I’ve passed the signs to Mary Cairncross Park many times but have never actually stopped there. Partly because I’ve always been on my way somewhere and partly because I’ve always been a walking snob in the past, only wanting to walk trails that were long and challenging. But what a little gem I’ve been missing out on. Today we drove up to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland to go to lunch and decided to actually stop here for a walk. My partner has visited the park many times before with his work and told me there was a little rainforest walk.
The walk might only be about 3-4km (2-2.5 miles) long but it’s just beautiful. As soon as we enter the rainforest we are surrounded by the complex quiet that exists between the trees. Insects hum and birds twitter but it’s so subtle that when we hear a loud “whoop whoop” bird call it startles us into thinking it’s the first bird we’ve heard. It just proves how invested we are in what we see with our eyes: the knotted reptilian fig tree roots that snake their way along the forest floor, the twisted strangler fig vines that knot themselves to grip the host trees, bright green moss growing on fallen tree branches and soft green leaves growing from parasitic vines climbing up their hosts.
The walk takes us through a variety of rainforest settings. There’s massive figs creating an enormous and high canopy. A stagnant waterway is home to a grove of tall thin palm trees. And there is a random patch in which a handful of ancient red gums stand as evidence of life half a millennium ago before this area became a rainforest.
The rainforest walk is a delight. The Friends of Mary Cairncross should be proud of the space they have created and preserved. The path is easy to follow and accessible to almost all including the elderly and those who use wheelchairs. I am so glad we went there today because it was absolutely stunning and it felt wonderful to be back out in the bush.