Mangroves are an important ecosystem that help protect the land from the sea and vice versa, providing a home for many young reef fish in the area. The Cairns mangroves are a classic example of mangrove life, where the trees themselves have evolved over time to thrive permanently in a mixture of salt and freshwater that is forever changing.
Playing host to a huge collection of creatures that each have their own special place in the ecosystem – expect to see quirky species like fish that can live outside of the water, fighting crabs, and baby sharks.
At the heart of the mangrove system in Cairns, you’ll find the Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk, where you can learn all about the unique, tropical mangroves and saltmarshes of Australia.
As you move along the boardwalk, you can learn all about the incredible abundance of wildlife that lives in the region and discover what the purpose of the mangroves and other tidal wetland systems are.
Split into two parts, the boardwalk heads north or south into closed-off mangrove forests that sprawl out in every direction from the carpark. If you head north, you can make your way to Little Barron Creek, where there are plenty of viewing platforms at the edge of the creek which promise stunning views across the surrounding landscape.
Halfway along this stretch of the boardwalk, you’ll come across a canopy tower that looks out across the lush velvet carpet of treetops. This section of the boardwalk is a circular route, and takes you from the carpark through the mangrove forests and back to the carpark, with signs along the way that give extra information on the plants and animals that have adapted over thousands of years to live in this unique environment.
If you head along the southern part of the boardwalk, you’ll have a slightly different experience, where you’ll get to see a few different kinds of mangrove forest. Unlike the northern part of the boardwalk, this part isn’t a circular route and instead terminates at a canopy tower near to the mouth of Swampy Creek. As you explore this part of the region, helpful signs will let you in on the productivity of mangrove forests and other fascinating facts.
If you’re looking to explore a different side of Australia’s unique wildlife, the mangroves are the perfect place to go. Not only will you learn about this unique ecosystem, but you can catch a glimpse of some of the more unusual species in the country.