Michele: When we were scouting places to live in Queensland, a couple things caught our attention about Mission Beach. The first was... well.. the beach! The second is that the hills behind the town are all part of a world heritage rain forest with some really nice walking tracks. A fortnight ago, we had the opportunity to walk through the fan palm rain forest in the Licuala State Forest. Licuala refers to the fan palm that is abundant here. The fan palms only grow in some areas and the cassowary really like the fruit. When a cyclone hits, the fan palms close their leaves so they are one of the few trees that weren't heavily damaged by cyclone Larry in 2006. The eye of that cyclone made landfall at Innisfail ~50 km north of Mission beach and we are told that the devastation in this area was vast. We saw photos of the damage at uncle Larry's house in Babinda. Yes, cyclone Larry hit Larry's place, but he was out of the country at the time.
On our peaceful walk in the Licuala state forest we saw trees with buttresses at the base of their trunks. The informational sign said that the buttresses catch debris, which enhances the otherwise poor soil. I never realized that tropical soil would be poor. I always figured with all the litter, the soil would be rich. We saw lots of ferns and other plants growing half way up the palms. There are more photos of the forest on my facebook page.
Robin: I saw a strangler strangling a tree. Like in this picture. It looks like you could climb up the tree with ease. And the strangler fig went all the way up the tree! I learned that the strangler strangles the tree and it makes the tree inside rot and the tree that is being strangled eventually collapses and the strangler stands on its own.