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About Curtain Fig

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Getting there and getting around

The Curtain Fig is on the Atherton Tableland, on the outskirts of Yungaburra, which is about 66km or just over one hour's drive from Cairns via the Gillies Highway. The Atherton Tableland is also accessible via the Kennedy Highway from Cairns, the Palmerston Highway from Innisfail or the Mossman–Mt Molloy Road from Port Douglas.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no stairs on the elevated boardwalk around the Curtain Fig, but it does not meet the Australian Standard for disability access.

Park features

The fig's roots have formed a curtain. Photo: Tamara Vallance, Queensland Government.

The fig's roots have formed a curtain. Photo: Tamara Vallance, Queensland Government.

This park protects a small area of an endangered type of forest, called mabi forest (also called complex notophyll vine forest or type 5b forest). 'Mabi' comes from the Ngadjon word for the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo. This forest type has several unique features, most notably the semi-deciduous canopy trees, which allow more than the usual amount of light to penetrate to the forest floor. This in turn supports a well-developed shrub layer. It is endangered because most of this type of forest has been cleared for farming.

The large fig tree found in this park is unique because the extensive aerial roots, that drop 15m to the forest floor, have formed a 'curtain'. Starting from a seed dropped high in the canopy, this strangler fig grew vertical roots, which gradually became thicker and interwoven. Over hundreds of years these roots have strangled the host causing it to fall into a neighbouring tree—a stage unique to the development of this fig. Vertical fig roots then formed a curtain-like appearance and the host trees rotted away, leaving the freestanding fig tree. The tree is thought to be nearly 50m tall, with a trunk circumference of 39m, and is estimated to be over 500 years old.

An elevated boardwalk protects the tree while allowing visitors uninterrupted views of the fig from all angles.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping is not permitted in Curtain Fig National Park.

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Yungaburra, Malanda and Atherton. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Things to do

The Curain Fig National Park is home to the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo. Photo: Queensland Government.

The Curain Fig National Park is home to the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo. Photo: Queensland Government.

Mackleay's honeyeater, a Wet Tropics endemic, has been recorded in the Curtain Fig National Park. Photo: WTMA.

Mackleay's honeyeater, a Wet Tropics endemic, has been recorded in the Curtain Fig National Park. Photo: WTMA.

Walking

The boardwalk encircling the Curtain Fig is the only public-accessible part of the national park.

Curtain Fig boardwalk (Grade: easy)

Distance: 180m return
Time: allow 10mins walking time
Details: This short, gently sloping boardwalk takes visitors around the tree while protecting the fragile root system. Viewing areas overlook the endangered mabi forest.

Viewing wildlife

The endangered mabi forest protected by the Curtain Fig National Park provides a wonderful wildlife watching opportunity. Some mabi forest residents have been declared near threatened (rare), including the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo and the Herbert River ringtail possum.

Over 130 species of birds are listed as mabi forest inhabitants and over 41 of these have so far been recorded in the Curtain Fig National Park.

Several species of frogs and reptiles are also in the park, including the near threatened (rare) rainforest skink.

Spotlighting

Resident nocturnal mammals, insects and reptiles ensure a rewarding spotlighting trip to the Curtain Fig National Park. Leaf-tailed geckos are often seen on tree trunks, while the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo and many possums can sometimes be spied in the canopy. See looking after the park for more information about spotlighting.

  • See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about Curtain Fig wildlife.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

To enjoy your time at Curtain Fig National Park remember to bring:

  • water

Opening hours

Curtain Fig National Park is open 24 hours a day.

Permits and fees

Permits are required for commercial or organised activities. Contact us for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Curtain Fig National Park.

Climate and weather

The Curtain Fig National Park sits 720m above sea level and the lower humidity and temperatures are a pleasant escape from the coastal extremes. Maximum summer temperatures are around 29°C while winter temperatures can fall below 10°C at night. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available in Yungaburra. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

  • Remain on the boardwalk at all times.

For more information, read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

  • Take rubbish with you—rubbish facilities are not provided.

Spotlighting

Resident nocturnal mammals, insects and reptiles ensure a rewarding spotlighting trip to the Curtain Fig National Park. Leaf-tailed geckos are often seen on tree trunks, while the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo and many possums can sometimes be spied in the canopy.

If planning a spotlighting trip to the Curtain Fig, here are a few things that will make your experience memorable.

  • Keep your bulb wattage to 30 or less. This will increase your chance of finding animals (by not warning them of your arrival) and will extend your viewing time.
  • Bring your binoculars so you can get a good view.
  • Use your senses to find wildlife. Look for eye shine, listen for leaves rustling and inhale the smells.
  • Use a white light to explore the forest then add a red or orange filter to view wildlife. Cellophane is useful.
  • Remember that loud voices and sounds will scare away the wildlife and ruin your experience.
  • Lights should never be trained on nesting birds; this can cause them great distress.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

The Curtain Fig State Forest became a part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in 1988, and was converted to national park in 2005.

The Curtain Fig National Park is managed on a day-to-day basis by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS). Management of the World Heritage area is coordinated through a partnership between the Commonwealth and Queensland governments, the Traditional Owners and the wider community.

Tourism information links

Atherton Visitor Information Centre
www.itablelands.com.au
Corner Silo Road and Main Street, Atherton QLD 4883
ph (07) 4091 4222
email

Malanda Falls Visitor Centre
www.malandafalls.com
132 Malanda-Atherton Road, Malanda QLD 4885
ph (07) 4096 6957
email

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
26 April 2017