Skyrail Nature Diary


'Tis the Season to be Jolly

The Flame Tree’s flowers can cover the entire tree with a sea of red, lasting for two or three weeks before they are replaced by hairy fruits that store a cache of nutritious yellow seeds. Gloves should be used when handling the fruit, as they are covered by a mesh of fine... read more


Black Bean Beauty

Clinical trials were held to test this theory, but due to uncertainty regarding side-effects (it is toxic, remember!) it was eventually dropped for a different compound. However, castanospermine is still used as a base for developing other compounds, and has been found to... read more


Brush-turkey: Rainforest Rake

The Australian Brush-turkey (Alectura lathami) is the product of 130 million years of rainforest history and evolution, a descendant of birds from the ancient super-continent Gondwana. The Brush-turkey is a member of the Megapodidae family, of which only three species now... read more


Fan Palm: Image of the Rainforest

A frequent feature in local resort gardens and tourism brochures is the Australian Fan Palm (Licuala ramsayi). This unique and versatile palm derives its common name from the appearance of its pleated leaf segments, which combine to create the shape of a Chinese fan. These... read more


Be Cass-o-wary

Cassowaries will not, generally, attack without provocation, however you should not approach a Cassowary when it is nesting or with its chicks. They can jump and kick, which can result in nasty injury and/or death (although the only recorded fatality was in April 1926, near... read more


The Golden Penda: Cairns' official floral emblem

The Golden Penda can grow up to 40 metres in height and yields a hard, durable timber, but if pruned annually it can also be contained to shrub size. In the rainforest this tree grows tall and straight, but is also found along river banks, such as the Mulgrave River, growing... read more


Vexing Vines

These flagella also provide the Lawyer Cane's means for survival; the large thorns catch onto surrounding rainforest plants, allowing the Lawyer Vine to 'climb' up their neighbouring plants and reach the rainforest canopy. Breaking through the canopy and accessing its vital... read more


Rainforest Fruits And Flowers Flourish

Australia’s Tropical Rainforests have responded to the wet and humid conditions of the past two months with an exquisite array of flowers and fruits. In particular, the flowering Rose Alder and Black Wattle are splashing colour throughout the canopy, whilst the Leichhardt... read more


Rainforest Blooms

Australia's Tropical Rainforests are responding to our annual 'green' season with a spectacular show of flowers and fruits. Some of the more interesting species you will see in your visits to the rainforests in February and March are the Candle Nuts, Umbrella Trees and Blue... read more


The Rainy Rainforest

Many of these are tall trees, which grow towards the sunlight, with their leaves joining together high above the forest floor to create a closed canopy. The closed canopy also contributes to the humid environment you’ll experience on the forest floor, and the beautiful... read more