The Mangroves of Cairns – Displaying the diverse beauty of Australia

The Mangroves of Cairns – Displaying the diverse beauty of Australia

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 09/09/2016

Reading time: 3 mins

It’s no secret that Australia is known for its incredible biodiversity.

It is home to many unique animals and plants that inspire awe and excitement in people worldwide. And when it comes to Australia’s Mangroves, there is no place better for them to thrive than Queensland’s city of Cairns.

What are mangroves

Mangroves are trees or shrubs that grow in coastal marshlands. They play a vital role in the lives of the trees and plants that surround them. First and foremost, Mangroves act as a buffer of sorts to the ocean’s rough tides and strong currents. Their thick branches slow the raging waters down before they can do any damage to plant or animal life. What makes them even more fascinating is the way that their roots filter a lot of the ocean’s sediment. They prevent debris from making its way into the water of the marshes. The mangroves are vital to their surrounding ecosystem and are key to the survival of these sensitive coastal environments.

Mangroves are the only tree species in the world that can survive in saltwater. Their thick roots soak in the water while their waxy leaves excrete excess salt. Additionally, wildlife flocks to them. Their underwater root system provides protection for juvenile fish. Bird life on the other hand nest in their branches, taking advantage of the large marine life population below.

Interestingly, their thick and sturdy root systems are also beneficial for coastal communities. They act as a barrier from sea surges and rough tides.


Queensland is home to 39 of the world’s 110 mangrove species, and Cairns hosts a significant portion of these. The city of Cairns on the eastern coastline of Australia provides the perfect condition for mangroves to grow. Recently an incredibly exciting discovery was made in the area.

50 Orange mangroves were found on the shores of Trinity Inlet, a small estuary used as the city’s port. This discovery is extremely significant because previously there were only 200 known orange mangroves across the entire planet. This discovery alone has therefore raised this species population by 20%!

What’s even more fascinating is that these trees are over 100 years old and some speculate that they may even be 200 years old. This discovery is a perfect example of just how dense the rainforests in Far North Queensland are. Even in highly populated areas like Cairns, there could be endangered plant species growing right under our noses.

Seeing the mangroves

The mangrove population around Cairns is quite dense. In fact, even Cairns airport has a few nearby boardwalks that will take you to them! The boardwalks around here offer a wonderful and serene environment to start your trip to Cairns in peace. In addition to their important roles in the balance of the ecosystem, mangroves are also marvellously beautiful trees to view. The Jack Barnes Mangrove Boardwalk is a great place to see many species of wild grown mangroves.

Exploring Cairns and learning more about these incredible trees while viewing them in action as waves crash into them head on is an essential activity to take part in on your trip to Cairns.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.