THE DAIN­TREE RAIN­FOR­EST IS THE OLD­EST CON­TIN­UAL RAIN­FOR­EST IN THE WORLD

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It amazes me that many vis­i­tors avoid Cook­town. It is part of the ad­ven­ture and is truly a great lit­tle his­tor­i­cal town with fine eating and much to do. It has sev­eral small na­tional parks and con­ser­va­tion ar­eas that are well worth the walks.

At Cook­town you have a choice of head­ing south to Lake­lands and onto the PDR, north on the Bat­tle Camp Track to Rinyirru (Lake­field) NP and Laura, or take the Star­cke Track to Mu­undhi, Cape Melville and Rinyirru na­tional parks and Bathurst Head. Don’t miss a cou­ple of nights’ camp­ing on Elim Beach, via Hope­vale.

Both tracks are main­tained, though the Star­cke only as far as the Star­cke River, where it turns into long stretches of bull­dust. The Star­cke Track is the most scenic and ad­ven­tur­ous route to Rinyirru and the track closely fol­lows the coast. From Mount Webb Na­tional Park views un­fold of the Cape Flat­tery dune fields and old Star­cke Sta­tion.

From here there are more than 100 creek and gully cross­ings be­fore the Star­cke River. There is a bush camp­ground and a boat ramp at the river mouth.

The first park en­coun­tered is Mu­undhi NP, which is part of Rinyirru NP and is lo­cated on its eastern bor­der. It con­nects with Cape Melville NP. Com­bined, they cover a huge area, but ac­cess is lim­ited, as are tracks. Check with the park’s of­fice at Cook­town or the Lake­field ranger base for ac­cess and camp­ing in­for­ma­tion.

CAPE MELVILLE

AT ABAN­DONED Wakooka Sta­tion there is

Take a beach walk at Cape Tribu­la­tion, where rain­for­est meets the reef. Archer Point is one of the most scenic places on the east coast. Don’t be part of the prob­lem: do your bit to con­tain pest species.

Take your rub­bish with you when leav­ing and don’t be a grub.

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