrupted views of the fig from all angles.
Camping and accommodation
Camping is not permitted in Curtain Fig National Park.
There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Yungaburra, Malanda and Atherton.
Things to do
The elevated boardwalk takes about 10 minutes to traverse.
The endangered mabi forest protected by the Curtain Fig National Park provides a wonderful wildlife watching opportunity. Some mabi forest residents have been declared rare, including the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo and the Herbert River ringtail possum.
Over 130 species of birds are listed as mabi forest inhabitants and over 41 of these have so far been recorded in the Curtain Fig National Park.
Several species of frogs and reptiles are also in the park, including a rare skink — Eulamprus tigrinus. .
Resident nocturnal mammals, insects and reptiles ensure a rewarding spotlighting trip to the Curtain Fig National Park. Leaf-tailed geckos are often seen on tree trunks, while the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo and many possums can sometimes be spied in the canopy.
If planning a spotlighting trip to the Curtain Fig, here are a few things that will make your experience memorable.
>>Keep your bulb wattage to 30 or less. This will increase your chance of finding animals (by not warning them of your arrival) and will extend your viewing time.
>>Bring your binoculars so you can get a good view.
>>Use your senses to find wildlife. Look for eye shine, listen for leaves rustling and inhale the smells.
>>Use a white light to explore the forest then add a red or orange filter to view wildlife. (Cellophane is useful).
>>Remember that loud voices and sounds will scare away the wildlife and ruin your experience.
>>Lights should never be trained on nesting birds; this can cause them great distress.
Things to know before you go
Curtain Fig National Park is open 24 hours a day.
Climate and weather
The Curtain Fig National Park sits 720m above sea level and the lower humidity and temperatures are a pleasant escape from the coastal extremes. Maximum summer temperatures are around 30 degrees Celsius while winter temperatures can fall below 10 degrees Celsius at night. For more information see the tourism information links below.
QPWS Cairns Information Centre
5B Sheridan St, Cairns
PO Box 2066, Cairns QLD 4870
ph (07) 4046 6600
fax (07) 4046 6751
83 Main St, Atherton
PO Box 975, Atherton QLD 4883
ph (07) 4091 1844
fax (07) 4091 3281
EPA Customer Service Centre
160 Ann Street, Brisbane
PO Box 15155, City East QLD 4002
ph (07) 3227 8185
fax (07) 3227 8749
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service