We ever saw another fig tree in Devonport (New Zealand), but the examples we discovered around Cairns were not comparable and much more impressive.
Along Coondoo Street in Kuranda, perhaps more well known for its markets and shops, we found a couple of very interesting strangle fig trees and they were very easy to find during a walk along the main street of this village.
The Cathedral Fig Tree is a really ‘must see’ sight in the Atherton Tablelands. A huge tree, hundreds of years old surrounded by a green rainforest with impressive aerial roots. To be honest we didn’t see a ‘tree cathedral’.
The tree is very easy accessible from the signposted car park along the Danbulla Forest Drive around Lake Tinaaro and just 5 km’s from the Gillies Highway.
Perhaps the most famous strangler fig tree is the Curtain Fig. The roots indeed have built a kind of a curtain to the ground with a height of 15 metres. There is a boardwalk around the tree and a photo platform, which allows to take a picture with the whole tree. There is an information board with an explanation of the origins of the tree.
The Curtain Fig Tree is located on walkable distance of the village of Yungaburra (1 km) or you can drive and just walk the last couple of metres from the car park.
Strangler Fig Tree - species Ficus virens
- a bird, possum, tree kangaroo or rat drops a strangler fig seed in the top of a tree;
- the seed gets covered with leaf mould and grows;
- the roots of the seed grow down the side of the host tree until they reach the ground;
- the initial roots take root in the ground, while more and more grow down the sides of the tree to the ground;
- the roots eventually totally enclose the host tree and the host dies;
- the tree that remains is totally the strangler fig tree.
This Tree is honderds of years old. The name is the Cathedral.
The Curtain Fig Tree Cairns, Australia
It may not have the most exotic name in the world, and it may not send tingles to your toes with the thought of making a visit to this tree, but hey, we wouldn't be listing it on this website if we didn't think it was worth a mention.
In fact, it's worth more than a mention. This is the most amazing tree you are ever likely to see. It is a picture of a century of natural history – a unique example of nature's unpredictability and power.
The fig tree is from the strangler fig species Ficus virens. The curtain effect results from one tree leaning against another tree on a 45-degree angle. The strangler vine then grew along the oblique angle of the leaning tree, dangling 15 metres to the ground to create the curtain affect.
A wooden boardwalk surrounds the tree so you can see it on any angle. There is also a large photo-taking platform, so don't forget to bring your camera. An information board is present at the site to explain the origins of the tree.
As one of the largest trees in North Queensland, the Curtain Fig Tree is fascinating and unusual. If you're in the Atherton Tablelands, make sure you stop by an have a look.
How to get to the Curtain Fig Tree
The tree is located just outside the small township of Yungaburra on the Atherton Tablelands. From Yungaburra, head towards Atherton for one kilometre and follow the sign on the left side of the road towards the tree. A short drive along this narrow road will take you to a small car park.
From here, there is a 50-meter walk to the tree along a wooden boardwalk.