Australia: The Land Where Time Began
Cedar Bay (Mangkal-Mangkalba) National Park
What's special?Dense tropical rainforest grows in Cedar Bay National Park, a remote coastal park south of Cooktown in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Sandy beaches and fringing reefs are backed by rainforest. Tulip oaks, Daintree pendas, tall rainforest cycads, fan palms and milky pines grow in the rainforest. Much has never been logged or disturbed. Windswept vegetation covers exposed hillsides.
Cedar Bay is home to a wonderful variety of wildlife including the vulnerable southern cassowary and rare Bennett’s tree-kangaroo. The adjacent waters are protected in marine parks.
This is the traditional land of the Kuku Yalanji people whose country extends along the coast to Mossman. Cedar Bay National Park was a major turtle hunting area and contains important story sites. The Kuku Yalanji people have kept their culture alive and ask visitors to respect this special place.
The Cedar Bay area was developed for tin mining from the 1870s. The remains of old tin workings can be seen between Black Snake Rocks and the park boundary.
Exploring Cedar BayGo birdwatching. See cassowaries, yellow-breasted sunbirds, double-eyed fig-parrots, mangrove kingfishers and beach stone-curlews. Pied imperial-pigeons feed on rainforest fruits during their annual summer migration from Papua New Guinea.
Look for the elusive Bennett’s tree-kangaroo feeding on leaves and fruit at night in the rainforest. See rainbow skinks and lace monitors along the tracks.
Bush camp in the park. No facilities are provided. Take a fuel stove, insect repellent and a mosquito net. Campfires are not allowed. Remove your rubbish. Pay your camping fees on-site at the self-registration station at the southern end of the beach. Fresh water is available seasonally in creeks above tidal reaches. Boil the water for five minutes before drinking. Take drinking water in the dry season. Use no soap, detergent or toothpaste in the waterways.
Fishing and collecting are prohibited in the adjacent marine park waters. Boaties are asked to anchor only in sand, away from corals, and to watch for dugong and turtles. Beware of marine stingers October to May and estuarine crocodiles in the sea and estuaries. Never cross any tidal creeks at high tide or swim in the creeks. Be croc-wise.
WalkingThe walking track into the park was a former donkey track used by tin miners. Only fit walkers should attempt this steep track. Wear a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent. Take drinking water and a first aid kit. Water is not available along the route. Avoid disturbing snakes. Some are venomous.
Getting thereCedar Bay is 40km south of Cooktown. The park lies between Cape Tribulation and Cooktown and is accessible only by boat or walking. Boat access is not easy, especially during prevailing south-easterlies. Nearby Hope Isles provides a sheltered anchorage.
The walk begins at Home Rule Rainforest Lodge, private property 3km off the Cooktown-Bloomfield Road from Rossville. Overnight camping is allowed by prior arrangement at the lodge.
|Author: M.H.Monroe Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sources & Further reading|